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College of Pharmacy Hosting Open House Dec. 5

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 11:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy will host an open house for students interested in the College’s Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) professional program on Saturday, Dec. 5.

“We always love opening our doors to prospective students and their families,” said Interim Dean Kelly M. Smith. “It is a great way to meet current students and faculty staff, while getting a glimpse of what it would be like to study in the world’s largest college of pharmacy building.”

This open house will feature a three-hour information session and will provide an opportunity for students and guests to learn more about the pharmacy profession, career opportunities in the field and specific information about the program.

Check-in will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Biological Pharmaceutical Complex, located at 789 S. Limestone, with the program beginning promptly at 10 a.m. The event will end by 1 p.m., followed by optional tours. Registration is required and is available online at

Op-ed by UK Election Law Expert Published in The Atlantic

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 11:16

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2015) — In the wake of Election Day last Tuesday and joining the national conversation on voting rights, University of Kentucky College of Law Professor Joshua Douglas authored an opinion piece, "Will State Courts Fill a Void on Voting Rights?" published in The Atlantic on Nov. 5.

To read the op-ed, visit   

"In recent years, as the U.S. Supreme Court has limited its protections of the right to vote, some state courts have stepped in to fill the void," Douglas wrote in the piece. He went on to describe how state judges are looking toward state constitutions to go "beyond federal law to protect voting rights."

While he says that leaving the issues to state judges could mean varying state-by-state voting protections, "broader voting-rights protection through state constitutions for only part of the country is better than insufficient protection under the U.S. Constitution for all of it."

Douglas is the Robert G. Lawson & William H. Fortune Associate Professor of Law at UK. He teaches and researches election law, civil procedure, constitutional law and judicial decision making. His most recent scholarship focuses on the constitutional right to vote, with an emphasis on state constitutions, as well as the various laws, rules, and judicial decisions impacting election administration.

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

Huguelet Drive Construction Sidewalk and Traffic Impact Nov. 7-8, Nov. 16-25

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 10:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 6, 2015) — Steam line repairs will impact sidewalk access and traffic patterns on a portion of Huguelet Drive over the next few weeks.

On Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8, the sidewalk immediately adjacent to the Thomas Poe Cooper Building will be excavated and the portion of Huguelet Drive from the Cooper Building to Rose Street will be closed for steam line work.

Work will take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on these days. Through traffic will be maintained at all times, with flagmen facilitating two-way vehicle traffic; posted detour signs will redirect traffic to turn left toward Limestone at the Rose Street and Huguelet Drive intersection, to turn right out of the Markey Cancer Center lots toward University Drive and to turn left out of the Kentucky Clinic Garage (PS #3) toward Limestone.

Pedestrians will be rerouted in the area 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but plates and handrails will be installed on the sidewalk adjacent to the Cooper Building to help maintain pedestrian access during times that work is not taking place.

From Monday, Nov. 16 to Wednesday, Nov. 25, work will resume on the steam line, with flagmen and traffic and pedestrian detours in place.

Members of the university community should allow extra time when traveling this section of campus.

NKU Partners with UK to Offer CTP for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 10:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 9, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) welcomes its partner Northern Kentucky University (NKU) as the latest postsecondary institution in Kentucky to offer a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP) for students with intellectual disabilities.

Approved by the U.S. Department of Education, NKU joins Murray State University, Bluegrass Community and Technical College and Spalding University in offering a CTP. CTPs provide services in academic enrichment; socialization; independent living skills, including self-advocacy skills; and integrated work experiences and career skills that lead to gainful employment.

The UK HDI's Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP) assists institutions in implementing CTPs and partners with participating schools to support students with intellectual disabilities as they enroll in courses and fully participate in the opportunities offered by a college experience. Additionally, SHEP provides professional development and technical assistance for faculty and staff.

“With the approval of NKU’s Comprehensive Transition Program, Kentucky now has four CTPs and two other partner institutions that offer a broad range of choices for students that meet their individual interests,” said Barry Whaley, SHEP director at UK.  “Our research reflects that students who participate in inclusive higher education have better life outcomes in terms of work, involvement in their communities, and healthy lifestyles.”

The approval of NKU's CTP allows SHEP students to apply for federal financial aid and receive Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship funds. For this program, students with intellectual disabilities are defined as those who have cognitive disabilities and benefited from a free and appropriate secondary education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

NKU began admitting students with intellectual disabilities in the fall of 2007.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer the possibility of accessing state and federal resources through financial aid to eligible students," said Melissa Jones, NKU faculty member and project coordinator. "It has been a long time coming, but little by little we are breaking down the barriers to building inclusive campus communities.” 

