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25-year Military Veteran's Next Mission: Teaching Middle Schoolers

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 18:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2015) — When in the military, once you learn and become proficient at something, you teach it to the people below you, according to retired Sgt. 1st Class David Gentry. That's what Gentry did — among many other duties — while serving in the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserves and Kentucky National Guard. And that experience led him to his next calling as an educator, a different kind of service to the citizens of Kentucky.

"I love seeing students' lights turn on when they get it and when they have a passion for the subject I'm teaching," said Gentry, who is currently student teaching at the Carter G. Woodson Academy and a student in the University of Kentucky College of Education.

While in the classroom, Gentry — a Lexington native, Bryan Station High School graduate and father of three young girls — draws on experience from his distinguished military career spanning 25 years.  

"I find that my military bearing helps in the classroom. Sometimes keeping middle schoolers on task is a full-time part of teaching. Plus, I can't really drop them and make them do push-ups," he joked.

In his first 10 years of active duty service, Gentry was an intelligence analyst serving in Hawaii, South Korea, Maryland and on the USNS Observation Island, a missile range instrumentation ship. He went on to serve six years in the Air Force Reserves as an aeromedical evacuation technician at the Andrews Air Force Base and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, deploying in 2003 and 2005, which included an assignment as NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge) of personnel at a tent hospital in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina.

Following his time in the Air Force Reserves, he joined the Kentucky National Guard, serving as a medical technician for three years and a first sergeant for the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron for the next six years.

In October of 2014, Gentry retired, but began a new mission at the University of Kentucky.

"While I was a medic, I started to pull away from the medical field, and since I volunteered at youth camps, I decided to move in to teaching," he said.

Gentry is on track to graduate from UK in May 2016 with a degree in middle level teacher education, specializing in social studies and science.

"I have been blessed to have great instructors in the middle school program," Gentry said. "What they have taught me is invaluable."

But many believe it's Gentry's service to the nation and students of Kentucky that is truly invaluable. 

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

UK Students Support Each Other Through 'Cats Pay it Forward Wall'

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 15:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov 11, 2015)  A UK student initiative to encourage a community of giving, the “Cats Pay It Forward” wall, is now hanging in the dining area adjacent to the  William T. Young Library Starbucks.

Earlier this semester, a student approached UK’s administration with an idea: he envisioned a simple platform that students could use to better support each other, and called it the Cats Pay It Forward wall.

The Cats Pay it Forward wall is a large cork board to which community members can pin donations, gift cards, meal tickets, pre-paid credit cards, and other items.  Anyone desiring assistance can simply and anonymously take any item from the wall that meets his or her needs, serving as a symbol of community and giving. 

This idea represents the vision that the UK community is here to uplift and support each other.

The Cats Pay It Forward wall opened Nov. 9 and will remain year round.

The Cats Pay It Forward wall was created by students and is supported by UK Dining, UK Bookstore, UKPD, Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, Office of Student Involvement and Student Organizations.

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

Air Force ROTC Cadets Run 29 Miles in Honor of POW/MIAs

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 15:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov 11, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Air Force ROTC Detachment 290 cadets commemorated POW/MIAs this past weekend with an annual 29-mile run from Lexington to Frankfort, Kentucky.

More than 100 AFROTC cadets and faculty from UK and the University of Louisville participated in the run along Old Frankfort Pike, including 18 cadets who ran the entire 29 miles. The Kentucky State Police, the Air Force Association, Boy Scouts of America Troop 457, Turning Point Church, Civil Air Patrol, Scott County JROTC, and the Navy Sea Cadets supported the runners along the route.

“We don't do this run for personal glorification, but in honor and remembrance of prisoners of war and of our comrades missing in action,” said Cadet Colonel Audrey Cochran, Cadet Wing Commander and UK senior. “The sacrifice we made as cadets by running those 29 painful miles will never parallel the sacrifice made by service members who cannot be here to run with us, but we use this opportunity to make sure POW/MIAs are never forgotten.”

The ran began at Barker Hall on UK's campus at 6 a.m. and concluded at noon with a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Frankfort. The event included the Rolling Thunder motorcycle group accompanying the runners the last four miles, a presentation from Quilts of Valor ® Foundation and the presentation of the colors by the Detachment 290 Honor Guard.

“Finishing the POW/MIA run was one of the hardest and most painful things that I have done, but it was also one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Cadet Brianna Arnold, a junior at UK. “I felt so proud to be representing the U.S. Air Force as we honored these soldiers by going through a little bit of pain, for all of the pain that they have been through. I would not have finished [the full 29 miles] if I had not kept my eyes on the American and POW flags that the cadets in front of us were carrying.”

In addition to the annual tradition of running 29 miles to honor the POWs and MIAs, this year, the cadets raised more than $1,400 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

For more information on Air Force ROTC, Detachment 290 at the University of Kentucky please visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859 323-2396;

Food, Flavor and Science: Neurogastronomy Symposium Begins Pursuit of Solutions for the Taste Impaired

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 13:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2015) — Two women, seated at a table, told their stories in quiet tones.  A group of chefs, some standing, others seated, leaned forward eagerly, clearly interested in what these two women had to say. They peppered the women with questions: did food taste better cold or hot?  Was texture an issue? Did a glass of wine before dinner help or hurt the flavor experience?

