LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2014) — At 44, Sherry Payne was uncommonly young to be diagnosed with colon cancer. She was also too young to have started regular colon cancer screenings, so by the time she developed symptoms and went to the doctor, the disease had already progressed to Stage 3. It was 1998, and she was given two years to live.
"As you can see, I did not take that seriously and I am still here," Payne says today.
More than 15 years after her diagnosis, Payne is cancer-free and dedicates her life to cancer prevention in Eastern Kentucky. A Knox County resident, she works as a community health advisor for the American Cancer Society, improving communities' health by encouraging men and women to practice early detection of colon, breast, and cervical cancer while it is in the most treatable stages.
Her passion has also led her to work with researchers at the University of Kentucky (UK) Rural Cancer Prevention Center (RCPC), which has just received a $3.75 million, five-year grant renewal from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote screening and prevent death from colorectal cancer in Central Appalachia and other rural areas.
The UK RCPC, housed at the UK College of Public Health, is a planned collaboration of community members, public health professionals, and researchers that conduct applied prevention research to reduce health disparities associated with cervical cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer among residents of the Kentucky River Area Development District (KRADD). The UK RCPC is one of just 26 CDC-funded Prevention Research Centers (PRC) in the country, and the only one focused on developing and disseminating strategies for rural cancer prevention.
The central mission of the PRC program is to support community-based, participatory prevention research to drive major community changes that can prevent and control chronic diseases. In line with this mission, the work of the UK RCPC is guided by a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that sets research and service priorities. Payne serves as one of 13 members on the RCPC board, along with other health care professionals, administrators, and educators; business, media, and government representatives; and family members of cancer survivors.
In fact, it was the CAB that directed the RCPC to dedicate its current five years of funding to colorectal cancer screening and prevention. In the previous five years of funding, the RCPC focused on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and cervical cancer screening at the direction of the CAB.
"This is where we need to be focusing our attention — in the response to needs indicated by representatives of the community," says Dr. Richard Crosby, director of the RCPC and professor and chair of the department of health behavior in the UK College of Public Health.
The data supports the decision of the CAB to focus on colorectal cancer: Not only does Kentucky have the nation's highest rates of cancer incidence and death, more people from Appalachian Kentucky die from colorectal cancer than those diagnosed with colorectal cancer in other regions of the state.
While colorectal cancer is usually a slow growing cancer that has a much higher survival rate if detected and treated early, delayed or no screening can lead to late-stage diagnosis when the chance of survival is significantly lower. For people living in rural areas like Appalachia, where they may be geographically and socially isolated from health care providers, a major problem is a lack of access to recommended screenings for colorectal cancer. This is especially true in the KRADD counties, all eight of which are classified as Healthcare Professional Shortage Areas by the U.S. Health Services and Resources Administration.
The counties in which the RCPC works also experience severe economic distress. Collectively, the communities that compose the KRADD represent one of the lowest income regions in the country, and the three poorest counties in the U.S.--Breathitt, Lee, and Owsley--are all located in the KRADD.
"This is about serving Kentuckians, and we are targeting an area of the rural Appalachia that has extremely high rates of colorectal cancer morbidity," says Crosby. "We're focusing on a project that engages people at a point when we can still do something to prevent their death."
Over the next five years, Crosby and the RCPC team will develop, implement, and disseminate an intervention to promote a simple, at-home screening test called FIT (fecal immunochemical test) that could drastically increase rates of annual colorectal cancer screening in rural areas. FIT tests use a new technology for detecting antibodies to polyps (potentially cancerous clumps of cells) in the stool. With FIT, you simply brush the surface of the stool with a brush included in the kit and then dab the end of the brush onto the test card, which is mailed off for testing. The test is quick, painless, low-cost, and doesn't require a trip to the doctor -- still somewhat unpleasant, but likely preferable to an unnecessary colonoscopy or, of course, cancer. In the case of a positive FIT test result, RCPC staff will help individuals navigate the healthcare system to get further testing and treatment as needed.
Their upcoming work will build upon the successes of their previous round of funding, which focused on cervical cancer prevention and screening. The cervical cancer prevention program developed by the RCPC is now being used in 18 local Kentucky health departments and has also been adapted for use in 30 local health departments in North Carolina. Over the next five years, Crosby and the RCPC team will leverage the key partnerships that have supported their previous success, not only working with the CAB but also with local health departments, the Kentucky Department of Public Health, and further academic and medical resources on campus like the Markey Cancer Center, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, the College of Communication and Information, the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks, and the Kentucky Cancer Registry.
Crosby says the work of the RCPC goes beyond the "bench to bedside" goal of moving laboratory discoveries into new applications, such as treatments or devices, for humans.
"This is 'bench to community' work — we want to keep people from needing bedside care at all," he says.
Payne is similarly hopeful that efforts of the RCPC to prevent colorectal cancer in Appalachia will spare others the experience she endured, and prevent deaths from treatable cancers.
"I am so grateful to be part of the RCPC project," she says. "While under treatment, I saw too many colon cancer patients passing away when they could have avoided late stage cancer if they had participated in cancer screenings."
MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) — As site preparation and utilities upgrades continue for construction of the new Academic Science Building at the University of Kentucky, the portion of Rose Street between Huguelet Drive and Funkhouser Drive will close July 21. This is a minor delay from the originally scheduled date of July 7.