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

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Focuses on Veterans Resource Center

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 18:31
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 6, 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's guest host is WUKY News Director Alan Lytle who talks with Anthony Dotson,director of the UK Veterans' Resource Center, about the range of services offered to nontraditional students with military backgrounds. 

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.

Farr Wins Prestigious Publication Award

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 16:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 6, 2015) — The publisher of the National Council on Family Relations’ scholarly journals, John Wiley & Sons, recently announced the winners of the 2015 Alexis Walker Award for the best paper in the field of family studies published in 2013 and 2014. University of Kentucky assistant professor of psychology Rachel H. Farr and University of Virginia professor of psychology Charlotte J. Patterson were recognized for their work, “Co-parenting Among Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Couples: Associations with Adopted Children’s Outcomes,” published in Child Development, July/August 2013, Volume 84. The award comes with a $5,000 honorarium and will be presented at the National Council on Family Relations Conference on Nov. 12 in Vancouver.

Farr and Patterson’s work is particularly innovative in addressing an underrepresented and “double minority” population of sexual minority adoptive parent families. It was the first study of family interaction to include lesbian, gay and heterosexual couples and their young adopted children. The study was pioneering in its sample, methodology and findings, revealing that aspects of co-parenting were more important correlates of child outcomes than parental sexual orientation. These findings contributed important information about how co-parenting shapes child development in diverse families.

Farr and Patterson’s research results are relevant to legal and policy controversies about adoption by lesbian and gay adults in the U.S. and around the world. Such questions arise in the context of debates about marriage as well as adoption.

Their research has been cited in amicus briefs filed by the American Psychological Association (APA) and other professional organizations, notably for three cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court: Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), and U.S. v. Windsor (2013). Their research was also cited in 15 other amicus briefs filed by APA in related U.S. Circuit Court cases.

Their work has also been included in legal cases taking place in Italy, Switzerland and Malta. Their findings are central to current international controversies surrounding marriage and parenthood, given that children adopted by lesbian and gay parents were found to fare as well as those adopted by heterosexual couples and that same-sex couples show some distinctive patterns of interaction that could benefit children.

There are many opinions held by the public about such adoptions, but Farr and Patterson’s research is among the very few empirical studies to develop a solid scientific underpinning for understanding these children and families. Their work provides information that no one else has about how children fare in these diverse adoptive families. Farr and Patterson’s work has been widely cited in academic circles and was highlighted in the Huffington Post. Farr’s interview with New England Public Radio was aired on NPR’s “Fresh Air” and “Morning Edition.”  

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

SAB’s Behind the Lens Cancelled

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 15:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 6, 2015) —The Univesity of Kentucky Student Activities Board regrets to announce that the Behind the Lens event featuring Lee Daniels, originally schedule for Tuesday, Nov. 10, has been canceled.

Daniels has canceled his upcoming appearance at UK due to changes in his television production schedule. At this point in time, the event has not been rescheduled. Please visit SAB’s website and social media for updates on this and other events.

SAB brings more than 60 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff, and the greater Lexington community.

Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at, or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email

SAB CONTACT: Jazmine Byrd,, (859) 257-8868

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

UK HealthCare and UK College of Nursing Partner for Nursing Research Papers Day

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 14:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 6, 2015) — UK HealthCare nurses and UK College of Nursing students and faculty members will showcase the latest nursing research being conducted at the University of Kentucky during Nursing Research Papers Day today at the Campbell House.

Nursing Research Papers Day has a long history at the University of Kentucky, however today is the first time UK HealthCare has partnered with the UK College of Nursing for this event.

Throughout the day, presenters will discuss research topics ranging from the management of sepsis to the use of Facebook as a support medium for heart failure patients with left ventricular assist devices. Poster presentations will take place between sessions. For the first time, undergraduate students will participate in Nursing Research Papers Day.

The first Nursing Research Papers Day at UK was held in 1989 after the first formal nursing research committee at UK Chandler Medical Center met in 1975 to review nursing research proposals investigating compliance with self-breast examination and the impact of primary nursing on the quality of nursing care. Unit-based research committees were introduced in 1980, and in 1986 the role of research in nursing practice was integrated with the associate, bachelor and master’s degree nursing job descriptions.

For more information about Nursing Research Papers Day, visit For a full agenda, click here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Fall for the Vocal Talents of UK Women's Choir Tonight

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 11:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 6, 2015) — Here's an opportunity to fall for the vocal talents of some of University of Kentucky's most talented female vocalists. UK Women’s Choir, conducted by Lori R. Hetzel, will present their fall concert including the ensemble’s popular a cappella group, Paws and Listen. The UK Women's Choir fall concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall.

The UK Women’s Choir is a select ensemble composed of more than 100 female voices. The singers, ranging from freshmen to graduate students, represent a variety of musical backgrounds and academic disciplines. The choir’s challenging and diverse repertoire includes literature spanning from Gregorian chant to eight-part music of the 21st century. With an emphasis on music by female composers, the ensemble performs works of many different languages and compositional forms.

