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WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Talks About UK in Appalachia

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 18:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  This week News Director Alan Lytle guest hosts and visits with UK President Eli Capilouto about the new "Rooted in our Communities" Appalachian initiative recently launched by the university. 

To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit

"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.

Kentucky, UK Help Establish $259 Million Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 18:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2015) – As part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, President Obama today announced the launch of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), and the Commonwealth and University of Kentucky as core partners of the institute.  

In efforts to drive the use of advanced polymer composite materials, create jobs, and boost American manufacturing, the U.S. Department of Energy selected the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to become a national institute aimed at creating better composite materials and technologies for rapid deployment within the automotive, wind turbine and compressed gas storage industries, according to the department's news release.

IACMI, selected through a competitive process led by the Advanced Manufacturing Office within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is the fifth named institute of the President's National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

The public-private partnership was selected through a competitive process led by the Advanced Manufacturing Office within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The DOE Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute’s award is supported by a $70 million federal commitment over five years combined with an equal or greater amount in non-federal resources, according to the news release.

“Kentucky is proud to help establish the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “Our economy is built on innovation, and this partnership will put the Commonwealth in a great position to create jobs, boost manufacturing and develop the products of tomorrow.”

"Being part of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) is both a great honor and a great opportunity for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the University of Kentucky," said John Walz, dean of the UK College of Engineering. "The funds from this grant, together with support from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, will benefit composite-based manufacturing companies in Kentucky plus support basic and applied research at UK."

As core partners, UK along with the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Purdue University, Michigan State University, University of Dayton Research Institute and their respective states, are the founding partners that helped establish IACMI and are essential to the successful management and operation of IACMI.

UK's research will focus on producing low cost, high strength carbon fibers for lightweight composite structures for improved vehicle energy efficiency.  

“Through the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), UK offers unique capabilities for research-scale fiber manufacturing of novel precursors for carbon fiber, providing an important contribution to the Institute," said Dr. Matthew Weisenberger, UK CAER associate director for carbon materials and principal investigator. “Along with our partners, we look forward to aiding the progress of the American composite manufacturing industry, and training future leaders in the area of fiber manufacturing and composites.”

The six partner states and members, including more than 90 companies across the supply chain, commit to $189 million in additional contributions to the institute.

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

Strategies for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 16:35

LEXINGTON, Ky (Jan. 12, 2015) -- Another one of our most joyful seasons has passed, and we start to wonder if our low energy levels and our not so merry moods are a result of trying to create the perfect holiday or worrying about the financial pressures from gift giving. While it might be a simple case of holiday blues, it could actually be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) -- also known as seasonal depression.

Approximately 10 percent of Americans suffer from SAD.  Although it is unknown how many of these individuals may also suffer from holiday blues or a combination of both, the symptoms can be very similar.  Symptoms typically associated with SAD include irritability, low energy, hypersensitivity to rejection, sense of hopelessness, sluggishness/heaviness in arms or legs, oversleeping, social withdrawal, craving foods and beverages with high carbohydrates, and weight gain.

The specific cause for SAD is unknown but a contributing factor is lack of sunlight.  During the change of seasons lack of sunlight can disrupt the circadian rhythm (biological clock) and cause chemical imbalances with serotonin, a brain chemical /neurotransmitter impacting moods, and melatonin, a hormone impacting sleep patterns.  The obvious factor that increases the risk for SAD is living far from the equator where there is less daylight, but others include being female, being a younger age adult, and having a family history of SAD. 

The good news is that SAD is treatable.  Several lower level treatment interventions for SAD include making the environment warm and bright, spending time outside, and exercising.  Higher-level treatment interventions include phototherapy to mimic natural outdoor light, medication such as extended-release antidepressants, and counseling to manage stress and reframe negative thoughts and behaviors.

There is no way to prevent SAD, but you can manage symptoms before they worsen. Exercise releases naturally occurring feel-good hormones called endorphins. Smoking and heavy drinking disrupt chemical balances and can exacerbate symptoms, so avoiding tobacco and alcohol can help.  

If symptoms of depression continue or elevate to the point of suicidal thoughts, seek immediate professional help.

There are many types of health care providers, including advanced practice nurses and nurse researchers, who are integrating preventive measures and treatment interventions to improve health and wellness of those suffering from SAD. Often a dose of the basics: getting adequate sleep, consuming healthy foods and beverages and obtaining regular exercise is the best prescription for a happy and healthy life.  

Janie Heath, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, Warwick Professor and dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, is a national leader in nursing education, advanced practice and healthcare outreach research.

This column appeared in the January 11, 2015, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

UK Confucius Institute and Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues Host Sino-U.S. Media Seminar

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 14:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Confucius Institute and the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the UK College of Communication and Information, along with the Community Edition of the XinMin Evening News, the largest evening newspaper in Shanghai, is hosting the second Sino-U.S. Community Media Seminar Friday, Jan. 9, at the UK Boone Center. The seminar was preceded by a visit to the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Danville Advocate-Messenger on Thursday.

