Chemical Engineering - University of Alabama Huntsville

Would love to hear any/all thoughts about the Huntsville region, the university, the professors for chemical engineering, and how the university is doing with Covid. Thoughts on dorm life, food on campus also helpful. Faith based clubs or life in the region.

Student is very interested in space biology, chemical engineering as related to materials science and ChemE as it intersects with biology and immunology.

Also, if you have other schools to recommend with this focus, please do!

I am a parent of a current UAH Sophomore Aerospace Engineering major. Plus, my husband was born and raised in Huntsville, and we have spent a lot of time there visiting relatives.

UAH was started during the Space Race to educate locals to work in the space industry. For years it was mostly an adult commuter campus, with some local students choosing to live at home after high school and commute. In the last decade or so UAH decided to build dorms and start actively recruiting students to live on campus. Today you will see enrollment is at 10,000 students.

Dorms were designed to appeal to quirky students who enjoy their privacy. Most students will have their own bedroom as part of a 4 person suite. Each suite has 2 bathrooms, a mini kitchen, and a living room.

UAH was built to educate scientists, so Engineering, Physics and Math are their strongest departments. The campus feels small, even though students might walk a long ways to get to a class. There is lots of grass and some trees on campus, and even though public streets cross through the campus, it does not have the city feel of a school like Georgia Tech in downtown Atlanta.

I was surprised to find 17 religious student organizations on campus, and saw signage for all of them when we visited. There are various church denominations in Huntsville, and I am glad to give you more details if you want to message me.

UAH is not a hotbed of Covid-19, and students seem to be following safety guidelines for the most part. The school is doing a great job under trying circumstances. As a parent with a child attending school in another state, I feel more comfortable with him at UAH than at a larger campus.

Huntsville is thriving with new jobs, new music and entertainment venues, restaurants, etc. So many companies that offer internships and full time jobs to UAH students and graduates. Huntsville does not feel like a traditional southern town, since so many people from around the country and around the world have added to the eclectic population. It has a small town friendly feel while also being a major powerhouse of industries.

Huntsville is an easy drive to Nashville, Chattanooga and Birmingham. Air travel to and from Huntsville is more expensive and less convenient.

UAH has a strong local and regional reputation in engineering. They are not well known nationally. The school recruits OOS students with their generous merit scholarships. The average ACT/SAT scores are high, and the Honors College has been a great choice for my son.

UAH is a small school with a unique vibe. It will either appeal to your child or turn them off. But definitely worth your time to research and consider.

Again, I am glad to answer specific questions you may have.

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Couldn’t they have just added to and built up the existing AAMU (then AAMC) in the Huntsville area instead of having to start a whole new university?

@ucbalumnus I do not know the whole history, just passing on tidbits I have picked up through the years. My FIL tells great stories about the beginnings of the space industry in Huntsville.

In addition to space industry, there is a military arsenal, and recent FBI office and automobile factory. A variety of job possibilities for all those college graduates.

@2kidcollege you can find more posts about UAH in Colleges and Universities section.

Sure, but it was done by former Nazi/German scientists, so informal history says they didn’t want to build off AAMC. But that was a long time ago (and obviously not forgotten by some).

@2kidcollege UAH is not perfect. They are doing a poor job of communicating to parents so if that is important to you, don’t count on them pleasing you. They have professors who are doing a good job with online/remote teaching and some who are just phoning it in. (I have heard some horror stories pre- and current-COVID. But most professors want their students to succeed.) The U goes to great lengths to provide lots of free study services & tutoring but it is up to the students to use them.

The Honors community is great. Don’t plan on housing on campus after freshman year. It will likely not be available. Some freshmen & even upperclassmen are struggling to find friends or get together safely. There is loneliness & stress. Many can’t adjust to learning online or, in some cases, self-teaching. (This is true at many other colleges across the country right now.)

There are groups getting together, including faith-based ones. The Honors community has both in person & online activities just about every week.

The food is selectively good (Fried Chicken Wednesdays are a favorite for example). My kid is sad that the Bevill food place (Gardenview?) is closed as they had some tasty stuff.

It has been a great school for my kid because she has found intellectual peers for the first time outside specialised camps. The price was right, too. No regrets here, but it isn’t for everyone.

@Reebtoor you did a great job summarizing the current Situation at UAH.

Lots of students chose not to return to campus, staying home and saving money on room and board. I imagine Mental health for those on campus taking 95% online classes is less than great.

Would an incoming freshman find connections in this Covid Version of UAH? I do not know. Education is happening, sometimes in spite of professors ill equipped to teach online.

My S is just a Sophomore, so I am hoping his junior and senior years at UAH provide a better experience for him.

UAH had a robust job market with an abundance of employers ready to hire its engineering students. How Covid will affect their position in the job market is yet to be determined.

I hurt for the current high school seniors who are wading through so much uncertainty in their educational future.

The states that operated dual and legally segregated state colleges have had a hard time moving on from the racial politics of the past, despite years of litigation. UAH and AAMU are essentially in the same town. Same thing at Florida State University and Florida A&M University, which have an awkward relationship today in a joint engineering school in Tallahassee, which only exists because the racist Florida legislature closed the law school at A&M years ago because it was producing too many black civil rights lawyers. The joint engineering school was created to help make amends to the Black citizens of Florida.

What do students do after freshman year for housing?

There are some dorm rooms available on campus for upper level students. Fraternity and Sorority houses on campus. And lots of off campus apartments not owned by UAH.

Really appreciating all the comments! Thank you!