This prestigious group of young women has been invited to perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Convention in 2003, the MENC (National Association for Music Education) Southern Division Convention in 2001, and the ACDA Southern Division Convention in 2000. In 2008, the choir was featured at both the ACDA Southern Division and MENC National Convention. In 2013, the choir performed at the ACDA National Convention.

Additionally, the UK Women's Choir has toured internationally including performances at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna in 2005, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Florence in 2009. In 2012, the choir presented a tour of England, Ireland and Wales with performances at Canterbury Cathedral, Ely Cathedral, Bath Abby and Evensong in St. Patrick’s, in Dublin. In June 2015, the choir took their fourth international tour to Spain with performances in Seville, Grenada, Córdoba, Toledo and Madrid including collaborations with the Seville Youth Orchestra and the University of Toledo.

Paws and Listen is an a cappella singing group of 16 women auditioned from the Women’s Choir. They perform pop music as well as a mix of doo-wop, vocal jazz and show tunes. The ensemble is coached by undergraduate music education majors and advised by Lori Hetzel, associate director of UK Choirs/Choral Music Education. This group is highly esteemed both on and off campus. They perform for numerous prestigious events throughout the year and are often featured at high profile events at the home of the UK president.

Tickets for the concert are $10 for general admission and $5 for seniors and students with valid student ID.

For more information on the UK Women's Choir or Paws and Listen, contact Joseph Wrightson, administrative assistant to UK Choirs, at

UK's Women's Choir and Paws and Listen are part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The school has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

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

UK Student-Athletes Match Highest Graduation Marks in NCAA, Federal Rates

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 17:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) – University of Kentucky student-athletes tied the school's records for graduation rate in the annual report issued Wednesday by the National College Athletic Association.

The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR), a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2005-06 through 2008-09, was 81 percent.  That ties last year’s school record and continued UK’s trend of having broken or tied the mark for earning diplomas every year since the NCAA began charting graduation.

The GSR includes all scholarship athletes. Athletes who transfer in good standing do not count against the school’s GSR. Schools also are allowed to count incoming transfers and January enrollees who subsequently graduate.

Here are the annual scores for UK student-athletes breaking or tying the school record each year of the 11-year history of the GSR.

Year Announced            NCAA GSR

2015                             81 percent

2014                             81

2013                             79        

2012                             79

2011                             77        

2010                             74

2009                             73

2008                             73

2007                             71

2006                             71

2005                             68

The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) for student-athletes, also a four-year composite statistic for the freshman classes of 2005-06 through 2008-09, is 59 percent, tying the school record posted two years ago.  Data for this statistic is available since 1991. In the FGR, student-athletes who transfer count as non-graduates, regardless of their academic standing or subsequent graduation from another institution. Incoming transfer students, from junior college or four-year schools, who graduate at UK are not counted as graduates. These factors account for the difference between the FGR and the NCAA GSR.

These improvements reflect the emphasis on academic achievement by Mitch Barnhart, who became director of athletics in 2002.

“I’m pleased that our students are continuing their progress in graduation rates,” Barnhart said. “Education is a key component of future success and completion of degrees is a significant accomplishment in our students’ lives.”

The long-term outlook remains bright for UK’s student-graduation numbers. One of Barnhart’s goals for UK Athletics is a composite 3.0 grade-point average for all student-athletes. The Wildcats have hit that goal the last six semesters.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tony Neely, 859-257-3838.

UK CNP Student Makes A CHANGE With Oxfam

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 16:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015)  University of Kentucky Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) student Samantha La Mar participated this summer in the Oxfam CHANGE Initiative leadership training program in Boston. This competitive program, offered only to 50 undergraduate students nationally, provides a one week travel scholarship to students to teach them leadership and advocacy skills, as well as to familiarize them with Oxfam’s mission:  positive social change.

La Mar, a junior in the UK College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment's Community and Leadership Development program, is also the new leader of Oxfam's student association at UK. Among other projects, she will be advocating for sustainable agriculture abroad in order to complement and improve U.S. food aid programs. 

In addition to the Oxfam CHANGE Initiative program, CNP has helped connect La Mar to internships with the Kentucky Historical Society and Dress for Success.  She cites her experience with the CNP program as the foundation for her decision to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.

“Everyone at CNP is truly passionate about social change and passionate about making a difference” said La Mar. “CNP gave me the ability to connect the dots across multiple disciplines and groups of people in order to accomplish a goal.  Being a part of the CNP program has verified my passion for serving others and given me confidence that I can pursue that as a part of my future.”

