University of Alabama at Birmingham Assistant Professor of Sculpture Stacey Holloway’s ARS 321: Repetition and Space sculpture class will attend the 2017 National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art and Practices at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Birmingham.
Holloway, a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Art and Art History, is a member of the conference’s steering committee. Titled “In Iron We Rust,” the conference will feature demonstrations and panel presentations, iron pours, and workshops on traditional and contemporary casting techniques.
Exhibitions by student and professional artists are also planned at Sloss and around Birmingham, including a student show at Space One Eleven, a professional exhibition at the Sloss Visitors Center Gallery, and the conference juried show featuring works by 15 artists from around the country in the UAB Department of Art and Art History’s Project Space. The juried show at UAB, which will open with a free reception from 8-10 p.m. Friday, April 7, was curated by Birmingham Museum of Art Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Wassan Al-Khudhairi, who also is an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History. Visit the NCCCIAP conference website for details and hours for each exhibition: www.nccciap.com/exhibitions.
The Friends of the UAB Department of Art and Art History have paid the registration costs for 11 sculpture students to attend the conference. Friends of the Department of Art and Art History are a group of community members joined for the purpose of offering support to the department, giving particular attention to raising the profile of the DAAH through annual giving to our academic, research and service missions.
The participating artists in the juried show in Project Space are Robin Baker, David Barnum, Jazz Colgan, Erin Cunningham, David Fricke, Cassidy Frye, Emma Levitz, Matthew Mroz, Charles O’Neill, Chris Rothermel, James Vanderpool, Kelly Wilton, Ben Woodeson and Ronda Wright-Phipps.In addition to attending the conference and its satellite programming, the UAB students will collaborate with visiting School of the Art Institute of Chicago faculty and staff on a furnace pour. Joining from SAIC are lecturer Aaron Nicholson, foundry manager Dan Matheson and SAIC Columbus materials manager Eric Fuertes.
“I have attended many of these conferences as both a student and a professional sculptor,” Hollway said. “Each conference is incredibly informative, entertaining and exhilarating and provides an opportunity to make professional connections throughout the international iron-casting community. I am excited that our UAB students will have the same opportunity to develop their art practice and grow their professional networks this year.”
Department of Art and Art History’s Art Studio lab supervisor Heather Spencer Holmes will also serve as a Birmingham liaison for the conference.
Support from the biennial NCCCIAP helps the Metal Arts Program at Sloss Furnaces preserve the history and knowledge integral to working with cast iron processes. In turn, Sloss Metal Arts provides opportunities for Birmingham and surrounding communities that propagate and expand technical, aesthetic and conceptual issues pertinent to the discipline of metal casting.
For more information about the conference, visit www.nccciap.com or contact Holloway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eleven students will attend the conference, with registration paid by donors. Exhibitions by student and professional artists are planned at Sloss and around Birmingham, including UAB’s Project Space.
A new mobile virtual reality system helps children learn to cross streets safely.Pedestrian injuries are a leading cause of death in children in the United States and around the world.
Schwebel loads a smartphone into the Google Cardboard viewing device to begin the virtual reality training exercise.The Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area is ranked No. 13 by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition in a 2016 report of cities where people walking are more likely to be killed by vehicles, with 150 pedestrian deaths reported.
A University of Alabama at Birmingham psychology professor has focused his research on developing technologies to help children learn how to cross the street in an accessible, safe environment. His latest project, an immersive virtual reality mobile application that uses Google Cardboard, takes the accessibility to the next level.
“Safe pedestrian behavior requires sophisticated cognitive-perceptual skills,” said David Schwebel, Ph.D., “Because those skills are still developing in children, they are particularly vulnerable in pedestrian situations.”
As director of UAB’s Youth Safety Lab, Schwebel worked to develop this technology after creating virtual reality applications in less mobile platforms, and realizing that the need to make the training tool more accessible was necessary in order to improve pedestrian safety education.
Schwebel’s first iteration of the virtual reality intervention program was available in a nonmobile desktop computer format. From there, he adapted the technology into a larger, mobile simulator. That simulator is able to move from one location to the next but, given its size, does have limitations.
The Google Cardboard platform allows for a completely mobile and immersive virtual reality experience, and Schwebel is using it to evaluate 7- and 8-year-olds’ safe street-crossing skills in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
To make use of this new platform, Schwebel created a Cardboard-compatible application that runs on a mobile phone. The user places the phone into the back of the viewer, and views the content of the application through the lenses.
