2014 Alumni Awards

Our alumni are more than former students. They are ambassadors of the institution, representatives of the quality of the education available to students at UAB, and advocates for the College and university in a broad and complex world.
Our alumni are more than former students. They are ambassadors of the institution, representatives of the quality of the education available to students at UAB, and advocates for the College and university in a broad and complex world.

The honorees whom we recognized at this year’s Alumni Awards celebration have accomplished great things since they left UAB, and they are shining examples of what we value: hard work, dedication, service, and compassion.

This year’s winners come from Mathematics, English, Government, and Psychology. They have gone on to launch their own start-up companies, rise to chief executive positions, shape federal policy, and establish the very best standards in research and patient care. We are very proud of their accomplishments.      

We also honored representatives from Bruker Corporation, which has been instrumental in supporting the Department of Chemistry in maintaining its strict accreditation requirements.

We are very delighted for our graduates and very grateful to all of those who support the College of Arts and Sciences.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

- Meet the Winners -

Debbie Jo Severin

Alumni Awards SeverinDean Palazzo and Debbie Jo Severin Severin graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from UAB in 1981 and 1983, respectively, and has crafted an impressive career in marketing, brand awareness, and strategic planning in the ensuing three decades.

Currently the Vice President of Marketing for 8X8, Inc., Severin directs the marketing and lead generation initiatives for the $130 million publicly traded company, which has a focus on cloud-based telephony, unified communications, and video services.

Prior to her executive position at 8X8, she was Vice President of Marketing at a number of Silicon Valley companies, including Valiant Networks, Northpoint Communications, and Pacific Bell/Primeone-Tele-TV. Severin began her career as a market research manager at BellSouth Telecommunications in Birmingham.

As a student, she was a Miss UAB Scholarship recipient, and as an alumna is an active member of the National Alumni Society and serves on the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council.

Kristal Quarker Hartsfield

Alumni Awards Hartsfield Kristal Quaker Hartsfield, center, with Dr. Angela Lewis and Dr. Wendy Gunther Canada. Quarker Hartsfield received her B.S. in Political Science from UAB in 2004 and her M.P.A. (Public Administration) in 2007. Originally from Atmore, Alabama, Quarker Hartsfield is now a Washington, DC, resident, where she is the National Director of African American Initiatives at the Republican National Committee.

In her role at the RNC, she is in charge of crafting and implementing the party’s nationwide African American engagement strategy. Prior to the RNC, Quarker Hartsfield was a senior staff member at the US House of Representatives House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

As the first African American to hold a senior position on the Republican side of the aisle, she was an authority on all Africa-related issues for the GOP Congressional majority. Prior to working on the committee, she was the director of communications and business outreach for the House Republican Policy Committee and Senior Legislative Advisor to former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.

Quarker Hartsfield was named one of the “Top 25 Women of Washington” by the National Journal in 2013, a “Top 40 Under 40 on Capitol Hill” in 2012, and was a National Brand Ambassador for UAB in 2013.

Russell Clay McDonald

Alumi Awards McDonaldDr. William Hutchings, left, with Russell McDonald.McDonald received his B.A. and M.A. in English from UAB in 1985 and 1989, respectively, and then went on to complete a MLIS (Library and Information Studies) degree from the University of California, Berkley, in 1992.

After a distinguished academic career at UAB, in which he proved himself adept at understanding challenging languages, including the Old English of Beowulf and the dense syntax of James Joyce, McDonald learned the new languages of information science and technology, helping libraries across the county transition from old-fashioned card catalogs to computerized databases via his employer, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.

Within just a few years, McDonald became director of Sales in North America for Interfaces, Inc., leading the company with more than $7.5 million in signed contracts. From there, he held senior positions at Elsevier Science, Ex Libris, and iPost, where he was CEO.

Today, as an independent consultant, he remains on the forefront of technological change in higher education and information technology.