CNP was established in January and currently has over 50 undergraduate students participating.  The program was established following the significant growth of the nonprofit sector over the last 10 years and is designed to strengthen the leadership skills of students interested in pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector.  Students who successfully pursue the CNP program will receive the National Certification in Nonprofit Management and Leadership through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA).

Oxfam is a nonpartisan, international organization known for its global relief and development efforts, as well as its social advocacy.  Founded in 2000, the CHANGE program has trained more than 770 student leaders from more than 340 colleges and universities. Applications for the 2016 Oxfam CHANGE Initiative will be available in the spring. 

Students interested in learning more about Oxfam may attend the upcoming Oxfam Hunger Banquet 6-8 p.m. Nov. 18 in the King Alumni House. This will be a unique opportunity for students to learn more about the impacts of poverty and hunger both locally and globally. Food will be provided. Students may also email to learn more about becoming involved at UK.

To learn more about CNP, visit

PTS Ride Home Express Tickets Now Available

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 15:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is now selling tickets for the Thanksgiving and Winter Break editions of its Ride Home Express bus service. The PTS Ride Home Express is a bus service traveling to hometowns and other destinations during the major academic breaks. The service, which is entering its sixth year of operation, provides an economical and efficient alternative as compared to other means of travel.

Ride Home Express will run Nov. 24 and Nov. 29 for Thanksgiving break; it will run Dec. 18 and Jan. 10 for winter break. For the 2015-2016 edition of the Ride Home Express, PTS will operate three routes, with a total of 15 stops. The final destinations include the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; and Cleveland, OH. Fares for the PTS Ride Home Express range from $55-$155 for round-trip rates; one-way fares begin at $30.

Ride Home Express is open to both students and employees. UK students and employees are able to register and pay for their trip via the web by logging on to the Parking Account Manager with their Link Blue ID. BCTC students are also able to pay for trip registration online using their KCTCS login. Ride Home Express registration will be available as an option under the "Purchase Permits" section once logged in. All other riders must register and pay for their seats in person at the main PTS office, located in the Press Avenue Garage, at the corner of Press and Virginia Avenues. One-way fares may be purchased in person only. The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

PTS recommends registering for the trip as soon as possible. Space is limited, and seats will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.

PTS can provide transportation for Ride Home Express riders to and from Commonwealth Stadium. Riders interested in this option simply need to submit the Ride Home Express Shuttle to Commonwealth Stadium request form at least two business days in advance of the shuttle’s departure.

For more information on the Ride Home Express, including a list of fares and route maps, visit the Ride Home Express page or the Ride Home Express Frequently Asked Questions.

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, (859) 257-6398;

Caring for Teens at the Core of the UK Stop Youth Suicide Conference

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 14:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — The reasons why a teen might consider, attempt or commit suicide are complex. But according to Dr. Hatim Omar, University of Kentucky professor and chair of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, reducing youth suicide begins with a simple act — caring for teens.

“It’s not rocket science to help kids,” Omar said. “It’s just getting people to understand the message.”

Omar believes getting to the bottom of the problem of youth suicide requires dialogue among parents, ministers, school staff, health care providers, and counselors — but most importantly, teens themselves. For this reason, he helped to establish the Stop Youth Suicide Conference, which celebrates 15 years preventing and educating communities about youth suicide in Kentucky this week.

The Stop Youth Suicide (SYS) Conference on Nov. 5-6 will engage teens, parents, counselors, health professionals, and University of Kentucky employees in conversations about suicide risks and prevention. World-renowned teen health experts will discuss achievements of SYS through the past 15 years, risky behaviors, self-image, mental health, LGBT suicide risks, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, anxiety disorders and more during the full-day conference at the Doubletree Hilton and Suites in Lexington. In addition, teens will participate in an evening of socializing with Miss Kentucky 2013 Jenna Day during the Teen Event on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Since coming to UK in 1998, Omar has focused on enhancing teen wellness and preventing suicide through his efforts with the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign, a community-based youth suicide prevention program. In addition, Omar provides comprehensive teen health services through the Adolescent Health Clinic at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital and school-based outreach clinics in Lincoln and Harrison counties. He has advocated legislation to improve teen health and make resources available to families and youth with disabilities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, physical health peaks during the adolescent years, but this age group is susceptible to mental health problems and suicide. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for teens and young adults across the nation and in Kentucky.

Since the UK Division of Adolescent Medicine, led by Omar, introduced the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign in 2000, suicide attempts in Kentucky’s youth have dropped in areas where school-based access to teen health services is available.

Omar’s recently published book, “Youth Suicide Prevention: Everybody’s Business,” chronicles the experiences and successes of the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign. The book describes a holistic approach to youth suicide from several perspectives, as well as strategies for reducing suicide that have worked in Kentucky.

