City student named one of nation's best
Staff Reports, Hartselle Enquirer
TUSCALOOSA – A Hartselle native attending The University of Alabama is among the nation's best and brightest, according to USA Today.
Sarah Adair was recently named to this year's USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. Adair, a senior microbiology major, was named to USA Today's first academic team, the only UA student to earn that honor.
She is one of five students from UA named to the USA Today team in one year.
UA students garnered the most awards of any college or university this year, claiming five of 83 spots on the list. The ranking places the UA students among some of the nation's top college and university students.
Adair is the daughter of Cynthia McMillian and George Adair. She is set to graduate in May.
"Sarah is that unusual and inspirational mix of an absolutely brilliant student who is putting her knowledge to great use in the service of others," Dr. Hank Lazer, assistant vice president for undergraduate programs and services said in a letter nominating Adair. "In my 25 years at The University of Alabama, Sarah Adair represents the best I have seen in any student."
During her time at UA, she has received many of the top honors students across the United States can receive.
In the spring of 2001 she was named a Barry Goldwater Scholar, and received one of 302 scholarships for potential as a future scientist.
In the fall of 2001, she received a Phi Kappa Phi Research Award, a research grant to help fund her research in the Caldwell lab at UA. This award is for undergraduate research.
In the spring of 2002, Adair received the McWane Foundation Research Fellowship to begin funding her Parkinson's research. Just one of these UA fellowships is given each year for undergraduate research.
She's a member and president of Beta Beta Beta, the biological honor society and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest national honor society for recognition of academic achievement in the arts and sciences.
She's also active in the community. Two nights a week for the past three years she has volunteered for the Good Samaritan clinic in Tuscaloosa – a free clinic that serves patients who have no insurance and limited income. She has become licensed in the state of Alabama as a pharmacy technician.
Adair has been actively involved in research throughout her college career. In her sophomore year she was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Research Intern, a full year earlier than most students at UA. She has produced some remarkable data in the field of neuroscience and currently is involved in a project on Parkinson's research, working with UA biology professor Guy Caldwell.
This past December she presented a poster at the American Society of Cell Biology in San Francisco for her work on Parkinson's disease. Adair has generated an animal model that will allow screening for environmental and genetic factors that cause Parkinson's. Her research shows much promise and she hopes to continue her work to help find a cure for Parkinson's, which affects approximately 1.5 million Americans.
This bright, talented and deserving young woman has achieved more, still. She founded a student journal to help students publish their own scientific research; she testified before an Environmental Protection Agency subcommittee on the pollution of Alabama's groundwater supply; and was the president of the Blount Student Association in the fall of 2000. The association is part of the Blount Undergraduate Initiative, a four-year liberal arts program at UA.
Each year, USA Today selects the "best of the best," what it considers the top 20 students in the nation for its First Team. USA Today also includes Second and Third teams and Honorable Mentions in its "All American Academic Team." Students are chosen for their grades, awards and activities, leadership roles and their ability to use their academic skills outside the classroom. Since 1991, The University of Alabama has placed 22 students on the list.