Seasoned by Fire: UK Fire Cats Wrap Up Their First Wildfire Season

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 23:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2014) — On any given weekend, when smoke curled over the mountains, the University of Kentucky Fire Cats could get the call. That call to fight some of the state’s wildfires during the recent spring fire hazard season came pretty regularly this year. The Fire Cats’ inaugural fire season turned out to be a bad one.


Over the past 14 years, Kentucky has averaged about 1,500 fires and almost 56,000 acres burned each year. The state has two fire hazard seasons — spring and fall. This year’s spring fire hazard season alone, which ran from Feb. 15 through April 30, saw 1,171 fires burn 35,613 acres. There were plenty of opportunities for the young firefighters to learn the ropes.


Andrew Nielsen, one of the three Fire Cats squad leaders, came into the new program with more experience than most. For the past six years, he has battled blazes in Oregon, where the Kentucky native lived for awhile. But for many of the Cats, this season was their first. Trained by the U.S. Forest Service and employed by the Kentucky Division of Forestry, the students are receiving “a brilliant opportunity,” according to UK Department of Forestry Chair Terrell “Red” Baker.


“Not only do they get in a few extra hours and earn some money, but they get excellent hands-on training that enables them to find jobs in the summer that could ultimately lead to career opportunities,” Baker said.


Chris Osborne, manager of UK’s Robinson Forest in the southeastern part of the state, is the Fire Cats’ crew leader and the unofficial liaison between the group, the Kentucky Division of Forestry and the Daniel Boone National Forest, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. He explained that wildland fires in this part of the country are different than western fires, which often spread rapidly through the canopy, fueled by evergreens. In hardwood-dominated Eastern Kentucky, fires usually run across the ground’s surface, fueled by leaf litter or logging slash.


“That being said, there are conditions and times that fire activity in Eastern Kentucky can be extreme. There are fires where you’ll have one- to two-foot flame heights, but we do have some grass fires and other fuel types that can create some extreme fire activity with much higher flame fronts,” Osborne said.


One of the fires Nielsen and his squad helped extinguish was a slow 15-acre fire burning in mixed hardwood and leaf litter in Lee County.


“It had been skulking around on the ground for a day or so,” Nielsen said. “Out west that fire would have taken at least a day to get control of, where here, you get two people on a blower blowing all the leaves away and people burning behind it, and you’re pretty much around it…. It took maybe an hour and a half. It was that quick, which is amazing to me.”


MacKenzie Schaeffer, another squad leader, has been interested in fighting wildfires for a long time.


“I always thought it would be really cool to go out west and fight the big wildfires, but that’s a big step to take,” she said. “When they started offering this program, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to find out if it’s something I really like or want to do when I graduate and make a career out of it. It’s been an awesome opportunity, and I’ve loved it.


Schaeffer recalled her first fire.


“We did a mop-up, which is where you walk back through and check the line to make sure nothing’s blown into it or across it to start a fire,” she said. “When you go through the training, there’s no actual fire, so we got to see things in action.”


To prevent a trailer backed up to grass from catching fire, Schaeffer’s squad got to dig the line and then set a backfire to run the flames away from the trailer and towards what had already burned.


“I like using the drip torch,” Schaeffer said and laughed.


The idea for the Fire Cats grew out of the Department of Forestry’s long relationship with the Daniel Boone National Forest, said E.J. Bunzendahl, forest assistant fire manager officer for the Daniel Boone. Since 2011, UK forestry students have had to take fire training as a mandatory course for their degree. The U.S. Forest Service, through Bunzendahl and her staff, facilitate the online version of the wildland firefighter training. Students spend between 40 and 60 hours completing the online portion of the class, which culminates in an eight-hour required field day that the Daniel Boone National Forest hosts.


“We have a participating agreement signed between the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and the Daniel Boone National Forest that says we’ll help each other; we’ll provide the class and they offer consultation assistance to us,” Bunzendahl said.


Alabama A&M University and Virginia Tech both field teams of student firefighters, so when Baker saw how interested his students were in taking the mandatory course, he considered fielding a team. He spoke with Dan Olsen, who at the time was director of fire and aviation management for the Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service. Olsen brought Bunzendahl on board, who called the Kentucky Division of Forestry.


“On the Daniel Boone, we average less than 100 fires a year, and the Kentucky Division of Forestry averages about 1,500 or 1,600 fires a year,” Bunzendahl said. “If you want to get some experience, you’ll have a little more opportunity working for them than you will right here on the Boone. KDF was instrumental in getting this program off the ground.”


Leah MacSwords, state forester and director of KDF, gave the idea her approval and Mike Harp, assistant fire chief with the division, started making the arrangements to work with the UK students. KDF employs the students and has provided all their equipment. Both Harp and his supervisor, Luke Saunier, are graduates of the UK Department of Forestry, and they immediately saw the benefit to the students.


“When we both came into the Kentucky Division of Forestry, we were not prepared for the firefighting aspect,” said Harp, who graduated in 1996. “If I would have had this back in school, it could have really helped me understand things a bit better. I would have been ahead of the curve.”


The Fire Cats have helped KDF, too. Harp accompanied one of the squads on what he called a “somewhat complicated small 10-acre fire.”


“When I say complicated, it was because of the terrain,” he explained. “If I would have let the crews they had on-site at the time fight that fire, it probably would have taken two or two and a half hours to put it out. But with the UK Fire Cats there, with that added personnel, we knocked it out in probably half the time. They really made a difference up there.”


In Osborne’s eyes, it’s a win-win situation.


“So far, there’s been really positive interaction with these kids. They’ve asked really good questions, and they’re engaged, and they’ve been hardworking,” he said. “So far it’s been a great success.”


The 2014 UK Fire Cats include James Baunach, Andrew Hagerty and Andrew Nielsen, all from Louisville; Christopher Bullock from Winchester; Lexingtonians Austin Combs, William Ellis, Kristian Elswick and Taylor York; David Corr from Fort Thomas; Sam Cox from Riverside, Illinois; Tyler Frame, from Maysville; William McCormick from Inez; Cody Pyles from Monticello; Josh Robinson from Elizabethtown; MacKenzie Schaeffer, Derwood, Maryland; and Richard Tamer from Shelbyville, who was the third squad leader.

Walker's Talents Range From Writing to Dancing

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 17:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2014) — Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker was recently honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) as the recipient of the 2014 Honor Book for Poetry for his “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers: Poems.” The 2014 BCALA Literary Awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African-American authors published in 2013.


“This honor is extra special to me because of the reverence I have for libraries and librarians,” Walker said. “When I was a kid I wanted to grow up and drive the bookmobile. Recently, the Boyle County Public Library made my dream come true. They let me drive their bookmobile to a local school where I read to a classroom of young students.”


Earlier this year, Walker, associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky, was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry for "Turn Me Loose."


“Turn Me Loose” recounts the assassination of 1963 civil rights leader Medgar Evers with haunting poetry, all told through the eyes of those who loved and hated him the most, including Byron De La Beckwith, the white supremacist who murdered Evers. Listen online to Walker reading from his work on a radio program produced by Lexington's NPR affiliate, WUKY 88.1 FM, at


Walker and his wife Taunya Walker recently won the Rotary Club of Lexington’s Dancing with the Lexington Stars. The event will be telecast at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 1, on WTVQ-TV, Lexington.




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

New Security System Helps Fight Crime at UK

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 16:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2014)  ̶̶  Installation of the University of Kentucky's new high-tech security system began last summer, and now  ̶ ̶̶  nearly a year later  ̶ ̶  it has become a major crime fighting weapon for UK Police


Part of the new system involves strategically placed cameras throughout UK's campus  ̶  208 exterior cameras now and more expected over time. The cameras are useful for investigation of serious crimes and injury accidents; monitoring special events; monitoring severe weather issues; and observing crowd behavior at events. Already these cameras have proved vital for investigating numerous criminal cases and have been credited with swiftly solving and making arrests in three felony cases.