Teens can attend the conference free of charge. For more information about the conference, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

EQT Grant to Robinson Scholars Program Will Support Scholarships for Eastern Kentucky Students

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 14:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — The Robinson Scholars Program at the University of Kentucky is pleased to announce the receipt of a $50,000 grant from the EQT Foundation to support scholarships for first generation students from eastern Kentucky.

“We are excited about EQT’s investment in Robinson Scholars,” said director Jeff Spradling. “EQT has been a significant corporate partner for our novel first generation program, and we are very honored by the Foundation’s continued investment in the promising students who participate in our program.”

The EQT Foundation is the philanthropic arm of EQT Corporation, an integrated energy company with emphasis on Appalachian area natural gas production, gathering, and transmission and operations in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The company employs more than 1,800 people, with an estimated economic impact exceeding $5 billion in 2014.

“The EQT Foundation is committed to supporting educational opportunities that better prepare students for rewarding and challenging careers,” said Ellen Rossi, EQT Foundation Manager. “The partnership with the Robinson Scholars program has proven to be successful through the years by continuing to increase the number of first generation college students from eastern Kentucky, an area where EQT has numerous employees and operations.” 

During Robinson Scholars nearly 20-year history, the EQT Foundation has supported both summer camps for high school students and scholarships for college students at UK.  The newest grant will provide $5,000 renewable scholarships to UK for students who applied for but did not receive the full Robinson Scholarship. This award is called the Robinson Excellence Scholarship and made on the basis of extensive application scoring and a strong desire to attend the University of Kentucky.

Two students who receive this scholarship will be named EQT Excellence Scholars and will participate fully in the Robinson college sequence, which includes residence in the First Generation Living Learning Community and participation in activities such as community service, academic and cultural enrichment, and internship and work preparation. The grant from EQT will support 10 scholarships in the 2016-17 academic year.

“The ability to offer this scholarship money in our service region greatly enhances our long-term development model by allowing us to bring even more qualified first generation students to UK’s campus.

“Our high school students do a remarkable job of preparing for the demands of college-level work, but this is just a first step in their long-term success," Spradling said. Our staff very much believe that Robinson Scholars must make use of the many wonderful opportunities that an education at the state’s flagship university affords them."

“Among applicants for the Robinson Scholarship, we have seen scores incredibly close. Really, we believe that any student who completes our high school development program could be successful at UK, and our goal is to help them become students here,” Spradling said. “Through the generous support of partners such as the EQT Foundation, who are also committed to the success of eastern Kentucky’s young people, we are able to do more to improve college and career outcomes for first generation students.”

For more information about the Robinson Scholars Program and the EQT Foundation grant, contact Jeff Spradling at 859-257-5230 or

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, (859) 257-6398;

BluPass Provides Safe, Affordable and Sustainable Transportation

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 13:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — Four months ago, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, along with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Lextran Board Chair Jeff Fugate, announced a major new partnership between UK and Lexington public transportation system, Lextran.

The partnership — dubbed BluPass — allows UK students, faculty and staff to ride any Lextran bus route free of charge simply by showing their valid Wildcard ID.

Lextran travels throughout 21 different city routes, which extend throughout and beyond the UK campus into the Lexington community. BluPass includes all Lextran routes, both on- and off-campus, allowing UK students, faculty and staff to travel to, from and around campus while also accessing the city.

A map of Lextran routes can be found here.

In its infancy, the BluPass program has already proved successful in providing safe, affordable and sustainable transportation options to all members of the UK community.

In addition to the immediate personal savings associated with reduced vehicle operating and parking costs, participation in the BluPass program also contributes to reduced road congestion and environmental impact. The BluPass program is funded by UK Parking and Transportation Services as a proactive effort to decrease single occupancy vehicle use and ultimately reduce campus parking demand.

UK senior lecturer Kim Woodrum described what she believes to be the major benefits of BluPass.

"At the end of the day when I am exhausted, someone else faces the rush hour traffic, and I just close my eyes and chill out," said Woodrum.

Vicki Knox, a lab staff member in the immunomolecular lab at UK Chandler Hospital and frequent BluPass user, also noted the positive impacts of the program.

"I arrive at work much happier. There is no stress from searching for a parking spot, or the grind of the daily commute," said Knox. "Just jump on the bus, drink your coffee, read your paper and before you know it you are at your destination."

For Knox, the physical benefits of utilizing BluPass are just as valuable as the emotional benefits.

"I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. The walking or bike riding to the bus stop has improved my heart function," said Knox.

Members of the campus community are encouraged to combine mass transit and biking. All Lextran buses are equipped with a bike rack.

The BluPass program is just one part of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP), which aims to improve access and mobility to, from, and around campus for all members of the UK community.

UK Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday said BluPass represents the first of several initiatives which directly ties back to these early findings and feedback received from the community, related to the TMP.

