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2015 SEC Symposium Registration Open

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 16:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015)  Faculty wishing to register for the 2015 Southeastern Conference Symposium, titled "Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Driving a 21st Century Economy," may do so now at

The SEC Symposium aims to address a significant scholarly issue by utilizing the range of disciplinary strengths of all SEC universities in a manner that expands opportunities for collaboration among SEC faculty and administrators. This event is also intended to display the research and innovation of SEC institutions for an audience of academicians, government officials and other stakeholders. Other objectives include annually drawing national attention and participation to the Southeast region. 

The website provides instructions for registering, as well as a draft program schedule. Additional details regarding this third SEC event will be posted as they are finalized, and all interested individuals should check the website regularly for updated information.

SECU is the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference. Through SECU, the conference sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its 14 member universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

Ag Gone Mobile Thanks to UK Cooperative Extension

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 16:31

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (April 23, 2015) — In fields across Hopkins County, a University of Kentucky   Cooperative Extension Service agent is using technology to help farmers increase their bottom line.

“Extension agents look for ways to help producers stay profitable and literally deliver the information they need right to their fingertips,” said Curtis Dame, the county’s agriculture and natural resources extension agent.

Dame has found mobile apps are a great way to enhance and improve on-farm operations and readily shares his tech savviness with producers.

The information offered on mobile devices, like the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s SoilWeb app, is not something that’s necessarily new information for agents or producers. Much of it was available in the past but in other formats that made it hard to get information to a farmer in a timely, acceptable manner.

A member of a family farming operation himself, Dame began offering technology classes to farmers after noticing the technology divide between his grandfather and great-grandfather with other members of the family operation.

“I wanted to teach the older side of the farming population that this technology is readily accessible to them, and help producers learn how to operate these devices in a way that will give them a return on their investment,” he said.

While there was some initial hesitancy from producers to use the apps due to concerns about others being able to access personal information, Dame has helped farmers overcome that hurdle by teaching them how to change their phones’ privacy settings and reminding them that much of the information shared through apps is public knowledge. Dame’s programs are so popular he’s been asked by other UK personnel to present across the state. Beyond the workshop, he does one-on-one consultations with farmers in his county.

One of the farmers he’s worked closely with is Lee Herring. Herring runs a small farming operation with his father and brother in Hopkins County and, like Dame, has been using apps since they became available. He and Dame regularly compare notes about the efficiency and usefulness of various ones.

“I used an app today called FARMserver, which allowed me to come out and find a problem and tag it so my dad, my brother and my chemical agent could see it in real time,” Herring said.

Apps have also helped his family take some of the guesswork out of farming by providing them with hard data about their farm and a way of recording field data to share with his family and bankers.

Herring has also noticed the change in the clients he works with as a district sales manager for Beck’s Hybrids.

“It’s changed our sales calls tremendously with farmers giving you hard data about their operation,” he said.

In addition to helping farmers become more comfortable with using mobile technology, Dame is in the process of developing apps that he can use to quickly disseminate timely information to his growers, such as pending legislation and potential field problems during the growing season. He is in the process of working with UK agricultural engineer Sam McNeill to develop one to help farmers determine the cost effectiveness of going from one elevator to another.

While cell phone reception remains a barrier in some rural areas, it’s a great tool for farmers, who don’t have that obstacle, to add to their toolbox, Dame said.

“I would never tell a producer to totally rely on apps to store all of their important information,” he said. “It’s always a good risk management policy to have that information backed up somewhere else.”

MEDIA CONTACT:  Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.

Researchers See Promise in Treatment to Reduce Incidence of Dementia after Traumatic Brain Injury

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 16:11
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 23, 2015) — It was once thought that effects of a mild head injury — dizziness, headaches, memory problems — were only temporary, and the brain would heal over time. However, while the long-term consequences of head trauma are not fully known, growing evidence suggests that even a mild head injury can increase the risk for later-in-life development of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.  

Researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging have been attempting to understand the cascade of events following mild head injury that may lead to an increased risk for developing a progressive degenerative brain disease, and their new study, which was published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows initial promise for a treatment that might interrupt the process that links the two conditions.

“By defining the cascade of events that occurs after a mild brain injury, we ultimately hope to discover ways to disrupt that process,” said Adam Bachstetter, Ph.D., of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. “Our goal is to uncover the biology that underlies the link between head injury and dementia, and in our latest research, we think we have found evidence that an altered inflammatory response from cells in the brain called glia may be at least part of the link.”

To explore the chain of events that link traumatic brain injury to increased risk for dementia, Bachstetter and co-author Scott Webster, Ph.D., of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, used a mouse that has been genetically altered to make a human protein called amyloid beta, which is a key player in Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also developed a surgical procedure to mimic the most common form of traumatic brain injury.

“We wanted to know if we could accelerate the onset of memory problems in these mice, similar to what is believed to occur in humans,” said Webster. “It gave us a way to ask the important mechanistic questions that might one day lead to a better treatment for head injury patients.”

Bachstetter and Webster used a small molecule drug known as MW151 which blocks overproduction of the molecules that cause inflammation in the brain following TBI. MW151 was developed by Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D,. director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging,  and D. Martin Watterson, Ph.D., of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. The drug was given to the mice starting a week after a traumatic brain injury. After three weeks of treatment, mice that received MW151 no longer showed learning and memory problems, while the mice that didn’t receive the drug showed profound learning and memory problems.