UK Police Chief Joe Monroe says the felony cases involved outdoor chairs stolen from the Main Building Plaza; an armed robbery that occurred on South Limestone; and most recently, arson of a car in the Commonwealth Stadium parking lot.


In the case of the arson, cameras clearly caught the crime on video, which immediately identified the vehicle in which the suspects were riding.  Other cameras were able to capture video of the car at different points on campus after it left the scene. UK Police released a video screen-shot photo of the car in question to the public, and within hours two subjects turned themselves in, Monroe said. Interrogation of those suspects led to a third suspect, and all were arrested within 25 hours of the incident.


Four main components are integrated into the computerized security system:

·         Video monitoring system that required installation of the cameras on campus;

·         Access control system into buildings;

·         Consolidation of ID badge operations for student and employee access to buildings; 

·         Implementation of an early warning notification system


In the case of the armed robbery, Monroe said a number of these components came into play.


"When the crime was reported, emergency notifications were delivered over loudspeakers and to all voice-over IP phones to notify the campus community of the immediate threat," Monroe said. "The remote emergency lockdown of nearby buildings functioned properly, and the cameras captured valuable evidence that led to the quick apprehension of the suspects.


"This sophisticated security system has become a major tool for our criminal response and investigative purposes. It has allowed us to respond to crimes quicker and increased our evidence capability, resulting in the rapid apprehension of criminals. Overall, this system is helping decrease crime on campus."


The exterior notification loudspeakers are part of the towers where the exterior cameras are mounted. The loudspeakers and voice-over Internet protocol (IP) phone notification are in addition to the UK Alert system that already warns the campus community via email, text and phone in the event of severe weather or a criminal act that threatens the campus and requires immediate action.


Also, several buildings now have automatic locks that allow UK Police to lock the buildings remotely.  Among those are the residence halls built since 2005, the Main Building, Patterson Office Tower, Student Center, W.T. Young Library, White Hall Classroom Building, Funkhouser building, Chemistry-Physics building, Thomas Hunt Morgan Biological Sciences building and the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. 


The UK community can expect more facets of the security system in the future.  More buildings will be fitted for remote access; more outdoor and indoor video cameras will be installed; software will be implemented to provide emergency notification to all desktop computers on campus; and UK Police will be able to provide virtual patrol of campus to enhance its current patrol via police car and bicycle.


"Have no doubt that safety is a priority at the University of Kentucky," Monroe said. "We have a highly trained, certified police force working with a state-of-the-art electronic security system to provide the safest environment possible for our students, employees, alumni and visitors."




MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathy Johnson,, 859-257-3155

Mock Recognized for Support of Equal Opportunity

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 13:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 29, 2014) — Robert Mock Jr., University of Kentucky vice president for student affairs, recently received the Wendell Thomas Award from the Kentucky Association of Blacks in Higher Education (KABHE).


The 15th recipient of this annual award, Mock was recognized for his endeavors to promote the cause of African Americans in higher education and for his commitment to promoting equal opportunity. The award recipient was selected by the KABHE executive board and presented at the organization’s annual conference.

UPK Shares Story of the Man Behind the Cake Mix

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2014) — Mention the name “Duncan Hines” to most Americans today and they will undoubtedly conjure the image of a cake mix package. With fictitious advertising characters like Betty Crocker and Otis Spunkmeyer, no one can blame them if they fail to recognize the significance of the man for whom the cake mix is named. In "Duncan Hines: How a Traveling Salesman Became the Most Trusted Name in Food," University Press of Kentucky author Louis Hatchett, delves into the life of the food pioneer, from his upbringing in Bowling Green, Ky., where his Grandma Duncan taught him to appreciate the art of good cooking, to his lucrative licensing deal with Proctor & Gamble.


The forerunner of American restaurant critics, Hines realized his passion while working as a traveling salesman in the 1920s and 1930s. There were no chain restaurants and finding a quality place to eat on the road was often difficult and posed serious hazards that we rarely concern ourselves with today. Hatchett follows Hines’ culinary road trips across 20th-century America as he discovered restaurants, sampling everything from fine wine in the St. Regis Hotel in New York to tamale pie at the Melody Lane restaurant in Los Angeles. Hines offered his recommendations to readers in the best-selling "Adventures in Good Eating" (1935).


He went on to compile classic cookbooks, including "Adventures in Good Cooking" and "The Dessert Book," both of which have been rereleased to coincide with the biography. He included recipes from some of his favorite restaurants, dishes collected from his family, and his own creations which often used innovative ingredients he encountered in his journeys. Several even served as the basis for many of the mixes that later bore his name on grocery store shelves across the country.

Not only did Hines write about where and what to eat, he wrote about how to eat as well. He transformed the act of eating into an art form, asking people to taste their food instead of gulping it down “like an old hound dog in Kentucky.” Hatchett also chronicles Hines’ crusade to keep Americans who enjoyed the adventure of eating at restaurants safe and healthy. Hines lobbied for better-educated restaurant employees, and in 1943, the Duncan Hines Foundation was founded. It offered scholarships to students in hotel and restaurant management programs and was one of numerous projects he developed to promote restaurant sanitation across the country.


Duncan Hines is more than just a brand name — he was a fiercely independent businessman who could not be bought at any price. Hines was determined at all costs to protect the integrity of his reputation because he recognized its value and what it meant to the millions who placed their faith in him. Hatchett tells the story of an average man who came to America’s attention, gained their trust, and because of it, became an American icon. Hines paved the way for today’s celebrity foodies such as Guy Fieri and Anthony Bourdain and inspired Americans to fall in love with food from across the nation and recreate it in their own kitchens at home.

The University Press of Kentucky is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing an association that now includes all state universities, five private colleges, and two historical societies. Led by Director Stephen Wrinn, its editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.  


Recipes from Duncan Hines’ two cookbooks include:

Chicken with Rice (Serves 4 to 6)
4 lb. chicken
1 onion—minced
1 tablespoon parsley
2 whole cloves
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups soup stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut chicken into pieces. Braise onion, parsley, cloves, and butter with chicken for a few minutes. Add tomato sauce and soup stock to mixture and let simmer until done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cooked rice.
Pilot Butte Inn, Bend, Oregon

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie
4 eggs
½ lb. cottage cheese
½ lb. sugar
1 tablespoon flour
Pinch of salt
A little lemon and vanilla flavoring
1 10-inch unbaked pie shell
Separate egg yolks and whites. Press the cottage cheese through a sieve. Cream together the cottage cheese, sugar, egg yolks, flour, salt and flavoring. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Bake in unbaked pie shell in 400° oven for 25-30 minutes.
Hotel Brunswick, Lancaster, Pennsylvania




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

UK Students Named Fulbright Recipients

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 16:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2014) — University of Kentucky Office of External Scholarships has announced that four UK students have been selected as recipients of Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships. The UK recipients are among approximately 1,800 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2014-2015 academic year through the prestigious program.


The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the U.S. also provide direct and indirect support.


Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide.


The UK students awarded Fulbright grants for graduate study, research or teaching assistantships are:


Hannah Christine Drake, the daughter of Elizabeth and John Drake, of Frankfort, Ky., received her bachelor's degree in political science from UK on May 10. Drake also has a minor in Spanish. The UK graduate, who previously participated in the English Language Learner program at a local elementary school, received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), which will allow her to teach English in Macau for one year.


Drake, who previously studied abroad in Seville, Spain, and traveled to many parts of Europe and North Africa, chose to apply for the assistantship in Macau to push herself out of her comfort zone.


"Given my Spanish-speaking abilities and my minor in the Spanish language, it seemed natural to return to Spain or another Spanish-speaking country in South America. However, these options seemed a little too safe and familiar. Many aspects led me to choose to apply to Macau, including my desire to learn Cantonese and the interesting fusion of Portuguese and Chinese cultures present in the region. There is a deep and complex history in this region of the world," Drake said.