"Investing in transportation alternatives is an important way to manage demand and allow the transportation system to work better for our entire community," Monday said.

The TMP will align with our Campus Master Plan — the blueprint for a campus transformation that‘s allowing UK to become a national model for a thriving, public residential research campus. And, it is also a time when campus engagement is crucial. Community members are encouraged to provide input and feedback on the challenges facing the university in terms of transportation, parking, and mobility, by visiting the TMP website.

Frequently asked questions about BluPass can be found here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, (859) 257-6398;

'Appalachia in the Bluegrass' Presents Concerts with Wells Family, Rich Kirby and Nate Polly

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 10:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2015) — The next two performances in the "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concert series are filled with artists who are keeping the tradition in traditional music alive. On Friday, Nov. 6, Jesse and Carrie Jean Wells and Matt Carter of the Wells Family will perform. The following Friday, Nov. 13, Rich Kirby and the Nate Polly will perform. Both free public concerts will take place at noon at the Niles Gallery, located in the University of Kentucky Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center

A Family Affair

Musicianship runs in the family with the Wells clan. Jesse, Carrie Jean and Matt Carter are skilled and experienced Appalachian music makers.

Jesse is an instructor and archivist at the Morehead State University’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music. He performs regularly with the Clack Mountain String Band and Kentucky Wild Horse. He has been invited to teach workshops at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Appalshop and the Old Town School of Folk's Music's Old-Time Festival.

Jesse Wells performs as part of the "Made to be Played" exhibit presented by the Kentucky Historical Society in 2009. 

Carrie Jean, who studied architecture at UK, is known for her work with several revitalization projects in downtown Whitesburg, Kentucky. She is passionate about art, music and Eastern Kentucky. She plays the fiddle and guitar, primarily with fiddler Sylvia Ryerson in a duo known as the SkipDippers.

Interview and performances of Carrie Jean Wells from Natalie Baxter on Vimeo.

Matt Carter, Carrie Jean's husband, is a musician and serves as the program director of Appalshop's radio station WMMT, as well as coordinator for the passing the pick and bow program.

Rich and Nate, Minus the Po' Folks  

Rich Kirby and Nate Polly are good friends who have a strong love for traditional music of east Kentucky and southwest Virginia in common.

Rich Kirby performs "Rocky Island" at  2013 Portland Oldtime Music Gathering.

Kirby and Polly started playing together in a group called Rich and the Po' Folks in 2006. The band comprises friends who were influenced by Appalachian musicians like Art Stamper, Ed Haley, Charlie Osborne, George Gibson, Addie Graham and John Morgan Salyer. Kirby and Polly are multi-instrumentalists, playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin and bass. Polly, a former railroad worker from Letcher County, Kentucky, is a talented singer and songwriter as well.

Nate Polly performs at the 2012 Morehead Old Time Festival.

The Appalachia in the Bluegrass concert series celebrates the old time roots of American folk music by featuring a diverse range of traditional musical expression. The concert series will showcase 12 different artists, duos and groups from southern Appalachia ranging from artists straight off their front porch to those who have earned international acclaim.

The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, host of the concert series, is a collaborative research and performance center maintained by the UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Music and UK Libraries.

For more information on the Appalachia in the Bluegrass concert series or the concerts featuring the Wells Family or Rich Kirby and Nate Polly, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center, by email to or visit the website

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

UK Researchers Showcase Potential Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease at Michael J. Fox Foundation Conference

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 16:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2015) — Two University of Kentucky researchers will present evidence supporting a promising new therapy for Parkinson’s disease as part of a showcase of scientific research and innovation during the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference.

University of Kentucky College of Medicine professor Gregory Gerhardt and associate professor Richard Grondin will today present “Therapeutic Development of siRNA Targeting Alpha-Synuclein” during the MJFF Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference in New York. The research studies whether targeting the alpha-synuclein protein is a safe approach to combating Parkinson’s disease. Gerhardt and Grondin were invited to participate in the poster presentation session, which highlights academic and industry research supported by the MJFF.

Gerhardt’s research looks at the mechanisms within the neuron that cause Parkinson’s disease. For a cell to make a protein, a large molecule that performs a specific function for the cell, DNA in the cell’s genome has to be transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) so it can then be translated into protein. The siRNAs target mRNAs to prevent these mRNAs from being translated into protein.

Researchers have found the protein alpha-synuclein seems to be involved in Parkinson’s disease progression. Gerhardt’s group developed a siRNA designed to target alpha-synuclein mRNA so it cannot be translated into protein. The results of the study show that this siRNA can interfere with alpha-synuclein production without being toxic to the brain, which means siRNA might be a promising candidate as a future Parkinson’s disease therapy.

