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The Gaines Center

Gaines Fellows

This information is for the Junior Gaines Fellows.  View the Senior Gaines Fellows here.

Hayla Ragland

Hayla Ragland is a third-year student from the quiet town of LaGrange, Kentucky. She is currently pursuing a double major in Studio Art and Psychology which merges her interests in cognitive processing and visual studies. Her creative methods, which lie somewhere between Kandinsky and Lucian Freud, are both contemplative and experimental. Though her primary focus is in painting, she prefers the breadth of mixed media in exploring different notions of consciousness and articulations of identity. Her personal experience with the power of creative processes has molded her interest in art therapy and related research. She is a former assistant in Art Therapy at the Markey Cancer Research Center and is currently working within the Community Outreach and Education Core at the Sanders-Brown Center on aging which applies visual art therapy practices in a current study and as an extension of outreach efforts. She is also an ambassador for the College of Fine Arts and a research assistant in social psychology for the DeWall lab. In her spare time Hayla enjoys photography, ceramics, and recreational running. Additionally, she is an avid consumer of science fiction, Motown, and yogurt-covered raisins.

Katherine Stockham

Katherine Stockham is from Somerset, Kentucky. She is majoring in biology on the pre-med path, and hopes to one day serve rural communities as a rural physician. Katherine is an avid reader and loves learning about just about anything. She also enjoys journaling, playing tennis, going to church, and painting. 

Connor VanMeter

Connor VanMeter is an Agricultural Biotechnology and Computer Science double major from Lexington, Kentucky. He conducts research in Dr. Becky Dutch’s lab with Human metapneumovirus, and he is president of the Campus Kitchen at the University of Kentucky. Connor enjoys reading sci-fi/fantasy, cooking, yarn craft, and hiking.

Ben Childress

Ben Childress is a junior originally from Lexington, Kentucky. He is currently majoring in Economics. After being elected to Student Government Senate as a freshman, Ben has gone on to serve as the Senate President his sophomore year and now currently serves as the Student Body Vice President. During his time at UK so far, Ben has completed undergraduate research on education policy in Kentucky as well as participated in the Chellgren Fellows Program. He has worked with DanceBlue all three years of college and currently serves on the family relations committee. Ben enjoys reading, classic movies, and working at in the kitchen at Carolina Point Young Life Camp in North Carolina. 

Evelyn Hudson

Evelyn Hudson is from Benton, Kentucky. She finished high school at the United World College of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy. Evelyn is a Philosophy major interested in the Ethics of Care and its possible incorporation in special education pedagogy. An avid reader and writer from a young age, she is also pursuing a major in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital studies. Evelyn is a youth leader at the First United Methodist Church, a member of the UK Women’s Choir, Vice President of the UK Italian Club, and a page at the Margaret I. King Library. Evelyn plans to pursue a degree in either law or rhetoric following the completion of her undergraduate degree. In her free time, she enjoys trying out new recipes, biking around Lexington, and trying to find the perfect taco and a good hike.

Jacob Kaylor

Jacob Kaylor is a native-born North Carolinian. He’s lived there his whole life prior to coming to UK, and is originally from the small town of Conover. He is currently in his third year of studying philosophy and classical languages, and is especially interested in theology. At this point would like to either teach at the high school level or desperately chase after a career in academia. Jake is involved in UK’s Orthodox Christian Fellowship. He loves listening to bluegrass and classical music, reading, and trying to play old David Bowie songs on the guitar.

John Larson

John Larson is an English major from Chicago. Outside of the classroom, he is a member of the UK Chorale and Men's Choir. He tries to appreciate the simple things in life: silent movies, landscape painting, competitive weightlifting, Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, ironic carpentry, the banjo, Anderson Paak, floatin' down the ol' creek, attending seedy punk rock shows, obscure pets, making involuted lists that end in rhyming couplets, and (of course) Stevie Wonder's greatest hits. He's going to try out graduate school, and hopes to one day teach youngsters how to read, write, and ultimately use those talents to better understand and appreciate all the people they share this beautiful world with.

Josiah Liew

Josiah Liew is a junior from Malaysia. He is currently pursuing a degree in Agricultural Biotechnology, with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture. Having grown up on the other side of the world, Josiah is deeply passionate about people, cultures, and the international community at UK. That passion is translated into service with both the International Ambassadors and the International Student Council. He also moonlights as an International Recruitment Assistant for UK’s International Center and a student researcher in the Hunt lab. His Malaysian heritage imbued him with a love for all things food and for cooking. When not eating (or preparing a meal), he finds himself climbing, running, reading or travelling.

Natalie Malone

Natalie Malone is a junior from Smiths Grove, Kentucky. Her passions include mental health awareness and a holistic approach to life coaching and helping others. With these passions in mind, she is majoring in psychology with a minor in neuroscience. Following graduation she plans to continue in academia by receiving her masters and Ph.D. in counseling psychology with focuses in neuroscience and developmental psychology. Ideally, she hopes to serve the community through her own private practice and contribute to research efforts regarding the academic motivation of minority populations and sexual and relationship health. Natalie is involved in many areas of campus including the Center for Community Outreach, Black Student Union, Undergraduate Research, Recruitment with the Arts and Sciences Ambassador Program and the Lewis Honors College. In her spare time she enjoys shopping, traveling and dabbling in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, among other supernatural and fictional topics.

Aaron Mueller

Aaron Mueller, a Louisvillian, is pursuing a dual degree in Linguistics and Computer Science. A self-proclaimed language nerd, he enjoys learning about the various ways people communicate and organize their ideas. He helps lead the Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research and has co-founded several organizations on campus, including UK's Amnesty and Oxfam chapters; through these organizations, he hopes to promote interest in creating knowledge and to raise awareness of the ways in which individuals can improve their society and others. Upon graduation, he wishes to obtain a Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics so that he can improve machine translation systems and help break down language barriers. Outside of class, Aaron enjoys playing music, being a Québecophile, cooking, and travelling.

Aya Omar

Aya Omar was born in Oldham County, Kentucky, but has spent much of her young life traveling between her parents’ respective home countries of Croatia and Palestine. In response to growing up all over the world, Aya has developed a passion for international service and language. Through the kindness of her parents, and the many stray animals they allowed her to rescue, Aya has also cultivated a deep love for Veterinary Medicine. The combination of these traits has led her to pursue dual degrees in Animal Science and Biology, with a Pre-Veterinary focus, as well as a minor in Spanish.  Aya hopes to pursue a DVM and MPH degree after graduation and dedicate the remainder of her life to global veterinary service. In the meantime, Aya serves as the Vice President of Leadership for Alpha Phi Omega and is a member of the Pre-Vet club and the UK Bluegrass Ensemble. In her spare time, Aya can be found learning new languages, playing a variety of instruments, hiking, singing and thinking of ways to bring back catchy phrases from the ’70s.