The women have both taken chemotherapy for their cancer.  One of them — Gina Mullin — will be taking chemotherapy every three weeks for the rest of her life. Both she and patient Jen Cooper tell heartbreaking stories about a side effect of chemotherapy that gets swept under the rug: food tastes terrible.

"Can you imagine how much quality of life you lose when you can't enjoy your food?" asked Cooper.

Chemotherapy, by design, kills all fast-growing cells in the body. As cancer cells die, so do all the healthy fast-growing cells, including the cells responsible for hair growth and taste buds.  So your hair falls out and everything tastes metallic. 

"Here they are, critically ill, needing good nutrition more than ever and they can't enjoy food? It's beyond unfair," said Dan Han, a neuropsychologist at the University of Kentucky.

Han has become an ardent advocate for the concept that quality of life issues — specifically, the enjoyment of food — should be measured as a clinical outcome for patients. A chance meeting in 2012 with internationally acclaimed chef Fred Morin brought the issue to his attention.

"Like most clinicians, when patients brought up the issue of reduced or distorted flavor perception (if they brought it up at all), I was sympathetic but not motivated, because there's not much we can do to help," said Han. 

But Morin, chef and owner of the legendary restaurant Joe Beef, is a bioengineer by training and hugely interested in the concept of neurogastronomy, which merges the science and culinary worlds by studying the human brain and the behavior that influences how we experience food. Morin encouraged Han to read a book by Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd, who coined the term in 2006. 

"I was hooked," said Han. "I knew that if we could bring together chefs, neuroscientists and food scientists to explore ways to help these patients enjoy a meal, break bread with family and friends and enjoy that process again, it would be a significant contribution to science and to life."

That chance meeting was the spark for the founding of the International Society of Neurogastronomy (ISN), and last week more than 200 scientists, patients, chefs, foodies and others gathered at UK for the inaugural ISN Symposium, sharing their knowledge and exploring opportunities to improve quality of life for people who have lost their perception of taste or smell due to cancer, brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or other neurological disorders.

The innovative event departed sharply from the typical academic symposium. There were no poster presentations, no prolonged scientific lectures. Instead, chefs such as Morin, "Next Iron Chef" finalist, and New York restaurateur Jehangir Mehta, and James Beard Foundation award finalist chef Ed Lee shared the podium with scientists including Shepherd, experimental psychologist Charles Spence, acclaimed physiologist Tim McClintock, agricultural researcher Bob Perry and many others for brief TED talk-style presentations that addressed every aspect of food, flavor, perception and health.

During breaks, participants were encouraged to visit eight tasting stations, where experiments demonstrated how the perception of flavor is shaped by more than just the tongue. Attendees wore blindfolds, sniffed scent jars, held their noses, and more while they sampled. At one station, tasters eating a pink cookie while listening to gentle music were astonished to learn that it was equally as sweet as the black cookie paired with harsh music.

The most emotional part of the day looped back to the conversation between the chefs and the cancer patients. Chefs were paired with neuroscientists and physicians to create two teams, which then competed in the "Applied Neurogastronomy Challenge "— a friendly competition to make food that appealed to Mullin and Cooper.

"Team Morin" prepared a chunky potato soup with a range of toppings to customize the flavor experience: diced potato and bacon, pulled chicken and ginger, garlic broccoli, and fried chicken skin with paprika. "Team Mehta" also took a mix and match approach, offering peppered scallops, grilled chicken and mustard lime halibut to be paired with chili jam, apple goji reduction, lemon marinated apples, carrot yogurt salsa, or a chocolate chili mole.

"I tried every dish, and it was really fun," said Mullin, who said the only time she cried during her diagnosis and treatment was the day she ordered two of her favorite restaurant dishes only to throw them away after one bite because they tasted so bad.

"Potato soup wins!" shouted Jen Cooper to widespread applause.  In truth, replied Leah Sarris, program director for the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University and a member of Team Morin, everyone won. 

"I learned so much from you, Jen and Gina, and it will inform the way I cook and teach others to cook," she said. "We read in books about how chemo affects taste, but your stories made it real."

While neurogastronomy, as a science, is still in its infancy, the symposium has opened the door to the flow of information and ideas among neuroscientists, culinary professionals, food scientists and agriculture scientists.  Participants were enthusiastic about the day's successes and the prospect for continued conversations that advance the science in the context of neurologically-related taste impairments, sustainability, disease prevention, and more.

"This really organically grew into something amazing, because people from such randomly different disciplines came together," said Han.  "The commonality that united us was to achieve better food, better flavor, better health, and better quality of life."

To view the symposium presentations, go to

Media contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307

UKAg, UT Collaborating to Study Organic Dairy Production

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 12:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2015) — Kentucky is home to nearly 30 organic dairies, and that number is expected to double in the next three to five years. Organic dairy producers have voiced frustration at the lack of research-based forage production information available. Recently, however, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment recently began a partnership with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture to conduct research that may fill the gap and help organic dairies strengthen their profitability.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $1.8 million grant to UT, and UK will subcontract nearly $500,000 of that amount to begin multidisciplinary research in the departments of Animal and Food Science, Agricultural Economics and Plant and Soil Sciences.