Gerhart, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology, neurology, psychiatry, and electrical engineering, serves as the director of the Morris K. Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence. He is also a member of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center faculty at the University of Kentucky.

The Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference is the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s annual conference and is the only conference in the world solely dedicated to the development of therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Second Look Leads to Miraculous Turnaround for NICU Baby

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 16:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2015) — Presley Collins spent the first 12 hours of her life like most newborns — swaddled in blankets and fawned over by family members in a hospital room.

On the outside, Presley appeared healthy and normal. But on the inside, Presley’s small intestines, the portion of the gastrointestinal system responsible for absorbing nutrition, were cut off from blood flow and oxygen. Only a couple inches of viable tissue remained in the small intestines of the 2-day-old baby.

After Presley was born in August 2014, a pediatrician at Baptist Health in Richmond suspected a serious problem with her gastrointestinal tract. She was sent to the neonatal intensive care unit at Kentucky Children’s Hospital where pediatric surgeon Dr. Sean Skinner received the family’s permission to perform emergency surgery to diagnose the condition. The operation revealed tissue death in most of Presley’s small intestines, with only 1-centimeter sections at opposite ends of the intestinal tract viable.

Skinner diagnosed Presley with ischemic bowel, a condition in which diminished blood flow prevents oxygen from getting to the cells in the digestive system. During development in the womb, a blockage in the vessels prevented blood flow to the intestines, and the damage to the baby’s vital organ was irreversible.

“We got a call from (Dr. Skinner) pretty much saying we needed to get to UK as soon as we could because chances were slim our daughter would live,” Derrick Collins, Presley’s dad, said. “He explained what he found and told us she had a 10 percent chance of living.”

Presley would likely need a bowel transplant, but even as a full-term newborn, she was too small and vulnerable for the procedure. Skinner obtained second opinions from colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, who confirmed his conclusion that Presley was not yet a candidate for bowel transplant. He held a teleconference with the family, the KCH medical team and specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The medical teams offered two possible courses of action for Presley: take her off her breathing ventilator and go home or put her through an additional surgery to remove the dead bowel and begin the long and risky wait for a transplant. 

Neither action seemed desirable for the parents. The parents didn’t want the memory of their daughter dying at home. And removing the dead bowel was a temporary intervention to protect Presley from infection while awaiting a transplant. To receive the transplant, she needed to survive without small intestine until she gained 20 pounds and turned 1-year old.

NICU nurse Mary Smith, who was Presley’s primary nurse, gained the family’s trust and empathized with their struggle. While caring for Presley, she talked to the parents about their options. Even after receiving consultation from the pediatric palliative care team, Jessie Roney, Presley’s mom, believed her daughter was going to survive. During casual conversation in their NICU room, Collins and Raney asked Smith what she would do in their position.

“I had this gut feeling, and as a nurse you always follow your gut,” Smith said. “I just wondered if it would be different if Dr. Skinner went back in? I couldn’t live with myself wondering, ‘What if?’”

Smith’s advice encouraged the parents to allow Skinner to perform the second procedure and remove the dead bowel in preparation for transplant. The next day, Skinner took Presley into a second surgery to remove the dead bowel. When he opened Presley’s abdomen, he found only two-thirds of the original portion of dead bowel measured during the first procedure. He couldn’t explain why, but Presley’s body rejuvenated a portion of the intestines enough, Skinner determined, to salvage the entire organ.

“That was letting the body sort out what it could,” Skinner said. “Kids’ bodies are more resilient that adults.”

Skinner extracted 75 centimeters of dead bowel and left 50 centimeters of viable bowel. After two hours of surgery, Skinner reported the news of a medical  “miracle” to the family.

“I fell down and started crying like a baby,” Collins said of hearing the outcome of the surgery. “But her mom didn’t even budge — she knew the whole time her baby was going to be fine.”

The surgery signified a turnaround in Presley’s treatment. Skinner’s ability to keep several centimeters of Presley’s bowel negated a transplant, and subsequent procedures performed by Skinner enabled the baby to eventually go home with a feeding tube. Presley transitioned from breast feeding to formula within a year of her treatment at KCH, and now eats regular food. Collins said he wouldn’t have trusted anyone but Skinner to work on his daughter.

“Even though he gave us all the bad news, there was just this trust there that I felt like she was in good hands every time she went into surgery with him,” Collins said of Skinner.

The family also praised Smith for the support she provided during an uncertain time. They felt Smith was the best person to parse down complex and overwhelming medical information when they were facing decisions concerning their daughter’s fate. Smith became an advocate for their daughter’s care.

“We owe everything to Mary and the support that she gave us,” Collins said. “She treated us like we’d known each other our whole lives.”