You You, a professor at Shanghai University and a visiting scholar with the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues in 2012-13, proposed the event after researching the relationship of the Manchester Enterprise to its readership in Clay County. Chinese newspapers are developing community editions to increase their readership, market share and income, and many government officials see community newspapers as a way to achieve their goals for their jurisdictions. The first Sino-U.S. Community Media Seminar was held in Shanghai in the spring of 2013.

About 12 Chinese journalists and newspaper executives, plus six local Chinese government officials, are joining about 25 American journalists and academics for the seminar. Participants from UK include Dean Dan O'Hair, College of Communication and Information; Beth Barnes, professor and director of the School of Journalism and telecommunications; Zixue Tai, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications; Huajing Maske, director of the UK Confucius Institute, and Jie Dai, staff member of the Confucius Institute.

“While the United States and China have very different government and media systems, it’s important for people of those systems in the nations with the world’s two largest economies to understand how the other country operates,”  said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. “The institute is very happy to help Chinese editors and publishers understand the workings of community journalism in the U.S., where it is probably stronger than anywhere else in the world. Also, connections with China are UK’s top international priority.”

The event is by invitation only, but a free discussion by the participants on Friday afternoon will be videotaped for later broadcast. It will be moderated by Buck Ryan, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, and Bill Goodman, host of public affairs programs on Kentucky Educational Television. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or  

UK Welcomes Students, Staff From Universities Across the Country This Weekend

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 12:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2015) — The UK campus is coming back to life this weekend as college students from around the country visit Lexington to sharpen their hospitality skills for when they welcome visitors to their own campuses. 

UK’s Office of Enrollment Management is hosting the second annual Collegiate Information and Visitor Services (CIVSA) Student Development Institute Friday and Saturday. 

More than 60 professional staff members who work in campus visitor and information services across the United States will teach over 150 college students who serve as ambassadors, tour guides and information center staff members at their institutions.  Attendees represent institutions from 25 states and the District of Columbia.

“We’re very honored to be hosting these students and staff members for the 2015 Student Development Institute,” said Stephen Barnett, senior associate director of admission and senior associate registrar at UK.  “It’s very exciting to see college students showcasing their experiences as tour guides and ambassadors at their institutions while also learning how they can better themselves in the work they’re doing.“

CIVSA is a professional association for staff members working to coordinate campus visits and provide information services to visitors on college campuses.  The association comprises more than 300 institutions both inside and outside the United States. The University of Kentucky has been a long-standing member of the association and also hosted the 2010 Annual Conference in Lexington. 

“On behalf of CIVSA, we are thrilled to come to Lexington for our Student Development Institute and we’re grateful for the work that has taken place to make this event a success,” said CIVSA President Cindy Singley, from Auburn University.  “The University of Kentucky hosted our 2010 Annual Conference and we couldn’t be happier to bring our students back to the Bluegrass to take in the great hospitality and experiences that Lexington and its people have to offer.”

During their time in Lexington, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in educational sessions with topics that include everything from leadership development and tour guide management to working with special populations and staff selection, training and evaluation.  They will also take tours of Lexington, the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University as a part of the program.   

“We’ll see a large exchange of ideas among the students and staff and along the way we hope they enjoy the hospitality and sites of Lexington and our campus,” Barnett said.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Amy Jones-Timoney, (859) 257-2940,

UK Talents Featured in Bluegrass Opera Premiere of Long-lost Operetta

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 11:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2015) — The Bluegrass Opera will take to the stage next weekend at the Lexington Opera House to present the world premiere of "Illyria," a long-lost operetta that marries William Shakespeare's classic comedy "Twelfth Night" with music in the rich, entertaining style of Gilbert and Sullivan. The production features the talents of several members of the University of Kentucky community.

Composed in 1933 by William Theodore Diebels, professor of music at Washington University in St. Louis, with a libretto by his son-in-law, English professor Maurice Hartmann, "Illyria" calls for a cast of more than 25 and an orchestra of more than 35. It was originally scheduled to be premiered in summer stock in the 1930s, but the production never materialized due to events during the Great Depression.

The Bluegrass Opera's production, designed by Bill Barto and directed by UK School of Music alumnus Lorne Dechtenberg, will mark the first time the work has ever been performed.

"We're incredibly honored and excited to bring 'Illyria' to the stage for the first time," said Dechtenberg, who has held the baton at The Bluegrass Opera since its inception in 2008. "This will be our largest and most complex production ever, and it wouldn't be possible without the incredible cast and crew who have come together to make it happen. Not only is this production a dream-come-true for generations of the Diebels-Hartmann family, it's also a funny, memorable, and all-around great show that we feel deserves to be seen and enjoyed more, and we're hopeful that the exposure we give it will help lead to more performances."

Diebels (1875-1940) was an accomplished organist, composer and conductor who emigrated to the U.S. from Holland around the turn of the 20th century. In addition to teaching, he was recognized for his work as music director of the Cathedral of St. Louis. 

