UAB Magazine Online Archive
Alumni Profile: Wendy Sudsinsunthorn
By Caperton Gillett
Wendy Sudsinsunthorn and RALF (click on image for larger version)
Every day, Wendy Sudsinsunthorn goes to work under the watchful eye of a three-story-tall robot named RALF. “It’s pretty cool,” she says.
There’s a lot about Sudsinsunthorn’s job that’s pretty cool. She’s a project manager in the research and development division of Birmingham-based Summit Toys. The 2007 UAB School of Engineering alumna spends her days working with toy designers, turning brilliant ideas into the kinds of playthings that will entertain and educate kids.
Sudsinsunthorn, a native of Pell City, has had a lifelong fascination with toys. “As a small child, I loved playing with Legos. I loved building things. I loved taking things apart and putting them back together,” she says. She never expected, however, to find a job making actual toys. She merely hoped for a career “that allowed me to solve problems and be able to create things,” she says.
Solutions for Distracted Driving
By Bob Shepard
A few weeks ago, a woman in upstate New York died when her car collided with a tractor-trailer. Not long before, a Texas teen was killed when her station wagon ran into another truck. Each driver was under the influence—not of alcohol, but of the glowing screens of their cell phones. Both women were texting while driving when the crashes occurred.
Those chilling tales were part of the keynote address given by United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood at the Alabama Distracted Driving Summit in Birmingham in early December. The summit was the first statewide response to LaHood’s call for a national debate on distracted driving—a practice he paints with the same brush as drunk driving.
UAB Reaches Out Around the World
UAB School of Nursing student Michelle Blackburn in Honduras
“The power went out immediately, as soon as things started shaking,” Holcomb remembers. “The bridges were out; the roads were torn up. We thought about trying to get out, but when we found out how difficult it would be to get to the airport, we decided we would just continue with our plans as best we could. We had a cold breakfast of tortillas and went on about our business.”
Weighing the Value of Public Health
By Jo Lynn Orr
UAB Public Health students helped bring visibility to their future profession by taking part in the "This Is Public Health" campaign, placing stickers on examples of public health in action around Birmingham. See more of their handiwork here.
Public health has an image problem. This is somewhat surprising, considering that the field has spent the past hundred years transforming American life for the better. In 1900, the life expectancy of the average American was just over 47 years; a century later, it was 77 years and rising. And according to a 1994 study cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25 years of this 30-plus year gain in life expectancy can be attributed to advances in public health. Vaccinations, food safety, workplace safety, motor-vehicle safety, infectious disease control, smoking prevention—each of these public health measures has played a part in extending the lives of millions in the United States and around the world.