“MW151 was able to rescue the memory impairments in mice even when treatment was started a week after the injury," said Webster. "The potential implications are compounded when you factor in that many people who suffer a mild brain injury don’t seek treatment right away.”

In addition to the human suffering caused by Alzheimer’s disease, there is an enormous strain on the health care system and families, consuming about $20 billion in direct costs alone. As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, that figure is expected to rise exponentially.

“As the signature injury of the Iraq and Afganistan wars, and with approximately 1.5 million people in the United States each year seeking medical treatment for a traumatic brain injury, the impact of earlier onset of dementia in such a large number of people is simply unthinkable, Van Eldik said.  "Adam and Scott's work could have a large impact both socially and economically.”

Ag Equine Brings World's Leading Reining Rider to UK

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 15:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) — Shawn Flarida, National Reining Horse Association’s leading rider, all-time money earner and member of the NRHA Hall of Fame, will speak at the University of Kentucky   Ag Equine Programs’ next Distinguished Industry Lecture Series at 6 p.m. EDT Monday, April 27 in the Gluck Equine Research Center’s auditorium on the UK campus.

Sponsored by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, the event is free and open to the public.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity to our students. It’s a real privilege to be able to learn from one of the most decorated reiners ever and a top-notch horseman to boot,” said Jill Stowe, director of UK Ag Equine Programs, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Plus, we are excited to expand the breadth of the lecture series by hosting our first guest representing western riding disciplines.”

Flarida is the first-ever Five Million Dollar Rider. He has five NRHA open futurity championships to his name and has won the All-American Quarter Horse Congress futurity 11 times.

Additionally, he was an individual and team gold medal winner at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, riding for Team USA. In 2010, he was the high scoring rider in the World Equestrian Games team competition and led team USA to the gold medal.

“How I feel about this opportunity to showcase the sport of reining to our students and my fellow western horse enthusiast is beyond words,” said Bob Coleman, director of undergraduate studies in equine science and management and current Kentucky Quarter Horse Association president. “If you want to feel the hair on your neck rise, come and see what this world-class athlete has done and learn more about those folks who ride and slide. It will be worth every minute."

Flarida knew from a very early age what he wanted to do when he grew up. In 1988, he graduated from high school and went to work for his brother, Mike Flarida, who had an established and successful business as a reining trainer. In 1989, Flarida branched out on his own.

Notoriously superstitious — always showing in a green shirt — Flarida’s stated focus is on working hard at home and being the best horseman he can be. His official website can be found at

“On behalf of the college, we welcome Mr. Flarida to a line of superstars who have given time to our program through this special lecture series,” said Dean Nancy Cox. “UK Ag Equine Programs is lucky to be located in the horse capital of the world, where both equestrian and equine luminaries come to show and race. The college is dedicated to this industry and appreciates the sponsorship of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute for making this event possible.”

The Distinguished Lecture Series began in the fall of 2009 and has become a signature event of UK Ag Equine Programs. It is designed to showcase important figures from the equine industry in an informal setting.

Previous series speakers included Keeneland’s Nick Nicholson, accomplished equestrienne Nina Bonnie, Keeneland’s Ted Bassett, Zenyatta owners Jerry and Ann Moss, Olympian Reed Kessler and a double header featuring both Thoroughbred trainer Graham Motion and three-day eventer Buck Davidson.

MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226.

UK Theatre Ends 'Hair' Raising Season With Broadway Musical

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 15:44

Promotional video for "Hair" by UK Department of Theatre and Dance. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) — Don't miss the last four performances of the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance closing production, the popular Broadway musical "Hair," running through April 26, at the Guignol Theatre.

A rock musical, "Hair" follows the lives of politically active young people living the bohemian lifestyle in New York's East Village during the 1960s. Its cast of characters fights against the draft and Vietnam War, questions authority and advocates for freedom of expression. "Hair," written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, originally premiered off Broadway in the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1967, found its way to Broadway in April 1968, and won a Tony and Drama Desk Award in 2009. Family of Ragni will be in attendance at the April 25th performance.

"Hair" takes the Guignol stage 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 23-25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26. Tickets to "Hair" are $20 for general admission and $15 for UK students with a valid ID through the Singletary Center box office. To purchase tickets, contact the box office at 859-257-4929, visit online at or purchase in person during operating hours.

The UK Department of Theatre and Dance at UK College of Fine Arts has played an active role in the performance scene in Central Kentucky for more than 100 years. Students in the program get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from the renowned professional theatre faculty. The liberal arts focus of their bachelor's degree program is coupled with ongoing career counseling to ensure a successful transition from campus to professional life. 

UK Parkinson's Patient Experiences Symptom Relief with New Medication

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 15:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) -- To date, a cure for Parkinson's disease (PD) remains elusive for the more than 50,000 Americans diagnosed yearly, despite decades of intensive study.  But a newly approved treatment that might help ease the symptoms of Parkinson's has shown remarkable promise.

Dr. John Slevin, professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and vice chair of research at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, worked with a team of international investigators to explore the efficacy of continuous levodopa dosing using a specially developed gel called CLES (Duopa) that is delivered directly into the small intestine by a portable infusion pump. 