The portion of Washington Avenue that has been closed from Limestone to Gladstone is expected to reopen July 21, at which time Washington Avenue from Gladstone to Rose Street will close.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2014) – University of Kentucky sophomore psychology major Kara McCord won one of the 2014 Noba Student Video Award top prizes, awarded by the Diener Education Fund (DEF) and Noba Psychology, for her video titled “Flashbulb Memories”.
The worldwide competition recognizes the most outstanding student-made videos developed around psychological concepts related to memory.
McCord’s entry, judged by a panel of leading psychologists, was among entries from the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia. In addition to receiving a cash award of $3,000, her video focusing on a phenomenon of autobiographical memory, will be included as a part of the Noba Psychology digital textbook in a module centered on memory.
The Noba Psychology Collection is a free and open-licensed intro-to-psychology resource created for college-level learners and instructors as an alternative to expensive traditional textbooks. Noba emphasizes “active” learning and created the 2014 Student Video Award as an opportunity for students to connect to the science of psychology in a creative and meaningful way.
Referring to McCord’s entry, Noba co-founder Ed Diener said, “As scientists we put a heavy emphasis on accuracy and as instructors we value clarity in our communication. Kara did a terrific job getting the flashbulb memory concept across in a way that will really help other students learn.”
Noba plans to announce a new video award competition for the coming academic year in September of 2014.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) — Six students from the University of Kentucky School of Architecture in the College of Design have been selected as finalists in the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) "Design Emphasis" Student Furniture Design Competition in Atlanta, Georgia. The competition will be held in the Georgia World Congress Center the week of Aug. 18, 2014.
The six students who have been selected to compete are:
· Nikki Challita, architecture graduate student from Bellbrook, Ohio;
· Adam Eaton, 2014 graduate with a master's degree in architecture from Bellbrook;
· Adam Logsdon, architecture graduate student from Louisville, Kentucky;
· Mark Manczyk, architecture graduate student from Taylor Mill, Kentucky;
· Sarah Mohr, 2014 graduate with a master's degree in architecture from Smithton, Illinois; and
· Don Shepperson, architecture senior from Lancaster, Kentucky.
All six students in the competition were in the spring 2014 furniture studio taught by Professor Leonard Wujcik.
The "Design Emphasis" competition brings students from design schools across the nation to exhibit their work at IWF for judging by a panel of professionals made up of furniture industry designers, manufacturing and retail executives, and members of the trade press who have design-oriented backgrounds. The competition recognizes and rewards designs in five categories: seating, case goods, commercial/office/hospitality furniture, accent furniture/accent tables, and design creativity.
Over $10,000 in prize money will be awarded and presented in a ceremony following the judging of "Design Emphasis." As well as being involved in the competition, the students will also be able to attend the trade show itself, allowing them to make valuable career contacts and share ideas with fellow design students from across the country.
IWF is a trade show known around the world for offering new and innovative products and solutions for furniture manufacturing, cabinetry, architectural woodworking, material processing and other related industries, as well as bringing industry professionals from around the globe together for great networking opportunities. At IWF, visitors can view the newest products and trends and learn from those who have already troubleshot the solutions.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) — University of Kentucky Department of Forestry Professor Jeffrey Stringer has been awarded funding by the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) for a pilot research project that is developing a web-based application that identifies the closest emergency personnel for those injured in the logging industry. He is one of five recipients of research funding from CARERC.
A professor of hardwood silviculture and forest operations, Stringer's current research project would aid all those working in the forest and wood industry, which provides 59,300 jobs in 109 of Kentucky's 120 counties, as well as providing over 12.8 billion dollars annually to the state's economy. The industry is based on the production of hardwood sawlogs and pulpwood, which are harvested by over 1,300 family owned logging firms.
Stringer's pilot project is aimed at developing a web-based application to automatically generate least-travel-time routes from user-defined logging sites to the closest emergency personnel location (EPL). Under regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), contractors are required to provide access routes from any given logging site to EPLs, such as hospitals and police and fire stations, prior to the start of ground operations. Normally, access routes are in the form of printed maps and/or a set of directions that are found by using applications like Google or MapQuest; however, while these are helpful tools, they don’t always provide the best EPL, especially if there are multiple locations.
When accidents happen on logging sites, finding the fastest possible route and closest EPL is crucial, thus enhancing the importance of Stringer's research. His application would have the ability to be used with a mobile interface and/or developed into an app for smartphone usage. The application will also store all requested access routes, as well as expected harvesting duration to maintain an an online spatial dataset displaying active logging sites and associated access routes to EPL's at any given time.
The research team plans to implement the pilot project among the 54 rural counties within Kentucky's Central Appalachain region; however the project is designed to eventually be applicable to the entire CARERC catchment area (eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, southern West Virginia, western Virginia, and western North Carolina).
CARERC is one of 18 university-based occupational safety and health training programs in the United States. Their mission is to provide state-of-the-art interdisciplinary occupational safety and health research, education and training opportunities for stakeholders in 177 high-need counties of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and Virginia.
MEDIA CONTACT: Courtney Eckdahl, email@example.com, 859-218-1304.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) — A book by two University of Kentucky professors was highlighted recently in a Huffington Post blog by author Janet Mason.