While in Macau, Drake hopes to serve as an ambassador both in and outside of the classroom. "I plan to engage myself locally in Macau through local shelters, particularly women and children's shelters, and food banks during my time outside class."


Upon completion of her Fulbright ETA Assistantship, Drake plans to attend UK College of Law. In the future, she would like to pursue a career with an international nonprofit group that satisfies her passion for service, the law and international affairs.


Chia Hong, the daughter of Fang Du and Boi Hong, of Lexington, received her bachelor's degree in psychology and international studies from UK on May 10. Hong, who was a UK Honors Program member, received a Fulbright ETA which will allow her to teach English in Taiwan for one year.


"Not only will I teach English in an elementary school, but I will also get the opportunity to immerse myself in Taiwanese culture and develop my Chinese language skills. I will also serve as a cultural ambassador, helping to foster mutual understanding between Americans and people in Taiwan," Hong said.


Working with elementary students in Taiwan won't be a shock for Hong who studied elementary students as part of undergraduate research she participated in at UK. "I worked with Dr. Christia Brown on a research project examining the development of Latino elementary students' ethnic identity and perceptions of discrimination across school contexts, as well as its effects of academic outcomes."


In addition to Brown's research, Hong has also served as a research assistant in the lab of Richard Milich, a Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Psychology, who research includes story comprehension interventions for children with ADHD.


Upon completion of her Fulbright ETA Assistantship, she plans to attend graduate school for psychology.


Tanner Jones, the son of Curtis and Suzanne Jones, of Lexington, received his bachelor's degree in vocal performance from UK in 2009. A current doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at UK School of Music, Jones will use his Fulbright grant to travel to Jeju Island, South Korea, to research the music of Jeju's shamanic rituals.


Jones, the son of music educators, has always been fascinated by world music and has played and/or studied music from Korea, China, Thailand and Indonesia, as well as bluegrass and old time music from America. His studies with Donna Kwon, assistant professor of ethnomusicology, helped build his interest in Korean music.


"After I graduated with my bachelor's degree, I was encouraged by my professor, Dr. Kwon, to travel to South Korea. There, I became even more entranced by the music that Dr. Kwon had previously introduced to me, and I decided to return to pursue a degree in ethnomusicology so that I might continue to study the music of the world," Jones said.


After completing his doctoral degree, Jones would like to teach ethnomusicology at the collegiate level. "My dream job would be finding a school with little or no world music instruction, where I would be able to build up a program that could expose students to new and different ideas from other cultures, and hopefully spark a similar love for different musical cultures."


Ryan Voogt, the son of Donald and Jean Voogt of Hilbert, Wis., holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Calvin College and a master's degree in Russian, East European and Eurasian studies from University of Michigan. A current doctoral candidate in history at UK Department of History, Voogt will use his Fulbright grant to complete his dissertation research in Romania. Joining him in Romania will be his wife, Dr. Shannon Voogt, a family medicine doctor and assistant professor of family and community medicine, and daughters Esther and Edith.

Voogt's interest in Romania was sparked during his undergraduate years. "I went on two college wind ensemble tours of Eastern Europe and eventually volunteered two times in Romania for several months. These experiences vastly increased my fascination with the region, languages, peoples and their history."


Upon completion of his doctoral degree, Voogt would like to teach at the collegiate level. "I hope to finish my dissertation over the next couple of years and find a teaching position at a liberal arts college, ideally in the Bluegrass region."


In addition to the university's four students awarded Fulbright grants, one other UK student was named as an alternate for a Fulbright grant. UK's alternate is Danielle Boucher, a 2012 Spanish graduate and former Honors Program member from Bowling Green, Ky., considering teaching English in the Dominican Republic.


Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 325,400 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics and won such prestigious honors as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Foundation Award and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education. For further information about the Fulbright Program, visit the website


UK students who are U.S. citizens can apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships through the university’s Office of External Scholarships (OES). Students interested in applying for a Fulbright should contact Pat Whitlow, director of OES. Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, OES assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with OES well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



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

New Director of Center for Research on Violence Against Women on 'UK Perspectives'

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 17:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2014) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Today's program features Diane Follingstad, new director of UK’s Center for Research on Violence Against Women.


To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit


"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.

Love of Language, Love of Arts Go Hand in Hand

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 16:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2014) — The relationship has never been made official, but everyone knows that languages and the arts are an item. As the story goes, the two got together sometime around the fall of Babel, and they’ve been inseparable ever since.


For Jan-Piet Knijff, Agata Grzelczak and Gonzalo Hernández Baptista, three University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences graduate students who know multiple languages and treasure a passion for the arts, this relationship is an enduring one.


Knijff was prepared to study classics in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, almost 30 years ago. A last-minute switch to study music at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam, a specialized music university, led him to an international career as an organ and harpsichord player.


Knijff moved to New York in 1999, where he earned a doctorate of musical arts at City University of New York and taught music history, theory and performance at various universities. He later began teaching Latin at a community college in Connecticut, refreshing his knowledge of not only Latin, but also Greek.


“When I knew I wanted a degree in classics, I really wanted to do it at the University of Kentucky and only at UK because of the active Latin component,” explained Knijff.


Knijff is currently in the classics doctoral program, where his research interests include Latin music terminology as well as recent Latin translations of Dutch children’s books.


“At the end of the day, I think my interest in classics has broadened me as a person, and my music can only benefit from that. So, I really think both disciplines benefit from each other. It's getting a bit complex career-wise, but I don't think I could live without teaching in both areas somehow,” Knijff said.


While Knijff has already begun his career, Agata Grzelczak is just getting started, but she represents a true polyglot, speaking Polish, English, French and Spanish.


Grzelczak grew up and lived in Poland for 25 years and was immersed in multiple languages at a very young age as a result of her mother teaching German. Her interest in film began early on, as well. After attending a film festival at the age of 14 in which she was a member of the student jury, her interest in film took flight. “I wanted to find a way to research it, to study it,” Grzelczak said.


For her master’s thesis at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, she utilized her knowledge of multiple languages to study film by examining subtitle translations of a Spanish film into Polish and English. Now, at UK, she plans to research Argentinian film as she pursues her doctorate in Hispanic Studies.


“I watched a comedy from Argentina and the accent interested me most,” explained Grzelczak. “It’s a little bit like French and Spanish combined; I really love it because of that.”


Gonzalo Hernández Baptista is also a doctoral student in Hispanic Studies whose relationship with languages and the arts impacts his understanding, especially in literature.


Baptista grew up in the small city Castilla la Mancha in Spain, the city of Don Quixote. He later moved to Italy for nine years and became fluent in Italian.


Baptista left his job as department head of Italian Sección Española at the University of Turin in Italy to pursue his passions of studying sudden fiction, a genre of short story composed of around 200 words. He plans to concentrate his studies on the surrealist period and the notion of playing with perspectives.


Baptista also writes his own sudden fiction, and his language fluency in Spanish and Italian allows him to write in both languages. “When you write, you have to swim inside the language,” he said. “Otherwise, you are not free of expressing yourself.”


For Knijff, Grezelczak and Baptista, the merging of languages and arts assures that the perfect love story continues. 




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

Annual Markey Research Day Showcases Cancer Research

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 16:40

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2014) – The future looks bright for cancer research in Kentucky – on May 22, the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center held its annual Markey Cancer Center Research Day, highlighting the work of UK students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty from the past year.


As the cancer center has grown, Markey’s research programs have become even more robust, helping propel the center into becoming the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center.


“The NCI is pretty much all about research – it’s a huge part of what they’re looking for when they award the designation,” said Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers.