"We were extremely pleased with the results," Slevin said. “Patients with advanced PD treated via this new method demonstrated marked improvement in symptom fluctuations with reduced dyskinesia.“

According to Slevin, CLES's effectiveness is due in part to the fact that it results in more stable plasma concentrations of levodopa by delivering it directly to the small intestine, which bypasses issues of erratic gastric emptying and absorption caused by reduced muscular function inherent to PD.

"CLES has the potential to address a significant unmet need in this patient population with limited therapeutic options," Slevin added. 

Marion Cox knows this all too well.  This 70-year old Georgetown farmer and former real estate developer has suffered from Parkinson's for 16 years.

"I could tell I was going the wrong way," Cox says as he described his decline in spite of frequent medication adjustments.  Even with his medications, he began to "stagger around" and struggled to speak and swallow.  He was frustrated that he couldn't spend more quality time with his two daughters and two granddaughters.  So when Dr. Slevin mentioned the Duopa clinical trial, Marion leapt at the chance.

"I felt different right away," he says of his experience in the three-year clinical drug trial. Cox shares that he can get around better, get dressed more easily, be gone all day farming his 800 acres.

"I'm getting more done.  I'm not as good as I once was (before I had Parkinson's) but I'm pretty darn well off," he adds.

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. While most people recognize a Parkinson's patient by their motor skill difficulties such as tremor, slowness and stiffness, the disease also gives rise to several non-motor types of symptoms such as sensory deficits, cognitive difficulties or sleep problems.

While doctors have a number of treatments available to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the motor deficits that are the hallmarks of PD are also the nemesis of effective treatment, since the muscles that control digestion are also affected, making dosing -- both in terms of amount and timing -- challenging.

Compounding this challenge is the fact that medications lose effectiveness over time as cell death progresses. Although levodopa remains the “gold standard” to control motor deficits in the treatment of early stage PD, after four to six years of treatment with oral medications for Parkinson’s disease, about 40 percent of patients find those medications less effective overall, inconsistent in controlling muscle function, and accompanied by a bothersome side-effect called dyskinesia, or involuntary muscle movement. By nine years of treatment, about 90 percent will suffer these effects.

The FDA approved CLES in January 2015. Because the safety and efficacy of levodopa is already established, this treatment has the potential to be fast-tracked for widespread use within the next 4-6 months.

Results from the study were published in the current issue of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. The article is available at

The archived press conference can be viewed at:

UK Law Alum Mitch McConnell Among Time's 100 Most Influential People

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 14:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader and University of Kentucky College of Law alumnus Mitch McConnell has been named to Time's 100 Most Influential People list and will be featured in the annual Time 100 issue available on newsstands April 27.

The list, now in its 12th year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.

McConnell joins Pope Francis, Hillary Clinton and others on the list. The list includes five categories: titans, pioneers, artists, leaders and icons. McConnell is dubbed "Master of the Senate" in the leaders category.

"He is often praised for his mastery of Senate rules, his crafty procedural maneuvers and his knowledge of the Senators in his caucus," wrote Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner, author of the Time 100 tribute on McConnell. "He loves America and our Constitution."

David A. Brennen, dean of the UK College of Law, notes that “Senator McConnell has long been a great friend to our law school.” Brennen adds that “given his long list of legislative accomplishments, McConnell’s selection for inclusion on this distinguished list of leaders is well deserved and no surprise at all.”

McConnell graduated from the UK College of Law in 1967, where he was elected president of the Student Bar Association.

To read the full section on Mitch McConnell, visit To view the entire list, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

Theta Chi Hosts 2nd Annual 'Shake the Stress Fest'

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 13:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) — The Zeta Rho Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity at the University of Kentucky is hosting its second annual "Shake the Stress Fest" to benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) from 4-6 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 22, on the main lawn of the Student Center.

Shake the Stress Fest is designed to give students a couple hours of fun during the most stressful time of the semester, while also educating them on stress and mental illness among college students. Events include a petting zoo, inflatable jousting, Pie-a-Chi and a dunk tank featuring various Greek leaders and other special guests. All proceeds will go toward the Kentucky NAMI foundation. 

“Shake the Stress Fest is a fun way to give the university community a couple hours away from the stress of the end of a semester, but it also serves as an avenue to educate the community about mental illness, a topic that is often uncomfortable for students to discuss at this stage of their lives,” Kyndl Woodlee, UK Theta Chi's vice president of health and safety, said.

The chapter first introduced the Shake the Stress philanthropy event in 2014 to serve as an extension of Theta Chi’s Sacred Purpose Movement, which was launched in 2013 by the fraternity’s governing body to focus on the mental well-being of all its members.

“Our goal is to educate the community on the dangers and warning signs of mental illness, so that students know the tools and resources to give people they care about the opportunity to live the best lives they can,” Woodlee said.

For more information on the event or for donation information, contact Kyndl Woodlee or visit the NAMI website.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest nonprofit grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness. For more information, please visit

The Zeta Rho Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity arrived at the University of Kentucky in 2011 and comprises of a diverse group of men who embrace brotherhood, academics, and living out national values such as extending “an assisting hand” for all who need it. For more information, visit

Love of German Language Helped Student Make Major Decision

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 11:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) -- Brittany Shaver says she’s always been a hard worker. However, when she began her undergraduate study at the University of Kentucky as a biology major and then switched to chemistry, Shaver didn’t find fulfillment or results that matched her effort.