“The organic dairy industry is growing in our state, and we are excited to have this chance to do research that could boost their success,” said Ray Smith, UK forage specialist. “Kentucky organic dairy producers have some challenges finding a suitable forage combination that will work over an extended grazing season, and they have to be able to do it without using pesticides.”

Another challenge for organic dairy producers is finding a forage that will sustain a lactating cow.

“Lactating cows have high energy and protein requirements,” said Jeffrey Bewley, UK dairy specialist. “In organic dairy, these requirements are largely met through forages. Organic dairy cows also have different animal care needs that we need to understand better.”

Economically speaking, the demand for organic dairy products is on the rise. The USDA Economic Research Service recently reported that national sales of organic dairy products have increased from $2.14 billion in 2005 to $5.071 billion in 2014.

“The demand is there and represents an opportunity for dairy producers,” said Kenny Burdine, UK livestock marketing specialist. “Hopefully we’ll be able to figure out a way for organic dairies to efficiently produce more high-quality products and help producers who may be exploring the feasibility of transitioning to organic production.”

While the research is specifically targeted to identify forage combinations in pastures to benefit Southern organic dairy farmers, the benefits will reach beyond that.

“I think many of our results will be relevant to non-organic dairy systems as well,” Smith said. “Dairy producers who use pasture as part of their traditional dairy management system will likely see a benefit from these studies as well.”

The project will last four years. In addition to providing research-based information to organic dairy producers, the results will also contribute data to the Southeast Milk Quality Initiative study.

MEDIA CONTACT: Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707.

UK Extension Agent Named Professional of the Year

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 12:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2015) — Lora Lee Howard has been empowering Kentuckians to lead fuller, healthier lives since 1981 as a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Clay County. Recently, she received recognition for those efforts when the Joint Council of Extension Professionals named her the 2015 Family and Consumer Sciences Professional of the Year.

She received the honor at the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences annual meeting earlier this month in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

“I was very humbled to receive this honor,” she said. “I share this award with the businesses, organizations and individuals that work cooperatively and volunteer their time to provide successful programs to improve the well-being of families in Clay County.”

Through the years, Howard has spearheaded many programs and services from her Clay County base, and she has held many officer positions in professional development organizations. She’s also won numerous awards throughout her tenure in Cooperative Extension.

Howard has a long list of county programs she has initiated, many supporting women’s health and nutrition. She has encouraged women to take part in cancer screenings, exercise programs and financial health programs, and she played a key role in creating a leader’s guide for Green Gardening.

“Every educational program that Lora Lee presents is focused on improving not only the life of the individual participant, but the family as a whole,” said Louise Moore, UK Cooperative Extension District 2 director. “Whether it is teaching about nutrition, the importance of taking care of your health, increasing your physical activity or making handmade gifts, her programs provide tips on including the family in the activity, saving the family dollars or increasing family communication.”

The Joint Council of Extension Professionals was created in 1989 and is a partnership of professional extension organizations that focuses on strengthening the efforts of the member organizations and and accomplishes things jointly that cannot be accomplished individually.

The Professional of the Year award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated successful interdisciplinary teamwork and partnerships across program areas for program excellence throughout a significant part of their extension career.

“We are often told to find a job that we love and we will not work a day in our life; that happened to me,” said Howard. “My career as a family and consumer sciences agent has allowed me to work with many different individuals in a variety of roles to impact my community. I like to think that the work I am doing today will live on in the lives of the families and women impacting our community tomorrow and for years to come.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707.

UK Venture Studio's 2nd Entrepreneurship Hour Focuses on Local Game Development

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 11:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2015) — The UK Venture Studio, which is a part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship,   Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky, will be hosting its second Entrepreneurship Hour and Game Demo Day during Lexington's 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Week. This event is scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, and is being cosponsored by the UK Department of Computer Science. The session, to be held in Room 299 of the new Gatton building, will feature a panel of local game development companies discussing the growing independent game development industry in the region, as well as some of the games that their respective companies are currently developing.

This panel will include these companies which are based in Lexington:

·         FrogDice - an indie video game studio currently developing its newest game " Stash."

·         Gun Media - a video game designer and publisher which has produced games such as " Breach and Clear" and is currently in production with its newest product   " Friday the 13th : The Game."

·         Super Soul  - an award-winning digital arts studio with a diverse portfolio that includes PC, console and mobile video games, educational and training games, marketing materials, art installations and consultation.

·         RunJumpDev – a nonprofit organization of independent game developers created to grow and cultivate the local game development community in Kentucky. Seeded with the passion for creating games, the group hosts meetups, talks, and game jams in order to bolster its members’ skills and connections. The organization also strives to raise local awareness of game industry concerns.

Following the panel discussion, attendees will also have an opportunity to network with game developers, partake in some great food and play these companies' games in the new UK Venture Studio space. Also at the Game Demo participants will get to play games that are currently under development by members of the RunJumpDev organization.