Leanne R. Cianfrini, Ph.D

Alumni Awards Cianfrini Dr. Karlene Ball, left, with Dr. Leanne Cianfrini Dr. Cianfrini graduated from UAB with an M.S. in Psychology in 2002, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2004. After UAB, she completed Pre- and Post-Doctoral Fellowships (Health Psychology and Pain Psychology) from the University of Florida Health Sciences Center.

Today, she is a clinical/medical psychologist at the Doleys Clinic/Pain and Rehabilitation Center in Birmingham. As Program Director of the clinic, she coordinates community workshops and develops unique evidence-based interdisciplinary programs for clinic outpatients.

She is an Adjunct Professor at UAB and teaches graduate courses in medical psychology. She has received the President’s Award for Excellence in Pain Management from the Southern Pain Society (2008), was an Exchange Intern at the University of Oxford (2004), received a Merit Fellowship from UAB (2003), and a Preceptorship from the American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation (2002).

Bruker Corporation

Bruker Corporation has been a long-time partner with UAB.

Alumni Awards Bruker Dean Palazzo, center, and Dr. David Graves, far right, with representatives of Bruker Corporation. Throughout the years, Bruker and its many divisions have worked with various departments across the university, including the UAB School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry to foster novel research and drug discovery.

Thanks to Bruker’s continued support, last year we brought to campus the largest and most advanced Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facility in the state of Alabama, among the best in the region.

The NMR facility brings together researchers across the UAB campus and represents the true interdisciplinary spirit that is a hallmark of our institution.

Together, we have established a state-of-the-art research facility that serves not only the scientific community at UAB, but also researchers and businesses in the Birmingham community and beyond.

  • Letter from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

    While we have any number of outstanding male faculty members, students, and alumni who deserve recognition and are included, by and large this issue is about the women of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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  • Events

    Catch up with some of the big events sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, from Homecoming to an exhibit at AEIVA.

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  • Building a Legacy

    When UAB broke ground on the new Arts & Sciences Building in September 2017, the excitement was palpable. “There is no doubt that this new building will provide our campus community with a state-of-the-art facility in which they can work and learn,” said Dean Palazzo.

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  • AEIVA Receives Significant Gift of Works by David Levinthal

    The Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts (AEIVA) Permanent Art Collection has received a generous donation of a number of works by David Levinthal, one of the most prolific and acclaimed photographers of his generation.

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  • A Legacy of Love

    Jeannie Feldman has established both an award and a scholarship in the Department of History to honor her late husband, Dr. Glenn A. Feldman.

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  • Capturing Success

    Palo Alto Networks' Cyber Competition for High School Students.

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  • Paying it Forward

    Alumna Dr. Ana Maria Crawford has created an endowed scholarship to be used to support deserving students based on merit and financial need.

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  • They Persisted

    Despite complex social, cultural, and professional trends that keep women from academic careers in the sciences and mathematics, a small percentage of female research faculty stay the course.

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  • Taking a Leap

    Psychology and Public Administration alumna Ann Bridges Steely says her biggest career risks brought the greatest rewards.

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  • Stellar

    Physics alumna Christina Richey has built a successful career in the competitive, and mostly-male, field of planetary science.

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  • Across the Spectrum

    Four female faculty members in the Department of Psychology study and treat Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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  • Everyone has a story

    “How did you end up in Alabama?” I get that question a lot, both here and abroad. I suspect that every immigrant is frequently asked the same question out of genuine curiosity, maybe interest.

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  • Letter from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
    Our fall semester is in full swing and the momentum is building in the College and across the university.
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  • Finishing Strong

    We finished the academic year with a major exhibition at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and celebrated another joyful, thrilling commencement ceremony, at which more than 2,000 UAB students graduated.

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  • College Alumni Community

    Our former graduates have had a great year of events and celebrations, all organized by our Alumni Board led by president Wes Calhoun. 