So at the end of her freshman year, Shaver tried to figure out her ideal major – what course of study would be just right for her.

“I thought, ‘If there was a Brittany major out there in the world, what would it be?’ One of the answers was German,” Shaver explained. “I always wanted to study German, but I first started the language at the University of Kentucky my sophomore year.”

While she says her path to studying German wasn’t clear or easy, Shaver’s interest in German language and culture dates back to her participation in exchange programs in high school. On two different occasions she spent weeks in Germany and at home with an international partner. “I was paired with girls my age who were German. We are really good friends, and I still talk to them and visit them when I go to Germany,” she said.

After discovering her “Brittany” major, Shaver demonstrated her work ethic by jumping into UK’s German program with both feet: she was nominated for the German Book Award by her German 102 teaching assistant, spent a summer abroad in Germany after just two semesters of introductory German and was awarded the Heidelberg Scholarship through UK’s Education Abroad for her senior year.

Shaver looks back on her summer abroad as an overwhelming, but beneficial experience. “It was a combination of German 201 and 202, and all 11 of us were paired with a host family. My Gastmutter (host mom) didn’t speak any English, so it was terrifying,” she said. “But I also think it was the best thing for me because it pushed me to speak German and work hard – it would have been easier if I was with someone who knew English.”

The Heidelberg Scholarship awards its winners with a monetary stipend and funds a year studying abroad at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, one of Germany’s premier universities.

Throughout these experiences, Shaver has been inspired and supported by faculty and teaching assistants in German Studies. In reflecting on her years in the program, she makes it clear that this encouragement was essential to her growth and success.

“I had great teaching assistants who really inspired me to be a great teacher myself. My faculty mentor Brenna Byrd believes in me, and having someone like that who will oversee you as a TA and support you as you’re learning to teach…that is really special to me,” she said. “My time in Heidelberg was a wonderful experience, but being selected showed the department believed in me and my German abilities.”

Byrd, who led the summer abroad that Shaver experienced, is unflinchingly supportive of Shaver. “She is industrious and excels in her classes, and yet she is at the same time humble and always collegial, which has won her the respect and admiration of her peers,” said Byrd. “She asks me to push her, and she is always open for corrective feedback. She is a fantastic role model for all students and language learners.”

This encouragement was also a key factor in Shaver’s decision to stay at UK to pursue a master’s degree after earning her bachelor’s. “I was trying to decide between Ohio State and the University of Kentucky. Ohio State was more focused on a doctoral program, and I thought I just had more options at UK. There were more majors I could mix together. I met with the director of graduate studies in the department, Linda Worley, and she helped me by explaining the idea of concurrent degrees,” she explained.

Now a master’s student, Shaver’s new major is a mixture of concurrent degrees – just like what she had in mind during the application process. She is actually earning two master’s degrees: one in the MATWL – a Master’s in the Teaching of World Languages, focusing on German – and the other in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

Shaver decided to pursue the MATWL program once she realized it would certify her to be a teacher at the K-12 level. “I love working with kids. There’s something about being able to have a huge impact in a child’s life and shape them into the kind of person they want to be,” she said.

Most recently, her love of German has been rewarded with the Future K-12 German Teacher Award from the American Association of Teachers of German. This national award recognizes outstanding students who are pursuing careers teaching German at the K-12 level. Shaver was thankful and surprised to learn she was being recognized.

“The award means a lot to me…not only because it’s a national award and it’s amazing for me personally, but because it really speaks volumes about what we do here at the University of Kentucky,” she explained. “It’s just as much my award as the German program’s here in Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures.”

Looking forward, Shaver has her sights set on teaching middle school. “I would love to be a German and English as a Second Language teacher at the middle school level. I love the German language, culture and people, and I would love continuing to help people with learning different languages. With teaching languages you can really change someone’s life – kind of like what German did for me. I want to be able to impact someone like that as well.”

Professor and mentor Byrd says that, “whichever school Shaver ends up working for will feel lucky to have her.” As true as this seems, for now Shaver seems to feel lucky and appreciates the opportunities she’s had at the University of Kentucky.

“It’s great I won this award because it looks so good on the whole department,” she said. “I didn’t take German until my sophomore year and look at me now. I’m a reflection of what the department does – and a living, breathing example that you can learn German and go far if you have the desire to do it.”

UK Confucius Institute and Education Abroad Support Faculty Travel to China

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 10:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April, 2015)  With the goal of establishing and enhancing education abroad programming and learning about international higher education opportunities in China, the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute (UKCI) and Education Abroad have collaborated to support UK faculty members’ travel to institutions of higher education in China in May.

Founded in 2010, UKCI has devoted itself to sending UK students, faculty, high school students and Kentucky educators to China, said Huajing Maske, director of UKCI.

“This should have started a long time ago,” Maske said. “The Confucius Institute has been working as a bridge between UK and institutions of higher education in China to forge new partnerships. It’s really our goal to support the pursuit of teaching, studying and doing research in China.”