This event is one of the many workshops and other special activities that are part of Lexington's fifth annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, which will take place from Nov. 16-22. This week of  events, is organized and hosted by the Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP), which is comprised of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network within the University of Kentucky's   Gatton College of Business and Economics, the Bluegrass Small Business Development Center and Commerce Lexington.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is an international initiative that celebrates today's innovators and creative thinkers, who bring ideas to life and foster economic growth and human development. During the week the BBDP will host informational panels, networking events, workshops, competitions and other events that focus on the entrepreneurial community of Lexington.

“The UK Venture Studio’s Entrepreneurship Hour and Game Demo Day are great additions to Lexington’s Global Entrepreneurship Week events and are just the latest examples of where university and community innovators and entrepreneurs can come together to network and celebrate an ever growing and flourishing Bluegrass entrepreneurial community,” said Warren Nash, director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network

This is a free event open to the entire university and Lexington communities, but registration is required. Register here.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;

Students, Faculty and Staff Invited to Provide Gifts this Holiday Season With Circle of Love

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 11:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2015)  As the holiday season quickly approaches, the University of Kentucky's Beyond the Blue program would like to invite all students, faculty and staff to take part in Circle of Love. Circle of Love kicked-off Nov. 2 and plans to bring a smile to many of the 600 underprivileged children in Lexington it will serve this year.

The Circle of Love program provides gifts to families who could use a little extra support during the holiday season. This program is sponsored through the UK Center for Community Outreach's Beyond the Blue program.

Participating in this event is easy, fun and can serve as a great community-building opportunity. 

The following provides instructions on how to get involved:

1)Pick up a wish list from the Center for Community Outreach (located in Room 361 of Blazer Hall) or in White Hall Classroom Building on the remaining days of Nov. 12, 13, 16 or 17. 

2) Hit the stores and shop to provide the child on your wish list with three to four gifts from the list. 

3) Return the gifts to the Presidents Room of the Singletary Center anytime from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

In addition, for individuals or organizations interested in volunteer service opportunities, Circle of Love is looking for volunteers to aid with both tabling and sorting events. Thirty minute times slots are now available to be filled between Nov. 30 - Dec. 4 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information and to volunteer, click here!

Circle of Love is a program housed in the UK Center for Community Outreach. The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote life-long community service.

For questions, e-mail

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett or Rebecca Stratton, or, (859) 257-1909/(859) 323-2395 

UK Hosts Wilderness First Responder Training Course at Raven Run

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 10:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2015) — The National Outdoor Leadership School’s Wilderness Medicine Institute is bringing their Wilderness First Responder Training Course back to the Bluegrass Jan. 2-10.

Sponsored by University of Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Science degree program in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the course will be held at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary in Lexington.

A wilderness first responder training course is essential for anyone pursuing a professional career in the outdoors. Wilderness medical certification is required for a variety of jobs and internships, including a position on a restoration crew, resident wilderness educator, internships in conservation and clean water, ecology, research and education and in schools for field studies.

“Working in a natural setting can mean spending extended periods of time in remote locations. Anyone thinking of such a career should consider taking this course,” said Geri Philpott, academic coordinator for Natural Resources and Environmental Science. “The wilderness first responder certification gives our students a leg up in the job market and prepares them for medical emergencies in the field. This is really the industry standard for educators, guides and trip leaders in the outdoors education field or outdoors recreation.”

The nine-day course is not just open to UK students, however. Participants from around the country came to Lexington the past two times UK offered the program. The training includes a comprehensive wilderness medicine curriculum that focuses on extended care and unique wilderness therapies. Participants will increase their medical knowledge, skills and confidence, and they will complete the course with the ability to make tough medical decisions in remote places.

Students will receive more than 80 hours of contact time, taught by experienced professionals using teaching methods that include both lectures and hands-on, experiential workshops and scenarios. One of the highlights of the course is a mock rescue at night, where students will experience what it takes to evacuate an injured or ill person from a backcountry setting.

Those who pass the written and practical exam at the conclusion of the course will receive a Wilderness Medicine Institute’s Wilderness First Responder two-year certification as well as a WMI Adult and Child CPR certification. Emergency medical technicians will earn a Wilderness EMT certification.

For more information or to register, go to or contact Geri Philpott at 859-257-2337 or The fee for the course is $650 for UK students, faculty and staff and $700 for non-UK participants. To ensure a place, registration is due by November 25.

MEDIA CONTACT: Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324.

Learn More About Gatton's MBA Programs This Friday at Noon

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 17:34

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Nov. 10, 2015) — The University of Kentucky's   Gatton College of Business and Economics, in partnership with the UK Alumni Association, is presenting a convenient way to learn more about Gatton's MBA programs at noon this Friday, Nov. 13.

"Have You Ever Considered an MBA?" is a free, one-hour webinar which is part of a series of Alumni Career Services programs offered through the university. You will be able to get more information about the long-term benefits of having an MBA and how it is useful in the workplace. Gatton College MBA representatives will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

To register, click here. Or, you can visit, or call Gatton MBA Recruitment Director Christopher Carney at 859-257-7645.

MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;

Lexus for the Little Ones Raffle Improves Patient Facilities at KCH

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 16:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2015) — On Dec. 10, a lucky ticket holder will walk away with a new 2016 Lexus ES 350 because they chose to support Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) through the third annual Lexus for the Little Ones raffle.

Every raffle ticket sold through Lexus of Lexington will improve facilities for children receiving treatment at KCH. Lexus of Lexington has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 for the 2015 raffle. Lexus of Lexington sponsors the Ocean Pod, a section of aquatic-themed patient rooms at KCH.

“Giving back to the community has always been an important part of our business, and who better to support than KCH, the pediatric care center that takes care of Kentucky’s kids,” Lexington businessman Rick Avare, co-owner of Lexus of Lexington, said.

Raffle tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at, in person by visiting the Lexus dealership on 1264 E. New Circle Road, or by contacting the KCH Development office at (859) 257-1179. There is no limit on the number of tickets purchased, and ticket holders do not have to be present to win. A maximum of 1,000 tickets will be sold. The drawing will be held at 1 p.m. in Pavilion A of the UK Chandler Hospital on Dec. 10.

“Lexus of Lexington’s annual raffle has allowed us to create a more vibrant and kid-friendly care environment at KCH,” Dr. Carmel Wallace, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, said. “The improvements in our facilities made possible by their fundraising contributions have benefited everyone at the hospital, from our patients and families to our providers.”

The KCH Development office welcomes groups or individuals who would like to sell raffle tickets to family, friends and colleagues. If your group is interested, please contact Chloe Hurley at (859) 859-257-1121 or 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Two UK Vocalists Named Ky. Met Audition Winners, Advance to Regional

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 16:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2015) — Two University of Kentucky vocalists, doctoral student Shareese Arnold and vocal performance senior Mary Catherine Wright, were among the four winners of the Kentucky District Auditions of the Metropolitan (Met) Opera National Council Auditions held Nov. 7, at Memorial Hall.

The two UK Opera Theatre sopranos are still in the running to sing on the Metropolitan Opera stage, and their next audition will be at the Mid-South Regional round of auditions being held Feb. 6, 2015, at the Germantown Performing Arts Center in Germantown, Tennessee. Joining them will be fellow district winners Nicolette Book, a student at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Ashley Dannewitz, of Charleston, West Virginia. Traditionally, only one singer from each regional round will advance to the national semi-finals in New York.

Soprano Shareese Arnold, of Sheffield, Alabama, has several opera production credits. Prior to coming to UK, she had performed the title roles of "Suor Angelica" with Converse Opera Theatre and "Madama Butterfly" at Indiana University, as well as Marschallin in "Der Rosenkavalier," Agathe in "Der Freischütz," Bess in "Porgy and Bess" and the Sorceress in "Dido and Aeneas" with Converse College. In addition to opera, Arnold is an avid performer of sacred works and song recitals. She was a featured soloist in Johannes Brahms' "Ein Deutches Requiem" and Benjamin Britten’s "World of the Spirit" while at Indiana. Arnold is also a recipient of the Ursula Springer Endowment Award from the Wagner Society of New York.

Kentucky audiences will remember Arnold from her performance as Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni." Arnold, who holds a bachelor's degree from Converse College and a master's degree from Indiana University, is a previous recipient of the Encouragement Award at the Kentucky District Auditions. She currently studies with Cynthia Lawrence, professor of voice and Endowed Chair of Vocal Performance at UK School of Music.

A native of Lexington, soprano Mary Catherine Wright was the first-place winner of the 2012 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. In November 2014, she was also an Encouragement Award winner at the Kentucky District Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions. Most recently, Wright traveled to Prague to perform Zerlina in "Don Giovanni" at the Estates Theatre in July. Wright made her made her professional debut as Nuria in Osvaldo Golijov's "Ainadamar" in April 2015 with the Lexington Philharmonic and UK Opera Theatre. She is a past recipient of first place honors in both the musical theatre and classical divisions of regional and divisional NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) competitions, first place at the Peterson Undergraduate Vocal Competition in November 2014, and a national finalist at the Classical Singer Conventions in New York and California.

Kentucky audiences will remember Wright in such roles as Olympia in the "The Tales of Hoffmann," Johanna in "Sweeney Todd," the Princess in UK's premiere of "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and Suor Genovieffa in "Suor Angelica." She is currently covering the role of Despina in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte." Wright studies with Everett McCorvey, director of UK Opera Theatre and the OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies.

The two Kentucky District Auditions Encouragement Awards were presented to UK vocalists as well. The individuals presented with this honor were 2008 and 2011 UK graduate Amanda Balltrip, director of Vocal Education at McNeil Voice Studio in Somerset, Kentucky; and voice performance junior Thabang Masango, of Pretoria, South Africa.

The highly acclaimed UK Opera Theatre program is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. For more information on the program, visit online at

The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions program provides a venue for young opera singers from all over the U.S. to be heard by a representative of the Met. Applicants prepare a minimum of five operatic arias in their original language; selections must demonstrate contrasting style as well as languages. Upon completing the audition, candidates are given the opportunity to meet with the judges personally to discuss matters of evaluation and advice.