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  • Faculty Receive University Awards

    Renato Camata, Roger Gilchrist, Samiksha Raut, and Nitesh Saxena were all recognized this year for their excellence in teaching, mentorship and advising.

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  • New Chairs, New Faculty Join the College

    This fall, we welcomed several new faculty members, a new chair for the Department of Sociology, and three interim chairs. We are proud to have all of them in leadership and academic positions and are excited to see what they accomplish at UAB.

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  • Nine Departments Welcome New Faculty Members

    This fall, new faculty members join the Department of Communication Studies, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Criminal Justice, the Department of English, the Department of Music, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Social Work, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Theatre.

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  • New Degrees, New Department Names

    At recent Board of Trustees meetings, two new degrees and two new department names were approved.

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  • New Building Groundbreaking

    Dean Palazzo, along with President Ray Watts and Provost Pam Benoit, joined several invited guests to celebrate the groundbreaking for our new arts and sciences academic building on Tuesday, September 19, 2017.

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  • Remarkable Generosity

    Donors establish five new endowments in the College—the most ever received in one year.

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  • Personal History

    Love and learning are the two recurring themes of Sol and Rita Kimerling’s incredible story.

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  • Strike Up the Band!

    Under the leadership of new director of bands Dr. Sean Murray, the marching blazers are ready to retake the field this fall.

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  • Risk Takers

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  • Just This Once, A little Health Advice

    Am I the only one who feels bombarded by unwanted health advice? You can’t open a newspaper (remember those?), a magazine, the internet, or turn on the television without stumbling across someone dispensing tips for living a longer, healthier life.

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  • Message from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
    Right now is such an exciting time on campus, and not just because the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. With the approval of our new Arts & Sciences building, scheduled to be open in Fall 2019, we are embarking on an exciting journey to construct a stunning space for our faculty and students.
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  • A Vibrant Fall Semester
    There was an explosion of creativity and celebration last fall with AEIVA and the Institute of Human Rights kickoff event at the Alys Stephens Center.
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  • Senior Wins Gilman Scholarship
    Jane Murphy, a student in foreign languages with a concentration in French, has been awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad.
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  • Dean's Award Winners
    Congratulations to these deserving undergraduate and graduate students, who were nominated by their professors for this prestigious recognition.
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  • Neuroscience Major a Finalist for Gates Cambridge Scholarship
    Hriday Bhambhvani, a double major in mathematics and neuroscience, was named a finalist for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship
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  • Lamario Williams Wins Scholarship and Travel Award
    Physics major Lamario Williams received a PhysCon MSI/HBCU Travel Award to attend PhysCon 2016 in San Francisco.
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  • Students, Faculty and Alumni Win Big at 2017 ADDY Awards
    Students, faculty, and alumni from the College of Arts and Sciences make a strong showing at the ADDY Awards.
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  • New Degrees in Computer Science, Digital Forensics, Immunology and Genetics and Genomics Sciences
    The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to offer new degrees in Computer Science, Digital Forensics, Immunology, and Genetics and Genomics Sciences.
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  • Public Relations Certificate First in State
    Majors in public relations and other communication studies will now have the opportunity to boost their resumes with the addition of the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations.
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  • Dr. David Schwebel Receives Multiple Honors
    Dr. David Schwebel, professor in the Department of Psychology and associate dean for research in the sciences, receives multiple honors.
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  • Dr. Christopher Lawson Named Chair of National Research Nonprofit
    Dr. Christopher Lawson, professor in the Department of Physics, has been elected board chair of a national nonprofit coalition.
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  • Dr. Sarah Parcak Launches TED Wish, Receives Additional Recognition
    Dr. Sarah Parcak, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, launches GlobalXplorer, a project funded by her $1 million 2016 TED Prize.
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  • Dr. Shahid Muhktar Receives Large NSF Grant
    Dr. Shahid Mukhtar, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, has been selected to receive a three-year $800,000 grant for his research from the National Science Foundation.
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