Research Day not only provides an opportunity for investigators to showcase their work, it also helps educate researchers about other ongoing projects at UK that they may not have known about before – and this often leads to new, fruitful collaborations for future research projects. Kathleen O’Connor, Markey’s associate director for cancer education, notes that providing opportunities for researchers to discuss their work with others is key for growth and improvement.


“If we don’t communicate the research that we do, then there’s no point in us doing it,” said O’Connor, who has been tasked with planning Markey Research Day for the past five years. “What we need to do is talk about our research, translate our research, and learn about opportunities to collaborate.”


Evers, who arrived at UK in 2009 with the goal of molding Markey into an NCI-designated cancer center within five years, agrees.


“It gives our students, fellows and faculty an opportunity to present their latest work, and it’s also turned out to be a great venue for collaboration,” Evers said. “Because even though we’re a very collaborative, collegial university, sometimes people working across the street don’t know about each other’s research. This gives them the opportunity to see what else is going on.”


This year’s event featured 141 posters; one student and two postdoctoral fellow oral presentations; and faculty oral presentations from Jon Thorson, Vivek Rangnekar, Mary Vore, and Mark Dignan, co-leaders of the four major research programs at Markey. Additionally, Evers presented his annual State of the Cancer Center Address and Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate and director of the National Cancer Institute, gave the Susan B. Lester Memorial Lecture.



Video Produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing.  To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.


The event finished with an award ceremony. Awards were presented in two different categories - basic science and clinical science - for both graduate and postdoctoral fellows. A Researcher's Choice Award was also presented, based on a popular vote by people who attended Research Day.


The winners are:


Graduate Basic Science


First place: Wei Zhang


Second place: Hedy Chawsheen


Postdoctoral Basic Science


First place: Jin Dai


Second place: Stuart Jarrett


Graduate Clinical Science


First place: Sally Ellingson


Second place: Shaoying Wang


Postdoctoral Clinical Science


First place: Rachel Stewart


Second place: Pallavi Sethi


Researcher's Choice Award


Winner: Emil Khisamutdinov



MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry (859) 323-2399 or

UK Physician Assistant Program and Norton Healthcare Announce Preceptor Partnership

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 16:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2014) - The University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Studies program and Norton Healthcare are launching a preceptor partnership program. 


The first cohort of physician assistant (PA) students will begin their clinical clerkship rotations with preceptors in the Norton Healthcare system in Louisville this June.  


Norton Healthcare has pledged nearly $715,000 over three years through its James R. Petersdorf Fund to support the preceptor program, which will develop a robust network of qualified PA preceptors within the Norton Healthcare system. The preceptors will teach, supervise and evaluate PA students during their clinical clerkship rotations with the aim of offering full-time employment with Norton Healthcare to 50 percent of the students upon completion of their clerkships.


“The College of Health Sciences is proud to continue the tradition of partnerships between Norton Healthcare and UK,” said Sharon R. Stewart, Ed.D., professor and interim dean, UK College of Health Sciences. “Our college is by definition interprofessional and collaborative, and the network of Norton Healthcare preceptors will only enhance the clinical training our PA students receive.”


UK HealthCare and Norton Healthcare have a history of collaboration, including alliances in clinical programs, workforce, education and research. The organizations believe that there is power in partnership, and the ultimate goal is to improve health care for all Kentuckians.


“The preceptor partnership is an absolute win-win,” said Dr. James M. Frazier, Norton Healthcare vice president for medical affairs. “University of Kentucky students receive training from our skilled preceptors and in return we ensure that some of the best and the brightest will have the opportunity to join Norton Healthcare post-graduation.”


Physician assistants play a vital role in providing access to quality health care. PAs examine, diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of physicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is projected to increase 38 percent from 2012 to 2022. Its growth far outpaces the projected 10.8 percent employment increase across all occupations for the same period.


“We are seeing a significant shift in health care. The demand for a qualified team of heath care professionals is greater than ever,” said Bradford Schwarz, director of UK’s Division of Physician Assistant Studies (PAS). “Physician assistants are an integral part of that team. It is exciting to see that Norton Healthcare is on the leading edge in regard to the role physician assistants will play in the future of health care, not only through hiring PAs but through educating PAs as well.”


The UK PAS program was established in 1973 and is offered on UK’s primary campus in Lexington and on the rural campus of Morehead State University. The PAS program currently enrolls 171 full-time students and consists of a 93-hour program, which includes 13 months of intensive clinical clerkship rotations. Students must successfully complete 10 distinct clinical clerkships during their clinical year. The PAS program currently has more than 700 affiliation agreements in place with community-based preceptors and clinical education agreements with health care facilities.


“This is an innovative approach to training UK physician assistant students, which allows the majority , if not all, of their clinical rotations to be conducted within the Norton Healthcare system,” said David A. Fahringer, associate professor and director of clinical education for the UK PAS program, who will implement the preceptor partnership with Norton Healthcare, alongside Schwarz. “This will enable the students to be more involved in direct patient care, such as using the EPIC electronic charting system, and acquiring a better understanding on how the Norton Healthcare system operates.”


The initial group of nine students who will begin their clerkships in June are being referred to as the “Norton Nine.”  One of those students is Eric Heely, a 2001 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who served in the South Zabul Province in Afghanistan. Heely said his desire to become a PA began when he was deployed in Afghanistan in 2008.


“In the Army, PAs hold a very direct role in soldier health care,” Heely said. “At my Fort Polk group, we had a Battalion-level PA, and he was the most respected officer in the unit. Having that primary care role of working with patients directly is what really appeals to me about being a PA.”


Heely, who is originally from Clovis, California lives in Louisville with his wife and daughter. He said he and his family have had positive experiences as patients in the Norton Healthcare system, and he is looking forward to beginning his clinical clerkship rotations close to home. 


“The fact that Norton Healthcare is seeking out PA students and hiring more PAs to deal with the national health care issues, which are currently causing so many difficulties, shows a great devotion to providing better access to care for more people,” said Heely, who is who is now in the Army Reserve. “While I have my current clinical interests in emergency medicine and surgery, I truly look forward to all of my rotations through Norton Healthcare, as I learn about different fields through clerkships.”


Media Contacts:  Ann Blackford, UK Public Relations,, 859-323-6442

Thomas Johnson, Norton Healthcare,, 502-629-8092 


Fight Continues Against Emerald Ash Borer

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2014) — The fight continues, but the invader has the upper hand. Kentucky’s ash trees, important as timber producers and landscape trees, have faced the onslaught of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect pest from Asia, since 2009.


Since then, a county-level quarantine has been in effect to slow the borer’s spread through human activity. The original quarantine included 20 counties, all within the Lexington-Louisville-Cincinnati triangle. Based on new detections of the insects on survey traps, at least one new county was added to the quarantine each year, including some in Eastern Kentucky. The quarantine issued by the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist in conjunction with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology forbad the transportation of all hardwood species of firewood, ash trees, lumber, nursery stock or other material from the quarantined counties without a certificate or limited permit.


Unfortunately, the emerald ash borer spreads naturally by flying. Despite local quarantines, expansion of its range continues. In response, the entire state was placed under quarantine in April. The decision is designed to regulate the interstate movement of ash nursery stock, green lumber, waste, compost, chips and firewood and effectively lifts the county quarantines.


“While it is quite likely that the insect is present outside the original quarantined counties, our entire state is not infested at this time. At this point, emerald ash borer activity is still very localized in some areas,” said Lee Townsend, extension entomology professor in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.


At present 21 states and two Canadian provinces — Quebec and Ontario — have known emerald ash borer infestations. 


The quarantine of the entire state means that ash materials may move from Kentucky to surrounding states that are also wholly quarantined for the emerald ash borer, including Missouri, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. Special permits are required to move articles into Illinois and Indiana, however.


Though the movement is no longer forbidden within Kentucky’s borders, the state entomologist’s office and the Kentucky Division of Forestry strongly urge Kentuckians not to transport firewood outside of the local area. Transporting firewood has been proven to spread invasive insects.


