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  • The College to offer training for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

    The UAB College of Arts and Sciences will offer a training session for students preparing an application to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Training will occur on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 3:30 p.m. in Volker Hall Lecture Room B.

    The UAB College of Arts and Sciences will offer a training session for students preparing an application to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Training will occur on Thursday, September 5, 2019, at 3:30 pm in Volker Hall Lecture Room B. We welcome anyone from across the UAB campus to attend.

    The NSF GRFP program offers up to three years of financial support to graduate students enrolled in a wide range of scientific fields. The program’s stipend is generous ($34,000 per year, plus up to $12,000 for “cost-of-education allowance,” including tuition), although the written application is short compared to many other grants and fellowships. Students may apply as undergraduates or in their first or second year of graduate school. There are various categories of students who are excluded from submitting, including international students and those who recently earned a master’s degree and are entering a Ph.D. program. Deadlines for submission are from October 21 to November 1, 2019, depending on the field of study.

    More information about the fellowship program solicitation is available at the National Science Foundation website.

  • Dr. Gregory Pence wins 2019 Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction
    Dr. Gregory Pence, Professor in the Department of Philosophy, has been named the 2019 winner of the Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction.

    Dr. Gregory Pence, Professor in the Department of Philosophy, has been named the 2019 winner of the Ireland Prize for Scholarly Distinction.

    Dr. Pence graduated with a B.A. from the College of William and Mary, then received his M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University, where he studied applied ethics with renowned ethicist Peter Singer. He joined the faculty at UAB in 1976 and has not only been instrumental in developing our bioethics program within the Department of Philosophy, but also taught, for three decades, a required bioethics course to all UAB School of Medicine students. Dr. Pence served as chair of the Department of Philosophy from 2012-2018.

    Now an acclaimed bioethics scholar, Dr. Pence's research and teaching interests include cloning and assisted reproduction. He also studies and teaches on other emerging issues in bioethics, including neuroethics, enhancement, the Ebola virus, and the Affordable Care Act.

    Within his field, Dr. Pence is best known for his best-selling Medical Ethics textbook, now in its eighth edition (2017). He's also widely known for his defense of humane biotechnology—such as cloning and genetically modified crops—a position that has often put him at odds with his peers in the scientific community. His ideas on biotechnology have garnered him significant public appearances and media engagement, including testifying before the U.S. Congress and the California State Senate against bills criminalizing cloning. He has published more than 70 opinion essays in publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Wall Street Journal.

    In addition to his seminal textbook, Dr. Pence has also published two books that have been influential not only in the field of bioethics, but within our broader society: How to Build a Better Human: An Ethical Blueprint (2012), and What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club: Bioethics and Philosophy in "Orphan Black" (2016), which references the blockbuster BBC America television program that ran from 2013-2017. He's also given nearly a dozen endowed lectures on bioethics at universities across the U.S. as well as in Brazil, Switzerland, China, Norway, Israel, and England.

    As a UAB professor, Dr. Pence has won both the Ingalls and President's Teaching Awards; he also directs the Early Medical School Acceptance Program. Many of his students have won prestigious national scholarships and fellowships, including the Marshall and Fulbright; two students have won Rhodes Scholarships. More than 50 of his students have been awarded scholarships to medical school, and six have entered Harvard Medical School.

    In addition, for many years Dr. Pence coached the UAB Ethics Bowl Team, which won the national championship in 2010. He continues to coach the UAB Bioethics Bowl Team, which won national championships in 2011, 2016 and again in April of this year.

    Congratulations to Dr. Pence on this achievement.

    The Ireland Prize

    Charles W. Ireland and his wife Caroline P. Ireland established The Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Endowment for Scholarly Distinction, which today funds two annual Ireland prizes. The Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award is given to a distinguished intellectual outside of the UAB academic community whose work is groundbreaking and transformational in his or her field. While on campus, honorees give a public lecture and share their knowledge through informal meetings with students and members of the faculty.
  • Alumni Spotlight: Eric Meyer, Owner and Founder of Cahaba Brewing

    Cahaba Brewing is one of the most popular and successful breweries in Birmingham. “When I began brewing, I started looking at what the science of brewing is,” says Eric. “A lot of people relate brewing beer more to cooking than anything else, but there’s so much more to it.

    by Morgan Burke

    In 1996, Huntsville-native Eric Meyer arrived at UAB with his sights set on a career in medicine. Like any good pre-health track student would do, he registered as a biology major and started on the path to medical school. In the Biology Department, he was introduced to professors who broadened his experiences and introduced him to new ways of thinking. Dr. Dan Jones and Dr. Ken Marion shared their love of botany and wildlife with Eric and included him in field research studies.

    “As a young person, you just have to hold on and be ready to grab hold of small bits of what Dr. Marion has to offer,” Eric says.

    Photo credit: Cary Norton.By his junior year, Eric had a change of heart. Over the past two years, he had fostered his passion for the environment, botany, and natural sciences and had developed a curiosity in geographic information systems (GIS). With dwindling interest in medical school, Eric worked with his academic advisor to create an Individually Designed major with a minor in Biology. This new course of study landed him an internship with the Jefferson County Storm Water Management Authority canoeing and hiking the Cahaba River while mapping the entire river with GPS. Eric graduated in 2001 and continued his GIS work with Jefferson County while completing Emergency Medical Technician classes at UAB to be a firefighter. For the past 16 years, Eric has worked as a full-time firefighter in the city of Mountain Brook.

    When he wasn’t at the firehouse, Eric spent his downtime experimenting with home beer brewing. After years of refining his craft, he and a group of friends devised a plan to open a brewery. In 2011, Cahaba Brewing Company was born. Eight years in, and Cahaba Brewing is one of the most popular and successful breweries in Birmingham. At Cahaba, Eric is able to put his scientific background to good use.

    “When I began brewing, I started looking at what the science of brewing is,” says Eric. “A lot of people relate brewing beer more to cooking than anything else, but there’s so much more to it. Any little change [in ingredients or process] can alter the beer’s flavor and appearance.”

    He relies on research methods honed during his years at UAB to improve upon the production process and create a clean and consistent product.

    Though Eric’s two full-time jobs and family life keep him busy, he has continued to stay active in the UAB community. Over the past couple of years, he has collaborated on beer-related grant proposals and research with Dr. Jeff Morris, Microbiologist and Assistant Professor of Biology, and Elliott Greene, a recent graduate of the Department of Biology. Elliott now works in Cahaba’s lab running tests on beer to search for wild yeast and bacteria that can harm their product.

    In 2015, Eric was recognized by the UAB National Alumni Society as a member of the UAB Excellence in Business Top 25 class. In 2017, he was honored with the College of Arts and Sciences’ (CAS) Distinguished Young Alumni Award, and he is a current member of the UAB CAS Alumni Board. Eric also regularly provides a lending ear and mentorship to UAB undergraduate students aspiring to be entrepreneurs and scientists.

    In addition to supporting UAB, Eric supports the greater Birmingham community by donating a portion of Cahaba’s proceeds to local charities and organizations during their ‘Goodwill Wednesdays’ and other special events. Eric appreciates the support and foundation he received as a UAB undergraduate student, and now he’s doing his part to pay it forward and help his community.

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