Hartmann (1906-1978) was married to Diebels' daughter, Helen, and was a specialist in Elizabethan verse (he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the work of Edmund Spenser, a 16th century English poet laureate and contemporary of Shakespeare). While not a musician himself, Hartmann shared Diebels' strong sense of faith; his contributions to his church and community were such that he was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal by Pope Paul VI in 1971.

Family of the composer and librettist will be in attendance at The Bluegrass Opera production.

The cast of "Illyria" includes such Central Kentucky theatre fixtures as Rachel Lee Rogers; Bill Barto, former president and director of Studio Players; and Eric Seale, former artistic director of Actors Guild of Lexington.

The production also includes a number of veterans from The Bluegrass Opera, such as Alice Jones, who originated the lead role of Claire in "Face Value" in 2011 and directed "A Tree on the Plains" the following year, and Jim Smith, who has appeared in 11 of the company's productions, as well as rising stars Caleb Leonard, who played the title role in "Kelpie," and Elizabeth Maines, who created the title role in "Lady Windermere's Fan".

UK is also well represented in the production — most notably by alumni Gordon Earl Thomas and Dena Sullivan-Smith, fresh off a recent appearance at New York's National Opera Center, as well as theatre student Tucker Keel and Michael Bratcher, of UK HealthCare Information Technology.

The Bluegrass Opera is a nonprofit performing arts company that specializes in the performance of new and under-recognized musical stage works and that is dedicated to training the next generation of American theatre artists. Founded in 2008, it is the only professional company of its kind in the country.

"Illyria" will be presented 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16 and 17, at the Lexington Opera House. General admission tickets are $30, and $15 for students with a valid ID. For tickets, visit The Bluegrass Opera website,, or call at 859-940-9379.

The UK School of Music and UK Department of Theatre and Dance are housed at UK College of Fine Arts, which is also home to the university's School of Art and Visual Studies and Arts Administration Program.

High School Student Publishes Research with UK Faculty

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 10:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2014) – Publishing research in a peer-reviewed journal is an accomplishment that even graduate students would be proud of. But 18-year-old Dimitri Leggas, a high school senior at the Gatton Academy in Bowling Green, Kentucky, already has one such accolade under his belt, with another manuscript recently submitted for publication.

Leggas worked with University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy research faculty Dr. Oleg Tsodikov on a project involving crystallography for much of last year. His research focused on developing a new mathematical tool to determine atomic structure of molecules, which help scientists determine how drugs and enzymes in the human body work.

"It was an opportunity to get to do a research project that was meaningful," Leggas said. "It was a good -- and fun -- experience."

Leggas was the second author on a publication in Acta Crystallographica A (also known as Foundations of Crystallography), and recently submitted his second publication for review -- this time as a first author. Publishing work as a first author is unusual even for undergraduate students, much less someone still in high school.

"It's fairly rare; I think Dimitri's intellect is on par with graduate-level students," Tsodikov said. "I didn't have to 'dumb down' much for him."

Leggas' research acumen also helped to catapult him into the national semifinals of the 2014 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. The Siemens Competition is known as the nation’s premier research program for high school students. This year the competition received a record 1,780 projects from nearly 4,500 students for consideration. Approximately 400 contestants were named semifinalists.

In addition to his research at the University of Kentucky, Leggas has conducted research with Jeremy Maddox, an assistant professor in the Western Kentucky University Department of Chemistry, since starting as a Gatton Academy student. Additionally, he is involved in a project with Claus Ernst, University Distinguished Professor in the WKU Department of Mathematics.

Despite his busy school schedule, Leggas, the son of UK College of Pharmacy faculty member Mark Leggas, says he tries to make time for other activities to unwind, including chess and ping-pong. But, he notes, he recently earned himself another accomplishment early in November.

"My dad and I just ran a marathon," he said. "So that was fun."

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or

UK Operating on Regular Schedule Today

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 06:16

The University of Kentucky is open and operating on a regular schedule today, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Offices and UK HealthCare hospitals and clinics are operating normally.

UK Center for Leadership Development to Host Nonprofit Leadership Expert

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 19:01

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Jan. 8, 2015) – The Center for Leadership Development in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, will welcome Robert Long as the 2015 W. Norris Duvall Leader in Residence Feb. 23-27. Long is currently the visiting Distinguished Professor of the Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program at Murray State University and serves as senior fellow at Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation.

The Leader in Residence program is a five-day event that brings to the UK campus nationally and world renowned leaders known for their ethical style of decision-making and for their focus on youth leadership development. The program is sponsored by the W. Norris Duvall Endowment for Youth Leadership, Ethics and Service. The endowment’s mission is to support programs that reinforce the importance of integrity, ethical behavior and a sense of civic engagement through service-oriented leadership initiatives for Kentucky’s youth and college students.

“Dr. Long’s distinguished career in nonprofit leadership, community philanthropy and as a youth development specialist with the Cooperative Extension Service in Illinois and Nevada makes him a perfect fit for the Leader in Residence program,” said Tricia Dyk, the center’s director.