“With the new emerald ash borer quarantine rules, firewood can be moved from one place to another within Kentucky,” said Larry Lowe of the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “However, it is important to realize that there are other pests that can also be moved in firewood, and the use of local firewood can help reduce risk of infestation of insects other than the emerald ash borer.”


Ash trees, with their light but exceptionally strong wood, are an important component of Kentucky’s forest industries. Ash occurs throughout the state, representing approximately 7 percent of the total timber volume. However, certain regions of the state, such as Northern Kentucky and south central Kentucky, have significant amounts of ash.


“The loss of the trees is affecting Kentucky’s woodlands, our forest industry and homeowners and cities that have widely planted ash,” said Jeff Stringer, UK extension professor of silviculture.


Until this year, the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist hung purple traps to monitor the spread of the small, dark-green metallic beetle that feeds on all ash tree species. Though the traps have been one of the best tools for monitoring the spread of the insect, they have only been marginally effective, said Joe Collins, UK senior nursery inspector.


“We will continue to partner with the USDA to release biological control wasps in Kentucky,” Collins said.


To date, three species of stingless wasps have been released at 12 sites in the state. Extremely small, the wasps are not capable of stinging humans, but are very good at tracking down emerald ash borer larvae under tree bark. Homing in on the vibrations the larvae make when chewing, the wasps can insert their stingers through the bark and, depending on the wasp species, lay an egg either on or inside the larvae. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae consume the ash borer larvae.


Homeowners and woodland owners living in or within 15 miles of the 31 formerly quarantined counties who wish to protect their ash trees should start or continue to apply protective treatments.


“At this point, it is not clear how long landscape ash trees must be protected as the wave of EAB infestation passes through, but seven to 10 years is a reasonable estimate,” Townsend said.


He does advise homeowners, however, to save their money and not begin preventive treatments until an active infestation is found nearby. The state urges anyone who suspects an infestation — the EAB leaves D-shaped exit holes in the bark — to contact the Office of the State Entomologist, 859-257-5838, or their local Cooperative Extension office for confirmation.


More information about the emerald ash borer in Kentucky and a list of affected counties, are available at


Visit the USDA hungry pests website, to find out more about invasive pests.



MEDIA CONTACT:  Carol Lea Spence, 859-257-8324,




UK Alum Dan Wu to Compete on 'MasterChef'

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 14:10



"First Look" video of Fox's TV show "MasterChef." Video courtesy of Fox. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2014) — University of Kentucky art studio alumnus and amateur chef Dan Wu will be cooking up a storm on TV screens across America as he competes on the fifth season of the reality show competition "MasterChef." The new season of the cooking show searching for America's best home cook will premiere at 8 p.m. Monday, May 26, on Fox. Wu is one of two cooks from Kentucky competing on the show.


Wu, a native of Wuxi, China, moved to Lexington as a child when his father took a job at UK. Upon completion of his bachelor's degree in art studio at UK in 1997, he moved to San Francisco and later Brooklyn, before returning to the Bluegrass. Wu first considered showing off his cooking chops competitively last year as part of the Crave Home Chef Competition, presented in conjunction with the inaugural Crave Lexington Food and Music Festival. Wu took second place in this first outing.


For "MasterChef," Wu traveled to Columbus, Ohio, last October to compete against more than 200 amateur chefs. The cook was selected based on a 5-spice duck confit bao dish, featuring a homemade steamed bun with shredded slow-cooked duck leg, pickled red onions, cucumbers, scallions and hoisin Sriracha mayonnaise, served with Sriracha-pickled peaches.


Among the other 29 contestants joining Wu on "MasterChef" is a fellow Kentuckian, Corey Charles, of Pikeville.


"MasterChef" is hosted by award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay and judged by Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot. On the TV show, the three celebrated food experts will put the group of 30 contestants through a series of challenges designed to test their palates, food knowledge, passion and culinary skills. The cooks will compete for the title of MasterChef, a cookbook deal and a $250,000 cash prize. 



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

WUKY's Phoenix Fridays Bring Live Concerts to Downtown Lexington This Summer

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 18:51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2014) ― A new summertime concert series ― WUKY's Phoenix Fridays ― is coming to downtown Lexington. Presented by  WUKY 91.3 FM at 5 p.m. every fourth Friday of June, July, August and September in Phoenix Park, the free outdoor concerts will offer live music from the best local acts and exciting up-and-coming nationally touring bands.


"We are really excited to offer WUKY's Phoenix Fridays to Central Kentucky residents and visitors this summer," said Mike Graves, music director at WUKY.  "The line-up of musicians is fantastic, and local food trucks will be onsite with great food and beverages. Enjoying live music and good food under the stars in Phoenix Park ― we hope to see you there!"


Produced by The Downtown Lexington Corporation, WUKY's Phoenix Fridays will feature local bands as the opening act, followed by nationally touring bands.


The schedule is:


Friday, June 27 at 5-9:30  p.m.

Opening act – Dawn Landes

Headliner – Simone Felice


Friday, July 25 at 5-9:30 p.m.

Opening act – Warren Byrom & Small Batch

Headliner – Saintseneca


Friday, August 22 at 5-9:30 p.m.

Opening act – Coralee and the Townies

Headliner – Ben Sollee


Friday, Sept. 26 at 5-9:30 p.m.

Opening act – The Northside Sheiks

Headliner - TBA


Band details, interviews and videos can be accessed at


Phoenix Park is located at the corner of Main Street and South Limestone in downtown Lexington.


For more information contact WUKY’s Mike Graves at, 859-396-4137.



MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155, 

No UK Bus Service Memorial Day

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 18:30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2014) — University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services will not offer bus service Monday, May 26, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. This includes the CATS Summer/Break Route, the Medical Center Route and the Kentucky Clinic Route. All bus service will return to normal operations Tuesday, May 27.



All CATS buses are on Cat Tracker, a real-time GPS-based bus locating system. Cat Tracker can be accessed at, via the free TransLoc Android, BlackBerry and iPhone apps and through QR and SMS codes located on each bus stop sign.

Fifteen UK Students Win NSF Research Awards

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 18:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 23, 2013) — The University of Kentucky Office of External Scholarships has announced 15 of the university's undergraduate and graduate students will be able to pursue research in their fields of study with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).


Three UK students have been selected to receive government-funded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. The fellowships will present the students with more than $100,000 to use toward research-based master's or doctoral degrees.


In addition, undergraduate research opportunities will be funded for 12 UK undergraduates through NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the U.S. and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees in the U.S. and abroad. 


NSF fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees. They also are given opportunities for international research and professional development as well as the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

UK’s newest NSF fellows are:

· Benjamin Currens, a graduate student studying Earth and environmental sciences;

· Josiah Hanna, a 2014 computer science and mathematics graduate; and

· Jacob Welch, a 2013 anthropology graduate.


Benjamin Currens, the son of James Currens, of Versailles, Ky., and Debra Rogers, of Harrodsburg, Ky., is a 2012 graduate of Cornell University. His NSF Graduate Research Fellowship will fund research on water quality and water scarcity issues.


"As global climate change continues I believe water issues will be exacerbated and likely emerge as an early problem," Currens said.


After completing his master's degree, Currens plans to pursue a Ph.D. and research in the Central Atlas Mountains in Morocco.


The son of David and Sarah Hanna, Josiah Hanna received bachelor's degrees in computer science and mathematics from UK May 10. A 2013 Astronaut Scholar and 2013 Goldwater Scholar, Hanna will use the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to fund artificial intelligence research in graduate school.


"The NSF Fellowship will completely fund my graduate school work for three years and also includes other opportunities such as internships and research abroad experiences," said Hanna, a Chellgren Fellow and UK Honors Program member.


Hanna plans to eventually pursue a doctoral degree in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence.


