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Wednesday, May 27, 2015





AFC Awards Scholarship to AAMU


Agricultural students attending Alabama A&M University will divvy up $5,000 in scholarship monies this fall, thanks to officials with Alabama Farm Credit (AFC), based in Cullman, Ala.


AFC President/CEO Ben Gore and Wendy Thysinger, executive assistant and director of marketing and public relations, recently presented the check to AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., and Dr. Lloyd Walker, dean of the College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences, during a brief meeting on the AAMU campus.


In addition to making loans and providing other assistance to area farmers, AFC supports students who are pursuing agriculture-related degrees.  The organization has had a lengthy and mutually beneficial relationship with AAMU, said Dean Walker.



AFC Presentation:  (L-R): Dr. Lloyd Walker, dean, College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences; AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr.; Ben Gore, president/CEO, Alabama Farm Credit; and Wendy Thysinger, AFC executive assistant and marketing/public relations director.



AAMU Workshop Focuses on Subsurface Water Movement


Alabama A&M University’s College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences conducted a mid-May workshop designed increase participants’ awareness about how subsurface water measurement has evolved over the years.


The Borehole Infiltration Workshop was held at the Winfred Thomas Agricultural Research Station in Hazel Green, Ala., “to provide hands-on experience in measuring saturated hydraulic conductivity in the field,” according to Dr. Dedrick D. Davis, assistant professor of soil physics for the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.


Expertise on the subject was provided by David Radcliffe of the University of Georgia and Thomas Macfie of Soil Science, Inc.  In addition to showing how water moves through soil, workshop organizers discussed a number of permeameters used for submeasurement.   See PHOTOS


For additional information about upcoming workshops, contact Dr. Davis at (256) 372-4187 or e-mail




Intramurals Gets New Pontoon


It's a dream come true for the Alabama A&M University intramurals program, says Franky Smith.


The program now possesses a 2013 200 Fish Bentley Pontoon powered by a 60-horsepower Mercury 4/Stroke outboard motor, equipped with a drive-on Marine Master trailer, mooring cover and depth finder.


With an eight-foot, six-inch beam, the boat spans an even 20 feet.   See PHOTOS




APEX Toots Own Horn During NSF Showcase


Alabama A&M University’s Alliance for Physics Excellence program shared its successes during the week-long National Science Foundation 2015 Teaching and Learning Video Showcase (May 11-15).  In 2012, AAMU was awarded an $8 million, five-year grant from the NSF to boost physics education in Alabama’s high schools and potentially reach 40,000 students.


The quality APEX video footage was shot by AAMU’s Telecommunications Center and pared down for the NSF submission by AAMU physicist Marius Schamscula.  The NSF showcase allowed scientists, researchers and the general public to interact and “join the conversation” about the methods institutions like AAMU are using to enhance STEM and computer science teaching and learning.


“Not only is it innovative,” commented AAMU President Andrew Hugine, Jr., on the video and its content, “it has been and is being implemented in an exemplary fashion.  The statewide and national exposure being received is commendable.”


Persons visiting the video showcase were also able to search for other videos by content, grade level, and institution, as well as to pose questions to presenters and vote for the three-minute video that best communicated “cutting-edge research and its impact.”


Since the posting of the APEX video, responses on the APEX webpage has been overwhelmingly positive.  Moreover, many of the comments relate to the enthusiasm and engagement of the teacher-participants.


Dr. Mohan Aggarwal is the PI for the APEX project, and co-PI include Dr. Marius Schamschula, Dr Vernessa Edwards and Dr. Barbara Cady.  Diane Kirnes serves a project manager.


Persons can view the APEX video submission to the NSF showcase at or,



Death Announcement


BurksAltonette.jpgFuneral services were held for Mrs. Altonette Tarver Burks ’47, wife of the late Arthur Alonzo Burks (long-time AAMU administrator), on Friday, May 22, at 12 noon at St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church, 229 Church Street NW, Huntsville, Ala.  Visitation for family and friends was held from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at the Royal Funeral Home Chapel of Memories.





MDA Exhibit Scheduled for AAMU Art Gallery


The MDA Engineering in Art exhibit, co-sponsored by Alabama A&M University, MDA.jpg
will be held in the AAMU Art Gallery in the R.D. Morrison Fine Arts Building on Friday, June 19, from 4:30-5:30 p.m.


In “MDA Engineering in Art: 3d Art in Motion,” young artists use the engineering design process and related concepts to create kinetic sculptures.  The activity is also made possible by MDA STEM Outreach, the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Huntsville Museum of Art.