The Nonprofit Times has thrice named Long among the top 50 most influential people in the nonprofit sector, recognizing his contributions to the global emergence of nonprofit and philanthropy studies. Through his course, Strategic Philanthropy, Learning by Giving, Long encourages young people to find creative ways to address widespread problems such as hunger, poverty and conflict.

His distinguished career includes 15 years as vice president for programs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and prior to that, as the endowed McElroy Professor of Youth Leadership Studies at the University of Northern Iowa.

Long will share his expertise with UK students, faculty and community members through various public appearances, which include the Puentes para la Familia (Bridging Families) event, Empowering Families and Youth by Connecting Them To the Community’s Resources, from 5 to 8 p.m. EST Monday, Feb. 23 at the Fayette County Extension office, 1140 Red Mile Road, and a Community Philanthropy Webinar from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26. The webinar can be joined from Room 245 Barnhart Building on the UK campus or Cooperative Extension offices around the state. Check with the local extension office to find out if they will be participating.

On Friday, Feb. 27 from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Long will hold a public forum titled "More Money? Or More Impact? Increasing Community Philanthropy." The forum will take place at The Plantory, on the corner of Jefferson and West Sixth streets in Lexington.

Other forums will be held in London and Frankfort. Dates and times will be announced soon. This and more information can be found at or by contacting assistant director Lissa Pohl at

“The University of Kentucky and the Center for Leadership Development are indebted to the generosity and foresight of the late Mr. W. Norris Duvall, of Todd County, who invested his resources in the development of future leaders,” Dyk said.

UK Receives 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 18:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2015) — A special message from University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto:

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.”

– Andrew Carnegie

For 150 years, the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University of Kentucky have held an abiding commitment to the University’s central tenet of service to others. UK’s engagement is multi-faceted and manifest in the rich breadth and depth of our daily work.

It’s evident in the myriad ways we prepare graduates of exceptional quality and character.

It’s defined by our work to advance the understanding of general and complex topics, while pioneering new concepts and thought processes.

It’s enriched by the scholarship and creative arts that shape our humanity and stir our souls.

And it guides our work in – and with – the countless individuals and communities we serve and uplift on our campus, across the Commonwealth and throughout the world.

You are the reason the University of Kentucky is such a remarkable institution.

And because of you, I’m proud to share that at the end of the fall semester, the University of Kentucky received a letter from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching notifying us that we received the 2015 Community Engagement Classification.

The recognition distinguishes UK as one of only 361 institutions that now hold this classification. And it acknowledges the values birthed in our land-grant heritage, which have evolved in exciting and innovative ways across all departments, units and centers on our campus.

The legacy we leave -- aligned with our covenant to improve the well-being of those we touch and teach -- provides the foundation for priorities that promote student, faculty, and staff engagement with communities across the state, nation, and world.

The Carnegie Foundation commended us for the “alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.” From our 18 colleges and professional schools to the initiatives led by our students; and from our faculty and staff’s creative interventions to our work supporting schools, community organizations and regional workforce programs, it is clear that our fate and that of the Commonwealth are profoundly linked.

On behalf of the entire campus, I want to congratulate and express our sincerest appreciation to the committee of faculty and staff that labored for several months to compile, draft and finalize our application. I want to specifically recognize Dr. Katherine McCormick, Associate Professor in the College of Education, for leading this important initiative. It was her admirable patience, unyielding determination and willingness to champion our work that led to the classification. The entire campus owes Dr. McCormick and her team our deepest appreciation.

As our sesquicentennial nears, I want to encourage everyone to recognize and celebrate our commitment to those we touch and teach. Our service to others serves humanity. Our work in and with community enables a shared pursuit of a brighter tomorrow. We are deeply proud of the work of the UK family, and honored to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation in this way,

It has been and will remain a special privilege for the University of Kentucky to serve the better interests of the Commonwealth for many years to come.

For more information on the Carnegie Community Engagement Classsification, visit; and for more information about UK's application for the classification, visit; and to hear from committee chair Katherine McCormick, visit the UKNow story at

December 2014 Commencement Ceremonies Replayed on UKTV Channel 16

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 18:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2014) ― More than 900 students participated in the University of Kentucky's December 2014 Commencement ceremonies for graduate students and undergraduates Dec. 19. The events were videotaped and will air on UKTV Channel 16 (on Time Warner Cable in Lexington) beginning this Friday, Jan.9.

The ceremonies will air at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning Jan. 9 and continuing through Jan. 25.  The Graduate and Professional Ceremony will air during the 1 p.m. time slots, with the Undergraduate Ceremony following at the 2:30 p.m. times.

UK Receives 2015 Community Engagement Classification

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 18:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2015) — Recognizing the University of Kentucky's commitment to its surrounding local, national and global communities, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching today announced the university has been selected to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification.

“The success of our reclassification efforts is the result of the efforts of a committed group of campus stakeholders who contributed their expertise, time, and knowledge in the drafting of the report," said Katherine McCormick, professor of interdisciplinary early childhood education who chaired the team responsible for completing the application process. "Fourteen administrators, faculty, staff, and students shared in this work across a number of months last year. We are deeply appreciative of support from each of the deans and the provost’s office."

