Campus News

UK Student Remembered for Infectious Positivity, Empathy Receives Nursing Pin

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 15:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — When nursing student Taylor Davis entered Cameron Waters' hospital room at 7 a.m., the 20-year-old cystic fibrosis patient sent a strong message he wasn't in the mood for a visitor. The message was delivered in the form of a middle finger pointed in her direction.


Davis, standing at 4-foot-11, wasn't discouraged by this defensive gesture. She could take some attitude from her patients — but she could dish it out too.


"So that's how it's going to be?" Davis said as she prepared to take his vital signs.


Within a few minutes of their meeting in February of 2014, Davis patched up a rough start by making Waters feel comfortable with her care. Nurses passing through the hallway of Kentucky Children's Hospital were shocked to hear Waters — who was unpleasant in the early mornings — laughing, smiling and opening up to Davis. A week later, Davis was again assigned to Waters' room during her training rounds. This time, she brought him a few gifts, including a basketball hoop to pin on the back of his door. 


"I don't talk about my feelings easily, but she was always laughing and easygoing, so I felt special when I talked to her," Waters said. "I am not used to that — I didn't have the best family upbringing, but she felt like a sister to me."


On the morning of Thursday, Feb. 27, Davis went to see Waters for a third time, but he was gone. He had been discharged from the hospital earlier that day.


A couple days later, Waters received a call from his grandmother. Friends in Lexington told her that the family of a UK student who died in a car accident was requesting memorial gifts to be sent to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Gifts were intended to support a fund for a patient named Cameron Waters. He knew immediately that the student who died was Davis.


"I instantly broke down," he said.


Waters was one of few patients to see Davis' potential as a nurse, but he was not the first person to feel valued, loved and appreciated by the endearing and adventurous young woman. Friends, college roommates, co-workers at the Kentucky Clinic Starbucks where she worked as a barista, instructors in the UK College of Nursing, groundskeepers on campus, and family members back in California tell stories of how Davis was deeply invested in the well-being of others. While she worked hard to achieve academically, Davis exemplified an ideal nurse through her infectious positivity, limitless empathy and passion for people. 


"Taylor had the ability to make everyone feel like they were the most important person," Joy Sado, Davis' aunt, said.


Taylor Ann Davis passed away in a car accident on the evening of Feb. 27. She dreamed of graduating from the UK College of Nursing and pursuing a career working with pediatric patients. On May 8, Davis' dream will become a reality when UK College of Nursing faculty members present her family with a pin, which symbolizes a student's completion of nursing school and acceptance into the nursing profession.


Judi Dunn, the first nursing instructor to mentor Davis in a clinical setting, described Davis as an inspiration to both her peers and her nursing instructors. On the first day of clinical training, Dunn noticed Davis beaming with excitement at the thought of making a difference in the lives of patients just by relating to them. Her authenticity and enthusiasm positively influenced the other 10 nursing students in her clinical group.


Visiting a local elementary school as part of her clinical training, Davis won the affection and attention of children, who would jump up and down when she arrived to teach the health and wellness lessons. Dunn believes most people can learn the science required for nursing, but Taylor stood out in her ability to practice the art of nursing at an early stage.


“Taylor came in that first day wired to be an extraordinary nurse,” Dunn said. “She portrayed the art form of nursing­ — ­she married her heart with the science.”


Magan Carver, a fellow nursing student and friend, feels both dread and excitement for pinning day. It was a goal she shared with Davis from the start of their program. Carver remembers first meeting "Tay" after class as she was riding her skateboard across campus. Carver had never met anyone who rode a skateboard, but the two became instant friends and eventually roommates. Carver said Davis, who loved to bake, was always making cupcakes to share with friends, co-workers and even strangers. Davis baked a batch of cupcakes to show her appreciation for the apartment maintenance crew.


"She was the happiest, nicest person that you'd ever meet," Carver said. "What makes you a good nurse is how you treat other people — and that’s what was so special about Taylor."


Davis expressed interest in nursing as a career after seeing her grandfather treated poorly in a hospital when she was 10 years old. Sado, who had a close relationship with her niece, said Davis proved her ability to respond to medical emergencies while she was in high school. As Davis and her date were leaving a restaurant before attending their junior prom, a man ran by holding a wound on his throat. Davis responded right away, putting pressure on the wound and directing the restaurant staff to call 9-11. Her heroism resulted in a bloody prom dress, but also reaffirmed her future in the nursing field.


"She was barking orders at all these adults that were standing around doing nothing," Sado said. "She took charge of the moment and realized this (nursing) was something she could do."


After high school, Davis was determined to become a nurse. She applied to a nursing program close to home in Long Beach, California, only to learn there was a waitlist for the program. She took classes at a local community college before deciding to apply to UK College of Nursing.


