LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — With incoming University of Kentucky students registering for "see blue." U through May 1, this week's #AskACat Twitter Chat will answer questions on the minds of the class of 2019. The Twitter chat will take place from 3-4 p.m. today (Thursday), on @universityofky.
Today's #AskACat experts are representatives from UK's office of “see blue.” U Orientation. They will answer questions beginning at 3 p.m. via the university's official Twitter account, @universityofky. Those interested in following and/or participating in the chat can follow the university's account or #AskACat for questions posed and responses from the Twitter chat.
Individuals interested in asking questions about “see blue.” U summer orientation, enrollment deposits, accepting scholarship offerings from UK, and anything else one needs to know about joining the class of 2019 should send their questions to www.twitter.com/universityofky through 4 p.m. today, April 30, or post on the UK Facebook page prior to 3 p.m. today, April 30. Responses to questions will be shared with the university's followers and those following the hashtag #AskACat.
At the see blue. U Orientation newly admitted UK students will meet other students, hear from campus offices and organizations, meet with an academic advisor and also register for classes.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — The University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies is currently presenting the B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) Senior Show, "alexithymia," showcasing the artworks of 14 graduating art studio seniors. The show, on display now, will conclude with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 1, at Barnhart Gallery, in Reynolds Building #1. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
The exhibition "alexithymia" will feature art of various media, including ceramics, fiber, graphic design, mixed media, painting, photography and sculpture. The word alexithymia is defined as a difficulty in experiencing, expressing and describing emotional responses. Artists whose work is featured in the exhibit are: Grant H. Aumiller, Crystal G. Bolin, Kayla Jean Burton, Kyle Patrick Campbell, Samuel Clark Cooper, Luke I. Francis, Mackenzie A. Haag, Alexandra Elaine Hawkins, Andrew Scott Johnson, Rebecca Louise Kozlowski, Emily Mae Latham, Connor M. Query and Shamaria Maria Rankin.
An art studio major and published photographer, Grant Aumiller's work is known for eye-catching commercial based photography and design. Growing up in Danville, Kentucky, Aumiller pursed his creative talents throughout high school. He was introduced to photography in college, which led him to the UK School of Art and Visual Studies where he developed a passion for the still image. He uses a variety of mediums and techniques in his photographic practice including digital and film photography. A former UK football player, Aumiller works as a graphic designer and plans to pursue a full-time career in freelance photography, shooting editorial, commercial and wedding photography.
Crystal G. Bolin will show work in ceramics, fiber and photography. A Louisiana native and U.S. Air Force veteran, she is a mother to a toddler and wife to Chris Bolin, also an Air Force veteran. Her inspirations come from the rich culture of her home state, life and change, and from her beautiful experiences in motherhood. Bolin discovered her love for the arts in high school, spending time in ceramics classes. She attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe from 2004 to 2008 where she studied studio art, concentrating on photography, and worked as a photographer for the school newspaper, The Hawkeye. Bolin’s time in the U.S. Air Force gave her a love of change and of adapting to new surroundings. Once at UK, she continued to pursue her art studio degree in mediums of photography, clay and fiber.
Kayla Burton is a sculptor, photographer and filmmaker whose work investigates material and form in the broadest sense. She investigates the idea of modern American culture and human mentality through various concepts and mediums. Burton works as a gallery attendant at the Art Museum at UK. Her work has been exhibited at Open Studio and in the 2013 Carey Ellis Juried Student Art Exhibition. Burton, from Winchester, Kentucky, received first place for her piece “Steel City” in the "Foundations" exhibition, juried by Gary Setzer.
From Louisville, Kentucky, Kyle Campbell graduated from Ballard High School where his interest in photography and visual studies first began. He came to UK as a transfer student from Northern Kentucky University, where he studied graphic design. Campbell works as a senior resident advisor at UK with Residence Life. Recently, he sold his first piece of art to UK Arts in HealthCare; it will be exhibited in one of the residence halls this coming fall. Campbell will be showcasing his most recent photography series, which focuses on Lexington’s North Limestone Community Development Corporation in "alexithymia."
Sam Cooper was born and raised in Wilmore and grew up working for his father at his greenhouse business, and hiking and backpacking in the wilderness of Kentucky and surrounding states. Cooper was active in his local church; played basketball in high school; became an Eagle Scout at age 17; and was named a Kentucky Colonel. During his sophomore year at UK, he worked for the College of Agriculture, Food and Enviroment in tobacco research where he had the opportunity to be close to nature — working with plants on a farm. His art started to reflect his love and experiences in nature. The images used in his artwork are mainly drawn from the environment and an illustrative, design-based mindset. Cooper's current works-in-progress are pieces inspired by the American West wildlife and a series of illustrated characters invented to tell a story. Cooper is a busy freelancer and has also worked as an intern for the Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington.
Luke Francis, a native of Lexington, has been producing art since a very young age. During his junior year of high school he attended the Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts, in which more than 1,700 rising juniors and seniors audition for 223 spots for the chance to attend an intensive three-week program focusing on their discipline. During this program, Francis found inspiration to continue his artistic career. He focuses on digital and traditional illustration, using a variety of mediums including printmaking (relief printing/screen printing), pen and ink on paper, and Giclée prints. His work, when not creating for others, tends to deal with childhood imagination coupled with human-environmental interaction. Francis is aware that environmental conservation is a problem that many people ignore.
Mackenzie Haag was born in Lexington. She began her college career in the College of Education but later discovered that the School of Art and Visual Studies was where she belonged. She has spent the last five semesters working on her skills in various types of art media including drawing, painting, ceramics, fiber and sculpture, while honing her skills in digital media and graphic design. She has interned with the College of Fine Arts Communications Department, as well as worked for UK’s Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance Nancy Jones. Haag currently holds a position at DecoArt as a marketing assistant.
Alexandra Hawkins graduated from Boyle County High School and is an alumna of the Governor’s School for the Arts. She first exhibited in the UK School of Art and Visual Studies "Foundations" exhibition, where she took first place honors in 2011. Hawkins has experience working in many mediums and prefers to work with whichever medium fits the current idea. She is inspired by the natural aesthetics of our world. Hawkins will show large-scale ceramic work with applied design, fired in a variety of experimental methods, as part of "alexithymia."