CIAAMU Announces Summer Camp


The Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University (CIAAMU) will hold a four-week “Chinese Arts & Language” summer camp for children in grades 3-5 from June 1-25.


CIAAMUSummerCamp2015B.jpgThe camp will be offered on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-12 noon, and the fee of $100 covers the entire four-week session.  Early (7:45 a.m.) drop off is available for an additional fee. 


The camp is a must for children who are interested in learning the Chinese language, practicing Chinese art and handicrafts, and experiencing Chinese culture and tradition.  No previous exposure to the Chinese language is necessary.  The program will feature a local Chinese artist who will teach Chinese painting and art history, along with instructors from Nanjing Forestry University, who will teach language and fun Chinese activities.


Limited seating is available.  For additional information, call (256) 372-7166 or e-mail



GRA Member of Fund Council


A graduate research assistant in AAMU’s Department of Community and Regional Planning has been accepted as a member of The Bill Anderson Fund Student Council, formed by 20 students this year from various universities.


Lady Franciscar Nicolas-Kassama is a new addition to the council on The William Averette Anderson Fund, which was created to expand advanced studies in the field of disaster and hazard research and mitigation within minority communities, with the initial focus on increasing the number of African American scientists, practitioners, and policymakers. 


Hazard and Disaster Mitigation is designed to make communities in the U.S. and around the world safer in the face of hazards and disasters of all kinds, from naturally-occurring events like Hurricane Sandy to accidents involving technology, like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The Fund seeks to ensure that these activities, which aim to reduce the impacts of future disasters and preparing for, responding to, and recovering from these kinds of events take into account the needs of communities of color, women and children.


The website is




More AAMU Black Tie Photos Online!


Ron Corn Photography is happy to announce that 'Alabama A&M Black Tie Gala' images are now available for online viewing and purchasing!  Using the password BlackTieLogoGeneric2.jpg
“blacktie,” persons can access the images for this event by clicking on (or copying and pasting) the following link:


Once on the site, feel free to browse around, add photos to your shopping cart, or e-mail favorites to friends.  Viewing and purchasing the photographs is easy; simply select the photographs you want, add your choice of sizes and colors, and checkout. Visit today!



AAMU No. 24 Among HBCUs


College Choice’s recent “2015 Rankings of Historically Black Colleges and Universities” places Alabama A&M University in top quarter of the institutions.


AAMUgoodoverallLowRes.jpg - Copy.jpgThe website ranked AAMU as No. 24 among the more than 100 HBCUs in the nation.  Private sister institution, Tuskegee, topped the list at No. 1. claims its list is “based exclusively on factors actual college freshmen said were most important to their college decision.”  


Those equally weighted factors include, noted the site, include academic reputation, financial aid offerings, graduate success and overall cost, says Jenny Castro, College Choice’s associate editor.



AAMU’s SFRC Receives Funding to Help Goat, Sheep Producers


Alabama A&M University’s Small Farms Research Center and Tennessee State University have jointly received $499,998 for three years to assist goat and sheep Goats.jpg
producers in Alabama and Tennessee. The project seeks to expand market access for small limited resource farmers by developing and implementing an accessible online marketing tool for small goat producers.


The long-term goal is to help small goat and sheep farmers expand their market opportunities in the Tennessee Valley. The project is funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 


Goat production provides supplemental income for limited resource farmers.  This enterprise is ideal for small producers with meager land and limited capital.


For additional information, contact E’licia L. Chaverest, assistant director of the Small Farms Research Center, at (256) 372-4958.



Basketball Campus Set


AAMU will hold basketball camps June 1-5 and June 22-26, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (M-Th) and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. (Friday).


The Bulldog Boys’ & Girls’ Camp was established with the goal of teaching the fundamentals of basketball to area youth.


Camp instruction will emphasize the following fundamentals: Team Attitude, Motivation and Goal Setting, Shooting Defensive Concepts, Rebounding, Individual Offensive Moves, Setting and Receiving Screens, Form Running and Stretching, Ball-handling and Dribble Moves, Passing and Receiving, and Total Player Development.


The camp is $125/camper for boys and girls entering second through twelfth grades.  For additional information, contact Dexter Holt at (256) 372-8240.