A native of Richmond, Ky., Jacob Welch is the son of Jeff and Marcia Welch, of Knoxville, Tenn. A Chellgren Fellow and former member of the UK Honors Program, Welch earned his bachelor's degree from UK in December 2013. He will use his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship as part of his graduate studies at Yale Univesity where his research will focus on commoner social universe.


"I assert that through studies of multi-household social units in Mesoamerican society and the interactions of commoners at various scales, archaeology will produce a more representative image of the Mesoamerican past," said Welch, who is hoping to advance his previous research findings on settlement patterns of the ancient Maya site Chunchucmil.


Four other UK students received honorable mention recognition from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. They are: Mirza Agha, a graduate student in forestry, from Kirkland, Wash.; Robert DeJaco, a 2014 chemical engineering graduate from Dublin, Ohio; Tyler Flynn, a 2014 mechanical engineering and physics graduate and Chellgren Fellow from Lexington; and Tyler Huber, a pharmacy student from Orlando, Fla.


The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is the country’s oldest graduate fellowship program directly supporting graduate students in social science and various STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. Since 1952, NSF has funded 48,500 Graduate Research Fellowships. More than 30 fellowship recipients have become Nobel laureates. In addition, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program has a high rate of doctoral degree completion, with more than 70 percent of students completing doctorates within 11 years.


NSF also funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of approximately 10 undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Throughout the NSF-REU program, students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel.


UK's recipients of the NSF-REU are:

· Robert Cass, a mathematics senior;

· Evan Castle, an electrical engineering and mathematics senior;

· Steven Chapman, a chemistry junior;

· Paige Clark, a chemical engineering junior;

· Jonathan Coburn, a chemical engineering junior;

· Andrea Eastes, an agricultural biotechnology and chemistry senior;

· Jonathan Elliott, an economics and mathematics senior;

· Matthew Fahrbach, a computer science and mathematics junior;

· Jordan Jorgensen, a computer science and mathematics senior;

· Sarah Patterson, a chemical engineering junior;

· Kimberly Stevens, a chemistry student in UK and Bluegrass Community and Technical College's BCTCblue+ program, who plans to eventually transfer to UK; and

· Emily VanMeter, a political science and French senior.


Chellgren Fellow and Honors Program member Robert Cass is the son of Valerie and Wayne Cass, of Lexington. He will participate in the NSF-REU on number theory at Texas A&M University. Previously, Cass took part in the 2013 NSF-REU on computational algebraic geometry, combinatorics and number theory at Clemson University.


Evan Castle is the son of Ruth and Scott Castle, of Lexington. He will participate in an NSF-REU on complex analysis at Central Michigan University.


Chellgren Fellow and Honors Program member Steven Chapman is the son of Donna and Jeff Chapman, of Hopkinsville, Ky. He will participate in an NSF-REU on chemistry at Penn State University.


Paige Clark is the daughter of Joe and Karen Clark, of Bardstown, Ky. She will remain close to home participating in the NSF-REU on engineered bioactive interfaces and devices at UK led by Kim Anderson, the Gill Eminent Professor of Chemical Engineering at UK College of Engineering.


Honors Program member Jonathan Coburn is the son of Cathy and Thomas Coburn, of Nicholasville, Ky. He will also participate in the NSF-REU on engineered bioactive interfaces and devices at UK.


Chellgren Fellow Andrea Eastes is the daughter of Chrissy and Jeff Eastes, of Mayfield, Ky. She will participate in an NSF-REU on molecular biosciences at University of California, San Francisco.


Chellgren Fellow and Honors Program member Jonathan Elliott is the son of Michael and Yvonne Elliott, of Grand Rapids, Mich. He will participate in an NSF-REU studying the economic impact of climate change in the Great Basin/Sierra Nevada region of the U.S. at the University of Nevada, Reno and the Great Basin Institute.


Chellgren Fellow Matthew Fahrbach is the son of Diane and Michael Fahrbach, of Louisville, Ky. Fahrbach will participate for the second year in an NSF-REU on mathematics at University of Washington.


Chellgren Fellow Jordan Jorgensen is the son of Angela and Joseph Jorgensen of Louisville. He will participate in an NSF-REU on parallel computer programming at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Sarah Patterson is the daughter of Beth and Charles Patterson, of Springfield, Ohio. She will participate in UK's NSF-REU on engineered bioactive interfaces and devices.


Kimberly Stevens is the daughter of Danny and Susan Stevens, of Frankfort, Ky. Stevens will also participate in the NSF-REU on engineered bioactive interfaces and devices at UK.


Chellgren Fellow Emily VanMeter is the daughter of Darrell and Valerie VanMeter, of Benton, Ky. She will participate in an NSF-REU on civil conflict management and peace science at University of North Texas.


Students interested in applying for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship or the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of External Scholarships (OES). Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, OES assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with OES well in advance of the scholarship deadline.




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

UK Delegation to Visit Shanghai University to Teach and Collaborate

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 18:02

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2014) — Fifteen UK faculty will teach students at Shanghai University (SHU) in China for a week this summer through the UK Confucius Institute’s (UKCI) “UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program,” during the week of June 16-20.


The program fosters global literacy throughout UK’s multiple disciplines by embedding UK faculty members in SHU’s departments where they teach students for one week, meet professional colleagues, identify shared research interests and gain key insights into China that they can then share with their students in Kentucky.


"Students need to know how knowledge is created, disseminated and used in a commercial and global environment of commerce," said Susan Carvalho, associate provost for internationalization. "By sending UK faculty from a broad range of disciplines to teach at Shanghai University – some of whom have never been to China – they will return with global experiences and perspectives that will be infused across campus.”


Following the teaching week, UK Provost Christine Riordan, College of Arts & Sciences Dean Mark Kornbluh, College of Fine Arts Dean Michael Tick, Carvalho, and UKCI Director Huajing Maske will join the visiting UK faculty to celebrate “UK Week at SHU,” from June 23-27.


During “UK Week at SHU” members of the UK delegation will give lectures providing Shanghai University faculty the opportunity to connect with UK’s disciplinary and academic expertise.


The UK Confucius Institute held a similar “UK Week” at Jilin University in Spring 2012. Seven UK deans led by Interim Provost Tim Tracy spent five days at Jilin University giving academic talks, and meeting with their counterparts to discuss collaborative opportunities.


The UK-JLU Collaborative Framework was established as a result of “UK Week” at Jilin University, which includes a 2+2 agreement and faculty exchange agreement with the Gatton College of Business and Economics; and a 4+2 agreement with the College of Public Health. Partnerships with UK’s Computer Science Department, College of Communication and Information and College of Arts & Sciences are still be negotiated.


“Based on our great success at Jilin, the UK faculty who are teaching at SHU this summer and our strategic partnership with SHU, we decided to hold another “UK Week” at SHU,” said Maske, “This week-long event will deepen our ties with SHU and provide a base for future research collaborations.” 


Ernest Yanarella, chair of the Department of Political Science, taught a course as part of the “UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program” in 2012. The title of his course was, "Bridging Modernity, Globalization, and Sustainable Development in China and the West."


"I must say that teaching in China to young Chinese college students was one of the most meaningful educational experiences I have had as a scholar and university professor," Yanarella said. "It proved to be a splendid opportunity for an American scholar and teacher to engage in a real dialogue with future leaders of the Republic of China."


Yanarella said that such partnerships are a win-win situation for Chinese universities and UK. 


"The opportunity for UK faculty to teach at Chinese universities opens up possibilities of promoting greater cultural understanding across political and other divides and generating collaborative teaching and research projects with Chinese scholars," he said.


Maske is hoping “UK Week at SHU” will help UK faculty find opportunities to access research dollars that are available in China through collaborative research. “There are considerable resources that UK faculty can access in China that will help them fund their research, access data and increase opportunities to publish.”


The opening ceremony and reception for “UK Week at SHU” will also be an opportunity to celebrate and connect with UK’s alumni in China.