The Met holds the auditions to discover new talent and to search for possible participants in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. The Lindemann program, designed to nurture the most talented young artists through training and performance opportunities, provides financial aid together with supervised artistic direction to the young artists.

The district level is the first stage of the three-tiered audition process, and contestants can choose to compete in any district regardless of their place of residence. There is no set number of singers to advance to compete in the regional with roughly 1,500 singers participating each year in the 16 regions across the country. Regional finals for this area include participants from the Kentucky, Arkansas, Middle/East Tennessee, North Alabama and West Tennessee/Mississippi districts. Winners at the regional level advance to the National Council Auditions Semi-Finals in New York in the spring. Only eight to 10 singers are selected as national finalists and perform in the Winners Concert at the Met.

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

UK’s Administrative Fundraising Office to Become 'Office of Philanthropy' - A First Among Major Public Research Universities

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 15:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2015)  The University of Kentucky’s administrative fundraising office, formerly known as the Office of Development, will soon become the Office of Philanthropy, making it perhaps the first major public research institution in the nation to do so, announced D. Michael Richey, UK vice president for development and chief development officer. The new name will take effect Wednesday, Nov. 11.

“Philanthropy is assuming a greater leadership role at the University of Kentucky as it has played a significant part historically funding the Markey Cancer Center and more recently the Gatton College of Business Building, Student Center, Academic Science Building, the future Lewis Honors College and many more capital projects and academic programs, and will provide noteworthy and measurable resources toward funding UK’s recently approved Strategic Plan,” said UK President Eli Capilouto.

“In light of this enhanced role, UK’s philanthropy program is evolving as a voice of philanthropy for the university, our community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Capilouto. “Becoming the Office of Philanthropy allows UK to create and encourage a new culture of private investment in our mission. Philanthropy unifies us as a community of scholars as we embrace our Commonwealth and its dreams, needs, challenges and opportunities. At UK, philanthropy provides opportunities throughout the lifetime of our alumni — from cradle to grave — and creates roaring advocates for our institution and state.”

During 2015, UK has received its two largest gifts from philanthropists and UK alumni Bill Gatton and Tom Lewis, amounting to nearly $44 million. According to Richey, last fiscal year, 54,275 donors made 101,277 gifts to UK, the first time the university has topped the 100,000 mark. UK secured record results in both gift receipts of $118.2 million and in new commitments received more than $168.3 million.

Richey noted that the word “development” has several connotations, thereby often leading to prospective donors’ confusion.

“Renaming the office is more than changing the name on a building, letterhead or business card,” said Richey. “Becoming the Office of Philanthropy better clarifies what we do as professionals and how we interact with current and prospective donors on behalf of the University of Kentucky.”

“For many, development can be attributed to other aspects of a university such as student development, career development, and even construction and facilities,” said Richey. “Philanthropy, on the other hand, more clearly defines the mission of our office.  For the public, UK’s philanthropy represents the quality and condition of our institutional heart. We care for people. We desire to make a difference in the lives of all Kentuckians by improving their quality of life. We are committed to being donor centered and principle driven.”

Richey said that with this move, he believes the Office of Philanthropy will further establish itself as a national, if not global, model among colleges and universities as he anticipates others favoring the use of "philanthropy" over "development."

Sue Cunningham, president of Washington, D.C.-based Council for Advancement and Support of Education, one of the world's largest nonprofit educational associations in higher education, praised UK for its decision.

“The University of Kentucky is to be congratulated on the changing of the name of its Office of Development to the Office of Philanthropy,” said Cunningham. “UK demonstrates a spirit of innovation through this renaming, placing further emphasis on the importance of philanthropic support and donor engagement in the advancement and support of education. It is this passionate commitment to the furtherance of education that is transforming lives and impacting the world.”

A formal announcement of the renaming will be made Wednesday by Capilouto at UK’s newest dining facility, The 90, in conjunction with National Philanthropy Week. A brunch will follow with guest speaker and author of the soon-to-be-released book, "The Almanac of American Philanthropy," Karl Zinsmeister, vice president of The Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

MEDIA CONTACT: Marc C. Whitt (859) 257-7825;

Indie Rockers Helio Sequence Come to UK Campus

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 15:52

Video for "Battle Lines" by The Helio Sequence.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov 10, 2015) — An exciting evening lies ahead for the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass as the Oregon dream pop duo The Helio Sequence comes to town. The Helio Sequence concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Singletary for the Center for the Arts. Local band Idiot Glee will open for The Helio Sequence.   

The Helio Sequence is a duo whose music can be described as indie rock, electronic and neo-psychedelic rock forming a high fidelity kaleidoscopic sound. The band consists of two members, Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel, who formed the band in 1999 in Beaverton, Oregon. The group is currently signed to the Seattle's Sub Pop Records.

Currently, The Helio Sequence is touring to promote their latest self-titled album. This is their fourth album with this record label; they have released seven albums total plus their debut EP in 1999.