Color, line, movement, contrast and rhythm form the foundation of the artwork of Andrew Johnson, of Lexington. His fascination with bending and manipulating the bare-basic elements of visual media is approached with the attitude of a scientist. Pragmatic, disciplined, and iterative processes help to express his creativity in pixels, code and ink. Working chiefly with digital illustration and digital 3D, Johnson explores his interests in physics and arithmetic, incorporating fundamental concepts from other fields to create imagery that is straightforward, but laborious to create. Lumps of virtual stone are barraged with simulated raindrops to carve and gash the raw form into an uncanny facsimile to real-world terrain. Struggles with imprecise traditional media, and Johnson's own difficulty with fine motor control drove him to computers for the control necessary to realize his ideas, but that resulted in too much control that lacked natural chaos. The solution was reintroducing the variables of nature into digital media. By simulating natural processes like erosion, combustion and aerodynamics, Johnson's creations are given motion and life, and a past and future.
Rebecca Kozlowski graduated from Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Maryland, in 2011. Just months earlier as a member of the Garrison Forest polo team, she was a member of the team that won the National Interscholastic Girls Championship. Hoping to pursue her love of arts and horses, Kozlowski enrolled in UK. She helped establish the UK Polo team, beginning as a varsity member and ending with becoming president of the group. When Kozlowski returns home to Baltimore in the summers, she works at the Maryland Polo Club in Fallston as a groom and became assistant manager during the 2014 summer. As an art student at UK, her love of photography evolved to a love of fibers. Having studied under Arturo Alonzo Sandoval for three years, Kozlowski learned many textile processes but focused on weavings.
In addition to earning her art studio degree this May, Cincinnati native Emily Mae Latham will also receive a bachelor's degree in digital and mass communication and has an associate’s degree in graphic design. Latham was always interested in the human form, specifically close up faces. By starting with digital video, she was able to film herself and make a small motion picture called "Selfie." She later decided to spend more time painting, and her obsession with identity and faces grew and developed deeper concepts in her painting. Much like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Latham was interested in the use of minimalism and conceptualization to reintroduction of the human form. To create a dialogue within her artwork she was able to develop a sense of abstract expressionism. Her work has been inspired by other great artists like Cy Twombly, Julian Schnabel and Francis Bacon.
Connor Query, of Lexington, has studied the arts in all mediums, including sculpture, painting, mixed media and 2-D format. She has sold and shown work at shows like the Woodland Art Fair, Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival, Woodford County Art Fair and Lexington Farmers’ Market. Query attended a summer studio for graphic design at the Art Institute of Nashville, Tennessee. She has also served as art chair to Chi Omega Fraternity for four years. Since 2013, Query has been interning and working part time as the graphics and media designer for an events and management company, LexEffect. In addition to her bachelor's degree in art studio at UK, she will also be finishing an associate's degree in graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2015.
A native of Louisville, Shamaria Rankin began showing an interest in clay, photography and needlepoint during elementary school. By 2006, Rankin received her first camera and began documenting her ideas in photographs and video. She also helped create an organization called Ethics, a local group involving minorities working to create a better community. At UK Rankin is a recipient of the William C. Parker Scholarship. She has participated in FUSHION and the Visual Arts Association where she learned the functions of a film camera and silk painting. Her ideas have progressed with vivid use of color and manipulation of tools. She uses raw silk, stretching it on wood and painting the entire image with dye. Next, she works with needles, fusing it together with wool and trimming the edges. The end result of these pieces are organic shapes hung as a panel about 28 inches high. Rankin has also explored arts administration through an internship with InteriTEA, a local tea company.
For more information on "alexithymia," contact Kyle Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, and art education.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — Veteran mascot Jahana Wazir has a few pointers for students interested in her former role as Stitches, the youngest member of the Wildcat mascot family who represents Kentucky's Children's Hospital.
First, no movement in the Stitches suit can be too exaggerated. Stitches is known for spontaneous dancing, funny gestures and big hugs. Next, Stitches should be willing to engage with families in a variety of situations, from holding a new baby to comforting a child in a hospital room. Finally, never underestimate the impact of Stitches — sometimes a hug or high-five from the big baby cat is enough to brighten a patient's day.
Wazir, a food science senior from Charleston, W. Va., said suiting up as Stitches has given her rare opportunities to connect with children and create joyful moments in the midst of pain. As Stitches, she's had the pleasure of eliciting happy expression from an unresponsive child and easing tension by playing with families in the hospital. Putting on the cat suit has been a college highlight for Wazir, who has always enjoyed interacting with children.
While volunteering in the UK HealthCare Volunteer Office her sophomore year, Wazir came across a flyer calling for students to audition for the role of Stitches. Uncertain of what to expect, Wazir showed up for the audition at the Seaton Center.
"I thought, I've never done that before — not many people can say they've done it. I can say I've been a mascot at some point," Wazir said.
Candidates were asked to climb into the suit and act out different scenarios as Stitches. The next day, Wazir was awarded an apprenticeship for the mascot position, which carried the added bonus of a partial scholarship. The following year she was promoted to the lead Stitches role, which requires two hours of visiting with children every week as well as attendance at special events, such as family picnics, promotional events or seasonal celebrations.
Children and families never get to meet the individual inside the suit — the real person who brings Stitches to life. But Wazir thinks walking into a child's hospital room as a character, rather than a health care provider, gives her a unique advantage.
"When you are looking and interacting with kids it's really cool because they still have this wonderment in their eyes," Wazir said. "I don't think there's any other situation as an adult where you are staring into those kids' eyes and they still have that amazement and excitement. It's hard to understand until you do it."
Even adults appreciate the presence of Stitches in the hospital. During one visit, Wazir was about to take a break (as Stitches) when she came across a solemn family clustered together in the hospital hallway. She knew she couldn't get around the family without some display of character. So Stitches started teasing and dancing around, snatching their hats from their heads.
"All I could do was joke and play with them," Wazir said. "They seemed to be in a better mood when I left."
A man who appeared to be the father in the group followed Wazir and grabbed her by both arms. Even though he couldn't see who was inside, he seemed to be looking Wazir directly in the eyes. He told her thank you — she made such a difference for his family that day.
Kentucky Children's Hospital is looking for a new Stitches mascot and apprentice. Stitches tryouts will be held at the Seaton Center at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2. The two students selected will receive partial scholarships.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — Jason DeRouchey, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky, has received a prestigious five-year, $691,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for his project, “Linking Structure, Stability and Protection in Protamine Packaged DNA.”
The CAREER Award is given in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
Funds from the award will allow DeRouchey to study the ways in which protamines (a class of proteins) package, protect and store DNA in sperm cells. The mechanisms underlying the tight packaging of DNA by protamines remain poorly understood, but have important health ramifications as well as promise for the development of new DNA based technologies.