The classification recognizes institutions that provide evidence of substantial engagement and contribution to their communities. A significant achievement, institutions complete a two-year long application process. UK also received the 2010 Community Engagement Classification. 

"The report (application) validates that engagement at UK occurs at a high level in each of our colleges and units, evidenced by robust faculty, student, and community partnerships," McCormick said.

In a letter to McCormick, the Carnegie Foundation and New England Resource Center for Higher Education praised UK's community engagement practices.

The letter stated that UK's report "documented excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement."

“Prominent in the reclassification application was the work of the colleges, the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), the Center for Community Outreach (CCO) in the Division of Undergraduate Education, the Office of Community Engagement (OCE), the University of Kentucky International Center (UKIC) and the Office of the Associate Provost, Division of Undergraduate Education (UGE)," said McCormick.

Members of the project team, the Provost's Workgroup in collaboration with Patti Clayton, external consultant, include:

The 2015 classification is valid until 2025, at which point UK can apply again for re-classification. 

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

Application Deadline Nearing for Robinson Leaders Program

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2015) — The Robinson Scholars Program at the University of Kentucky is currently accepting applications for its high school leadership program through 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20.

To be eligible, applicants must be in the freshman year of high school, reside in one of the 29 Eastern Kentucky counties in the Robinson Scholars service area, and be first generation students with an interest in obtaining a four-year college degree. First generation students are those whose parents or legal guardians do not hold four-year college degrees.

Those selected to be Robinson Leaders are eligible to participate free of charge in college preparation activities, leadership development, cultural trips, and summer camps provided by the Robinson Scholars Program. Those accepted will also be eligible to apply for the Robinson Scholarship, which is a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky.

Applicants are selected based on factors such as academic achievement, participation in community service, extracurricular activities, personal enrichment, and need for financial aid. Some scoring preference is also given to low income students but low income status is not necessary if students meet the criteria of high school freshman status, first generation, and residence in the service region.

About 87 Robinson Leaders will be chosen from the 29-county service region for the 2015 cohort. Of the 87 leaders chosen, 29 students (one from each county) will be awarded a Robinson Scholarship at the conclusion of their junior year of high school.

Robinson Leaders are also eligible for other financial aid provided by Robinson Scholars, such as second tier scholarships to UK, reimbursement for test fees and college classes taken during high school, and waiver of the application fee to UK.

"Students who participate in our novel enrichment program are well prepared for success in college," said Jeff Spradling, director of Robinson Scholars. "The young people in our program show leadership in their schools, communities, and on UK's campus, and we are very appreciative of our opportunities to help Eastern Kentucky's first generation students prepare for success in college and life."

Applications can be made online through the Robinson Scholars Program website at Follow the link to the Robinson Leaders application. Application instructions are provided. Students who do not have computer access may obtain a paper copy of the application and instructions from their high school guidance counselors.

First generation students in the following Eastern Kentucky counties are eligible to participate in the program: Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Harlan, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rockcastle, Whitley and Wolfe.

For more information about Robinson Leaders, the Robinson Scholars Program, or the application process, visit the Robinson Scholars website or contact Jessica Watkins at 606-666-2438, extension 232.

The Robinson Scholars Program is part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.

Lexington Venture Club to Gather on Jan. 14

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 15:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2015)  The Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship within the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, together with Commerce Lexington, is inviting all entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinkers to the Lexington Venture Club's kickoff luncheon for 2015. The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington.

Representatives from four entrepreneurial companies launched with help from the Lexington Venture Club, Babylocity, LLC, MakeTime, WeStyle, and Scante will make remarks at the luncheon, which also features a presentation by Ryan Feit, CEO and co-founder of SeedInvest. Feit will be presenting virtually about his experiences in supporting the JOBS Act, EquityCrowdfunding, and co-founding a successful business that connects investors with entrepreneurs. The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, recently presented SeedInvest with a United Kingdom Trade and Industry Award.

This event is open to Lexington Venture Club members and non-members. The non-member meeting fee is $35 and includes the luncheon. After registration, all orders are non-refundable and cannot be canceled.

Interested persons can RSVP and pay at:

For more information and any inquiries, contact

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

UK Study Finds College Campus Tobacco-free Policies Are Effective

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 15:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2015) – Amanda Fallin, assistant research professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, recently published a study,  " Association of Campus Tobacco Policies With Secondhand Smoke Exposure, Intention to Smoke on Campus, and Attitudes About Outdoor Smoking Restrictions, in the American Journal of Public Health."  

In summary, Fallin and her co-authors surveyed California college students between September 2013 and May 2014 with a range of policies (smoke-free indoors only, designated outdoor smoking areas, smoke-free, and tobacco-free).

Findings include:

  • Stronger policies were associated with fewer students reporting exposure to secondhand smoke or seeing someone smoke on campus.
  • On tobacco-free college campuses, fewer students smoked and reported intention to smoke on campus.
  • Strong majorities of students supported outdoor smoking restrictions across all policy types.
  • Comprehensive tobacco-free policies are effective in reducing exposure to smoking and intention to smoke on campus.