Smith has heard of dramatic recoveries and unexplained phenomena in the NICU, but Presley was the first miracle baby under her care. She won’t ever forget the resilience of Presley, who is now a toddler and recently visited Mary in the NICU.

“She is why I love my job,” Smith said. “I’ve never felt this way about a patient — I’ve never seen a miracle like this.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Theatre Continues Season With '25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 11:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 4, 2015) — The musical theater talents of University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance will take center stage with their next production, the Tony-Award winning "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." This musical will run Nov. 12-15, at the Guignol Theatre on the UK campus.

"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" has something every audience member can enjoy. The journey of six whiz kids on the quest to win the Putnam County Spelling Bee has been described as charmingly quirky and surprisingly touching. Whether you identify with Olive Ostrovsky, whose best friend is a dictionary, or Marcy Park, an overachieving athlete/musician/multi-linguist, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will be a familiar throwback to those awkward adolescent years.

This musical contains some adult language and content.

UK Theatre's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will take the stage 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 12-14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, at Guignol Theatre. Tickets for the production are $15 for UK students with a valid student ID and $20 for general admission. To purchase tickets contact the Singletary Center box office at 859-257-4929, visit online at, or purchase them in person at the box office during operating hours.

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

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

Behind the Scenes of Kentucky Politics

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 16:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015) — Stephen Voss is a frequently quoted analyst of Kentucky politics. In recent years, the University of Kentucky associate professor of political science has been interviewed by some of the most prestigious newspapers and broadcast news organizations in the nation, as well as publishing in equally prominent professional journals.

In recent weeks, as the anticipation of today's election has grown, Voss has been a very busy man, even if you don’t count his hours in the classroom.

He describes himself as a quantitative analyst specializing in elections and voting behavior, with a focus on the U.S. South and the politics of race, ethnicity and culture.

In a recent interview with UKNow, he shared some of his insight into Election Day 2015 and the nature and history of Kentucky politics.

What sort of voter turnout do you think Kentucky will see today?

Voss: Voter turnout likely will be poor. We have no federal elections pumping money into the contest, so the voter mobilization efforts will be unimpressive. The top-ticket (gubernatorial) race looks close, which usually brings people in, but neither party's standard bearer appears to be lighting the electorate on fire. Any chance independent candidate Drew Curtis was going to be able to pull in a younger electorate may have disappeared once Curtis decided to play the campaign straight rather than serving as comic relief, and because he aimed for the nonpartisan center rather than flanking Conway, he will not be pulling in hardcore voters on the left. About the only remaining electorate he might be able to excite would be the libertarian-leaning voters preferring a candidate who is fiscally conservative but socially liberal, which some kind of formal recognition from the state's Libertarian Party might be able to generate, but even then he's not going to be pulling in huge numbers.

What is your assessment of the Democrats and Republicans active in Kentucky?

Voss: The Republican Party here is going through the same disarray as the GOP nationally. Established leaders such as Mitch McConnell and Hal Rogers are struggling to maintain party discipline despite the dissatisfaction of a party that has been shifting sharply to the right for many years. The problem for these hard-right newcomers such as Matt Bevin is that the typical rank-and-file Republican voters have not shifted with them ideologically, so we're seeing lackluster interest in Bevin from many of the voters he needs. The Democratic Party does not have the same problems nationwide, and even in Kentucky they are finding it easier to hold together, but lurking under the surface is a similar tug of war between the state's traditional Southern Democrats and the activists trying to pull the state party leftward to join that national party. 

How did Kentucky and much of the South go from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican -- at least in national elections -- within a single generation?

Voss: The Reagan presidency set off a gradual realignment of voters in the South, as older Southern white Democrats began to be replaced by a younger generation of Southern white Republicans. The shift began at the presidential level, but it has slowly been filtering down through other federal elections to state elections. Kentucky stands out because the Democratic Party has remained viable at the state level, unlike in much of the Deep South where the shift to the GOP has been even more powerful.

Is it unusual that a state votes Republican in the presidential race, but Democratic on the state ballot?

Voss: No, it's not unusual. For an entire generation, Southern whites managed to maintain a dual partisanship, in which they were Republicans in national elections and Democrats in local elections. The pattern survived longer in Kentucky than in the Deep South, but it remains a familiar pattern.

Is there evidence of the pendulum swinging back?

Voss: Party support does not exhibit a pendulum effect at the state level. Instead, what we see in Kentucky is that the party allegiances change depending on how an election is framed. If social and cultural issues dominate, as they usually do in national elections, then the state's swing voters seem to prefer Republicans. If economic issues dominate, for example because we have Democrats like Steve Beshear who take a moderate stance on social issues, then the swing voters are perfectly happy to embrace Democrats. They have never really been Republican loyalists, despite voting that way for president so overwhelmingly.

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


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