UAB Magazine Weekly - Features on Campus Life
By Charles Buchanan
Walt Creel with one of his pieces (inset: a detail from the work demonstrates the precise pattern of bullet holes that goes into the finished product).
Walt Creel is a revolutionary artist—or perhaps an artistic revolutionary. Instead of relying on paint or ink, he uses firearms to create images. His dot-matrix designs, composed of bullet holes in six-foot panels of painted metal, have gone viral on the Internet and attracted attention from Chinese and European media and prestigious American art journals. At UAB, however, the Web wonder is better known as an information-technology specialist for audio and video support. Recently Creel spoke about his unique art and the worldwide acclaim it has received.
UAB Magazine: What inspired you to use guns?
Creel: Being from Alabama, I was familiar with guns and wanted to incorporate them into art, but I did not want to photograph them, paint them, or otherwise use the gun itself as an image. I took a canvas into the woods and shot at it from a multitude of angles; things really clicked when I got right up on the canvas and shot in a single-file line. Then I realized I could use the gun solely as a tool to create my work.
Fighting AIDS in the Lab and on the Dance FloorBy Caperton Gillett
AIDS researcher Anne Bet exhibits a passion for her work in a variety of ways.
Anne Bet wears her heart under her sleeve. Hidden beneath her white lab coat are two permanently inked symbols of her life’s work: The one that looks like a tribal sun is actually the HIV virion; the other—which resembles a child’s jack—is adenovirus, the cause of the common cold and a common delivery vehicle for experimental AIDS vaccines. “I heard stories the entire time I was getting the tattoos done,” says Bet, a graduate student in the UAB Department of Microbiology. “People were saying, ‘She’s in there giving her HIV!’”
Bet has given the two molecules a place of honor on her arm as a reminder of her beginning in virology and the ongoing search for an effective HIV vaccine. In the lab of Paul Goepfert, M.D., director of UAB’s Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, Bet analyzes patients’ immune response to HIV vaccines. “HIV is such a tiny little thing,” she says, “and yet it causes such tremendous damage. The idea that something so small could be so powerful is interesting.”
UAB Theatre Student Performs Shakespeare at Sloss Furnaces
By Charles Buchanan
UAB theatre student Hannah Hughes experienced her own midsummer night’s dream when she portrayed mischief-maker Puck in William Shakespeare’s play of the same name. But it was no ordinary performance; for one thing, the oft-told tale was reimagined as a Bollywood fantasy. And it came to life amid a forest of smokestacks at Birmingham’s Sloss Furnaces. In this slideshow, Hughes describes the challenges and thrills of modernizing a magical classic.
See a video clip of Hughes performing as Puck in a dress rehearsal for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Behind the Scenes of BlazeRadio
By Caperton Gillett
UAB students are reaching a nationwide audience and gaining valuable experience as programmers and managers of the university's Internet radio station.
There’s a deejay booth sitting right behind a floor-to-ceiling panel of glass on a main artery in the Hill University Center, and yet most students don’t notice it until they tune in to BlazeRadio, UAB’s student-run online radio station. Each week, for several hours per day, students take to the airwaves—or, rather, the Internet—to send music, news, sports coverage, and conversation out to an audience that spans the country. Anything, that is, that “people can feed off of, that they can enjoy listening to,” says Ryan McLaughlin, junior broadcast major, deejay, and general manager of the station.
McLaughlin’s personal programming includes an eclectic mix of hip-hop music, banter, the occasional in-studio guest, and, on Wednesday evenings, a top-15 countdown show with two of his friends joining him behind the mic and call-in topics ranging from STDs to relationships to, in one case, old-school cartoon theme songs. The show is built on “the random thoughts you always have that you’ve never bothered to say,” McLaughlin says.
Tending a Student-Led Investment Fund in Tough Times
By Caperton Gillett
For a group of students in the UAB School of Business, the colors green and gold evoke something besides school spirit. That’s the result of some wise moves by the Green and Gold Fund, UAB’s student-managed investment portfolio, which continues to rise even in the midst of a recession.
“We’ve got a lot of cash right now, which is fun, because there are a lot of long-term opportunities—if you’re particular about what you purchase,” says Stephen Garrett, a finance student who is the chief investment officer on the fund. Garrett describes his role as “part of a team that manages a chunk of money around here.” In other words, he monitors the fund’s portfolio and works with the analysts and managers to maximize performance while keeping risk to a minimum.
Finance faculty started the fund in 2005 to provide students with career experience in the fast-paced world of investments long before graduation. In 2008, the fund won first place against 50 other undergraduate growth-style portfolios at the RISE (Redefining Investment Strategy Education) forum and national collegiate competition. Both CNBC and BusinessWeek magazine have spotlighted the team’s success.