“We are very excited about inviting all of our alumni in China to the opening ceremony and reception,” said Maske. “The number of alumni in China is rapidly growing every year, this is such a great way to create community and opportunity for everyone involved.”


The event will be hosted by UKCI, the Office of China Initiatives and Shanghai University.

Beshear Signs Bills Honoring and Supporting Military, Veterans in Ky.

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 15:51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear today helped honor Kentucky veterans and recognize military training and service by ceremonially signing six bills from the recent 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.


The governor’s action today at Barker Hall/Buell Armory in Lexington supports his ongoing commitment to Kentucky military personnel – both active members and veterans. Buell Armory is the home of the Army and Air Force ROTC on the University of Kentucky’s campus. UK Board of Trustees member Keith Gannon introduced the governor.

“We can never repay the huge debt we owe our servicemen and women or fully express our appreciation to them,” Beshear said. “With Memorial Day fast approaching, I cannot think of a better way to once again say ‘thank you’ by signing these bills. I ask all Kentuckians to join us in honoring our veterans, active servicemen and women, and our military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

As a former member of the U.S. Army Reserve, Beshear has worked hard over the last several years to help Kentucky troops, veterans and their families deal with financial hardships, provide employment and transportation assistance, and gain deserving recognition.

“Working with our governor, who along with the First Lady has been a tremendous supporter of the military and veterans of the Commonwealth on these bills – particularly HB 337 and HB 289, which I sponsored – and other issues, has been an honor,” said Rep. Tanya Pullin, of South Shore.  “As chairwoman of the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee, I look forward to continuing to work with other members of the General Assembly and the Beshear Administration to address the needs of both the active duty military and veterans and ensure we properly recognize their work and sacrifice.”


“I first want to thank our Veterans for their service,” said Sen. Jimmy Higdon, of Lebanon.  “The Kentucky General Assembly is constantly striving to address the issues that affect veterans both at home and while they are abroad. Our veterans are – and will continue to be – a priority to us.”


The bills signed include:


House Bill 337


This measure applies military experience toward obtaining a heating, ventilation and air conditioning license and allows a 60-day grace period after the expiration of the license for the licensee to continue to practice and apply for renewal.


House Bill 289


This measure adjusts the membership of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs to reflect critically important military commands within Kentucky and their unique contributions to our national defense and the economic vitality of the region.


“The men and women who give their all to protect our nation deserve to have folks looking out for them who share their passion and understand their unique talents,” said Rep. Jeff Greer, of Brandenburg. “Helping ensure that all aspects of national defense are reflected on the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs will only strengthen this important organization.”


“The collaboration and partnership between the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs and military commands within the Commonwealth is strengthened by expansion of our membership,” said retired Col. David Thompson, executive director of the Commission on Military Affairs. “We now add the Army’s Human Resources Command, Recruiting Command, Cadet Command, the adjutant general of the Army, the Huntington District of the Corps of Engineers and the 84th Training Command of the Army Reserve. As we focus on the future of the vitally important military installations in Kentucky, we must have all the key leaders at the table. House Bill 289 recognizes the importance of the military in Kentucky and strengthens the bond between our military and our Commonwealth.”


House Bill 189


This measure clarifies that the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs has administrative authority over the Veterans’ Program Trust Fund and the authority to promulgate administrative regulations related to the trust fund.

“The Veterans’ Program Trust Fund is vital to making sure Kentucky veterans get the assistance and programs which they earned through their service, and this bill will help the fund stay focused on this mission,” said Rep. Charlie Miller, of Louisville.


House Bill 322


This measure establishes a special military service academy license plate, available Jan. 1, 2015, to current attendees and graduates of the U.S. military service academies.


“As someone who is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, I can appreciate and applaud my fellow Kentuckians who count themselves among the alumni of our outstanding military academies,” said Rep. Tim Moore, of Elizabethtown.  “I'm proud my bill passed both chambers and will become law, to allow our graduates to proudly display their alma mater on their Kentucky license plate.”

House Bill 246


This measure adds the word “history” to the Kentucky Military Museum. The Kentucky Military History Museum is located on East Main Street in Frankfort.


“The Kentucky Military History Museum plays a crucial role in educating our citizens about the sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made on our behalf,” said Rep. Kevin Sinnette, of Ashland. “Since the completion of its five-year renovation last year, it has become what I think is one of the finest museums of its kind in the country.  I’m proud to sponsor the law that is helping to promote this institution.”

House Bill 234


This measure creates the recognition of Korean War Armistice Day on July 27 by the Governor’s Office through an annual proclamation.  


“It’s time we make ‘The Forgotten War’ a time of remembrance and thanksgiving, and recognize those who defended the free rights of others against the encroachment of communism,” said Rep. Myron Dossett, of Pembroke.  “House Bill 234, which I proudly sponsored during the 2014 session, designates July 27th as a time to thank our Korean War veterans.  But I’m hopeful that Korean War Armistice Day is the first step for us to appreciate those who served and fought in Korea on a daily basis.”


At the signing, Beshear highlighted the progress his administration is making in assisting active members and veterans.


One goal, he said, is to strengthen mental health services for service members, veterans and families.


Currently, the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) is partnering with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities to expand telemental health services for veterans in rural Kentucky.


KDVA is also in the process of building a fourth state veterans nursing home in Radcliff. The design provides 120 veterans with a private room and bath and family-style living room, dining room, kitchen and patio. A separate administration building will house recreation, therapy and other services. Construction began in July 2013; the facility is scheduled to open in September 2015.


Additionally, KDVA, in conjunction with the national Vietnam War Commemoration Partner Program, will mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by planning local and community events and activities in 2014 and 2015, honoring Vietnam War Veterans and their families for serving during a tumultuous period in our nation’s history.


“We are seeking commemorative partners, like local communities, universities and other organizations, to assist in thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans and their families,” said KDVA Commissioner Ken Lucas.


For more information, visit or KDVA’s website at

Know Your Risk for Radon Exposure

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 15:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 27, 2014) -- Kentucky has the "triple crown of lung cancer" -  the country's highest rate of smoking and high rates of secondhand smoke exposure and radon exposure. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. If you're exposed to radon and tobacco smoke, either through personal use or secondhand smoke, your risk of lung cancer increases tenfold.


Radon is a radioactive soil gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It enters buildings through the foundation and plumbing and becomes trapped in indoor spaces. When inhaled, radon causes immediate DNA damage before decaying into lead, which stays in the body for decades. Most radon-induced lung cancers are thought to be associated with low to moderate radon concentrations.


The entire state of Kentucky is at high risk for radon exposure, with about 40 percent of homes estimated to have unsafe levels. Here's how you can make sure that you and your loved ones are not exposed to radon:


1.     Test your home. Radon is only detectable through testing of indoor spaces, which is easy and free or low-cost.  Many local health departments have radon programs providing free radon test kits. Most testing is as easy as setting the testing envelope on a bookshelf for 2 to 3 days. The tests are then mailed, usually free of charge, for processing, and the lab mails or emails the results. Long term tests of 90 days are encouraged if tobacco smoking occurs in the home. 


The Kentucky State Radon Program can provide contact information for your local health department's radon coordinator, and offers free radon test kits. Visit or call (502) 564-4856.


Radon test kits can also be purchased at home improvement stores for $15-$25.



2.     Mitigate your home if radon levels are unsafe. If a building has unsafe levels of radon exposure, the radon can be mitigated from the soil by a certified mitigation specialist. The mitigation process, however, can be expensive, ranging from $1,200 to $2,500 depending on the size of the home. Certified radon mitigation professionals can be found at


3.     Prevent radon exposure in new home construction. Prevent radon exposure before it starts by adding a Radon Resistant New Construction (RRNC) passive system during home construction. This system can be activated by a certified mitigator if high radon levels are found in the home. RRNC costs approximately $600-$800 for a single family home, compared to $1,200 to $2,500 for mitigation of an existing home.