Anthony Ogden, executive director of Education Abroad and Exchanges, said the partnership with UKCI is an effort in part to respond to the federal government’s “100,000 Strong” initiative, announced by President Barack Obama in 2009, with the goal of increasing the number of American students studying in China.

According to Ogden, too few UK students study abroad in China through UK Education Abroad programs. In 2014, only about 30 students studied aboard in China but Ogden says the potential is much greater.

“Most UK departments don’t specifically endorse programs in China via their Major Advising Pages,” Ogden said. “So, our curriculum integration efforts with regard to programming in China will benefit greatly through this site visit.”

Seventy-eight percent of students who studied abroad in China from 2008 to 2014 did so through UK sponsored, faculty-directed programs, none of which studied abroad through exchange programs. Ogden said the site visit would be a great opportunity to consider other programs, including establishing bilateral exchange programs with institutions in China and working through UK’s partner institutions in China to provide intensive language programming, internships, and so on.

Through this partnership, 20 UK faculty members, representing 17 colleges, will be traveling to China. While in China, representatives will attend educational lectures, visit a range of established education abroad programs and participate in cultural activities in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

Sue Roberts, professor in the Department of Geography and representative of the College of Arts and Sciences, said this site visit would help her to learn more about opportunities in China so that she can in turn provide students in the College of Arts and Sciences with more opportunities to learn about a country that has been playing a significant role worldwide.

“China is a hugely significant country in its own right, and there are many reasons why U.S. students are very intrigued by China and want to learn more about this amazing country,” Roberts said. “So we see it as part of our mission to offer as many opportunities as we can for our students, to help them prepare themselves for success in an increasingly integrated world, and one in which China is playing an expanding role.”

Maske said the site visit would help UK be more competitive and appealing when recruiting prospective international students.

“It brings UK’s name and reputation out there together with other benchmark universities that are reputable for producing international-minded students,” Maske said. “It really brings UK up among those peers and gives UK a great competing edge with other institutions. I think that’s going to be a huge draw for prospective students and their families.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,

College of Education Alum's Studies, Experience Prepare Her for Journey of a Lifetime

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 15:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2015) – When University of Kentucky College of Education alumna Dixie Miller met Olivia — a tiny baby with a big hole in her heart — doctors doubted Olivia would live to have surgery. Miller had recently become certified to accept foster children when a friend told her about Olivia, who at the time lived with a family equipped to care for medically fragile children. But Miller wasn’t looking to adopt, at least not yet.  

Still, she would hear from her friend, “You need to go see her, she’s your baby.”

Reluctantly, she went. At the foster family’s home, Olivia lay on the living room floor and as soon as Miller looked into her deep blue eyes, she was completely taken. Ten days later, Olivia was deemed strong enough for a life-saving heart surgery. Suddenly, Miller was thrust into a gut-wrenching situation with a baby who wasn’t legally hers, but with whom her heart was already intertwined with maternal feelings of love and care.

Surgery was successful and Olivia was determined to live, but her tiny body kept giving out. Alarms would sound, alerting teams of doctors and nurses to rush to the room of the coding baby. Eventually, she grew stronger. Miller was able to visit her in the hospital after Olivia was moved out of intensive care, but couldn’t stay overnight without legal custody. She would leave Olivia’s room at 11 p.m., knowing she wouldn’t see her again until after work the next day. Olivia was in the hospital for more than a month.

“I had to completely let go of my baby and just wait,” Miller recalled.

During the day Miller found distraction by focusing on her clients at work as a developmental interventionalist. She was an independent contractor for First Steps at that time, working with children with developmental delays. Since 2007, she has been with Visually Impaired Preschool Services — a nonprofit organization that provides educational and therapeutic services to young children of the Commonwealth. She works with infants and preschoolers with visual impairments caused by issues such as cerebral palsy, seizure disorders and prematurity.

“We’re getting involved with the family fresh after the child has been diagnosed,” Miller said.

“The parent is grieving the loss of the ‘typical child’ while facing getting services started. They are bombarded with learning about developmental milestones and trying to navigate the system and some families feel completely overwhelmed.”

With the help of specialists like Miller, parents begin to understand that despite a disability diagnosis, it is going to be OK. A new mom may be in tears during the first meetings with Miller, but cheering her child’s progress a few months later. The grief comes and goes, Miller says. A parent will come to a stage of acceptance, but may walk into a preschool and see other kids talking, walking, running – things that don’t come easily to his or her own child. And all the emotions come rushing back.

Miller says as families begin to take steps to get services, they often come together stronger as a unit and advocate for the child. It’s her role to help them get prepared for when the child enters the school system for kindergarten.

“It’s definitely a world you don’t want to enter, but when you’re there you learn to love it and capture small moments of what your child does,” Miller said. “It’s kind of like you’re in a secret society when you’re a parent of a kid with special needs, and until you are in it you don’t understand it.”

Miller counts herself lucky to be part of that society. Olivia was eventually discharged from the hospital and after a process involving meetings with social workers and hearings with a judge, the 9-month-old came home to Miller on Jan. 13, 2005 – commonly celebrated as “gotcha day” (official adoption did not happen until 2006).