Students in a classroom in Changsha, China, test the Google Cardboard virtual reality training system.“Children using the simulator can learn whether they’re safe or not safe, and learn those difficult skills of figuring out how fast that car is moving, how far away it is and how quickly it will get to where they are,” Schwebel said. “And we can do all that virtually without the child’s actually being at risk of being hit by a car.”
The environment recreates the street and crosswalk in front of a local school, and it gives the user various traffic patterns to monitor from both directions.
When the child decides it is safe and traffic is clear, he or she clicks the button on top of the Cardboard viewer and triggers his or her virtual self to walk across the street. The user can see him- or herself cross, so they can learn whether or not they were safe in crossing.
Though the study is not yet complete, results so far are promising in showing that the children are able to cross streets with success similar to that of adults. According to Schwebel, nearly all participants have been able to complete adult-level virtual scenarios safely, crossing a street with moderate traffic level that represents real traffic at a local crossing.
Once this study is complete, Schwebel plans to continue to broaden access and availability of the training platform for domestic dissemination and use globally.
Families with 7- and 8-year-old children who would like to participate in the ongoing research can call the UAB Youth Safety Lab at 205-934-4068 to learn more and register to participate.
Schwebel, a leader in the field of psychology and injury prevention, was recently named University Professor by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. He was also recognized with the Dennis Drotar Distinguished Research Award from the Society of Pediatric Psychology, the top research award in the scientific society, and was named to the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Two new undergraduate programs — genetics and genomic sciences and immunology — are interdepartmental majors in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Medicine.Plans to continue to strengthen interdisciplinary undergraduate education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are taking a step forward with the establishment of two new undergraduate degree programs — Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Immunology.
Both undergraduate programs are enrolling students for the fall 2017 semester.
As shared majors between the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Medicine, the two new programs will allow students the opportunity to experience collaboration in the classroom and lab as early as freshman year.
“Students will get a firsthand look at how science can be used in medicine, taking ideas from the classroom into the lab, and then applying them to real-life scenarios,” said Steven Austad, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Biology within the College of Arts and Sciences. “We’re taking steps to provide undergraduate education here at UAB that will prepare our students for the highest level of graduate and professional school experiences.”
Genetics and Genomic SciencesA fundamental aspect of all biological processes that touches nearly all facets of human life, the study of genetics and genomics impacts the health and well-being of individuals, communities and entire populations. UAB, Alabama’s leading provider of genomic and personalized medicine, recently launched the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative in partnership with HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.
As practices such as genetic testing and genome sequencing become more prevalent, the demand for qualified and experienced genetics researchers and health professionals will continue to rise. The UAB program is designed to facilitate a new generation of undergraduates who will be ideally equipped to pursue and succeed in the growing field.
“Our graduates will be able to go on from here and become nurses, physicians and genetic counselors, or they might choose to pursue graduate studies in basic research, enter the pharmaceutical industry or join a biotechnology startup — the need for professionals with this knowledge base is really great right now, so the number of opportunities that will be open to them really are endless.”
“We believe this program will attract the best and the brightest students, and the career prospects will exist at many different levels,” said Bruce Korf, M.D., chair of the Department of Genetics. “Our graduates will be able to go on from here and become nurses, physicians and genetic counselors, or they might choose to pursue graduate studies in basic research, enter the pharmaceutical industry or join a biotechnology startup — the need for professionals with this knowledge base is really great right now, so the number of opportunities that will be open to them really are endless.”
The genetics and genomic sciences program will operate as a collaborative effort between the Department of Genetics in the School of Medicine and the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students will participate in courses taught by experts from across campus, providing access to high-level, multidisciplinary instruction as an undergraduate.
ImmunologyThe immunology major will give students the opportunity to learn about and contribute to research in the field of immunology earlier than other general degrees, and is the only one of its kind in the Southeast, and one of a handful nationwide.
Focusing on the function of the immune system, which protects us from infectious diseases and cancer and is critical for the health of the world’s population, the undergraduate immunology program was developed in response to growing interest from current undergraduate students.
The undergraduate immunology program is designed to provide research opportunities and an intensive, immunology-focused course of study for students interested pursuing careers in immunology and health-related professions, including medicine, biomedical research, science education, policy and writing.
The program is an interdisciplinary effort between the School of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology.
“This represents a true collaboration between the departments of Biology and Microbiology,” said Frances Lund, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology. “We believe this unique educational opportunity will not only attract students who are passionate about science and medicine, but will perfectly prepare those students to take on the scientific and clinical challenges of the 21st century here in Alabama and across the world.”
The immunology major will give students the opportunity to learn about and contribute to research in the field of immunology earlier than other general degrees, and is the only one of its kind in the Southeast, and one of a handful nationwide.