"A Positive View of LGBTQ: Embracing Identity and Cultivating Well-Being" by Sharon Rostosky, professor of counseling psychology in the UK College of Education and Ellen Riggle, professor of political science in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, is one of two books Mason focused on as exhibiting the importance of identity in the LGBTQ community.
Mason said the book "talks about the unique strengths that being LGBTQ can engender, including looking at relationships differently, having compassion for other oppressed groups based on our own 'outsider' status, and using the introspection that comes from the necessary self-understanding about your sexual orientation or gender identification to be true to yourself in all ways."
The book gives individuals' firsthand accounts of positive LGBTQ identities and Mason included two of those excerpts from the book in her blog. She also talks about another book focusing on LGBTQ and identity, "Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Muslims" by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle.
The blog, titled "A Positive View of LGBTQ and Living Out Islam: There Is Magic All Around" can be found on the Huffington Post website at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janet-mason/a-positive-view-of-lgbtq_b_5501771.html. The blog has been reprinted on a variety of websites around the world.
Mason's latest book, "Tea Leaves" is a personal memoir.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) — The University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute (HDI), through its Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP), works with Spalding University in Louisville, the third post-secondary institution approved by the U.S. Department of Education for a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP). The program provides opportunities for students with intellectual disability to enroll in college.
SHEP offers support to these students in class and outside the classroom as well as providing professional development and technical assistance for faculty and staff.
Spalding joins Murray State University and Bluegrass Community Technical College in offering this innovative program for students who, in the past, have been underrepresented on college campuses.
Tricia Baldwin, daughter of John and Pat Baldwin, is the first student to be enrolled in the Spalding CTP program. Tricia says she has found a place on the Spalding campus.
“I feel happy about attending Spalding University and having a chance to show how much I can do," she said. "Plus I like making new friends."
Her parents are proud and supportive of their daughter, and they say the CTP has provided her with important opportunities for personal growth.
"Tricia's experience has provided her with a new outlook to the future for better employment as well as an avenue for her to be accepted for what she can achieve, despite her disability,” said Tricia's mother, Pat Baldwin.
A provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, CTPs support students with intellectual disability who wish to continue their education beyond high school to prepare them for independent living and better jobs. CTPs offer academic advising and a structured curriculum that includes participation in fully integrated classrooms with students without disabilities. Enrollment in a Comprehensive Transition Program allows students to apply for federal financial aid and have access to state financial aid opportunities. Another key feature of CTPs is the use of peer mentors to support students with intellectual disability in the classroom and social opportunities.
Barry Whaley, SHEP project director, says the Spalding CTP is an important component in an ongoing drive to improve access to education for adults with disabilities throughout Kentucky.
“The indisputable fact is that supported higher education works," Whaley said. "The expansion of the Kentucky CTP network enables our students to make new friends, pursue their interests in the classroom and gain valuable work experiences. We welcome Spalding as a partner in our efforts to expand supported higher education across the Commonwealth.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) — Each year University of Kentucky students are recognized on the national, and even international, stage with a variety of prestigious scholarships, internships and fellowships that acknowledge their excellence in the classroom, as well as in research and extracurricular activities.
In the 2013-14 school year alone, UK students earned 11 more national awards than the previous year, including a prized Truman Scholarship and two Goldwaters. This brought the year's count of major honors to 35 with several national organizations awarding UK double the number of scholarships they provided in the previous year.
Helping UK students and recent alumni garner such honors is the mission of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (formerly the UK Office of External Scholarships), an office devoted to matching students to and preparing them for such valuable opportunities. The UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, under the direction of Pat Whitlow, is dedicated to working with young scholars on the application process for large scholastic prizes.
Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing. A transcript of this video can be found here.
"My role is to listen to students’ dreams and aspirations and make them aware of opportunities that will support them as they move forward. I also help nominees reflect on their accomplishments and how to write about them effectively in an application or speak about them in an interview. They already have the talents and achievements so I help with activities and advice so they can present themselves in the strongest possible way," Whitlow said.
One of the primary responsibilities of the office is to administer the campus nomination process for 12 major awards that require an institutional endorsement. For these particular opportunities, like the Truman and Rhodes Scholarships, students must apply first to a campus review committee, which will then select the students who will represent UK. Nominees receive feedback on their application and are officially nominated by the institution.
The work of Whitlow and her assistant, Jennifer Strange, has not gone unnoticed by the award recipients.
UK's 2013 Astronaut Scholar, 2013 Goldwater Scholar and one of the university's 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipients, Josiah Hanna, a 2014 computer science and mathematics graduate, felt his work with the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards was invaluable in receiving his honor. "I met with Dr. Whitlow after UK was going to nominate me. I felt like I was the only student they were working with and their only goal was for me to get this award. And, I know that is not true, because I know lots of the students working for awards and they get the same type of attention."
But the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards doesn't just work with those 12 awards alone, the primary goal of the office is to recruit and prepare UK students with strong academic and extracurricular records to help them be successful in pursuing nationally competitive opportunities. They share their knowledge of the process by helping UK students find scholarships and fellowships that match their particular area of study and research funded by nonprofit groups, government agencies and companies.
"There are scholarships in every field and lot of them you don't even know about, but that's one of the great things they are there for. They can definitely help you connect with opportunities in whatever field you are interested in. I wouldn't have even known about the Udall Scholarship if it weren't for Pat Whitlow and everyone at the office," said 2013 Udall Scholar Sam Beavin, a 2014 chemistry graduate with an emphasis in biochemistry, who is now in his first year of medical school at UK.