DNA damage is cumulative in sperm, repaired only after fertilization and affects not only male fertility but was recently shown to impact normal embryonic development, DeRouchey says, and his research will provide detailed insight into how the chromatin structure can be modified and the result of such modification on the protection of the sperm genome.
DeRouchey said that his research has very broad applications. “A better understanding of the mechanisms of DNA packaging in sperm may have a direct effect on health such as improving assisted reproductive technology (ART) in identifying damaged sperm," DeRouchey said. "In addition, there are unique aspects of protamine-DNA interactions that have the potential to be exploited in synthetic systems aiding the development of new DNA delivery systems or biosensors.”
DeRouchey’s CAREER award will offer multidisciplinary training opportunities to undergraduate and graduate student researchers, and includes K-12 education initiatives in chemistry and biophysics, along with the continued development of massive open online courses (MOOCs). In addition, summer workshops will be created for high school teachers to learn about and actively participate in refining and assessing the proposed MOOCs to best meet the needs of teachers and their students nationwide.
Professor DeRouchey joined the UK Department of Chemistry faculty in 2010. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1996 and then obtained master's and doctoral degrees in polymer science and engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
He first began working with questions of DNA structure and dynamics as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow working with Professor Joachim Rädler at the Institute of Experimental Physics at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich. He then continued investigations on the biophysics of DNA as an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow in the Laboratory of Physical and Structural Biology at the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that three of the university's students have been selected to receive government-funded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. The fellowships award more than $100,000 to use toward research-based master's or doctoral degrees. In addition, four other UK students received honorable mention recognition from the NSF.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the U.S. and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees in the U.S. and abroad.
NSF fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees. They also are given opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.
UK’s newest NSF fellows are:
· James "Wes" Morris, a natural resources and environmental science senior, from Georgetown, Kentucky;
· Joe Papp, a chemical engineering senior from Nicholasville, Kentucky.
James W. Morris, the son of John and Phyllis Morris, is a graduate of Scott County High School and Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). During his time at BCTC, Morris interned at Argonne National Laboratory where he helped develop water withdrawal and consumptive water use projection models and make water use projections from 2010-2030 at the county-level for the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
"Both of these experiences affirmed my decision to study environmental sciences," Morris said. "My time in the Rhizosphere Science Laboratory has heavily influenced my interest in endophytes and my decision to go to graduate school."
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship will provide Morris the opportunity to make the most of his graduate studies by allowing him to focus solely on his studies and research. "Being granted such an honorable award pushes one to rise to the occasion; it is inspiring, motivating, and drives the desire to want to be a better student and a better scientist to a whole new level. The value associated with the opportunity to grow relatively unhindered throughout those first, critical years in graduate school cannot be overstated, and the resulting benefits are likely to propagate throughout my early career and beyond."
After graduation this May, Morris hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in integrated plant and soil sciences at UK.
Tamas Nagy, the son of Judit Pogany and Peter Nagy, is a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. A Singletary Scholar, he is a member of the UK Honors Program and a Chellgren Fellow. During his college years, Nagy participated in research projects at University of California, Berkeley, UK and University of Zurich.
Nagy's NSF Graduate Research Fellowship will expand the selection of research opportunities available to him as he pursues his graduate studies.
"The primary benefit of the NSF Fellowship is the independence that it affords me. It gives me the freedom to select a high-risk, high-reward project in graduate school because my funding is not tied to a pre-existing grant," Nagy said. "The award also provides a travel stipend that I can use to go to conferences to learn and to present my work. Lastly, the fellowship will help me gain valuable experience in project management and independent project design, both of which are integral to a successful career in research."
Nagy, who graduates this May, will pursue graduate school this fall in systems biology at University of California, San Francisco.
Joe Papp, who was homeschooled previous to coming to UK on a Singletary Scholarship, is the son of Charles and Karen Papp, of Nicholasville. At UK, he is a Chellgren Fellow, a member of the Honors Program and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. Papp has also pursued undergraduate research working in the lab of University Alumni Professor Dibakar Bhattacharyya, in the UK Department of in Chemical and Materials Engineering. Under Bhattacharyya's direction Papp studied functionalized membranes for the purpose of water remediation.
During his summers, Papp studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2012, and participated in research projects. In the summer of 2013, he participated in the 10-week Bioactive Interfaces and Devices NSF-REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) held at UK. In 2014, he held a research internship at Los Alamos National Lab, where he researched gas transport characterization for carbon capture purposes.
After receiving his bachelor's degree this May, Papp will pursue a doctoral degree in chemical engineering at University of California, Berkeley.
Four other UK students received honorable mention recognition from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The other students recognized are: Doug Davenport, a graduating chemical engineering senior from Dayton, Ohio; Matthew Fahrbach, a graduating computer science and mathematics senior and Chellgren Fellow from Louisville, Kentucky; Leif Johnson, a graduating geography master's degree student from Lexington; and Timothy Salzman, a doctoral candidate in biology from Sylvania, Ohio.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is the country’s oldest graduate fellowship program directly supporting graduate students in social science and various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields since 1952.
Students interested in applying for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education. The office assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with Whitlow well in advance of the scholarship deadline.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2015) — “I’m an old school advisor,” University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences academic advisor Joe Lewis said as he explained why his office door is always open. For Lewis “old school” means being a helpful resource for students, being familiar with their academic history, and helping them meet their graduation goals. The college’s Office of Advising has made being “old school” much more effective by introducing “new school” technology.
The office handles more than 7,000 student appointments in the academic year. During priority registration, they can have more than 100 students a day with up to 30 students at one time waiting to see one of the college’s 10 advisors.
Communication between the front desk and advisors “became the classic Abbot and Costello ‘Who’s on first, what’s on second?’ situation,” as Travis McKenzie, director of the Project Management Office, put it. “Students come first and we strive to explore new strategies that will positively affect the student experience,” McKenzie said.
With the goal of improving customer service, McKenzie brainstormed options for implementing digital solutions to replace paper-based communication and record keeping to cut down wait times. But, as he explained, “We didn’t just build a new or fancy application. We focused on solving the underlying issues of student wait time and internal communication.”
With these guiding principles, McKenzie drew a model of what he imagined would help and brought it to Noah Adler, senior programmer in the Hive, the college’s Creative and Technical Services.
Adler’s team, which includes senior computer science majors Timothy Parrott and Anton Vinogradov, and Aly Shehata, a junior in computer engineering, brainstormed the concept and developed a two-part Web app: a touch-screen kiosk for students to sign in and a backend interface for communication and coordination with the advising staff.