Sickle Cell Walk-A-Thon June 6


The North Alabama Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc., will hold its annual Sickle Cell Anemia Walk-A-Thon on Saturday, June 6, at Big Spring Park in Downtown Huntsville at 9 a.m. to increase awareness of sickle cell disease and to expand financial support for the various programs administered by the foundation.  For additional information, contact Pamela D. Thompson, executive director, at (256) 536-2723.




Four to Be Inducted into AAMU Alumni Hall of Fame April 30


The Alabama A&M University will induct four individuals into the prestigious Alumni Hall of Fame Thursday, April 30, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Huntsville, Ala., at 7 p.m. The group is being honored for the university support, public service and career success of its respective individuals.


The four include Dr. Taylor Byrd, Jr., retired educator; Mrs. Georgia S. Valrie, institutional advancement professional and Alumni Affairs director emeritus; Mr. Langston J. Walker, businessman; and Gadsden City Councilman Deverick Williams.


Dr. Taylor Byrd, Jr., Education Alumni Hall inductee, is a native of Greene County, Ala. In 1959, he enrolled as a student at Alabama A&M University and earned the Bachelor of Science degree in 1963 with a major in agricultural TaylorByrd.JPG

education and general science. He pursued further graduate studies at Tuskegee University and earned the Master of Science degree in 1969 with a major in agricultural education and extension, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in agricultural education and economics in 1972 from Pennsylvania State University.


Byrd began his career in education as a high school science teacher and coach, and an agribusiness instructor in the public school systems of Alabama. Following the attainment of the doctorate degree, he was employed at AAMU as an associate professor and chairman of the Department of Agribusiness Education. Under his leadership as chairman, the programs and the faculty expanded. He traveled as an educational specialist on an international USA developmental team to the West African country of Burkina Faso (Upper Volta). He also traveled as an USDA economic development specialist to Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Hawaii, Honolulu and Rome, Italy. He was also elected as a two-term National Alumni Association President.  After serving eight years at the University, he worked within industry and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). At TVA, he was regional manager of minority economic development in Muscle Shoals, Ala.; and regional manager of community diversity development in Huntsville, Ala. In 1996, Dr. Byrd returned to Alabama A&M University with a three-fold position as TVA liaison and director for distance learning development; director of recruitment and retention; and instructional technology outreach and research professor, Department of Agribusiness, College of Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences. Dr. Byrd established a $60,000 Endowed Scholarship for students majoring in agribusiness or agricultural sciences.  


Mrs. Georgia S. Valrie, the Community Service Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971 with a major in sociology and the Master of Science degree in adult and continuing education in 1977, both from HOFValrieGeorgia.jpg

Alabama A&M University. In 1983, she earned the Executive Development Program Certificate from Pennsylvania State University. During her tenure as the Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at AAMU, she garnered the respect and admiration of alumni throughout the United States. When Alabama A&M University was the HBCU of the Month for the Tom Joyner Foundation in November 2001, she helped raise over $590,000. After serving 31 years of dedicated and exemplary service at AAMU, she retired in August 2003, only to join Technology Management Training Group, Inc, and to serve five years as vice president of outreach programs. She later served as the Director of Development for Union Chapel Christian Academy, establishing the UCCA Foundation to provide financial support for scholarships and to enhance the academic programs. She is and has served as a member of numerous professional, civic and community organizations.


Mr. Langston J. Walker, the Business and Industry Alumni Hall of Fame Langston.jpg

inductee, is highly recognized among his colleagues, peers and constituents as an extraordinary business man. He has a wealth of experience in accounting, auditing, business and finance, investment and management. Langston is a 1972 honor graduate of Alabama A&M University where he received the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in accounting. He pursued graduate studies at Harvard Graduate School of Business and earned the Master of Business Administration in 1980. Additionally, he holds certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and he was the first AAMU graduate to become a CPA in 1975.


Mr. Deverick Williams, the Government and Law Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, is an energetic member of the City Council in Gadsden, Alabama. Currently, he is serving his second term representing District 2, and he is the City Council President. When he was elected City Council President, he became theDeverickWilliams.JPG

youngest and first African American to serve in the position. One of the contributions that Councilman Williams made in the City of Gadsden was to ably lead the committee to change the name of Meighan Boulevard to Martin Luther King Memorial Parkway. The Gadsden, Ala., native is a proud 1994 graduate of Alabama A&M University, where he received the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in accounting. During his matriculation at AAMU, he was a member of the Bulldog football team. Currently, he is the President and CEO of the Leira Group, Inc., a consulting services provider serving the business community. Additionally, he has twenty (20) years of professional experience in human resources and has served companies in the automotive industry, such as Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC.