The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards can help you determine if you are eligible for a particular award, assist you in crafting a personal essay, practice for an interview, and shepherd you through the application and/or nomination process. The office's goal is to increase the number of UK students and alumni who apply for, and receive, these national and international awards.
There are many scholarship opportunities that allow direct application. For those awards, the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards provides advice and assistance to students preparing an application.
The process of applying for a nationally competitive scholarship is, in itself, a learning experience. It challenges the student to think through his or her career plans, to set ambitious long-term goals, and to imagine how they can use their talents to shape and change the world. In order to be a successful candidate for one of these highly competitive awards, the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards recommends students begin to consider opportunities as early as freshman year, building extracurricular and leadership background, as well as participating in community and public service while maintaining a high grade point average.
It is important to begin the scholarship preparation well before national deadlines. For the scholarships requiring university endorsement, there will be a campus deadline for receipt of materials that is typically one month prior to the final submission date.
"Any student in any field can think about applying for some of these awards, most of them are open to all disciplines. UK has many students that could be successful in these award competitions, but haven’t yet stepped forward. No students should be shy about coming to see me, but, it is definitely a benefit to come in early in your academic career, and probably even early in the academic year, although we do publish all of the deadlines on our website and on Facebook," Whitlow said.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) -- Many parents and parents-to-be are aware of the “back to sleep” recommendation made by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises that infants sleep on their backs. Making sure your baby sleeps on his or her back significantly reduces the chance of sudden infant death (SIDS). However, when infants are awake and being watched, they should spend time on their bellies, starting from the first few days of life.
Many infants today spend far too many of their waking hours on their backs or in sitting devices such as car seats, swings, and carriers. Too much time spent on their backs and in devices has led to increases in head and neck deformities in infants and delayed motor development. Infants need to be on the floor on their bellies learning to move and explore their environment.
Infants should be encouraged to lift up their heads and look around while on their bellies. As their motor skills develop, teach infants to reach for objects and prop up on their elbows or hands during "tummy time," which helps to build strong back and neck muscles important for later activities such as sitting, crawling, walking, and talking.
If infants don’t have tummy time during their first few weeks of life, they might dislike being on their tummies. Parents can get on the floor lying on their backs and place the infant on their bellies, so they are tummy-to-tummy and face-to-face. Infants love that time looking at the parent’s face and don’t seem to mind being on the tummy as much.
Parents can try that several times a day for a few minutes and then progress to both parent and infant on their tummies face-to-face on the floor. That gets the infant accustomed to a firm surface, while still looking at the loving parent who (if not accustomed to being on the floor) is probably making some interesting faces! Eventually the infant will not mind being on his or her tummy if there are fun, appropriate objects placed at eye-level. Of course, the floor must be baby-safe: all small objects, which they might get in their mouths, must be removed.
Ultimately, infants will learn to roll from their tummies and soon crawl and creep around the house, exercising their independence and learning about their environment. Crawling and creeping are important motor skills that should be encouraged long before walking. Remember: for infants, it's back to sleep and tummy time to play.
Susan Effgen, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, Division of Physical Therapy.
This column appeared in the July 5, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) -- "Bathing suit weather" has arrived -- are you considering that new diet you read about in the check out line? Before you stock up on protein bars, know that most nutrition professionals do not advocate any one diet plan, since no single plan suits all people. However, we recognize that structured diet plans make the process of diet change easier. Our goal is to tailor a diet strategy to the goals and personalities of each patient.
In a recent article, U.S News and Report evaluated the 32 most popular diets and ranked the diets by outcomes – best diets for weight loss, heart health, diabetes control, etc. Alarmingly, many of the most popular diets in 2014 fall squarely in the bottom of the USNWR rankings. And several diets face negative scientific scrutiny due to their unbalanced approach to eating.
One of the inherent issues is that no diet is right for everyone. This includes not just the trendy diets, like Atkins, Zone, and Paleo, but also popular, government-sponsored diets such as DASH and TLC. Human physiology and genetic variability are too complicated for one diet to meet everyone's goals and expectations. Furthermore, the lists of restrictions in certain programs are often not sustainable. We often forget that nutrient needs change throughout life and with the onset of stress, pregnancy and/or medical conditions. These real-life events influence evidence-based recommendations that are often not conducive with following the next popular diet trend.
The top diets in each category share similar attributes, such as balance, high fruit and vegetable consumption, and self-monitoring/awareness of what you eat. An emphasis on frequent, structured exercise and high levels of physical activity are also common themes. Any or all of these features can be incorporated into small lifestyle changes that will improve overall health without the perceived rigidity of a traditional diet plan.
Put simply, if you thrive on structure, check out the top-rated diets based on the outcome that interests you most, think about the diet’s positive attributes, and adopt some of the structure that diet provides to get you on a healthier path. If you prefer not to commit to a long list of changes that may be unsustainable, choose one or two healthy habits shared by the top-rated diets and incorporate those into your daily life. You can also log on to www.choosemyplate.gov for general diet and lifestyle advice.
Recognize that significant diet overhauls may be difficult to maintain long-term and are not always indicated or scientifically validated. Consider starting with small, manageable changes to help you on your way to a healthier life.
