Oumou Bah is a first-generation American and a second-generation Wildcat. Her parents, Saliou ’91 and Aissatou Bah ’98, fled the country of Guinea, which was ravaged by violence, and settled in Tucson. 

Bah’s parents both worked at fast food restaurants earning minimum wage while raising two small children and attending school. She says their work ethic and determination to achieve the “American Dream” push her to do her best in every aspect of life. 

As the daughter of two Wildcats and a Tucson native, Bah says the UA was the only school for her. 

Alberto Álvaro Ríos ’83 is a familiar face in Tucson and at the UA Poetry Center. Recently honored as Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate, Ríos will offer public readings throughout the year in urban and rural communities statewide, and will pursue a major literary project during his term. 

“This is a profound honor. A small-town border kid from Nogales to poet laureate — this is a good story, an Arizona story,” Ríos says of his two-year appointment.

Danielle Skidmore, a UA School of Art student specializing in 2D studies, uses printmaking to explore connections between the human body and plant life and other natural elements. 

“Nature to me has a natural grace about it, and I think that humans sometimes don’t,” she says. 

Entering her final semester this fall, Skidmore intends to combine public gardening with her artwork. Her goal is to help people have deeper, contemplative moments about the connection between decisions in our daily lives and impacts on the environment. 

A member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, Gabriel Ayala came to the University of Arizona to study in the world-renowned Bolton Guitar Studies Program with music professor and classical guitarist Tom Patterson. Today, Ayala plays roughly 100 concerts a year around the globe and has produced nine albums. He played for Pope Benedict XVI in Rome in 2012 and at the Native Nations Inaugural Ball during President Obama’s 2013 inauguration. His most recent album, Shades of Blue, is intensely personal and a fusion style he calls JazzMenco.

Carol Barnes uses animal models to study memory loss and to delineate what’s normal and what’s pathological. She directs the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and is a Regents’ Professor in the departments of Psychology, Neurology, and Neuroscience. Barnes is associate director of BIO5 Institute and director of the Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging.

UA medical students prepare for real-life crises at the Health Sciences Education Building, the latest addition to the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The campus simulation lab gives students first-hand medical experiences by “treating” mechanically controlled mannequins during case studies.

These “patients” can do almost everything humans do — they breathe, sweat, and even bleed. From a control center, a facilitator instructs a mannequin to talk and tell students what’s wrong or “what hurts.”

Dust and gas clouds, winds and stars enhance the image of the Orion Nebula, M42, one of the brightest and most studied nebulae in the night sky. This is just one of hundreds of celestial photographs by Adam Block ’96, award-winning astrophotographer and manager of the UA Mount Lemmon SkyCenter. 

Block got his first telescope when he was 7. “Not long after receiving my first telescope I ran to my mother with a magazine and pointed at a picture of observatories on a mountain in Arizona,” he says. “I told her ‘I am going to be an astronomer and I am going to be there!’” 

The Navajo Nation is awash in stunning vistas, from sun-bathed plains to steep, shaded valleys. But in this place of abundant natural beauty, there is also keen scarcity when it comes to potable drinking water.  

Although the reservation sits atop Arizona’s largest aquifer, the water it contains is too salty for consumption. That means that nearly half of the Nation’s 175,000 inhabitants must drive long distances, several times each week, just to obtain enough water for their basic needs. 


Blue and silver streetcars are coming soon to the University of Arizona. When the cars begin rolling in 2014, the system, called Sun Link, will recast the streetscape along the 4-mile line. It will serve new classes in a downtown campus. New restaurants and shops. New dorms. 

With a car arriving every 10 minutes, “it will be a critical catalyst in the revitalization of downtown Tucson,”  says Peter Dourlein, UA assistant vice president for planning, design, and construction.


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