Tickets may be purchased by calling the Office of Alumni Affairs, Alabama A&M University, at (256) 372-8351.



Mathematician Receives MIT Faculty Fellowship


An associate professor of mathematics at AAMU will participate in a faculty fellowship program sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Dr. Israel Ncube, Nonlinear Dynamics Research Laboratory in the College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences, has been awarded a fully funded faculty fellowship entailing research collaboration and the teaching of graduate and undergraduate students at MIT and Harvard. 


For additional information about the visiting scholars program, visit




Did You Know?


The Teachers’ Retirement Systems of Alabama (TRS) is available to guide you through the process to ensure you receive the necessary information regarding your eligible retirement benefits.  A member is eligible to receive retirement benefits under either of the following conditions.


-          He or she has at least 10 years of service credit with and has attained the age of 60.  Or

-          After accumulating 25 years of service credit at any age.  


If you are:


¨     Within five (5) years of retirement eligibility, it is time to focus on the finish line! TRS full-day Retirement Preparation Seminar gives you the opportunity to hear from the experts as you plan your retirement with confidence.


¨     You must register to attend seminar. Complete a Registration Form and view the 2015 Seminar Schedule online.


Note: Retirement application must be filed with TRS no less than 30 days and no more than 90 days prior to the selected date of retirement.


How to educate yourself about your TRS benefits and PEEHIP healthcare coverages:


1. If you have not already, access your account through the Retirement System of Alabama (RSA) Member Online Service (MOS) at You can view your TRS account online as well as your PEEHIP coverages. While viewing your online account, you may utilize the retirement calculator for retirement benefits and PEEHIP health insurance premium estimate.


2. Contact TRS at 1-877-517-0020 to request an official retirement benefits estimate.


3. Log onto the available “STEP BY STEP Retirement Videos site at


Should you have questions or concerns, please contact Brenda Hughes, Benefits Manager at 256-372-5845.


AAMU Holds Grand Opening for Confucius Institute! 


The AAMU Family was joined by friends and community leaders at the Grand Opening activities for the Confucius Institute at Alabama A&M University on Thursday, April 16, at the VBC. 


Attendees witnessed Chinese folk songs, dances and performances by the AAMU Choir, University of Alabama-Huntsville student singers and students from Providence Elementary School.  See PHOTOS



AAMU Student Featured on ABC Affiliate


Camerron.jpgA sizeable, inspiring and heartwarming story on Alabama A&M University student Cameron Dangerfield was aired on WAAY-TV 31, the ABC affiliate located in Huntsville, Ala.


The piece focuses on the hardships Dangerfield, a Chicago native, has overcome to tear himself away from a depressive environment and to cling to his dream of becoming a chef, boosting himself along the way through social media.


To see the uplifting story, please click on or copy and paste the following link:



Professor Will Head National Honor Society


An Alabama A&M University professor and department chair has been elected as president of a well-known national honor society.


Dr. Cynthia M. Smith, chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has been named the 2015-17 national president of Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society.  Dr. Smith was elected to this position on March 28 during the business session of the 63rd National Convention hosted by Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga.  Prior to assuming this position, Dr. Smith served as the Director for Region IV, the Alabama-Florida Region.


Dr. Smith has been an active participant in AKM since her junior year at Tuskegee University.  After joining the faculty at AAMU, she served as an SmithCynthia.jpg
assistant advisor, and as a co-advisor of Kappa Sigma Chapter under Dr. Barbara Anthony.  Upon the retirement of Dr. Anthony in 1991, she became the chapter advisor and has remained in that position until the present.  Under her leadership, the chapter has inducted two honorary members and approximately two thousand undergraduate/graduate students.  In 2013, Dr. Smith was instrumental in Kappa Sigma serving as the host chapter for the 62nd National Convention and 75th Anniversary Celebration of AKM at Alabama A&M University.


As the national president, Dr. Smith will work closely with the national Executive Secretary/Treasurer, Dr. Mollie Brown.  She looks forward to continuing and enhancing the legacy of this prestigious organization, founded by Dr. George W. Gore in 1937. 








Fancy Summer Camp 2015.jpg


New G&C Staffer Announced


Lillie Hughes has been named as the new assistant director of grants and contracts accounting. She will continue to manage grants and contracts for Cooperative Extension and for the College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences, in addition to acting on behalf of the director (Darcy Wolff) in the latter’s absence.



