The University of Alabama at Birmingham will host its first Undergraduate Symposium in Art History, featuring papers by art history capstone students, Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Presented by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Art and Art History, the symposium is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. in the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts’ Hess Lecture Hall.
The symposium schedule from 2-3:30 p.m. will include Stewart Adams presenting “Bounds of Representation: Albrecht Dürer’s Late Passion Drawings,” Kristin Davis presenting “Isis: An Egyptian Goddess in the Greek and Roman World,” Alea Bondarenko presenting “Charles-François Daubigny’s Floating Studio or Daubigny on ‘Le Botin,’” and Emily White presenting “Masquerade and Bodily Display: Sande Society Initiation Mask.”
From 3:45-5 p.m., Julia Browder will present “Unearthing the Truth: The Urban Excavation of Tenochtitlán,” Megan Hicks will present “The Representation of Women in Eighteenth-Century France as Seen in Louis Tocqué’s ‘Portrait of Madame de Livry’ (1745/1755),” and Sarah Faulkner will present “The Crux of Cultural Crossroads.”
In “Bounds of Representation: Albrecht Dürer’s Late Passion Drawings,” Adams will focus on three works: a 1521 rendition of “Agony in the Garden,” and two versions of “Bearing of the Body,” both from 1522.
Davis will discuss one of the most important goddesses in the ancient Egyptian pantheon in “Isis: An Egyptian Goddess in the Greek and Roman World.” Her paper explores the different depictions of Isis in Greek and Roman art, versus her traditional depictions in Egypt.
For “Charles-François Daubigny’s Floating Studio or Daubigny on ‘Le Botin,’” Bondarenko will examine how Daubigny’s floating studio, a boat he called Le Botin (Little Box), impacted his own artwork and that of younger Impressionist painters.
Housed in the Birmingham Museum of Art’s African Art Collection is an early 20th-century Sowei mask from the region of Sierra Leone in Western Africa, belonging to the female Sande society. White will explain how, for the Sande society’s women, a masked figure is considered an embodiment of their female mystical power and is integral to their initiation process with her paper, “Masquerade and Bodily Display: Sande Society Initiation Mask.”
In “Unearthing the Truth: The Urban Excavation of Tenochtitlán,” Browder will discuss the Templo Mayor, the nexus of the Aztec world, and how the ongoing excavations there have revealed ever-increasing evidence of large-scale human sacrifice. Her paper explores the nature of the excavation and how it is embroiled in the Mexican identity.
For “The Representation of Women in Eighteenth-Century France as Seen in Louis Tocqué’s ‘Portrait of Madame de Livry’ (1745/1755),” Hicks explores in her paper how the portrait, housed in the Birmingham Museum of Art, reveals the growing perception of the divisions of gender roles that are prevalent in French portraiture. Through close examination of the representation of Madame de Livry’s attributes and accessories, such as her makeup, clothing, and closed fan, she argues for the important role of this painting in the trajectory of 18th-century French female portraiture.
Faulkner will explore the indigenous elements that are evident in architecture in the Indian state of Gujarat, even after centuries of foreign influence. For “The Crux of Cultural Crossroads,” she focuses on Mahabat Maqbara, a mausoleum and mosque complex completed in 1892 CE by Sheikh Bahauddin for the Nawab Mahabat Khan II and his vizier Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai. The complex offers an interesting case study for the analysis of the perseverance of these indigenous design choices underneath the façade of foreign styles.
Students will present papers on topics as diverse as the Aztecs’ bloody past, the Egyptian goddess Isis, Charles-François Daubigny’s floating studio, a mask of the female Sande society and the representation of women in 18th-century French portraiture.
What's it really like to do research as an undergraduate? Students in UAB's Undergraduate Research Ambassadors program offer advice, professional development opportunities and real-world tips.As the newly crowned Ms. UAB during UAB’s Homecoming Week in October, Isabella Mak became an official ambassador for the university. But Mak, a junior in the UAB Honors College Global and Community Leadership Program who is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences, already has plenty of experience in that role. For more than a year, Mak has served as director of the UAB Undergraduate Research Ambassadors, a group whose goal is to help provide “equal access to opportunities” for UAB students in every major, she says.
Research opportunities are everywhere on campus, Mak explains. According to data from UAB’s Office of Undergraduate Research, more than 700 research-focused undergraduate courses were offered in the 2015–2016 academic year, with more than 7,300 enrollments in those courses. Mak, working with UAB undergraduate research program administrator Gareth Jones, hopes to raise those numbers even higher. (Learn more about undergraduate research success at UAB in the video below.)
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Taking research for a test driveThere are 18 Research Ambassadors, all of them undergraduates like Mak, who together have worked with more than 500 mentees over the past year. They answer frequently asked questions, including explaining what it’s actually like to do research, how to get started and how to approach professors. “Sometimes, when students show interest but feel intimidated, they may just need some encouragement and guidance along the way,” Mak says. The Ambassadors specialize in various areas of research, so they can get to know professors in those fields and give students an idea of the experiences available.