Travis Thomas, Ph.D., RD, CSSD, is an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, Division of Clinical Nutrition
This column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The findings of these two studies, which were recently published in Acta Neuropathologica and Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, have potentially significant implications for patients with both disorders.
Both papers studied CVD in Alzheimer's disease mouse models using different lifestyle factors.
Paul Murphy, Ph.D, and his group studied the combined effects of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and cerebrovascular disease in a novel mouse genetic model.
Donna Wilcock, Ph.D, and her group used a different mouse model to study the effects of Alzheimer's disease and hyperhomocysteinemia on cognition. An elevated level of homocysteine is associated with a number of disease states, including CVD.
According to Wilcock, both papers came to similar conclusions.
"We found that, while the primary Alzheimer's pathologies were unchanged, the learning and memory outcomes were significantly worse. In other words, in our mouse models, the cognitive effects of Alzheimer's disease combined with cerebrovascular disease were compounded both in terms of severity and the speed of decline," Wilcock says.
Murphy emphasizes the significance of the findings, particularly since approximately 40 percent of Alzheimer's patients also have cerebrovascular disease.
"We are really excited about these results," Murphy said. "Until now, we have had almost no way to study how Alzheimer’s and cerebrovascular disease interact. These new mouse models give us a way to test ideas about the disease, and ultimately develop ways to treat it."
The UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) was established in 1979 and is one of the original ten National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Alzheimer’s disease Research Centers. The SBCoA is internationally acclaimed for its progress in the fight against illnesses facing the aging population.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Honors Program has selected nine incoming freshmen as recipients of the T.W. Lewis Scholarship. Representing Fayette County and a select group of Appalachian counties in Kentucky, these "Lewis Scholars" will serve as the first cohort of Honors students to receive the prestigious scholarship.
While T.W. Lewis has offered a scholarship program in his name and his mother's, Ruth Jones Lewis, since 2006, this year marks the implementation of the new Lewis Scholars program, housed in UK Honors. This January, the UK Board of Trustees accepted a pledge of $1 million from the T.W. Lewis Foundation to create and endow the fund.
"Mr. Lewis' generous endowment makes it possible for some of Kentucky's best students to attend UK," said Ben Withers, associate provost for undergraduate education. "I have enjoyed working with him and with Dan Stone (Gatton Endowed Professor) to create an innovative program that asks us to think deeply about what 'student success' means. Mr. Lewis came to us with an idea for a four-year program that provides resources and tools students can use to explore skills and aptitudes that they can develop to better reach their full potential in their professional and personal lives. We are excited about the potential for this program as a way for Honors students to create networks and find mentors both on and off campus."
The recipients were selected on the basis of their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership potential, and financial need. They will each receive $5,000 toward the cost of tuition, room and board for the 2014-2015 academic year.
The 2014 Lewis Scholars are:
- Cassandra Almasri, a graduate of Dunbar High School in Fayette County, planning to major in chemistry.
- Curtis Bethel, a graduate of Tates Creek High School in Fayette County, planning to major in physics.
- Courtney Fields, a graduate of Lafayette High School in Fayette County, planning to major in undergraduate studies.
- Christa Newman, a graduate of Tates Creek High School in Fayette County, currently registered as an undergraduate studies major.
- William "Mac" Hall, a graduate of Pikeville High School in Pike County, planning to major in civil engineering.
- John W. Slusher, a graduate of Harlan High School in Harlan County, planning to major in political science.
- Yulia K. Perevozchikova, a graduate of Rowan County High School, planning to major in human health sciences.
- Galvin L.T. Greene, a graduate of The Piarist School in Floyd County, planning to major in electrical engineering.
- Gregory "Austin" Murphy, a graduate of Sheldon Clark High School in Martin County, planning to major in computer engineering.
T.W. Lewis is a former member of the UK Capital Campaign Steering Committee, serving during the "Dream, Challenge, Succeed" campaign. He received a degree in mechanical engineering from the university in 1971.
The UK Honors Program is part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.
LONDON, ENGLAND (July 10, 2014) — A group of 15 UK students was seeing blue across the pond this summer. In a course designed specifically for first-generation students, students who are the first in their families to attend college, the group explored global communication and business in London, England, led by Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall.
Throughout their journey, UKNow highlighted some of their experiences by publishing their blogs.
Emily Griffin is a marketing and management major from Louisville, Kentucky. Her blog is below:
This is my last post from London. CHEERS!
Today has been very bittersweet. We started out the morning with a coach ride to Coca-Cola. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I was so excited to learn about the marketing and production of such a huge corporation. We got to see the different types of branding, the global communication Coke uses, and the best part was the production line. We got to see the machines that stack the Cokes, make the Cokes, and distribute the Coke. It was so neat to be in such a global business environment. After this, we got lunch at Pret where I had a delicious salmon and cheese sandwich. I will miss this grab and go sandwich place that was always convenient. Afterwards, I had my final workout at the gym and got ready for our dinner.
Farewell dinner was at Strada on the Thames River. It was really delicious because this time we got to choose our meal! I had sausage and pasta and chocolate fontenta for dessert. The chocolate chip gelato with it was amazing! Afterward, we all got to talk about our time abroad. I really felt like I made a family here. Even being all from UK, we are still so diverse, which made this trip that much more enjoyable. Matthew cried, we laughed, Sarah's boyfriend got pooped on by a bird, and we just enjoyed each other's company.