Public Safety Encourages Review of Tornado Safety Information


As spring approaches, it is important that members of the AAMU Family prepare for the tornado season at home and at work.  Please also review your AAMU Emergency Procedures Manual (see link below), so that you are prepared to respond in an emergency.


- Campus Tornado Safety Information -


What should I do during a tornado watch?

A tornado watch means that severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornados are possible. Continue your normal activities but monitor weather conditions and be prepared to seek shelter.  Remain weather alert. Stay tuned to local radio/television stations and check your AAMU emails for further information.


What should I do during a tornado warning?

A tornado warning indicates that a tornado has been spotted or radar indicates there is a likely tornado. When you hear outdoor tornado warning sirens and/or receive a Bulldog Alert tornado warning you should seek shelter immediately and remain in a protective area until you receive an all-clear message through Bulldog Alert or a building emergency contact representative.


How much advance notice will a tornado warning give me?

Tornados can strike without warning -- that is why it is important to remain weather alert during severe weather and be prepared to seek immediate shelter.


How will I be notified of a tornado warning?

Two tornado warning sirens are located on/near campus. They are activated whenever the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for any portion of Madison County. Seek shelter immediately when you hear the siren.


AAMU will utilize the Bulldog Alert emergency notification system and the campus email system to alert the campus community of a tornado warning. The University will issue an emergency warning alert and mass email message whenever the National Weather Service issues a warning for Madison County. Seek shelter immediately when you receive a Bulldog Alert or email tornado warning message, even if you cannot hear the campus warning sirens.


Department of Public Safety Officers (when possible) will also ride through the campus with the sirens from squad cars activated. They will use PA systems in the vehicles to advise you to seek immediate shelter.


· If, after the warning is issued, the University determines that there is no immediate tornado threat to the campus (the tornado warning is only for a specific segment of the county and does not include nor is likely to later include the AAMU campus) an "All-clear" message will be issued. Remain alert to changing weather conditions and be prepared to seek shelter should conditions change.


Where should I seek shelter during a tornado warning?

We recommend that you identify in advance the location(s) of protective areas within your building(s). At AAMU, many protective areas are identified by yellow signs with black lettering, and are also indicated on building evacuation maps.

· In buildings, go to the best available protective area. Basements are best, but interior locations on the lowest level also offer protection. Stay away from windows, exterior doors, exterior walls, and other hazards inherent to the building.

· If outdoors, quickly seek shelter within a building. If unable to do so, take shelter in a ditch or ravine away from possible sources of heavy debris. Be alert for rising waters and flying debris.


How long should I remain in a campus protective area?

You should remain sheltered until the University issues an all-clear message. There may be situations where one tornado warning has just expired but it is anticipated that an approaching storm cell will result in the issuance of an additional warning within a short period of time. The University will not issue an all-clear until the approaching threat has passed.


Where can I get additional weather safety information?

Go to the Department of Public Safety homepage or contact us at ext. 5555.


Emergency Procedures Handbook




AAMU Business Students Place 3rd in TVA Investment Challenge


A team of sudents from the Department of Finance and Economics of Alabama A&M University's College of Business and Public Affairs recently placed third in the annual Tennessee Valley Authority Investment Challenge Program.


TVA's Investment Challenge is a unique, innovative partnership between TVA and 25 universities in its service territory.  The program aims to provide real-world experience in portfolio management.  The Challenge gives teams of students hands-on experience in managing real stock portfolios.  AAMU students actively managed TVA funds by designing long-term investment strategies, placing trades and providing performance reports to TVA.


"The results of the TVA Investment Challenge shows that Alabama A&M students can perform exceptionally well in highly competitive environments," said Dr. Del Smith, dean of the College of Business and Public Affairs.


The AAMU's TVA Investment Challenge team earned 16.33 percent return, compared to 13.69 percent for the S&P 500 Index.  That placed AAMU third out of the 25 participating schools, outperforming such participants as Vanderbilt University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.


"This was a great performance for our portfolio and rewards the hard work of our students," said Dr. Mohammad Robbani, faculty advisor of the TVA Investment Challenge program and chair of the Department of Finance and Economics.  "We believe that students benefit from the authentic experience they receive through this program."                                                          (Photo by J. Saintjones) 




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Alabama A&M University
P. O. Box 1027 (303 Patton Hall)
Normal, AL 35762-1027
(256) 372-5654
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Content Type: AAMU Content
Version: 1488.0
Created at 7/11/2013 11:45 AM by JEROME SAINTJONES
Last modified at 5/27/2015 9:11 AM by JEROME SAINTJONES