“We were excited about this project. The end result was a staff-directed, student-produced product,” Adler said. “The best part, the tools are real time and seamless.”
The new system was implemented August 2014 and the benefits were immediately felt by students and staff alike.
“I can tell a noticeable difference in my advising experience this year as opposed to last year,” said Kendra Sanders, a senior English and topical studies: film, television and digital media major. “The use of iPads to check-in utilizes familiar technology to create a more efficient process, and therefore a less stressful process. It really is as simple as typing in your student ID. There are no discrepancies to worry about; all of the information is already in Arts and Sciences’ database, so each student ID brings up that unique student’s information: advisor name, major, year, etc. It’s advising made simple.”
The implementation of the digital sign-in application has increased the college’s efficiency by reducing workflow in half, which has resulted in shorter wait times for students, McKenzie said. “Our students are digital natives, so adopting a digital sign-in method was seamless and intuitive for them.”
The data collected through the digital sign-in allows for self-assessment and analysis. With this application, the Advising Office has determined which days and times are the most popular, why students are coming in, what the average wait time is, and more.
“Adding to our advising infrastructure is another way we are looking to improve student success in the college. We are making sure students have access to the tools they need to succeed,” said Mark Kornbluh, dean of the UK College of Arts and Sciences.
Part of the process has been to digitize thousands of students’ files. Traditionally, these files have been paper-based and kept in physical folders in various offices. Tracking down those files could take days. Now, the college is working to make all of the data available for advisors and staff at the click of a button.
Stephanie Morris, project manager and student employee advocate, manages the staffing of the on-going digitization project. Student employees Carlos Guitierez, chemistry junior; Brooke Kuerzi, biology junior; and Kristina Moyers, chemical engineering junior, have been scanning the records to a secure share drive.
“Student workers play a significant role in the College of Arts and Sciences, which is shown through their involvement in the digitization project,” said Morris. “As we work to serve our students better, we are utilizing their expertise to build a solution which will benefit all (the college’s) students.”
The college looks forward to a time when all resources on campus can be integrated with readily accessible student information as it continues to improve upon student success.
“Being a resource person does not mean that I have every answer to every question, but it does mean I know where to start. Having readily accessible digital information is an important part of the process,” Lewis said.
In many ways, providing customer service for students in the College of Arts and Sciences means pairing “old school” advising with “new school” technology.
Video Produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2015) — Stephanie Richards remembers the exact moment she decided to move from Chicago back to her hometown in Pike County, Kentucky.
"I was on stage one night in a horrible play doing a bad job, and it was like God called me up. It was as clear as the phone ringing right now and me going 'Hello?' And it was God saying it's time to go home. I thought God was obviously confused," she said.
Richards, an actress, director, and educator born in Elkhorn City, Kentucky, studied theater at the University of Kentucky and then spent two decades perfecting her craft and building a successful career across the country before she stepped into a role she never expected to play: the nation's first fine arts extension agent, right in the rural Kentucky county where she grew up. She knows firsthand how art can transform and empower individuals and communities. And she's drawn on her years as a working artist to launch the country's fine arts extension program, which provides arts education, supports artists as entrepreneurs, and stimulates the local community and economy.
UK's cooperative extension program, inherent to the institution's mission as a land grant institution, was established in 1914 to extend the knowledge and resources of the university throughout the state. While the program has historically focused on programs related to agriculture and family sciences, the Cooperative Extension Fine Arts Program facilitates arts opportunities that stimulate creativity, promote participation, and recognize artists, arts educators, and arts supporters of all levels and mediums. Founded in 2006 as a collaboration between the UK colleges of Agriculture, Food and Environment and Fine Arts, the program has since expanded to Greenup and Whitley Counties, which now have their own fine arts extension agents.
For Richards, the program isn't about developing art or artistic talent in her community but creating new space and fostering a sense of worth, both personal and economic, for the talent that already exists, ranging from oral traditions to music to quilting.
"The art was already here," she said, explaining that arts traditions are so engrained in local culture and personal identities that many people take their own skills for granted. "Our people are very rich in our heritage of storytelling. So you focus that and put it on stage and don't mess with it. That's what I say all the time — my biggest job is not to screw something up, just stay out of the way and let it happen."
In the nine years since its establishment, the Pike County Extension Fine Arts Program has grown to support artists and arts programs for all ages and mediums throughout the county. Blood Song, the original play about the Hatfield and McCoy feud, is in its third season. A half-million dollar black box theater in Elkhorn City houses the Artists Collaborative Theater, which Richards describes as the "the most award-winning theater in the state of Kentucky, as far as we know." Its free children's theater program serves around 40 children five days a week, including transportation, even though it's technically only designed for two days. The children produce a play each semester, complemented with a curriculum and reading skills program, that reaches 4,000 kids when they go on tour.
Richards recalls how discovering theater allowed her to discover how her own mind works and cultivated imagination, critical thinking, and acceptance — phenomena she sees in many of the people she works with.
"Acceptance is probably one of the biggest things. Everyone is good. Everyone is doing their best. How can we fit them in? That's probably one of the biggest things we practice. Everyone has strengths," she said. "It's very inclusive. No one is judged, no one is set back."
She describes theater as a vehicle to teach life skills like problem-solving, teamwork, budgeting, and self-confidence, among participants of all ages.
"Theater and the arts, theater especially, teach you how to walk into a situation, see the problem, identify the problem, fix the problem, work with the team and have a solution," she said. "If you can walk on stage and succeed, there is so much that you know you can do from now on — having something inside you and knowing it has to come out. And I can give my kids a structured, safe environment, and my senior citizens in the program as well."
Sarah Haynes was one of those kids. Born in Pike County, she joined the Artists Collaborative Theater at age 10; in May she'll be graduating from UK with a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree in communications sciences and disorders and minors in theater and psychology. She said that her opportunities for artistic experiences were constrained in her rural setting until Richards "moved back home to Eastern Kentucky with a vision to create a community theater that would embrace young people and challenge them to set goals."
"Joining Artists Collaborative Theatre Inc. gave me the opportunity to engage in a community that would challenge me, encourage me, and set me up for success,” Haynes said. “Participating taught me leadership, adaptation, and diligence — each of which transcends into who I am as an individual and who I am as a student at the University of Kentucky."
Haynes has been accepted at both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville to complete a Master of Science degree in speech and language pathology.
"I believe that without the influence of this incredible theater I may have never discovered my true potential, talents, or unique skill set," she said.