Olivia, who has Down syndrome, recovered from heart surgery and is now a spunky and energetic 10-year-old. She is athletic and uses a healthy dose of stubbornness and determination to keep up with her peers. Her latest mission has been learning to ride a scooter like her cousins. Not being able to master it was driving Olivia nuts, her mother says. This past spring she finally got it. Now, she’s doing tricks.

“I love watching every milestone she’s hit,” Miller said. “Watching life through her eyes, it’s so much fun.”

Turning passion into a career

Miller, who graduated from Lafayette High School and has a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy, did not find her calling until a friend told her about developmental intervention and Kentucky’s First Steps program. She researched available schools and chose the UK College of Education Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling, where she completed a master’s in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE). She also has a teaching certificate from the University of Louisville as a teacher of the visually impaired.

“I was finally in a field where I knew it was something I was interested in and would walk away from the program being able to enjoy my career,” Miller said. “The professors are a strength of the program. The education college at UK is top-notch in the nation, they are right on it with research. And, they’re a family.”

Miller worked as a graduate assistant and got a first-hand glimpse at what professors do in addition to teaching courses. Her faculty mentors in the program included Jennifer Grisham-Brown, Lee Ann JungKatherine McCormick, and Charlotte Manno.

“They want to see good teachers being produced so they put their hearts into it,” Miller says.

“They have a love for children with special needs just as much as I do and they want to see those children being served, and so they are going to educate these students coming through to the best of their ability.”

Miller’s time as a student in the College of Education included many hours doing observations and working in the Early Childhood Lab, operated by the IECE program. The lab not only provides care and education for young children, but also serves as a teaching facility to train the next generation of early childhood professionals. It has existed at UK for nearly 80 years.

“I sent Olivia to the lab school at the age of 2 ½ to get the experience and top-notch education I knew it would provide for her,” Miller said. “As a professional, I have encouraged many of my families to tour the lab as a possible place to send their child for preschool.”

The lab recently moved from the basement of UK’s Erikson Hall to a freshly renovated building designed specifically for the needs of the program. The new space is allowed the lab to double in size, serving more than 100 children using best early childhood practices. The 10,000-square-foot, freestanding building is part of the former Lexington Theological Seminary campus, recently acquired by UK. 

Miller’s involvement in the lab is starting to come full circle. In addition to her time spent there as a student and sending her daughter there, her professional work will soon be based in the lab. Her employer, Visually Impaired Preschool Services, is partnering with UK and will share the new space.

“The new facility will not only be accessible, but geared toward children with visual impairments,” Miller said. “This will also allow us to partner with the vision program at UK and help them provide hands-on experience with visually-impaired children from birth to 5. It will create an opportunity to help better serve our children throughout the entire state of Kentucky.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

College of Education Unveils New Outdoor Space

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 14:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2015) — With blooming flowers, umbrella-topped tables and bright blue custom-made benches inhabiting the courtyard in the center of Taylor Education Building, you wouldn't believe that the space sat barren only a short time ago.

The Jim and Kaye Burton Courtyard opened Thursday, April 16, with a ribbon-cutting and crowd of faculty, students and guests celebrating the revival of the outdoor space.

Kaye Burton was a 1965 graduate of the UK College of Education and went on to teach elementary school in Bullitt County.

"Her parents' love for UK and strong legacy in education has driven her and Jim to support the college enthusiastically," said Jeffrey Francisco, director of development in the College of Education.

The Burtons helped fund the courtyard and also fund a scholarship in honor of Kaye's parents, the John P. and Frances Charlton Samuels Presidential Scholarship. The Burtons are also leaders on the College of Education Board of Advocates.

This year's recipient of the John P. and Frances Charlton Samuels Presidential Scholarship, Rachel Allegeier — an English education senior, college ambassador, and student council leader — helped secure the funding for the College of Education-themed benches, a focal point of the courtyard.

The UK blue benches feature the image of the Taylor Education Building clock tower and the college's motto, "Inquire. Innovate. Inspire." The benches were brought to life by artists Scot and Laura Kellersberger of Savisa, Kentucky, parents of Beth Kellersberger, a graduate student in the Educational Psychology Program.

A second courtyard in the Taylor Education Building, a more formal space, is also undergoing a renovation and should be completed this summer.  

View before and after photos of the Jim and Kaye Burton Courtyard below. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

UK Biology Student RISEs to Challenge of German Internship

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2015) — University of Kentucky sophomore Hannah Latta has been awarded a summer internship through the Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD). The internship will provide the biology major an opportunity to do research at one of Germany's top universities and research institutions.

DAAD offers a wide range of funding opportunities for individuals and institutions in higher education. The program's primary goal is to facilitate transatlantic mobility to Germany for U.S. and Canadian scholars. DAAD's RISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. RISE offers opportunities to work with research groups at universities and top research institutions across Germany for a period of two to three months during the summer.

RISE interns are matched with doctoral students whom they assist and who serve as their mentors. All scholarship holders receive stipends from DAAD to help cover living expenses, while partner universities and research institutes provide housing assistance.

Internships from RISE were first offered in 2005. Following the first intake of around 100 students, the number of participants has increased steadily to approximately 300 scholarship recipients.

Latta, the daughter of Gary and Lou Ann Geveden Latta, of Mayfield, Kentucky, will do her RISE internship in epigenetics research at Martin Luther University in Halle Saale, Germany.