"When she got the acceptance letter to Kentucky, she was gone," Shawn Davis, Davis' father, said. "She said UK had a great nursing program." 


Shawn and Tammy Davis, in addition to other family members, will travel to Lexington this week to accept a nursing pin on behalf of their daughter. The family has also established a close relationship with Waters. Shortly after meeting him during Davis' memorial service, the family hosted Waters at their home in Garden Grove, California, also treating him to a visit to nearby Disneyland. Shawn Davis said he knew his daughter had a special bond with Waters, and her intentions were to stay in touch with him.


"Obviously we care about him because Taylor did," Shawn Davis said of Waters. "Taylor was super excited about meeting him."


Waters, who said his brief friendship with Davis changed his life, will join the family for Davis' pinning ceremony. Living with the everyday challenges of a chronic disease, Waters feels he has inherited a supportive surrogate family through Davis. On pinning day, he'll remember Davis for her sense of adventure and unmistakable laughter.


"I think it will be amazing," Waters said of the pinning ceremony. "I think she will look down on us knowing she got her reward."


The Taylor Ann Davis Starbucks Award was created to honor a graduating UK College of Nursing student who resembles Davis' compassion for people, positive attitude and pursuit of life's limitless possibilities. To support this award, please contact Aimee Baston at or mail a contribution to the following address:


Director, Alumni and Development

(859) 323-6635

UK College of Nursing

315 College of Nursing Building

Lexington, KY 40536, Alumni and Development



MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, 

UK Students to Inspire Future Astronauts at Space Camp Turkey

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 14:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — Two University of Kentucky seniors have been chosen for internships with Space Camp Turkey. Emily Furnish, a chemistry and music performance major, and Damir Kocer, an economics and marketing major, will serve among a select group of Turkish and American counselors at the facility in Izmir, Turkey.


As one of three space and science education centers, Space Camp Turkey is focused on motivating young people from around the world in pursuing careers in science, math and technology. Through interactive, space-related simulations, both youth and adults learn about communication, teamwork and leadership in a dynamic, fun-filled environment.


The Space Camp Turkey counselor staff consists of college graduates and undergraduates who work with 9 to 15 year olds. Some are education majors while others are pursuing master's and doctoral degrees in astronomy or have certificates in education programs. All program staff receive training in space education, Space Camp Turkey activities, and safety for simulator operations. As counselors, Furnish and Kocer will receive roundtrip travel funds, accommodation and meals, and a weekly stipend.


Emily Furnish, the daughter of Anne Mary and Greg Furnish, of Louisville, Kentucky, is a 2011 graduate of duPont Manual High School. At UK, Furnish is a Chellgren Fellow, a Gaines Fellow and member of the Honors Program. The vocalist is also active in the UK School of Music where she has performed with the UK Women's Choir and UK Chorale. Furnish has also participated in undergraduate research studying laryngeal muscles, the specialized skeletal muscles used in voice production, under the direction of Maria Dietrich, in the College of Health Sciences.


Upon completion of her bachelor's degrees, Furnish plans to attend medical school.


Damir Kocer, the son of Ivanka Kocer, of Versailles, Kentucky, is a 2012 graduate of Woodford County High School. In addition to his studies in economics and marketing at UK, Kocer is also pursuing a minor in international business. He has also been active in undergraduate research at the university, where most of his research has centered on consumer behavioral patterns and what determines decision making, as well as how those effects translate across cultural boundaries. Kocer previously participated in education abroad studying at Grenoble School of Management. During his time at UK, he has worked with the Center for Community Outreach, Kentuckian, Kentucky Kernel and Student Activities Board.


Students interested in applying for the Space Camp Turkey internship in the future should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education. The office 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 Whitlow well in advance of the program deadline.



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


Voting for UK Staff Senate Opens Today

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 13:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — Voting for University of Kentucky Staff Senate will open at 8 a.m. Friday, May 8, and run through 5 p.m. Friday, May 22. Voting is open to all UK staff who are .75 full time equivalent or greater.


Eligible staff can vote online at the following link:!3aportal_content!2fedu.uky.UK_Content!2fedu.uky.iViews!2fedu.uky.web_site_iviews!


Voters will be prompted to login using their Link Blue ID’s and passwords and directed to the appropriate voting page. The senate is divided into four sectors, with each employee voting in his or her sector. Sectors — determined by the organizational reporting chain — include President, Provost, Health Affairs, and Finance and Administration. Those who login will be automatically directed to their designated voting sectors.


“Staff can vote from any computer with Internet access and from their smart phones,” said Troy Martin, co-chair of the Senate Elections Committee. “We will also have voting stations available during UK Appreciation Day on May 21.”