In addition to creating arts opportunities for youth, the Pike County Extension Fine Arts Program also supports working artists in their entrepreneurial efforts. Richards sees this as a key link between the personal and economic value of the arts.
"Let's figure out how to pursue the arts intelligently. Let's figure out how to not be a starving artist and then have to go do something else," she said. "Lets figure out how to do arts administration or arts education or how to piecemeal your own career."
In practice, this involves everything from helping artists understand tax deductions and write business plans to developing an online art store that provides an easy infrastructure for artists to sell their work. Richards also supports the newly opened Pikeville Arts House, a gallery, studio and workshop operated by the Pikeville Artists Cooperative.
Paula Smith, an art teacher at Pikeville High School and adjunct art history professor at the University of Pikeville, works with the Arts House, where she shows and sells her paintings that use coal as pigment. She describes herself as a historian as well as an artist, aiming to elevate depictions of Eastern Kentucky life and the deep love of the mountains.
"I want people to know how we lived and how lucky we are to have this beautiful life, because it really is a beautiful life," said Smith.
While she's enjoyed seeing her friends and neighbors in community theater productions, she's particularly appreciative of what she's learned from Richards and the Extension Fine Arts Program about the business aspects of being a working artist.
"It gives people a way to supplement their income, but more than that it opens them up to the world," Smith said." It allows them to use the talent that they have and it also gives them some pride, because one of the things people need in their life is to know that I can do something good and people like it, whether it's music, theater, art."
Richards understands that supporting artistic entrepreneurship is just one of many ways that the arts contribute to the local economy. She says that over $500,000 in direct money has been invested in the county's art programs, including $200,000 from the Pike County government for structural upgrades to the outdoor amphitheater.
"The arts impact economy and community development the same as a local business would," she said. "Arts should be invited to the table every time community economic development is discussed. It’s a substantial piece of the pie that should be recognized every time, and I think Pike County gets that."
Going to see a theater production, she points out, involves buying tickets, gas, and probably a meal — money that's pumped back into the local economy. Similarly, putting on a production requires buying lumber, paint, fabric and food. (She jokes that the children's theater program keeps the local pizza shop in business.)
"I would really love for Pike County to be known as the arts destination," she said. "I don’t want it to be just stuff or fluff. I want it to be quality. I want it to impact lives. I want it to change lives. I want it to fix some of our social problems."
She also hopes the Extension Fine Arts Program will help young people see "that coming home is good, and that this is not just a place to get away from."
"That's one of the things I share with my students a lot. You can love this area. It's good to love your home," she said.
And not only can they love it, they can also expect to enjoy a thriving arts scene.
"We've got this half-million dollar black box community theater in the middle of a town that has a population of under a thousand people," she said. "And people just expect it to succeed now. They don’t even consider that it's not going to work."
This story is part of an ongoing series exploring how the University of Kentucky works with communities in Appalachia. Read more at ooted in Our Communities: The University of Kentucky in Appalachia.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2015) — Recognizing the distinguished accomplishments of University of Kentucky College of Social Work alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the field, the college will induct two honorees into its Hall of Fame at a ceremony this evening, April 29.
The UK College of Social Work has been inducting members into its Hall of Fame annually since 1999. These individuals are deemed outstanding in the profession by their colleagues and are chosen by a committee of their peers.
This year, Dorothy Conolia Offutt and Eileen A. Recktenwald will be inducted.
Dorothy Conolia Offutt
Dorothy Conolia Offutt was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, and raised in Central City. She received her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and a master’s degree in education from Western Kentucky University, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky. She is currently employed as social work supervisor at the Lexington Veteran's Administration Medical Center where she serves as the social work education coordinator and works with multiple universities to secure master-level social work interns.
The medical center went from zero stipend interns to 13 for the academic year 2015-2016, which is 20 percent of all VA interns in the nation. To evince her love for the profession and the community, Offutt provides countless hours of service both professionally and civically. An article was published in Synergy, the national VA social work newsletter, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. newsletter, which referenced her numerous accomplishments including receiving the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence award from UK. She has also served as director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which provides Fayette and Jessamine counties with over 300,000 hours of service annually. Offutt and her husband of 44 years, Don Carlos Offutt, have two children; a daughter, Dawn, a son Don II and one grandson, Donovan.
Eileen A. Recktenwald
Eileen A. Recktenwald has been the executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP), the statewide coalition of the 13 regional rape crisis centers, located in Kentucky’s capital, Frankfort, since 2001. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Kentucky, where she earned her Master of Social Work degree.
Recktenwald was the first KASAP director and provided direct advocacy services at a domestic violence shelter located in the Appalachian region of Kentucky for five years. She also directed and provided advocacy services to child sexual assault victims at a rape crisis center for 11 years. For the last 10 years, Recktenwald has been focused on the primary prevention of sexual violence and changing the social norms that encourage interpersonal violence.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — Nearly 50 University of Kentucky students will accept their degrees in equine science and management May 9, and it’s likely most are unaware of how new their degree program is and what a momentous occasion its creation was for the college.
“The program is ideally situated in the heart of horse country, and this provides opportunities for researchers, extension agents and students to leave their footprint in the industry at the local, national and international levels,” said Jill Stowe, director of UK Ag Equine Programs.
The college set out to radically change how it served Kentucky’s signature equine industry when it launched the UK Equine Initiative in 2005 to provide a suite of services appropriate for a land-grant university. At the time, the college housed the Department of Veterinary Science’s Gluck Equine Research Center and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and two equine faculty in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. While there was research, extension and teaching work already being done in equine in the college, there was no undergraduate stand-alone equine major and few horse-tailored extension programs. There was also no real “front door” for the general public to access UK’s equine expertise.
Much has been accomplished in the last 10 years. The program is distinctive with its strong focus on all three land-grant university missions of teaching, research and extension.
“Thanks to a lot of dedicated and passionate faculty, staff and stakeholders, UK Ag Equine Programs has surpassed the original vision. In fact, it is not often that a university program has such rapid success in terms of excellent education, service and relevancy. This program belongs to the horse capital of the world, and we aim to serve the industry for a long time,” said Dean Nancy Cox.
A distinct equine undergraduate bachelor of science degree has been in place since the fall of 2007 and has swelled from an initial class of 42 students to 267 students currently in the program, making it the second largest major in the college. There have been 135 graduates to date. Nearly 70 percent of the current equine majors hail from out-of-state.
The undergraduate program started with tracks in science and management, and has since evolved to four emphasis areas in equine science, business, community and leadership development and forages/pasture management. An internship is a requirement for graduation.