"What we found was smoke and tobacco free policies are widely accepted and are working on campus," Fallin said. 

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

Public Health Research Team Completes National Study of Health Partnerships

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 15:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2015) — A multi-disciplinary team of researchers based at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health has completed a national study of successful partnerships between hospitals, public health departments and other stakeholders.

The study, which was funded by a coalition including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Grant Thornton and Hospira, sought to identify highly successful partnerships, examine those relationships, and ascertain key lessons learned from their collective experiences. The study was directed by Lawrence Prybil, Ph.D, Norton Professor in Health Leadership at the UK College of Public Health.

The four-step assessment began with 157 nominations, from which 12 operational partnerships were identified as showing evidence of high success. These partnerships were studied through two-day site visits, individual and group interviews, and extensive document review.  The study team examined the partnerships’ missions and goals, organization and management models, performance metrics, sources of support, and challenges faced. 

The findings of this review provided the basis for 11 recommendations that are intended to assist hospital, public health department, and other community leaders and policy makers in developing strong, multi-sector partnership devoted to improving community health.

“There is growing awareness that restraining growth in health expenditures and improving the health status of communities and society at-large will require a broader approach that addresses the full array of factors affecting health status," said Prybil. “This study looked at successful collaborations between public health, health care organizations and other community resources to identify those features that can assist other communities in improving their community’s health.”

Team members included Rex Killian, Ann Kelly, Glen Mays, Angela Carman, Samuel Levey, Anne McGeorge and David W. Fardo.  The full report is available at

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

With UK Doctor's Support, Former Ms. Wheelchair Kentucky Finds Few Limitations in Life

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 13:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2015) — Pockets on the backside of pants are useless for people who sit in a wheelchair all day. And low-waist jeans can be uncomfortably tight and, even worse, an embarrassment when exposing skin.

For spinal cord injury patient Heidi McKenzie, finding a fashionable yet functional pair of jeans to wear was just one more challenge related to living with a disability.

A lifelong fashion enthusiast, McKenzie thinks men and women in wheelchairs deserve a chic pair of jeans to accommodate their needs. She's in the process of launching a business called Alter UR Ego, a fashion-forward clothing line specially designed for people in wheelchairs.

No stranger to the spotlight, the former Ms. Wheelchair America contestant is already a natural spokesperson for her products. She got the idea for her business while meeting other women competing in the 2012 Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, who also expressed an interest in hip and youthful clothing for people with disabilities.

"Most disability clothing is targeted toward the elderly — so flower pots and cats," McKenzie said. "I want an everyday pair of jeans for someone. Because that is your go-to article of clothing."

Founding her own start-up company is only the latest of many endeavors for the paraplegic patient at the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Cardinal Hill Hospital. Now living in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, McKenzie graduated from Morehead State University in 2011 and competed in the Miss Wheelchair America pageant the following year. She drives her own wheelchair-adapted van, works at her father's company in Morehead and currently lives independently in her apartment. She's tried out a number of adapted sports, including horseback riding, tennis, scuba diving and kayaking.

With every opportunity life brings, McKenzie consults with Dr. Sara Salles, professor in the UK Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, to ensure her health and physical condition permits an active lifestyle. After sustaining a complete spinal cord injury in a car accident in 2007, McKenzie moved back to Kentucky to live with her father, and began rehabilitation with Salles at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. She received inpatient care at the hospital for two weeks. In addition to her spinal cord injury, McKenzie needed cognitive therapy from a brain injury caused by the accident. McKenzie worked with Salles to set realistic, attainable goals, which included living a completely independent lifestyle. 

Seven years later, McKenzie maintains her health and lifestyle through "tune-up" appointments with Salles every few months. Salles monitors her patients with a holistic approach, addressing any health issues related to the injury, discomfort caused by her wheelchair, or other physical or psychological problems. Salles said normal tasks able-bodied people take for granted, like putting on shoes and using the bathroom, are challenges for her patients.

"Daily life is challenging for folks with spinal cord injuries," Salles said. "The beauty of our patients is they do it with grace. The struggle is there, but most of them will not tell you or share that struggle with you on a regular basis."

Because spinal cord injury patients require long-term care, Salles frequently develops personal relationships with her patients and their families. Salles introduced McKenzie to many extracurricular and leadership opportunities available to people with disabilities, including an adaptive sports camp in Colorado. A model patient, McKenzie has played an active role in regaining her independence and keeping a positive attitude about her condition. Salles said McKenzie will communicate when something's wrong and proactively follow her advice to stay healthy.

In addition, McKenzie serves as a volunteer counselor and mentor to Salles' patients who have recently sustained a spinal cord injury. Warm, endearing and optimistic, McKenzie has a special ability to shed positive light on hard situations. She emphasizes to Salles' patients that life post-injury can be exciting and rewarding.