"I will be collaborating with Maria Giebler, a Ph.D. student, to investigate the Piwi gene and its effects on infertility," Latta said. "Additionally, I will be able to form invaluable connections with aspiring scientists from Canada and the United Kingdom during my internship."

The RISE recipient first became interested in biology, and specifically genetics, at Graves County High School. "In high school, I was introduced to the field of genetics, and I have since possessed an insatiable desire to further my knowledge concerning the subject. It was this fascination that prompted me to study biology at the University of Kentucky."

At UK, Latta is already active in research at the undergraduate level working in the laboratory of Vivek Rangnekar, UK professor and Alfred Cohen Chair in Oncology Research in the Department of Radiation Medicine. Rangnekar's research is studying the effects of Par4 on glycolysis and metabolism rates in mice.

Outside of her biology studies, Latta is a Chellgren Fellow, Gaines Fellow and member of the UK Honors Program. In addition, she is pursuing a minor in French.

Latta credits two mentors, Ruth Beattie, professor of biology, and Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, in helping her achieve her initial success and work toward her career goals.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Latta plans to attend medical school and eventually pursue a career in pediatric oncology.

Students who are interested in this and other study abroad internships and scholarship opportunities should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education. The office assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with Whitlow well in advance of the scholarship deadline.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

Phi Beta Kappa Inducts 36 Students

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2015) — The University of Kentucky chapter of Phi Beta Kappa held its annual induction ceremony last week, inducting 36 students into the nation's oldest and most widely known academic honor society.

F. Douglas Scutchfield, the Peter P. Bosomworth Professor of Health Services Research and Policy at the UK College of Public Health, delivered a keynote address.

The 2015 inductees are:

  • Noora Aljabi, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Rahul Annabathula, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Connor Appelman, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Clara Bone, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Liza Bustle, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Andrew Cech, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Steven Chapman, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Abigail Craig, College of Fine Arts
  • Jonathan Elliott, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Michael Fassio, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Christopher Garr, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Tristan Griner, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Colby Hall, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Casey  Hibbard, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Akesha Kirkpatrick, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Vanessa Koenigsmark, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Erica Mattingly, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Trevor McNary, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Kaitlin Moore, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Elizabeth Morehead, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Sanjana Pampati, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Abigail Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Jonathan Pickett, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Sibi Rajendran, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Keith Rodgers, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Marcel Roman, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Morgan Saint James, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Charles Shelton, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Josephine Suchecki, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Grace Trimble, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Emily Vanmeter, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Samantha Warford, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Austin  Way, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Samuel Wicke, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Christina Zeidan, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Shelley Zhou, College of Arts & Sciences

Phi Beta Kappa elects more than 15,000 new members a year from 270 chapters across the United States. There are also more than 50 associations that foster friendship and learning in their members' communities and provide a means for members to continue their active affiliation with the society after graduation.The society celebrates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.

UK's Phi Beta Kappa chapter is supported by the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence, which is part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.

Judges From Albanian School of Magistrates Visit UK

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2015) — On Thursday, April 16, the University of Kentucky College of Law and the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce welcomed to campus, in partnership with Assistant U.S. Attorney David Grise (UK Law ’83) and U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove (UK Law ’89), seven judges from the Albanian School of Magistrates. The Albanian School of Magistrates provides initial legal training and is the sole provider of continuing legal education (CLE) for judges and prosecutors in Albania. 

The judges (Sokol Sadushaj, Dashamir Kore, Marjana Semini, Arta Mandro, Vangjel Kosta, Ador Koleka, and Jetnor Tafilaj) served on a panel with Grise during a student assembly, and College of Law faculty member Marianna Jackson Clay served as moderator. They discussed the similarities and differences between the judicial and legal education systems of Albania and the United States.

Albania has a civil law system, which has significant differences from the common law system at work in the United States. A few examples of this include no juries, minimal application of case law, and a preference for educational institutions designed specifically for judges and prosecutors.

During their visit, the Albanian judges had an opportunity to meet with faculty and staff in charge of several UK Law programs that were of special interest to them.

“The visiting delegation was delighted to hear ways the College of Law has incorporated practical application of legal principles into its curriculum, including litigation skills courses, mock negotiations, legal research and writing classes, and legal and tax preparation clinics,” Grise said. He noted that due to the nature of their work at the Albanian School of Magistrates, the judges “were impressed with the College of Law’s active CLE program, especially its distance learning techniques.”

The academic experience for UK law students is enhanced when exposed to outside judiciary proceedings and policies. However, it’s more than just students who gain from this exposure; there is much to be said on the importance of judiciaries from different countries getting together to discuss their systems and procedures.

“Many developing nations have benefited greatly from a continuing relationship with a U.S. law school. This is particularly true of nations which emerged from communist governments within the last 25 years, which have no history of adversarial proceedings or independent judiciaries. The relationship also assists the U.S. institution by exposing its faculty to the advantages of alternative systems and teaching methods,” Grise said.

The Albanian judges made the most of their visit to the states. In addition to visiting the University of Kentucky, the judges also had the opportunity to visit the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., National Center of State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia, and National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina.  While in Kentucky, they also met with Judge John Rogers, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to discuss ethics and technology in the courtroom.