I have been wanting to travel abroad for years now. The fact that my time here in London, England, is coming to an end is extremely bittersweet. I have been preparing for months, and thanks to many of my friends and family, I have had the most amazing trip I could ever ask for. I got to see the most historical places in the world (walking the London Bridge, seeing London from a huge farriswheel, cruising on the Thames River, standing in two hemispheres at once, seeing the homes of queens and kings of the past and present, and much much more) while being in the most diverse city in the world. I could walk down the street and hear English, French, Spanish, Russian, and many more languages spoken all around me.
I have learned a lot about myself in the time I have been here. I feel more adaptable to my surroundings. People here in London take the time to appreciate nature and to communicate with friends after work by going to a local pub or by sitting out in a park just breathing in the fresh air. Even though I am in a different culture and country, I have never felt out of place here. I met the most amazing family and friends while abroad, and I know that no matter what happens we can all share this common bond.
The beauty that I have seen on this trip cannot be put into words. I have really enjoyed my time here, and I am coming home with a new outlook on life and learning to appreciate the little things more often. I loved being able to work with global businesses because it really made me realize that I chose the right major for me, and that I graduated in the field of study that I am extremely passionate about. I can't think of a better way to end my undergraduate career then being fully immersed into a brand new culture.
I really do appreciate every single person's support, time, money, and anything else they invested in me and this trip. My family, friends, and boyfriend have been so supportive of me and made my time away from home that much easier and enjoyable. We can never replicate this time abroad again, however, no one can ever take this away from us — and that is truly the most rewarding part of my time abroad. I am so lucky to have had this experience. I am excited to go home, but I know that I have found a second home to me, and a second family.
So, London and all the wonderful people here, it is not goodbye — it is see you later. CHEERS!
LONDON, ENGLAND (July 8, 2014) — A group of 15 UK students spent three weeks seeing blue in England this summer. In a course designed specifically for first-generation students, students who are the first in their families to attend college, the group explored global communication and business in London, England, led by Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall.
Throughout their journey, UKNow has been highlighting some of their experiences by publishing their blogs.
Ryan Wilhite is a freshman majoring in political science. An account of his experience is below:
One of the most memorable moments from London happened completely by accident. To put it simply, two of my classmates and I got completely lost and accidently managed to bump into the Queen of England.
I'll explain this starting at the beginning. One of our assignments for our class was to explore a particular borough of London. We were divided into five groups of three and tasked with exploring the borough, interviewing people who live and work there, and wondering through the borough's market.
Our group — consisting of N' Deyah, Betty and me — was assigned the Covent Garden market in the Westminster borough. We all left our flats early on a Saturday morning to go explore our area, but at that point, we didn't realize how massive the area of Westminster is. The market was actually walking distance from our flats, but we took the Tube instead, deciding to get off at the Green Park stop and walk to Westminster.
When we got off at Green Park, we saw a huge crowd of people. Green Park is right next to Buckingham Palace, so first we thought the crowd might be there to see a changing of the guard ceremony. We were still surprised at how many people had turned up for that, however. So, we decided to stick around for a while and see what was causing all of the commotion.
The next thing we knew, the crowd started to part as a horse-drawn carriage made its way toward the Palace; the people started going nuts. As we had wandered through the crowd, not knowing what was happening, we had actually managed to secure a pretty sweet spot to view what we then realized was happening — it was the Queen coming back from a ceremony. No big deal; we were just casually staring at Queen Elizabeth II. Right when we realized who we were seeing, all three of us started waving… and then coolest part of the story happened: she waved back!
This experience was really interesting and surreal. I find it really strange that I've now been able to lay eyes on another country's monarch but that I've never been even nearly as close to our own president. It was definitely a unique cultural experience.
Later that day, we did eventually find our way to the market we were assigned to explore. I've got to say, though, I'm really glad we got lost that morning.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2014) — University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts faculty and staff Garry Bibbs, Sonja Brooks and Bobby Scroggins are exhibiting their artwork in “ Black Roots: Art Creations 2014.” The exhibit is on display through Oct. 11, at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, located at 300 E. Third St. in Lexington.
“Black Roots: Art Creations 2014,” curated and named by Garry Bibbs, is an exhibit showcasing the work of several noted African-American artists mostly from the Lexington area. Each artist’s work has influenced another’s expressing Kentucky’s history and diverse culture through a variety of mediums. The exhibit is open for viewing between the gallery hours of 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
Garry Bibbs and Bobby Scroggins are both faculty members of the UK School of Art and Visual Studies. Bibbs is an associate professor with an expertise in sculpture and printmaking. He is the head of the Sculpture Area of the school. He is also an active member of Lexington’s Pew Civic Entrepreneur Initiative, which is a coalition group whose goal is to confront and solve issues relevant to the community on race relations and leadership.
Bibbs received his bachelor’s degree in art studio from Kentucky State University and his master’s degree in art from UK. After graduation, he received a Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship to study at The Chicago Art Institute, and over the years he has completed more than 35 public art commissions throughout the eastern region of the United States. Bibbs' exhibition history includes showings presented through the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the Ruschman Art Gallery in Indianapolis, the Hertz Gallery in Louisville, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.