The Ambassadors also can help undergraduates take research for a test drive, by pairing them with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and “observing their work for a day,” Mak says. “The Office of Postdoctoral Education and Graduate Biomedical Student Outreach have been huge supporters,” both with shadowing and assisting in professional development workshops organized by the Ambassadors, she notes.
Getting your hands dirtyMak’s own research experience began during her first semester at UAB, when she joined the lab of Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., RD, professor and Webb Endowed Chair in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences and associate director at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Demark-Wahnefried is the principal investigator on the Harvest for Health project, a clinical trial that is evaluating the effects of a “home-based vegetable garden intervention on health-related quality of life, including changes in diet and physical activity,” Mak says.
While working on the project, Mak has had the chance to collect data, process biological specimens and interview cancer survivors during home visits. “Dr. Demark, and others in the lab, including Dr. Yuko Tsuruta, Dr. Andrew Frugé, and Mrs. Mallory Cases, have mentored me over the past couple of years in many aspects, such as critical thinking, interactions with patients and overcoming challenges faced in the research,” she says. “I have learned how research can be interdisciplinary, combining the fields of public health, genetics, biochemistry and behavioral science.” In addition, “our lab collaborates with other labs, which provides me the opportunity to observe and to interact with faculty members and researchers from different departments.”
“As a female and a first-generation college student, also moving from across the world, I knew attending UAB was the right decision for me. The academic-focused environment, ample opportunities to get involved on campus, and chance to be a part of the Birmingham community all attracted me to UAB as well.”
Mak, who grew up in Hong Kong and went to high school in Dothan, says the opportunities for interdisciplinary research at UAB drew her to Birmingham. “As a female and a first-generation college student, also moving from across the world, I knew attending UAB was the right decision for me,” she says. “The academic-focused environment, ample opportunities to get involved on campus, and chance to be a part of the Birmingham community all attracted me to UAB as well.”
Mak's goal is to attend medical school and eventually work in higher education. “I love sharing my experiences as a Research Ambassador,” she says. “I have had such a positive experience working with my research team, and the Harvest for Health project.”
The State of Alabama High School Programming Contest, hosted by UAB, is now open to all Alabama high school and middle school students.According to the National Science Foundation, the percentage of women receiving bachelor’s degrees in computer science declined from a peak of close to 40 percent in the mid-1980s to 16 percent in 2015. The dramatic decline has occurred despite the rapid growth of the industry and increasing job demand.
In an effort to cultivate interest in science and technology in younger students, and increase participation among young girls, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is expanding this year’s State of Alabama High School Programming Contest to include middle school students.
The contest brings talented students from throughout the state to the UAB campus to compete and demonstrate their computer programming and problem solving skills. This year’s expansion is supported by a 2016 Cyber Competition Awards Grant from the National Security Agency.
“Previously, the contest has been open only to high school students,” said Raquel Diaz-Sprague, co-principal investigator of the grant. “Research and data tell us that 66 percent of girls ages 6-12 are interested; but that interest decreases by 50 percent at ages 13-17, and falls to 4 percent among college freshmen. Given the gender gap in science and technology, it is critically important to support girls’ interest in coding as early as possible.”
Students will compete individually and in teams to demonstrate their programming skills by attempting to solve six computer programming problems within a three-hour period. In the real world, computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly. They turn the program designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions that a computer can follow. Younger students will attempt to solve a set of problems designed for novice programmers, while older students will compete against one another to solve problems derived from what is normally expected at programming competitions around the nation. Up to $3,000 will be awarded to winners of the contest.
Source: National Center for Women & Information TechnologyThis year’s contest will also include a special award to recognize young female participants. The Grace Hopper Excellence in Coding Award will be awarded to the top-performing female contestant. The award is named after U.S. Naval Officer and computer scientist Grace Hopper, who developed the first working compiler for computer languages. A compiler renders worded instructions into code that can be read by computers. This compiler was a precursor for the Common Business Oriented Language, or COBOL, a widely adapted computer language used around the world. All special awards will be announced in the Alabama State Department of Education Newsletter and disseminated to math and science teachers throughout the state.
The contest will be held Saturday, Feb. 18, at Campbell Hall, 1300 University Blvd. from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., and is open to all Alabama high school and middle school students. Registration is now open online. The cost of registration is $20 per student and will increase to $30 on Feb. 12. Participants will also be allowed to register on-site. Students will begin the day with registration and a tour of the UAB Department of Computer and Information Sciences.
The State of Alabama High School Programming Contest has been hosted by the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Computer and Information Sciences for more than 15 years. For more information, visit the contest website.