UK Public Health Research Center Names 2015 Brown Scholars

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 16:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2015) — The National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research (PHSSR), based at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, and Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs) have announced recipients of the Dr. E. Richard “Rick” Brown Keeneland Conference scholarships. The scholarships recognize the many lasting contributions of the late distinguished leader, scholar and teacher in public health and the founding director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The recipients are:

·         Rose Hardy, MPH, Ph.D student, Health Services Research, University of Colorado Denver-Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado

·         Shivani Murthy, MPH, a DrPH student in International Health, Johns Hopkins University

·         Karmen Williams, MSPH, DrPH Candidate in Public Health Leadership, Georgia Southern University

These awards support Keenelend Conference travel, attendance and networking for pre-doctoral and early-career postdoctoral researchers from racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups who are underrepresented in the health and social sciences. Awardees were selected based on the significance and innovation of their PHSSR research interests and their potential as emerging scientific leaders in the field. 

The Keeneland Conference, the premier national PHSSR conference, will be held April 21-22 in Lexington, Ky. PHSSR examines questions that relate to the financing, organization and delivery of public health services – and how those factors translate to population health.

For more information about the Keeneland Conference and the Brown Scholarships, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Kara Richardson, 

Ribbon Cutting Marks Official Opening of UK HealthCare at Turfland

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 15:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2015) -- At 10 a.m., Monday, April 20, a ribbon cutting ceremony will mark the official opening of UK HealthCare at Turfland, a new outpatient center on Harrodsburg Road in Lexington on the site of the former Turfland Mall.

See for more information.

UK HealthCare has leased and renovated the former Dillard's location for consolidation and relocation of some of its primary care and specialty outpatient clinics and will be the anchor tenant for the first floor of the building utilizing approximately 85,000 square feet. 

Media Contact: Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445

Two Memorials Scheduled for Slain Student, Jonathan Krueger

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 15:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2015) ‒ University of Kentucky students are grieving the loss of one of their own today. Jonathan Krueger, a 22-year-old UK junior from Perrysburg, Ohio, was shot early this morning as he walked home along Maxwell Street, near Transylvania Park. He later died at University of Kentucky Hospital.

Krueger was exceptionally close to two UK student groups, the Epsilon Omicron Chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the university’s student newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel. Krueger was an integrated strategic communications junior and Kentucky Kernel photo editor.

The fraternity has scheduled a candlelight vigil in memory of Krueger at the Newman Center, near campus, at 8 p.m. today.

The Kentucky Kernel staff invites the campus and Lexington communities to a second candlelight memorial at 8 p.m. Monday, April 20, at Memorial Hall Amphitheater. If it rains, plans have been made to open Memorial Hall for the ceremony.  

Attendees to the Monday event are invited to bring a favorite photograph of Krueger or a favorite photograph taken by him to celebrate his love of photography. The Kernel will also collect messages to deliver to Krueger’s family.

In a message released earlier today, the fraternity wrote, “Jonathan was an active Beta during his tenure in the Epsilon Omicron Chapter and had a way of putting a smile on everyone’s face, every single day. Jonathan could be found pursuing his dreams outside of Beta on the sidelines of a number of University of Kentucky sports. His passion for photography and athletics was great; his love for people was even greater.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302,

Coldstream Research Campus to Host Earth Day Cleanup

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 14:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2015) — In support of Earth Day and the national Keep America Beautiful campaign, the University of Kentucky Coldstream Research Campus and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government's Parks and Recreation Department are hosting a cleanup of the banks of the Cane Run Creek from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. 

Due to recent rains, high water has deposited a great deal of litter along the banks that are visible from the Legacy Trail bridges.Volunteers will pick up litter along the Legacy Trail between the interstate and Spindletop Hall. The cleanup will cover four bridges along a 1.5 mile stretch of the trail.

Volunteers will also sort trash and recyclables along the way. LFUCG will pick up bags from the trail the next business day.

UK Coldstream will provide bags, gloves, trash pickers, and water for all volunteers.

For more information or to sign up to volunteer, contact Jim Conner at 859-361-9253 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover,, 859-323-2395

UK Arts Administration Serves Up a Coffee and Donuts Fundraiser

Fri, 04/17/2015 - 14:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2015) — Tired of your everyday morning coffee routine? Start your day in a charitable way by participating in a coffee swap 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, in the Fine Arts Building.

UK Arts Administration Program students are asking people to "swap out" their morning coffee routine by giving what they would normally spend on a cup of coffee as a donation to the program. The suggested donation price is $5-$10. In return, participants will receive a cup of coffee and doughnuts.

This event is being hosted by students taking a "Fundraising for the Arts" class this semester. The students secured donations of coffee and donuts from local businesses in Lexington. The proceeds will go into a discretionary fund in the UK Arts Administration Program, which will support future students and faculty activities such as field trips and conferences.

The coffee swap will take place in the Fine Arts Building, right outside of the Guignol Theatre.

UK's Arts Administration Program, in the UK College of Fine Arts, is designed to prepare students for a future in the management of arts organizations. Students are provided with a strong liberal arts education, an understanding of the business world, and a comprehensive education in one of the four arts disciplines of art, music, dance and theatre.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;


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