"I think everyone who comes to know Heidi loves Heidi," Salles said. "Just because she is who she is. She lights up a room. You know when Heidi is around because usually she is doing her (Miss America) wave."

McKenzie relates her relationship with her doctor to a "long-distance marriage." While she lives in Eastern Kentucky, she contacts her doctor often. McKenzie appreciates Salles for being frank but compassionate when discussing the pursuit of goals. Salles gives her patients the freedom to make decisions about their lifestyles, but counters that freedom with advice to stay healthy and not further complicate their conditions.

"She has always been so supportive in living an active lifestyle at your convenience," McKenzie said. "Because everybody takes a while to adapt to disability, and she doesn't rush that. So when you're ready to go out and adventure and experience new things, she is going to be encouraging."

For more information about Alter UR Ego, and to learn how to support McKenzie's start-up company, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Study Disputes Previous Theories on Loss of Muscle Stem Cells and Aging

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 13:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2014) – Professional athletes often spend hours in a gym working to build strong healthy muscles needed to keep them at the top of their game. But strong muscles help all humans maintain peak physical performance – the non-athlete, the young and the old – and can prevent frailty later in life, a condition that can exacerbate an illness and even shorten one's life. According to Charlotte Peterson, co-director of the Center for Muscle Biology at the University of Kentucky, "muscle powers health."

Peterson, who is also a professor and associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences and associate director of the UK Center for Clinical and Translation Sciences (CCTS), has spent her career studying muscle structure and function at the cellular and molecular level, and the changes that occur with age with the long-term goal of preventing frailty to maintain functional independence. She says muscles have always fascinated her because they are very adaptive, clinically relevant, and an accessible organ system to study.

The literature on aging research, particularly muscle aging, postulates a strong correlation between the loss and/or dysfunction of muscle stem cells and sarcopenia, the scientific term for the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength. Despite the correlation, no studies have directly tested this relationship to determine if the loss of muscle stem cells actually causes sarcopenia, although Peterson says that assumption has almost become dogma in the field of aging research.  

Sarcopenia affects millions of aging adults. Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength not only robs elderly people of the ability to perform even the most basic tasks of daily living, but also significantly increases their risk of suffering devastating injuries and even death from sudden falls and other accidents. Studies show that people lose one percent muscle mass per year beginning around the age of 50. Although weight-lifting (resistance) exercise can help to maintain and increase muscle mass, as humans age, muscles become less responsive to exercise.  

Currently entire research programs are focused on developing muscle stem cell therapy to delay, prevent or even reverse sarcopenia. In light of Peterson's current study published in the December issue of Nature Medicine, researchers will no doubt reconsider previous theories.

Peterson's lab, in collaboration with John McCarthy in the Department of Physiology at UK, developed an animal model that allowed them to deplete young adult muscle of stem cells to a level sufficient to impair muscle regeneration throughout the life of a mouse. They expected the mouse to be a model of premature muscle aging.

"To our surprise, the mice aged normally; life-long depletion of skeletal muscle stem cells did not accelerate nor exacerbate sarcopenia," Peterson said. "Nature Medicine published our 'negative results' which show a clear distinction between therapeutic strategies that may effectively treat degenerative myopathies, such as dystrophies and cachexia, versus sarcopenia. While degenerative conditions are expected to benefit from a stem cell-based therapy, this does not appear to be a viable approach for treating age-associated muscle wasting. Hopefully, our work will help to refocus aging muscle research on new therapeutic targets to effectively maintain muscle function and prevent frailty in the elderly."

Chris Fry, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow in Peterson’s lab, and current assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, is first author of the study. He adds that “the loss of muscle mass and function was unaffected by the depletion of stem cells in our model. Our results challenge years of correlative findings that emphasized the role of stem cells during aging and will hopefully spur scientists into pursuing new lines of research aimed at attenuating sarcopenia.” 

Peterson heads a multi-million dollar research program at UK funded by the NIH that includes a wet lab, where biochemical muscle analyses are performed, and the recently established Human Performance Lab, where physical functional assessments and exercise training studies are conducted. Other researchers in the College of Health Sciences also study muscle biology related to a wide range of functions.  Esther Dupont-Versteegden, co-author on the Nature Medicine publication, studies muscle wasting due to disuse and inactivity and, together with Tim Butterfield, is funded to determine the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects massage.  Joe Stemple’s work is focused on laryngeal muscles controlling voice production, which become compromised with age, as well as due to strain in professional singers.

Informed by her work in animal models, and concerned by the poor response to exercise in many older people, Peterson began to explore other aspects of muscle to identify new targets to help to maintain and increase mass and strength. She noted that the abundance of an immune cell type, called a macrophage, in muscle predicted how well individuals responded to exercise. 

These preliminary findings formed the basis of a newly funded exercise training study in the elderly designed to augment macrophages in muscle to improve the overall response to resistance training.  This is a collaborative project with Philip Kern in the College of Medicine, and director of the UK CCTS, and Marcas Bamman at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. 