Scroggins received his bachelor’s degree of art studying sculpture and ceramics at The Kansas City Art Institute. While Scroggins was a student there he became the first African-American artist in Missouri to construct a public monument, The Leon M. Jordan Monument. He received his master’s degree in sculpture from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where he was a University and Ford Foundation Fellow.
The ceramicist joined the art department at UK in 1990 as head of ceramics and has been an associate professor since 1996. From 1993 to 1995, Scroggins, served as director-at-large for the National Council on Education for The Ceramics Arts. For the past seven years, he has also served on the visual art faculty at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, spending two years as chairman of the visual art division. He previously served as the chairman of ceramics and sculpture pilot programs at The Northwest Academy of the Arts in Donegal, Northern Ireland, and Derry, Northern Ireland. Most recently in 2012, pieces from Scroggins’ “Shades of Clay” were selected for a traveling exhibition that was shown at several major museums throughout the U.S. In January 2014, Scroggins was commissioned by the Aviation Museum of Kentucky to honor two of the most famous Tuskegee Airmen commanding officers in a sculpture, which is now apart of the museum’s permanent collection along with his portrait bust of African-American aviatrix Willa Brown.
Brooks, a museum educator at the Art Museum at UK, attended Howard University and Catholic University. An active philanthropist most of her life, in 2003 Brooks and her husband formed the Sisohpromatem Art Foundation Inc., where she serves as executive director. The Sisohpromatem Art Foundation’s mission is to help children develop into independent, creative members of the community through participation in the arts as "sisohpromatem" is metamorphosis spelled in reverse.
Brooks’ passion for the arts formed primarily when she was in college. She spent two years working in clay and then moved on to 2D and 3D collages. Brooks loves to work with color and texture to form paper and fabric art from a collection source of repurposed reusable materials. She also enjoys inspiring a new generation of artists through her work at the museum.
The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, at 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.
The mission of the Art Museum at UK, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for the people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,500 objects, including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from their permanent collection.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2014) — The University of Kentucky is one of 68 institutions of higher learning in nine states to join the Multi-State Collaborative (MSC) to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment, an initiative to develop and test a new system-level approach to assessing student learning.
Northern Kentucky University and Hazard Community and Technical College also are participating in the project. All three institutions will work collaboratively with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to meet the requirements of the MSC.
The schools will document how well students are achieving key learning outcomes, such asquantitative reasoning, written communication and critical thinking.
“The MSC is testing a different model for student learning outcomes assessment – a model that is very similar to what UK is already doing on campus,” said Tara Rose, director of university assessment. “It’s critical that institutions actually look at what students can do with what they know by gathering actual student work. Our assessment process within the UK Core curriculum is a premier example of advancing the assessment of student learning outcomes. I am passionate about assessment and thankful UK has the opportunity to be a part of this exciting project. It is reassuring to know that the assessment process we have been implementing here at UK for years is what the nation is moving toward.”
The Multi-State Collaborative is an initiative steered by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the first phase of the project. Other states participating include Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah.
The project will impact UK by affirming commitment to the improvement of student learning, providing faculty development opportunities in assessment, and measuring the growth in demonstration of learning by comparing results from learning assessment in the MSC to learning assessment in the UK Core general education program.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014) — As site preparation and utilities upgrades continue for construction of the new Academic Science Building at the University of Kentucky, the portion of Rose Street between Huguelet Drive and Funkhouser Drive will close July 14 rather than the originally scheduled date of July 7.
The portion of Washington Avenue that has been closed from Limestone to Gladstone is expected to reopen July 14, at which time Washington Avenue from Gladstone to Rose Street will close.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014) — Patriotic music from a live military band and a University of Kentucky chorus will help ring in Independence Day festivities at Lexington’s Fourth of July Patriotic Music Concert scheduled to begin 8 p.m. Thursday, July 3, on the Old Morrison lawn of Transylvania University. "A Salute to Heroes" is free and open to the public.
The 202nd Army Band will be under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Greg Stepp, while UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey will conduct the singers from UK.
The evening will also feature a special appearance from a member of the U.S. Soldiers’ Chorus, the premier military chorus in the nation. Staff Sergeant Charis Strange, who is a native of Campbellsville, Kentucky, will travel to Lexington to sing with the band and the UK vocalists. Strange is one of five graduates of UK School of Music’s vocal performance program to serve with the Soldiers’ Chorus. UK has the highest number of singers in the Soldiers’ Chorus of any university conservatory in the country.
The all-patriotic concert will also feature UK Opera Theatre Artist-in-Residence and Metropolitan Opera tenor Gregory Turay and such "Grand Night" favorites as Alicia Helm McCorvey and Darian Sanders, among other cast members.
The concert will take place on the steps of Old Morrison, with seating on the lawn and in nearby Gratz Park. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets and stake out spots from which to enjoy the concert. Food and drink will be available for purchase.
The concert is a prelude to a full day of activities at the Fourth of July downtown celebration on Friday, July 4. The festivities kick off Friday morning with the Bluegrass 10,000 foot race, feature a large street festival and parade, and end with fireworks over downtown Lexington. Details on all these events can be found at: www.downtownlex.com/lexingtons-4th-of-july-festival/.
UK Opera Theatre is one of a select group of U.S. opera training programs recommended by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The Tucker Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to the support and advancement of the careers of talented American opera singers by bringing opera into the community and heightening appreciation for opera by supporting music education enrichment programs.
