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The Gaines Center

Senior Gaines Fellows

David Cole

David Cole is majoring in English. He was born and raised in Wayne County, Kentucky and is an alum of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. He has worn several hats at UK, including talk show host for WRFL, on-air DJ, editor-in-chief of satirical rag The Colonel, researcher, and podcast producer. At heart, he is a writer who seeks to combine dark comedy and Americana elements in both poetry and fiction. Outside of his creative work, David writes about the culture of video games and the people who play them for online outlets, including his own website, The Year 200X. He humbly hopes to become a voice that helps the video game industry mature intellectually and artistically. Besides all that hoopla, David is an avid video game enthusiast and collector, an amateur stand-up comedian, karaoke aficionado, and occasionally, an adventuring sorcerer or bard.

Eva Cortes

Eva Cortes is originally from Lexington but spent much of her childhood in Puerto Morelos, a small beachfront town near Cancun, Mexico. There, she developed her love for different languages and cultures which eventually led her to pursue a major in International Studies, with a focus on Latin America. She is also majoring in French, a passion she discovered while studying abroad in Toulouse, France as a Rotary ambassador. Eva participates in the International Student Council and the Society of International Studies, where she serves as President.  Upon graduation, Eva wishes to join the Peace Corps and hopes to be placed somewhere in francophone Africa, where she can put her French to good use. Ideally, she plans to find a career that would allow her to see the world and thinks a position working with a Human Rights oriented NGO would suit her. In her free time, you can find her singing to herself or in one of UK’s choirs, reading, scuba diving, playing with her little sisters, or traveling of course!

Rachel Dixon

Rachel Dixon is a Lexington native with a passion for all things Kentucky. She is currently studying English and Writing, Rhetoric & Digital Studies with a minor in Spanish. People-loving, she is extremely happy to be working on the Board of Directors for the UK Center for Community Outreach. Combining her love of the Commonwealth, fascination with language, and personal Appalachian heritage, she plans to research the rhetorics of environmental activism in Eastern Kentucky while at UK. She owes a big thanks to her mom, dad, and sister (who taught her to love God and hit the books) and to her many wonderful friends (who showed her that there's a time to put the books away, too.)

Nathan Hewitt

Nathan Hewitt is a fourth-year student from Fishers, Indiana. An artist at heart, he is currently studying Music Performance (Percussion) and Arts Administration, with a minor in Visual Studies. He is also the General Manager of WRFL, Lexington 88.1 FM, the University's student-run radio station. Nathan is the founder and Past-President of the UK Arts Administration Society, the Treasurer of the UK Percussion Society, and an active freelance graphic designer, as well as a founding member of several free improvisation groups on campus. In his free time he enjoys watching films, trading zines, reading epic fantasy, hearing new music, and daydreaming about world travel.

Kaylee Hicks

Kaylee Hicks, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, is an International Studies major on the pre-med track. She is interested in the intersections between public health, clinical treatment, and community capital in underserved populations. She conducts research under Dr. F. Douglas Scutchfield in UK’s College of Public Health and hopes to pursue MD and MPH degrees after graduation. Kaylee is deeply involved with her church and is the chaplain of Alpha Delta Pi sorority.  Ultimately, she hopes to move to a Spanish-speaking country as a missionary. As for right now, she is content with hiking and eating ice cream whenever possible.

Alex Krupp

Alexander Krupp is a history and political science double major with a minor in international studies. He is currently in his third year of Japanese language and also dabbles in Aikido when he has time. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, his favorite city, he is an avid reader, runner, crossword puzzle solver, trivia lover and collector of vinyl records. After graduation, he plans to go to graduate school for either a Ph.D. or J.D., or perhaps something entirely different, and to buy and restore an old Mercedes to drive about in.

Amir Kucharski

Amir Kucharski is a junior from Milwaukee, Wisconsin studying chemistry with minors in physics and math. He is pre MD/PhD and currently does biophysics and pain management research. In addition to doing research, Amir enjoys extracurricular involvement, demonstrated by his membership on the executive boards of American Sign Language Club and the Iranian Student Association. He is also heavily involved in the community service team and pancake ministry at CSF (Christian Student Fellowship). In his free time, Amir enjoys cooking, working out, playing football, and playing guitar (while pretending to sing competently).

Hannah Latta

Hannah Latta hails from Mayfield, Kentucky. She is a biology major and aspires to attend medical school following her graduation from the University of Kentucky. Hannah serves as the President of the Honors Program Student Council and the Vice President of Programming for Phi Delta Epsilon, UK's co-ed medical fraternity. She is also a member of the UK Women's Choir, an Honors Program Ambassador, and an undergraduate researcher in the Rangnekar laboratory. During her free time, Hannah enjoys playing the piano, traveling, eating cupcakes with her sister, and watching episodes of "Friends."

Sam Northrup

Sam Northrup is pursuing a political science and international economics double major with a concentration in Middle East affairs. After being awarded a Boren Scholarship late freshman year, Sam spent two semesters in Amman, Jordan studying Arabic and regional politics. Sam is a member of the UK speech and debate team, a College of Arts and Sciences Ambassador, and is involved in faculty-led research projects. Additionally, Sam has started volunteering at Kentucky Refugee Ministries to provide mentoring and educational services to families resettling in the United States. Outside of class, Sam is an avid runner and loves read, travel, and listen to music. After graduation, he plans to continue studying Middle East affairs and research US foreign policy in the region.   

Boone Proffitt

Boone Proffitt is a civil engineering major from Louisville, KY. After a long tenure in student involvement, Boone is finally taking a break this year. However, he still frequents the Christian Student Fellowship and is a Leader for their Serve the City program; as a result of his faith, Boone stays sane, too. In his free time (whatever that is), Boone enjoys serving the state of Kentucky (the place he loves most), swimming, reading, and engaging in healthy dose of general shenanigans. Fascinated and motivated by the convergence of people, structures, and design, Boone plans to attend graduate school and ultimately hopes to make the Commonwealth a better place through thoughtful place making, urban infrastructure, and a healthy dose of civic engagement.

Abby Schroering

Abby Schroering is a junior majoring in theater and English. She acts as a stage manager, light designer, and playwright in the department of theater and dance, and her research interests include Shakespeare and modernism. She plans to pursue a PhD in dramatic literature and criticism. Her favorite non-Shakespearean play is Fuddy Meers by David Lindsey-Abaire, and her favorite novel is Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

Natalie Watkins

Natalie Watkins is an English and gender and women’s studies major from Barrington, Illinois. She is a third-year cadet in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and plans on commissioning as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation. Additionally, Natalie intends to pursue a career in the legal field and has served as an undergraduate researcher at the UK College of Law. Following graduation, she hopes to become a member of the Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. In her free time, Natalie enjoys spending time with her sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma), running, reading, and playing the harp.