For more information about the study, go to

Peterson joined the faculty at the UK College of Health Sciences in 2006.  She was previously professor of Geriatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she served for 16 years. Peterson received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Notre Dame and her doctorate from the University of Virginia, followed by two postdoctoral fellowships, the first at the National Eye Institute at the NIH and the second at Stanford University School of Medicine.  Peterson is an associate editor of the Journals of Gerontology and was recently appointed to the National Institute on Aging Board of Scientific Counselors.

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

What Were Most Read and Most Viewed UK Stories of 2014?

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 10:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2015) — What University of Kentucky news stories and videos garnered the most attention in 2014 on UK's news website?  The list of top 10 UK videos on UK's YouTube channel and the list of top 10 stories on UKNow show a varied interest -- showcasing students, faculty, staff, alumni and UK HealthCare.

By far, the most read story on UKNow, the university's news website, was the announcement of the largest gift ever made to UK — a $20 million commitment from UK alumnus and trustee Bill Gatton for construction of a new UK Student Center.

The most-watched video highlighted what it's like to be twins on the UK campus.  The story focused on three sets of twin students,  including UK basketball player Alex Poythress and his sister Alexis. 

Review the top stories of 2014.

The top 10 most viewed videos produced in 2014 on the University of Kentucky YouTube page are:

1.    UK's Big Blue Family: #Twinning

2.    The University of Kentucky: View from Above

3.    Dr. Peter Nelson explains Primary Age-Related Tauopathy and his role in defining this new disease

4.    Creating a Home Away from Home at UK...Who Does That?

5.    The "see blue." story is made up of a million individual stories. What will yours be?

6.    Spreading UK's Big Blue Spirit...Who Does That?

7.    "see community." Living & Learning at the University of Kentucky

8.    UK Researcher Helps Paraplegic Patient Kickoff World Cup with Robotics

9.    UK Welcomes New Students During Move-in 2014!

10. Q and A about Ebola Preparedness for UK HealthCare employees

Or view all videos at once below:

The top 10 read UKNow stories for 2014 are:

1.    University of Kentucky Announces Largest Gift in its History

2.    UK Nursing Care Rises to No. 1 in National Patient Satisfaction Survey

3.    1956 Time Capsule Found, Re-buried With 2014 Items

4.    UK HealthCare Physicians Named to Best Doctors in America Listing for 2014

5.    Quick Action by UK HealthCare Multidisciplinary Team Saves Life of Young Mother

6.    Medical Emergency on Airplane Elevates UK Nurse to Hero Status for Local Businessman

7.    Celebrating UK Graduates: the 147th Commencement Ceremonies

8.    Dining Partnership Will Transform Vital Service to UK Campus

9.    UK Breaks Ground on ‘The 90,’ New Dining, Student Support Facility

10.  UK HealthCare Divisions Unite to Perform Rare Procedure on 12-Year-Old Trauma Patient

Staying Active As We Age

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 10:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2015) -- Staying physically active is especially important as we age. Beginning around age 50, we lose 1 percent of our muscle mass each year. Over time, this can negatively affect quality of life and our ability to maintain functional independence. 

Exercise is the best medicine to protect our quality of life and independence as we age. Physical activity benefits literally every organ in the body, from our muscles to our brains, promoting not only physical health but also mental and cognitive well being. Physical activity can also help to prevent and alleviate or manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

Here are some reminders for staying physically active throughout our older years:

It's never to late to start. You can benefit from physical activity and exercise even if you’ve never been an athlete or don't start exercising until a relatively old age. Start with whatever activity level fits your ability and lifestyle.

Combine endurance and strength training for overall health.

Keep up endurance with aerobic exercise like walking, stationary biking or rowing. This helps maintain energy and stamina to prevent fatigue.

Keep up your strength with resistance or weight training. Free weights, resistance bands, and body weight exercises like squats and push-ups help maintain muscle mass and strength to prevent frailty.

150 minutes of activity is recommended each week. That's five times a week for 30 minutes.

But some studies show that short bouts of intense exercise are also beneficial. If you don't have 30 minutes, take the stairs quickly or walk as fast as you can for ten minutes. Any and all movement is good.

Make it social. Find a walking buddy or try an exercise class. Not only is there more fun and accountability with an exercise companion, studies suggest that positive social interactions are just as important to our health as physical activity.

Make it part of your routine.  You're more likely to exercise regularly if it's part of your daily schedule and fits in with the rest of your life.

Remember that your body changes with age. Your body likely won't respond to exercise the way that it did at age 25, and you may not respond to exercise just like your gym buddy does. This physical variability increases as we age, so keep your expectations in line with your own abilities.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky are currently studying why some older adults respond better to exercise than others. If you are over 65 and interested in learning about participating in this research, please submit your information at the following link and a member of the research team will contact you in January 2015.

Charlotte Peterson, Ph.D., is professor and associate dean for research in the UK College of Health Science and serves as associate director of the UK Center for Clinical & Translational Science and co-director of the UK Center for Muscle Biology and UK Human Performance Lab. 

This column appeared in the December 28, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader


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