The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts 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; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2014) — When University of Kentucky student Erica Mattingly enrolled in one of Andrew M. Byrd’s linguistics courses, she had no idea she would be rewriting history — or at least re-speaking it.
Byrd, assistant professor of linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences, and his students have drawn national attention for their groundbreaking work to reconstruct and understand prehistoric languages.
Byrd has devoted much of his research time translating the language known as Proto-Indo-European (PIE). The language is thought to have been first used over 7,000 years ago, with some suspecting it was spoken even earlier. Byrd’s work focuses on the sounds and structure of the PIE language, aiming to understand what it sounded like when spoken a millennia ago.
“To figure out what PIE sounded like, we must compare it to the most ancient Indo-European languages, like Latin, Ancient Greek and Sanskrit,” Byrd said.
While the nuts and bolts behind reconstructing stories in PIE is quite complicated, Byrd describes the translation process as fairly straightforward. The difficulty, he says, comes from knowing which words the PIE speakers used, which requires study and knowledge of the culture.
“For each sentence you want to write, you must consider the words the PIE speakers used to convey concepts as well as the word order. Once you have those, you’ve got yourself a reconstructed sentence,” said Byrd.
Mattingly, a linguistics and Spanish senior, took Byrd’s Indo-European course last year. She says her experience in the class played no small part in her decision to pursue a career in linguistics. After a study of the culture of the PIE speakers and the makeup of their language, Byrd issued a unique challenge to his class: To translate the third-ever fable into PIE.
When Byrd told his class that they would be reconstructing a fable into the PIE language, no one knew what an undertaking it would become. Mattingly recounts the pressure to reconstruct the language accurately.
“It was so, so difficult at first, because we wanted so badly to do it correctly,” she said. “These are words our linguistic ancestors spoke. So to bridge that gap in class was very meaningful to me.”
Byrd keeps his dynamic classroom environment full of challenge and opportunity, offering up research studies to his students interested in translating other works written in PIE and other ancient languages. These independent studies are flexible, chosen based on consideration of student interest and Byrd’s work.
“The work that comes out of these studies is stellar,” Byrd said.
Last year, Mattingly had the opportunity to complete an independent study with Byrd. Knowing her strengths after having her in class, Byrd pushed Mattingly to take a leap and work on something new. She chose to look at the adaptation of the Spanish language between the years 711 and 1400 and how it shifted as a result of an influence from Arabic.
“Dr. Byrd inspired me to work on something that incorporated both languages that I speak," she said. "Before working alongside him, I hadn’t thought about Islamic conquest in terms of how it affected the evolution of the Spanish language.”
Byrd says he likes to make his classes stand out from other linguistics courses so that his students learn the material they need while having fun.
“While students are asked to undertake lots of linguistic analysis, I always like to bring a little bit of fun and silliness into it, whether it’s translating a fable into PIE or analyzing the made-up language of Ramma Lamma Ding Dongian,” he said.
It’s that environment that encouraged Mattingly to further pursue her linguistics passion. She emphasizes the value of having Byrd as a mentor who can check in on her and she can approach with questions or concerns, as she recalls not always having the answers as a first-year student.
“Dr. Byrd knows his craft really well," she said. "If I have a question, he will either have a hard answer or he’ll know exactly where to send me. He’s a great asset as a resource.”
For incoming linguistics students, Byrd recommends a strong desire to learn other languages and a willingness to look at things from other perspectives, which, he says, go hand in hand.
After she graduates, Mattingly plans to pursue a master’s degree in linguistics and later start a career in translation and linguistics for the federal government. Byrd’s teaching style, in which he compares translation to solving a riddle, allowed her to see how much she enjoyed the process.
“It really opened me up to realizing how much I love linguistics,” she said. “I love finding the answer and doing research that has never been done before, whether it’s PIE, Bengali or Swahili. It gives us insights not only into those cultures but our own as well.”
To read the translated fables and other student work, visit the linguistics blog.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) has named Allie Rhodes as the winner of the 2014 Paul Kevin Burberry Award.
Rhodes is a a doctoral student in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation in the UK College of Education and the HDI Evaluation Unit research assistant. Her doctoral work has focused on communication disorders.
The award is named in memory of the Berea native who pioneered a trail in the public school system as the first student with significant physical disabilities, due to cerebral palsy, to complete Berea Community High School. Burberry graduated with highest honors and went on to attend Berea College and the University of Kentucky, where he was majoring in philosophy. He was an exemplary student whose life was cut short prior to his anticipated graduation, with honors, in May 2004.
The award — the highest student honor awarded annually by HDI — is given to a student involved with HDI who has exemplified in his or her life the leadership, advocacy and commitment to persons with disabilities and their families that Burberry demonstrated in his own life.
“More than anything else, Allie shows us that every child can learn, that every life must be meaningful, that every person has something valuable to contribute," said Chithra Adams, HDI director of evaluation and Rhodes’ supervisor. "In other words, she is the very personification of HDI and what we stand for."
HDI Director Harold Kleinert commended Allie for her "passionate focus" on the application of assistive technology to improve the life of individuals with the most significant disabilities.
"Allie is a tremendously positive person, who deftly handles the demands of wife and mother, doctoral student, and evaluation assistant, with a truly balanced and wise outlook on those parts of our lives that matter most deeply," he said.