Additionally, seven equine-related clubs and teams are available for students to pursue their equine interests outside the classroom. Those organizations include the Dressage and Eventing Team, Equestrian Team with both hunt seat and western divisions, Horse Racing Club, Polo Team, Research in Equine and Agricultural Disciplines Club, a still fledgling Rodeo Team and the Saddle Seat Team.
In addition to its burgeoning undergraduate program, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment also offers targeted graduate school opportunities and is home to world-class research and service excellence in equine nutrition, pasture and forages, economics, environmental stewardship and many others.
The Gluck Equine Research Center has a storied history of important equine health research and currently has a research focus in the areas of genetics and genomics, infectious diseases and immunology, musculoskeletal science, parasitology, pharmacology/toxicology and reproductive health.
The vast majority of horses raised in Kentucky use pasture as an important nutrient source, and researchers at UK are developing nutrition and pasture management practices that improve knowledge of optimal feeding programs and production schemes for horses. Equine researchers at UK have also increased their efforts in understanding the role of nutrition and feeding management on the health, growth and longevity of horses in recent years.
The 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey, a comprehensive statewide survey of all breeds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules — the first such study in Kentucky since 1977 — was conducted between June and October 2012 in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in partnership with several Kentucky industry organizations. The survey found that Kentucky is home to 242,400 horses with a total economic impact of almost $3 billion. The survey is available online at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/equine/kyequinesurvey.
UK also has a long history of exceptional equine service and outreach.
The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, one of the busiest state diagnostic laboratories in North America with more than 53,000 case submissions each year, serves as sentinel for animal and human health and has the largest equine case load in the world.
The Kentucky 4-H Horse Program is one of the largest in the nation with an enrollment of more than 4,500 youth.
The Horse Pasture Evaluation Program identifies the composition of Kentucky horse pastures, assesses tall fescue toxicity risks and encourages better pasture management practices. To date, the program has completed more than 120 evaluations on over 18,000 total farm acres.
Education for horse owners also occurs through annual field days, Horse College, horse grazing program, HorseQuest and eXtension. Additionally, several publications by experts offer hands-on horse management information.
More about UK Ag Equine Programs can be found at http://www.ca.uky.edu/equine.
MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2015) — University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services adjusted student permit application dates for this upcoming school year. The calendar to apply is now staggered to better align with the needs of students to give permit applicants a better customer service experience.
Students will be able to apply for various parking passes beginning at noon on the following dates:
June 1 - June 15: Accepting residential permit applications from returning students.
June 8 - June 22: Accepting commuter permit renewal applications for C5 and C7 permits.
June 18 - until supply exhausted: Accepting residential permit applications from all eligible students.
June 22- until supply exhausted: Accepting commuter permit applications from all eligible students.
July 1 - until supply exhausted: Accepting applications from all eligible students for C6 permits (BCTC only), K permits and evening permits.
Also new this year is that permits will be required in the Stadium (K) parking areas on the first day of classes, August 26; unlike in past years, students will not have a grace period once classes begin to obtain their permits.
Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing. Video footage courtesy of UK REVEAL Research Media.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) — Tomorrow, research projects exploring topics from molecular biology to hip hop music lyrics will be on display for the campus community and public at the ninth annual Showcase for Undergraduate Scholars.
"There really is something for everyone there," said Loretta Stafford, an integrated strategic communication (ISC) sophomore who will be presenting a poster. "I think a lot of people view research as just a resume builder, but it's so much more than that. What you're doing matters — you're coming up with answers to problems. It's just amazing that all of these young people, some of them even still in high school, are accomplishing so much and will go on to get their work published."
The University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research and the Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) will host the Showcase from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, in the Student Center Grand Ballroom. Opening remarks will be made by Sarah Whelan, president of SPUR; Diane Snow, director of the UK Office of Undergraduate Research; Lisa Cassis, UK vice president for research; and Tim Tracy, UK provost. Former undergraduate researcher Leslie Mann Lynch, a 2010 UK graduate and Singletary, Goldwater and Gates Cambridge Scholar, will deliver a keynote address.
After the keynote, the Faculty Mentor of the Year Awards will be presented followed by a performance by the UK Theatre department's dance minor program. A reception will follow the opening ceremony as the research presentations commence.Video by REVEAL Research Media
Approximately 200 undergraduate students will present projects, including 190 poster presentations, eight oral presentations and two table displays. Ten high school students from Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sayre and Lexington Catholic High Schools will also present. Each participant has submitted an abstract of his or her work, and a bound abstract book of all who participate has been published and will be available at the Showcase.
"There seems to be no limit to the amazing research endeavors our students undertake" said Snow. "I'm so impressed with the depth, breadth and innovation of the research projects and the diligence and creativity of our students. With the lineup of UK administrators in research, our former student and researcher Lesley Mann-Lynch giving the keynote presentation, and the astoundingly creative dance routine from Liza Bustle and troupe, no one will be disappointed with this year's Showcase!"
Each year, the Showcase brings together undergraduates from all disciplines, their faculty mentors, and members of the community to learn about the various types of research being done by undergraduate students at UK. This occasion provides these students the opportunity to demonstrate and discuss their specific projects and the professional advancements the projects helped achieve. It not only provides a great learning experience for the participants, but for the attendees as well, who gain more knowledge about the world around them, as well as the depth of undergraduate involvement in research at UK.
Many students, like Cassidy Teager, a sophomore studying human health sciences and nutrition, also attended the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) earlier this month at the University of Eastern Washington.
"NCUR was absolutely amazing," said Teager. "I didn't really know what to expect because it was my first conference and the first time presenting my research at all. So I was a little anxious, but I met a lot of amazing people — people from around the country doing really cool stuff at their respective universities. Presenting at these research conferences really gives that experience for what we may be facing in the future. You're going to have to do this at some point so it gives us that early on experience, and it's been really amazing for me to practice that."
Teager is now excited to show people at UK what she has been working on in the lab with Travis Thomas, assistant professor in the UK College of Health Sciences, and to see her fellow students' projects.
"I'm just really interested to see what other students around the university are doing and what research is going on," she said. "You never really know until someone presents what's been happening and what they've been working on."
The Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars is open to the public. Students, faculty and staff are highly encouraged to attend.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts is paving a new frontier by offering an experience to college kids that brings new meaning to the hands-on learning environment.
