Feb. 12 marks the three year anniversary of the Amy Bishop shooting. Dr. Bishop opened fire at a departmental meeting inside Room 369 of the Shelby Center for Science and Technology. Bishop killed three and injured three others in the shooting.
UAHuntsville remembers Dr. Gopi K. Podila, Dr. Maria Ragland Davis and Dr. Adriel D. Johnson. Podila was the chairperson of the university’s department of biological sciences and became Councilor of the International Symbiosis Society. Davis was an associate professor of Biology and studied molecular biology and plant genetics. Johnson was an associate professor of Biology and studied cell biology and nutritional physiology. Johnson also served as an advisor for the Minority Graduate Student Association, where he advised LSAMP scholars for almost 20 years. The university has found a place to honor these three in the new planned greenway. There will be a memorial garden in the center of the greenway with three benches to honor their memory. The greenway is scheduled to reach completion in March. Dr. Debra Moriarity, the chairperson of the department, is working with Liberal Arts Dean, Glenn Dasher, to create a design contest for a memorial sculpture. Hopefully, a student-designed sculpture will be placed after enough funds have been raised.
The department has established two scholarship funds in memory of the three victims. The Department of Biological Sciences Memorial Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to Biology and Nursing majors in honor of Johnson and Davis. The Gopi Podila Memorial Scholarship is awarded to Biology majors via faculty nominations. The scholarship is funded by the family of Podila and by the Partnership for Biotechnology Research. These scholarship funds are a great way to remember the dedication these three educators/researchers showed toward their students.
“Overall, the department is doing well and the morale is good,” Moriarity said. The department has hired three new faculty members since the shooting. Those are Dr. Bruce W. Stallsmith, Dr. Gordon MacGregor and Dr. Luciano M. Matzkin. Stallsmith and MacGregor previously held other positions in the department. According to Moriarity, “remembering the people that we lost but knowing how dedicated they all were to research and education … we are trying to do the best job that we can in those areas.” The department is looking ahead to a bright future, honoring the legacy of these three remarkable educators-researchers.