‘Championship School’: These students are giving Title Town a whole new meaning

Tuscaloosa is home to winners, both on the field and in the classroom.

Grace Schepis | @GraceSchepisCW, Staff Reporter

While the basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 and the gymnastics team advanced to the national championship, several UA students were receiving national awards for their own academic achievements. 

Two students join list of UA Goldwater scholars 

Two UA juniors were recognized as Goldwater Scholars by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, bringing the total number of recipients in school history to 59. Anna Stevenson of Maryland and Jacob Wall of Tennessee were this year’s winners. 

Stevenson, an engineering major and Randall Research Scholar, plans to pursue a doctorate in mechanical engineering. She wants to research sustainable alternative energy sources for low-emission vehicles. 

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities The University of Alabama has given me to excel, both personally and professionally,” Stevenson said. “It is an honor to win this award and demonstrate, on a national stage, the excellent quality of academics and research here at UA.”

Wall, also an engineering major, has contributed to three publications surrounding his studies of new materials and fabrication techniques for perovskite solar cells and clean energy. 

Receiving this designation was a great honor, and I am proud to be able to represent The University of Alabama,” Wall said. “My time doing research with [Dr. Feng Yan] has proven to be a valuable experience that will benefit me for a long time to come.”

Wall has also participated in fundraisers such as Pedal Against Parkinson’s in which he bicycled more than 5,000 miles across the United States and into Canada to raise over $5,000. 

Three students prepare to study language overseas 

Jackson Burns, Ann Williams and Samuel Watson each received the Critical Language Scholarship through the U.S. State Department to continue their linguistic education overseas this summer. The three students are all Alabama natives. 

Burns, a political science major, will pursue Mandarin through an online program based in Dalian, China. He has already completed studies in various cities across South Korea and China. Burns wishes to one day work in diplomacy or pursue a career in law. 

“I had applied two times before, and I was rejected at the first stage each time,” Burns said. “So you can imagine my shock and excitement when I opened my email and saw that I was selected for the CLS program. I definitely owe Dr. Tayler Kent a debt of gratitude for her help with my application.”

Williams is an international relations major who plans to study Mandarin through Shaanxi Normal University’s virtual program based in Xi’an, China. Williams completed the National Security Language Initiative for Youth program in 2015 in Xiamen, China, and has interned with the U.S. State Department. She wants to become a foreign service worker. 

Watson, a computer science major, will study Korean at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea. Watson was the recipient of the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and the Boren Scholarship, which have allowed him to study abroad before. 

“I’m thrilled to be immersed in Korean language and culture through the Critical Language Scholarship program and look forward to building lasting rapport with the students, instructors and community members I meet in Gwangju, South Korea,” Watson said. 

Following graduation, Watson hopes to work in the U.S. government as a cybersecurity agent. 

UA boasts third PRWeek winners in four years 

PRWeek, a trade magazine for the public relations industry, recently named UA senior Kathleen McManus its 2021 Outstanding Student. In the last four years, three award winners have come from the Capstone. 

McManus, a Palatine, Illinois, native, was tasked with designing a campaign pitching a new sneaker for fashion week. McManus went with creating a recyclable sneaker, integrating aspects of consumer shopping habits and environmental awareness into her award-winning project. 

“I was fortunate to have the support of many mentors and faculty members when putting together the campaign,” McManus said. “From brainstorming initial ideas to final read-throughs, it was a true testament to the supportive mentorship fostered in the College.”

Forensics Council wins two national championships

The Alabama Forensics Council (AFC) took home two national titles from the virtual Pi Kappa Delta national speech and debate tournament in March, winning both the individual and team events. 

College of Communication and Information Sciences students Cassidy Duncan, Cortland Stone and Elizabeth Tagg won first place in the Informative Speaking, Dramatic Interpretation and Prose categories respectively. Stone and Tagg also received first place in the Duo Interpretation category.