In the spring of 2014, the Arts Administration Program at UK launched a new course and initiative called Art in Unlikely Places. The goal of Art in Unlikely Places is driven by a belief that creativity is the seed of hope. The initiative connects inspiring artists to those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts. The students' vision is that this organization will deliver the work of inspiring artists to the ailing, the impoverished, and the distraught, sharing beauty with those whose life-circumstances might otherwise prevent them from discovering the hope that is found in the artistic moment.
Art in Unlikely Places, in its second year, is a registered student organization at UK. The organization elects officers within the class based on a typical nonprofit organizational structure. From the beginning of the semester the students are challenged to develop an idea into a fully realized initiative that fulfills the mission of the organization.
Students participating in Art in Unlikely Places this semester have developed a new idea to impact the Lexington community through the power of the arts. "A Beautiful Life: Through the Eyes of a Child" introduces children in need to the arts by providing them an opportunity to express themselves in creative ways. They have partnered this year with Greenhouse 17, a refuge for children who have been witness to domestic violence, and The Kidz Club, where children with medical needs are provided special attention with academic and social interaction.
Art in Unlikely Places held workshops with 30 children for the organizations, prompting participants to create artworks that expressed their inner feelings, hopes and dreams. All were asked to draw what made life beautiful to them. Music therapists from Evolve joined the partnership with the students during the workshops where children participated in songs and games.
Lending his talents to "A Beautiful Life” is renowned artist, UK Professor Arturo Alonzo Sandoval. Sandoval, with the assistance of photographer Scott Walz, will incorporate images of the artworks the children created into four quilts and a digital collage. Two of the art quilts will be donated to the partner organizations and the remaining two have been sold to benefit the program. The original artworks by the kids at Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club along with the story of the Art in Unlikely Places students will be reproduced into a book.
For $30, arts patrons can purchase the book and receive an invitation to the Art in Unlikely Places finale. All Art in Unlikely places supporters will be invited to the unveiling celebration of the final artworks May 7, at the Lexington Art League. Light refreshments will be served accompanied by a musical guest appearance from the popular UK a cappella group, the acoUstiKats.
Proceeds from the event will allow Art in Unlikely Places to continue to send art workshops back to Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club. Funds will also insure that Art in Unlikely Places will continue to thrive and benefit the future students of the program.
Students have collaborated with local organizations and businesses like the UK College of Fine Arts, WRFL, Red Mango, T.G.I. Fridays and Bourbon and Toulouse to help them achieve their fundraising and marketing goals for the semester.
The class collectively feels that this style of instruction has been one of the most real and beneficial programs to their educational experience. The students of Art in Unlikely Places are led by Mark Rabideau, adjunct assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Arts Administration Program.
Rabideau is a strong believer in the real life experiences this course structure offers. “I am willing to watch my students fail, but I am not prepared to watch them do something ordinary. I believe this class and these students are extraordinary,” Rabideau said.
For further information on this student project, visit Art in Unlikely Places at their GoFundMe website: www.gofundme.com/artinunlikelyplace. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at: www.facebook.com/artin.unlikelyplaces; www.twitter.com/ArtinUnlikely; and www.instagram.com/artinunlikelyplaces.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) — The UK Arts in HealthCare Program will accept original pieces of artwork created by UK employees for consideration in one of two employee exhibits until May 6.
During its third annual call for employee artwork, the UK Arts in HealthCare program will select employee submissions for inclusion in two exhibits titled "The Healing Presence of Art." Submissions should represent themes of healing and restoration and impart an understanding of how art enhances the health care environment. Pieces will be selected by an independent and external juror and exhibited in one of two employee galleries located in Pavilion H and the UK Good Samaritan Hospital.
Employees can submit up to three two-dimensional pieces of artwork in any medium. Pieces should be no larger than 20 by 30 inches and ready for framing upon submission. Selected pieces will become part of the UK Arts in HealthCare program's permanent collection and displayed at various locations throughout the medical campus with recognition of the artist.
The call is open to UK employees and their immediate family members. The deadline to submit artwork is May 6.
MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2015) — University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs will host its annual Equine Farm and Facilities Expo from 3:30 to 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 2, at McPeek Racing’s Magdalena Farm in Lexington.
Horse owners and farm managers will have the opportunity to walk through a vendor trade show and see a range of equipment and supplies for horse farms of all sizes. UK specialists will provide hands-on instruction about practical aspects of management for equine operations. There will also be farm tours.
“The expo provides horse owners the chance to attend an informative event on the grounds of a working horse farm. We appreciate Kenny McPeek for hosting this event and for opening the farm’s gates to the public,” said Ray Smith, professor and forage extension specialist for the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Nick Carter, Fayette County agriculture and natural resources extension agent, said the expo is a unique opportunity for horse owners to learn about a wide range of topics, from pasture weed management to footing for exercise areas.
“There are not many other venues around that allow horse owners this kind of opportunity,” he said.
UK experts will lead demonstrations on subjects including footing, pasture weed management and landscape decisions on horse farms. In addition, McPeek will share with attendees what he looks for in a yearling. There will also be a number of informational booths staffed by UK specialists.
McPeek Racing specializes in selection, management and training of Thoroughbred racehorses. McPeek serves on the board of UK Ag Equine Programs and has been training racehorses since 1985. The farm is located at 2651 Russell Cave Road in Lexington.
Admission to the expo is free, and a meal will be provided. Reservations are appreciated. Contact the Fayette County Extension office at 859-257-5582 to reserve a spot. For more information about this and other UK Ag Equine Programs events, visit http://www.ca.uky.edu/equine or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226
LEXINGTON, KY (April 28, 2015) — Brandon Merriweather has a heart for helping others who are less fortunate. That’s why he reached out to the homeless with a clothing drive and the opportunity to get a fresh haircut and style this past weekend, at the New Life Day Center in Lexington.
“What inspired me was my passion for community development and also my passion for changing the lives of someone else,” said Merriweather, a University of Kentucky senior from Chicago. “I have always had a passion for doing haircuts, just by me working at a barbershop since I was 11 years old. I just wanted to use my God-given skills and bring it to the community and change some lives.”
Merriweather is a student in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Community and Leadership Development program. He will graduate this spring and plans to attend barber school in Chicago. He hopes to open his own barbershop and expand his business one day to include several barbershops. He got the clothing drive started by putting out flyers and collection boxes in several of the college’s buildings on campus.
Merriweather said similar programs in other cities have helped the homeless be more accepted in society and encouraged them to seek jobs.
“The new clothing and new haircut may help them get a job interview,” Merriweather said.
He credits his family for showing him how to give back and have a kind heart. He said the student organization Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), in which he is involved, has done a lot of work in the community and has inspired him.