The latest album is described as "A collection that depends upon an effortless kinetic energy. Crisscrossing vocals and cross-talking guitars and drums map a broad swirl of emotions. There's a delightful candor to The Helio Sequence an openness that is a rare and special feat for a brand about to enter its third decade." 

This concert is presented by the Singletary Center in conjunction with media sponsors WRFL. Tickets for The Helio Sequence concert are $20 and can be purchased at the Singletary Center box office at 859-257-4929, on their website at, or in person at the box office. Processing fees will be added to all transactions upon purchase. Student rush tickets will be available for this concert for $10 with a valid student ID beginning 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, exclusively at the Singletary Center box office.

A part of the UK College of Fine Arts, the Singletary Center for the Arts presents and hosts around 400 artistic, cultural and educational event annually for the university community, Lexington community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

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

Inside Higher Ed Publishes Op-ed by UK's Thelin

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 15:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2015) — John Thelin, professor of educational policy studies and evaluation in the University of Kentucky College of Education, authored an opinion piece on perpetual endowments published Nov. 5 in Inside Higher Ed.  

In the piece, headlined "Forever Is a Long, Long Time," Thelin said colleges should rethink perpetual endowments that honor the donor but thwart good stewardship today.

"Endowments need to be reconceived as organic, comparable to the college’s garden," Thelin wrote. "As such, they need continual care in weeding and seeding."

He invites higher education institutions to consider working with donors so that each gift has an appropriate life span to accomplish a worthy and timely educational goal.

Thelin, whose teaching and research interests focus on the history of higher education and public policy, is co-author, with Richard Trollinger, of "Philanthropy and American Higher Education."

To read the opinion piece, visit

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

PTS Offers Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 14:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2015) — University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is making Thanksgiving travel easier for students by offering complimentary shuttle service from campus to the Blue Grass Airport prior to the break.

The shuttle, which is in its twelfth year of operation, will operate Monday, Nov. 23 through Wednesday, Nov. 25, with daily campus pick-up times of 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Students should plan to leave campus at least two hours prior to take-off.

Although the shuttle is free, reservations are required. To schedule a pick-up, students should submit a ride request through the form found here: Ride requests should be submitted at least two business days in advance.

A PTS representative will email to confirm the pick-up time. Students are responsible for their own transportation back to campus.

For more information visit the PTS website.

Binge Eating Disorder Can Be Treated

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 14:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2015) — When most people hear the term "eating disorder," they usually think of anorexia or bulimia nervosa. While anorexia and bulimia are more commonly recognized, doctors are concerned about a different kind of eating disorder that is on the rise.

Binge-eating disorder, or BED, is a disorder characterized by excessive overeating. Though it is common to overindulge occasionally, especially around the holidays, those with BED are plagued with insatiable cravings that lead to recurrent episodes of intense overconsumption. Unlike the binge and purge aspect of bulimia, those with BED do not try to compensate for the caloric intake by excessive exercise or induced vomiting.

Symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

·         Eating unusually large amounts of food in short periods of time

·         Feeling like your eating behavior is out of control

·         Eating when full or not hungry

·         Frequently eating alone or in secret

·         Feeling guilty about binge episodes

BED is quickly becoming the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder in the United States, affecting one in 35 people. More than six million people have been diagnosed with BED since the American Psychological Association first recognized it as a disorder in 2013. BED is what doctors call an ‘equal opportunity’ disease. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, which more commonly affects women, or body dysmorphic disorder, which is seen more in men, binge eating disorder tends to occur equally among the sexes.  

Though doctors and psychologists are unsure of what triggers binge eating disorder, they have noticed increased prevalence in those with a history of depression or dieting and weight fluctuation, and/or a family history of eating disorders. Young adults are also more likely to suffer from eating disorders.

Since binge eating disorder is treated as a mental illness, other psychiatric disorders are often linked with BED. The most common are depression and anxiety. Obesity is also frequently associated with BED and can cause other medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

If you or someone you know shows signs of binge eating disorder, encourage them to talk to a physician or psychologist. BED is very treatable through medication, lifestyle changes, and/or psychotherapy.

Lori Molenaar, APRN, is a member of the Eating Disorder Treatment Team at the University of Kentucky's University Health Service.

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 

The New Yorker Explores Work of Brent Seales

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 08:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2015) — As Brent Seales and a group of international collaborators meet today at the University of Kentucky for a “Herculaneum Summit” to discuss future plans of their work, readers across the world are exploring the progress they have made thus far. A story published online today in The New Yorker delves into the group’s mission to digitally reveal text in an ancient Herculaneum scroll. 

The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library,” written by John Seabrook, chronicles the journey Seales, professor and chair of the UK Department of Computer Science, and others began embarking on several years ago. The journey to do what was once thought impossible: read text inside a 2,000-year old scroll without opening it.

Seabrook asks his readers if digital technology can make the Herculaneum scrolls legible after 2,000 years. Seales believes the answer is yes.