If you are interested in participating in a UK FRESH research study to prevent lung cancer by addressing radon levels and smoke exposure in your home, please call 859-323-4587 or email


Dr. Ellen Hahn is a professor in the UK Colleges of Nursing and Public Health, and director of the Clean Indoor Air Partnership and Kentucky Center for Smoke Free Policy. 


This column appeared in the May 25, 2014, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader



Medical Emergency on Airplane Elevates UK Nurse to Hero Status for Local Businessman

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 13:43


Video Produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing.  To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area. LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2014) — On April 3, 2014, Sarah Buschmann, a University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital neurosciences ICU nurse, had just settled into her seat near the back of an airplane departing Bluegrass Airport for Las Vegas.  About 20 minutes into the flight, she put her headphones on to take a nap. She was eagerly anticipating meeting up with four friends from other states to celebrate her 29th birthday on April 17 and her cousin's birthday on the 6th. It was a great excuse for them all to get together and she was excited. 


Bill Schutters, a 63-year-old businessman and entrepreneur from Richmond, Ky., and his companion Carol Conyers, were on the same flight. Schutters had a stressful week of traveling and work and they were looking forward to a little rest and relaxation in Las Vegas.

About 20 minutes into the flight, Schutters felt hot and began sweating profusely. As he removed his jacket, he told Conyers he was feeling sick.


"We joke around a lot and at first I thought he might be joking," Conyers said. "But when he threw his head back gasping for air and his normal ruddy complexion turned white as a sheet, I knew he was in trouble. His head fell forward and his eyes rolled back into his head as he passed out. I thought he was having a heart attack."


Buschmann was dozing peacefully to her music when she heard a voice talking over the loud speaker although she didn't understand what was said. She asked a nearby flight attendant who told her that a medical doctor or nurse was needed for someone in distress.


Without hesitation, Buschmann stood up and said, "I am a nurse. What can I do to help?"

Buschmann was led to a three seat aisle in the middle of the plane where she saw Schutters in the middle seat, pale, sweating, and unresponsive. The passenger in the third seat on the other side of Schutters was frightened and left for another seat. Buschmann sat down and began trying to figure out what was going on.


"He was having difficulty breathing, epigastric pain with nausea, in a cold sweat, dusky and in and out of consciousness," Buschmann said. "He was struggling to answer my questions and Ms. Conyers had to fill in the blanks for him. I had to continually probe him to keep him awake and talking."


"Sarah was so calm, a real pro," Conyers said. "She asked for a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope and oxygen. The oxygen tank arrived covered in dust. Sarah just calmly wiped it off with her hand and onto her pant leg as she checked the gauges and expiration date. She didn't hesitate to turn it on to start getting oxygen to Bill. He went through four tanks.  She knew he needed fluids and got him ginger ale and an aspirin. She was amazing."


Buschmann never left Schutters' side for the duration of their four hour flight, constantly monitoring him and checking in with the pilot and air medics by phone until they safely landed.  His color slowly returned after the ginger ale although he remained drowsy, continuing with spells of having trouble breathing and diaphoresis. The pilot decided that as long as he was conscious and stable he would able to tolerate the flight, there was no need for to divert the flight and land.


"Sarah has quite a sense of humor," Conyers said. "We really got to know each other during those four hours. We talked about everything that had happened that day prior to the flight.  We laughed so hard over that dirty oxygen tank. We can laugh about it now. Sarah talked about her how much she loved her job at UK. I learned that she went through the same nursing program that my niece is going through."


Schutters describes what happened to him that day as "the perfect storm." He only had a light meal and a glass of wine before the flight and his blood sugar had dropped. His normally elevated blood pressure had plummeted, he was under a lot of stress, dehydrated, couldn't get enough oxygen, and the extreme turbulence the airplane was experiencing that day only seemed to exacerbate his symptoms.


A medical team was on the runway when the plane landed to perform medical tests and take over Schutters' care, but to Schutters and Conyers, Buschmann was the real hero that day.

"Sarah was our angel because we don't know what would have happened if she hadn't been there," Conyers said. "She jumped to help us immediately. She didn't think about us intruding on her birthday celebration. She is amazing and an excellent reflection on UK. I have adopted her into my heart."


Buschmann attributes her attitude towards helping others to her upbringing. "My parents raised me well, teaching me to always help others. My mother is also in the medical profession and my godfather is a physician," she said. "All my life I’ve witnessed them jumping in to provide care when called upon. As a nurse in the ICU, I'm used to helping in a moments notice without stopping to think about it. We see everything here at UK and feel well prepared. It was my job to make sure that he was OK first and foremost."


After deboarding the plane, Buschmann made sure that Schutters and Conyers were OK with her leaving them with the medical team on the ground.


Schutters and Conyers thanked Buschmann many times over for everything she had done to help them. Still, a few weeks after their trip Conyers felt the need to find the young nurse they only knew as "Sarah" and to thank her again as well as let her co-workers and supervisors at UK HealthCare know about the exemplary care Schutters received that day thousands of feet in the air.  On May 21, a much healthier Schutters and Conyers came to the hospital to thank Sarah again and to be present as she was honored for her actions that day. 


“At UK HealthCare, our nursing vision is 'leading the way for every patient, every time,'" said Colleen Swartz, Chief Nurse Executive at UK HealthCare. "Sometimes the 'patients' we encounter may not actually be located at UK, but a patient we encounter by chance.  Sarah demonstrates our core values and lives out our vision of what being a nurse at UKHC means.  We are fortunate to have Sarah, and many others like her on our team."    


Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or          

UK Athletics Posts Record GPA for 2014 Spring Semester

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 11:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2014) — In the midst of a record-setting athletic season, University of Kentucky Wildcat student-athletes combined for their best academic semester since 2002-03, the first year for which complete grade information is available.


Continuing to raise the bar in the classroom, scholarship Wildcats combined for a 3.218 cumulative grade-point average for the spring semester. UK Athletics has now posted GPAs of at least 3.0 in four consecutive semesters.


“We have great expectations for our student-athletes, but to get to this spot is special,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “I know how hard our kids work every day, and I’m so proud to see it pay off like this. This semester is proof of the commitment they have made in the classroom.”


Of UK’s 20 teams, 18 posted GPAs of better than 3.0. The women’s swimming and diving team led the way with a 3.728 GPA, closely followed by women’s cross country (3.667), softball (3.599), women’s tennis (3.546) and rifle (3.517). Men’s tennis (3.401) led all UK men’s teams.


Women’s swimming and diving, softball and men’s and women’s tennis were among 13 teams to attain 3.0 GPAs while also competing in the championship portions of their schedule. Included in that group was the men’s basketball team, which posted a 3.050 cumulative GPA and reached the national championship game in April.


“Balancing schoolwork and competition is not easy,” Barnhart said. “Excelling in both is an incredible achievement and the fact that some of our top performers on the field are some of our best students is really special.”


In total, 325 Wildcats — scholarship and non-scholarship — earned GPAs of 3.0 or better, accounting for more than 60 percent of UK’s student-athlete population of 508. Seventy-one of those student-athletes had perfect 4.0 GPAs this spring.


“Our student-athletes get the work done, but our coaches and the staff at CATS (Center for Academic and Tutorial Services) are important pieces of the puzzle,” Barnhart said. “I want to thank them for everything they do.”


With the streak of four straight semesters of GPAs of 3.0 or better, the Wildcats continue to make progress toward the goals set forth in Barnhart’s 15 by 15 by 15 Plan. UK ranks No. 14 in the latest national all-sports standings, on pace for the best finish in the 20-year history of the Directors’ Cup, and has 11 conference or national championships since November of 2008.




MEDIA CONTACT: Tony Neely,, 859-257-3838; Guy Ramsey,, 859-257-3838.