“We can, and need to make sure that our community improves the lives of all of its residents, including those less fortunate,” Merriweather said.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Franklin, 859-257-9088.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) -- Dr. Mark Evers, director of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery, has been elected treasurer for the American Surgical Association. Evers will serve as treasurer through 2020.
The American Surgical Association is the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. They strive to benefit the patient and the profession of surgery by advocating and promoting excellence, innovation and integrity. Its members include the nation's most prominent surgeons from the country's leading academic medical institutions, many surgery department chairs, and leading surgeons from around the world.
Evers is an internationally recognized clinician-scientist, surgeon, educator and administrator. As a surgeon, his primary interests are in GI, endocrine and soft tissue/skin cancers, and he continues to maintain an active clinical practice.
His laboratory research, which has been continuously funded for more than 20 years from the National Institutes of Health, is predominantly focused on signaling mechanisms for proliferation of colorectal cancers and in hormonal control of cancer growth.
Under his leadership, the UK Markey Cancer Center became the only Kentucky medical center to receive National Cancer Institute designation and only the 68th NCI-designated cancer center in country.
Evers currently sits on the Council of the Southern Surgical Association, having also served as secretary and president of the organization. He has held leadership positions in various national societies including the Society for Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Society of University Surgeons.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) — Students from the University of Kentucky’s MBA program placed third in the business plan competition at Idea State U in Lexington this past weekend.
The “Red Natural” team of four MBA students — Joanna Foresman, Andrew Wachs, Jeremy Madigan, and Qianwen Zhao — won $10,000 at the annual contest matching teams of young entrepreneurs from universities across the state. Idea State U is sponsored by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. The UK foursome developed a business plan for a natural source of red food dye based on research by Seth DeBolt in UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
The "Red Natural" team has been invited to compete in the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition on May 8-9 at the University of Texas in Austin. This premier worldwide competition is often referred to as the 'Super Bowl' of investment competitions.
The Gatton College of Business and Economics provides academic and experiential learning opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students interested in entrepreneurship.
The Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, also are part of the Gatton College, provide outstanding support for these students.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Forensics Team took part in their last tournament of the 2014-2015 season, the National Forensic Association national tournament held at Ohio University. Nearly 70 programs from every corner of the country gathered in Athens for the prestigious tournament.
Five competitors from UK took part in the event. While no students advanced to elimination rounds, the team had its strongest performance to date. The performance of these speeches allowed UK to place 15th in the President’s Division II of individual event sweepstakes. Teams are placed in different divisions based on the number of speeches entered in the competition, with President’s Division II being the middle sweepstakes category.
“We’ve had a great season,” said director of forensics Timothy Bill. “The experiences the team has had over the past year will help continue our growth into the future.”
Some notable statistics from the 2014-2015 season include:
Number of miles traveled: 3,527
Number of nights in a hotel: 18
Number of individual awards: 143
Number of team awards: 10
Number of national qualifications: 20
Over the summer, the returning members of the team will begin preparing for the next season of competition. The team will hold tryouts for potential new team members in August. Anyone interested in joining the team should contact director of forensics, Timothy Bill at email@example.com. UK Forensics is a student organization within the College of Communication and Information and competes in 12 different public speaking events and three forms of debate.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) - The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Jin Shin Jyutsu Integrative Medicine program recently received a grant of more than $10,500 from the Lexington affiliate of Susan G. Komen to produce 10 Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help videos for patients and families.
Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy. JSJ uses light touch on 52 points on the body in sequences known as “flows” with the purpose of promoting relaxation and healing of the body and mind. JSJ has been offered at the Markey Cancer Center since 2009. Jennifer Bradley, who heads the program, and her staff provide up to five free JSJ sessions for patients.
Jennifer also teaches patients, caregivers and staff how to utilize this light touch therapy on their own bodies for self-care in a form called Self-Help. Self-Help training is offered to all patients receiving sessions. Self-Help classes at Markey, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and the Lexington YMCA LiveStrong program are ongoing for patients, caregivers and staff.
The JSJ Self-Help videos will teach simplified versions of the techniques Bradley uses in her sessions for viewers to use at home.
“The majority of the videos will address specific needs of cancer patients, but many of the techniques shown will be useful to caregivers as well,” said Bradley.
The videos will be posted on the UK HealthCare YouTube channel along with videos Bradley has previously produced. As part of the grant, Bradley will also be subtitling new and existing videos in Spanish.
“As part of UK HeathCare and the University of Kentucky, Markey Cancer Center is a resource for all Kentuckians," said Bradley. "These self-help videos make Jin Shin Jyutsu available to all of the Commonwealth, whether one is a patient at Markey, one of our Affiliate hospitals or being served elsewhere."
At Markey, Bradley and her staff use JSJ to assist patients with the physical and emotional effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. In 2012, Bradley presented a pilot study that showed that patients experienced significant improvement in the areas of pain, stress and nausea starting with their first session. To learn more about Jin Shin Jyutsu and the Markey program, view the informational video.
"These videos are a rich resource for patients, caregivers and all of us and can be accessed and shared from every corner of the state," said Bradley. "I’m grateful that Lexington’s Susan G Komen affiliate has made this possible."
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) — Just in time for graduation, the University of Kentucky James W. Stuckert Career Center aims to give soon-to-be graduates the knowledge to succeed in their chosen workplace.
"Career success isn’t about out-witting or just surviving the job market, but about thriving within it," said Reba Carroll, senior assistant director at the UK Stuckert Career Center.
The Stuckert Center will host an event titled “How to impress your boss in the first 90 days” beginning 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 28.
During the event, a panel of employers will advise students on navigating work climate, anticipating organizational needs, confronting workplace challenges and more. The employer panel will include representatives from First Investors, Big Ass Solutions and Lexmark.
"For some, graduation can be just as frightening as it is exciting, regardless we’re here to help," Carroll said.
UK graduates are able to use the Stuckert Center’s services, such as resume critiques or mock interviews, up to six months after graduation.
Caroline Francis from UK Alumni Career Services will also be a part of the employer panel to offer insight and share other career-related services from the UK Alumni Association.
As part of the UK Division of Undergraduate Education, the James W. Stuckert Career Center mission is to prepare students to successfully connect with employers and post graduate educational opportunities. The Stuckert Career Center is here to help students explore their college major options and career goals, engage in the process of expanding their knowledge and experience of the work place, and to connect with those who can help students on their career path. For more information on the Stuckert Career Center and how the staff can provide assistance, visit www.uky.edu/careercenter.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; email@example.com