“As Seales worked on more manuscripts, he realized that what he had thought of as a two-dimensional problem was really three-dimensional. As a writing surface ages, it crinkles and buckles. If Seales could design software that reverse-engineered that aging process with an algorithm—‘something like the stuff that lets you see the flag waving in reverse,’ as he put it— he might be able to virtually flatten the manuscript,” Seabrook wrote.

Seales accomplished that feat recently with another ancient manuscript, the Ein Gedi scroll, by revealing the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus through the software he and his team developed.

Weaving in past efforts to reveal the Herculaneum text with that of Seales and his collaborators today, The New Yorker piece explains the history behind the scroll and the strides made so far.

But where Seabrook’s story ends is where the Herculaneum project’s next chapter begins. This week, Seales is hosting Daniel Delattre, Vito Mocella, Emmanuel Brun and Claudio Ferrero on UK's campus to plan what’s next in their undertaking to bring back writings from an ancient world.

To read The New Yorker story, visit

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

UK College of Nursing Celebrates 50 Years of the Nurse Practitioner Profession

Sun, 11/08/2015 - 17:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2015) — Fifty years ago, the first nurse practitioners program was established at the University of Colorado. Today, more than 205,000 nurse practitioners are licensed to practice in United States.

The University of Kentucky College of Nursing joins the nation in marking 50 years of the nurse practitioner profession during National Nurse Practitioners Week, Nov. 8-14. The college offers a doctor of nursing practice program, which prepares nurse practitioners to design, implement, manage, evaluate and lead health care delivery systems at the highest level.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, National Nurse Practitioners Week celebrates the profession and reminds legislative leaders of the importance of removing barriers that limit the ability of nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their license. Nurse practitioners are expert clinicians with advanced education and clinical training to provide primary, acute and specialty health care services.

These professionals combine expertise diagnosing and treating disease with an emphasis on prevention and health management.  Nurse practitioners partner with patients to guide decisions and lifestyle choices, which is why an estimated 916 million Americans choose to visit a nurse practitioner every year.

“I know I can speak for the college and for the community when I say that our nurse practitioners are exceptional nurse leaders and we are grateful for their service,” Janie Heath, dean of the UK College of Nursing and Warwick Professor of Nursing, said. “This week is a reminder to celebrate the selflessness of these health care providers and recognize the care that they have given to so many patients.”

For more information about Nurse Practitioners week, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabth Adams,

UK Phi Kappa Phi Chapter's Annual Induction is Tonight

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 17:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi will induct a total of 46 new members this evening in ceremonies at the William T. Young Library's UK Athletics Auditorium.

Forty-two students together with four faculty and community honorees will be welcomed into the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a reception next door in the UK Alumni Association Gallery for the new initiates together with family and friends.

The faculty and community inductees are:

·         Roszalyn Akins, an educator in Fayette County Schools for more than 30 years and dean of students at Carter G. Woodson Academy.

·         Sonja Feist-Price, assistant provost for faculty affairs at UK and coordinator for the Kentucky ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education. 

·         Lawrence Prybil, the Norton Professor in Healthcare Leadership at UK's College of Public Health.

·         Buck Ryan, associate professor of journalism and director of the Citizen Kentucky Project at UK's Scripps Howard First Amendment Center.

The mission of Phi Kappa Phi, which was founded in 1897, is "to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."

Membership is strictly determined by the standards set forth in the society’s bylaws. Juniors must be in the top 7.5 percent of their class, seniors in the top 10 percent of their class, and graduate students in the top 10 percent of their class.

The characteristic of Phi Kappa Phi that makes it unique among the leading honor societies is its policy of electing undergraduate and graduate members from all schools, divisions, or departments of the institution. Faculty, professional staff, alumni and community members who have achieved scholarly distinction also may qualify.

Strong participation by members in campus and national activities over the past year resulted in UK's PKP Chapter being named a 2015 Chapter of Excellence by the national organization. This is the third time the UK chapter, in only its seventh year of existence after being chartered in the spring of 2009, has received the 'excellence' distinction. The chapter has twice earned Chapter of Merit designation, as well.

The most recent example of the UK chapter's rapid rise to prominence among the more than 300 chapters across the country is the awarding of a competitive PKP fellowhsip worth $5,000 to May 2015 UK graduate Christina Zeidan, a double major in political science and anthropology at the university who is now studying law at Emory University in Atlanta.

History of University of Kentucky Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Award Recipients


2015 Christina Zeidan

2014 Dominique Luster

2012 Taylor Lloyd

2011 Jenna Brashear

Study Abroad Grant

2012 Brittany Kidwell

Love of Learning Award

2014 Sarah Ehrensberger

2013 Demetrius Abshire

Literacy Grant

2012 Heather Davis

Nationally, Phi Kappa Phi's robust award programs give more than $1 million each biennium to qualifying students and members through fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, grants for literacy initiatives, and member and chapter awards. To learn more about these programs, visit

"The University of Kentucky Chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi continues to distinguish itself nationally," said UK Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Frank Ettensohn, president of PKP on the UK campus. "The recognition received this year is a credit to the exceptional women and men who have become active members of the UK chapter."

For more information on the UK Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, go to, or visit

Phi Kappa Phi is supported by The Chellgren Center which is part of the Academy for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.

MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;


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