This year, 25 candidates are seeking election to the senate. Senators are elected to 3-year terms and serve on a variety of committees and in campus leadership positions with the aim of representing staff in the university decision-making process. The Staff Senate is often involved in a range of campus service activities, such as facilitation of UK Appreciation Day and administration of the CRISIS program.


“We are elected to be your voice in UK governance, and we encourage staff to vote and contact us if they have questions, ideas, or concerns relevant to the UK community,” Martin said.


Newly elected candidates will take office in July. Next year will be an off year for Staff Senate elections. Instead, employees will vote for the UK staff trustee, who also serves a 3-year term.




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

Welcome to New York: ISC Student to Intern at Ogilvy, New York This Summer

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 12:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015)  Chelsea St. Clair, an integrated strategic communication major from West Des Moines, Iowa, will work as an advertising intern at the Ogilvy and Mather New York offices this summer.


“This is a wonderful accomplishment for Chelsea,” Beth Barnes, director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunication, said.  “She has been very involved in the ISC major as well as in a range of campus activities.  I know she will be a tremendous ambassador for ISC and UK in New York!” 


St. Clair applied through the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.  She had never heard of the program, but two weeks before the deadline for application, her advisor in the Center for Academic Resources and Enrichment Services (CARES), Kairise Conwell, recommended that St. Clair apply.  Although the application process was intensive — requiring three letters of recommendation, four essays and a video submission  — she decided to apply.


“It was an opportunity, so I was like, I’ll put my name out there,” St. Clair said.  “I’ll see how it goes.”


Clearly, it went well.  St. Clair was notified that she was a semi-finalist and would interview via Skype with an advertising specialist.


She was then recommended to be a finalist in the program by her interviewer, a talent specialist at McCann-Erickson advertising agency.  While the recommendation for finalist moved St. Clair to the next round, it did not guarantee her an internship placement.


Cue Feb. 11, 2015, a day St. Clair will not soon forget.


“That’s draft day,” she explained.  “That’s when all your information is put out to the agencies, and the agencies then pick who they want from the interns.  It’s literally the most nerve-wracking experience.”


St. Clair’s first choice of location was New York City.  But, there was a chance she could be placed in any city across the United States, or not be placed at all.


While working in her office as an intern in the Office of Development, she received an email that said she was offered a position at Ogilvy and Mather in New York City.


”It’s where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do, so I was ecstatic! I’m excited to get experience in the field and see if that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” St. Clair said.


Her ISC classes have prepared her to take on this position, in which she’ll work with 26 other student interns and present a comprehensive advertising campaign to a client.


“We’ll be presenting it to the client and getting immediate feedback on how they think this could work and how this won’t work,” St. Clair said.  “So that’s really nerve-wracking, but I’m really excited to actually dive right into it.”


St. Clair credits her success to her ISC professors Beth Barnes, Alyssa Eckman and Mark Stuhlfaut.


“They just know how to prepare students to be out in the real world,” she said.  “Everything that I’ve learned, it’s just all so interesting to me and all things that I can apply to the real world, and that’s what’s kept me in this major.”


In addition to her ISC degree, St. Clair will earn a dual degree in psychology and minor in communications and information studies.  She was PanHellenic president for the 2014-2015 school year, interns in the Office of Development, serves on the appropriations and revenue committee in Student Government and was the food coordinator for DanceBlue 2015.  Next semester she will intern at Right Place Media in Lexington.


When asked if she had any advice for current students, St. Clair imparted some wisdom.


“Don’t turn any opportunity down,” she said.  “Accept anything that comes your way.”


To keep up with Chelsea’s New York adventure and her experience interning with Ogilvy, visit the College of Communication and Information’s website at  She will be uploading blog posts live from New York throughout the summer.


According to their website, Ogilvy & Mather is one of the largest marketing communications networks in the world. The company is composed of units in the following disciplines: advertising; public relations and public affairs; branding and identity; shopper and retail marketing; health care communications; direct, digital, promotion and relationship marketing; consulting, research and analytics capabilities; branded content and entertainment; and specialist communications.



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,

UK Musician Named Disneyland All-American

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 11:42

Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — Lexington native Colleen Wagoner will be headed to California this month to be a part of the All-American College Band in Disneyland. Wagoner, a graduating music education senior, will be playing baritone saxophone for the prestigious summer program which has been around since 1971.


“As a musician, it is rare that we get opportunities like these where we are living and breathing music 24 hours a day and seven days a week,” Wagoner said. “Playing, rehearsing and talking to my band mates on a daily basis will influence and benefit me as a musician more than I can even grasp right now.”


Wagoner has been playing the saxophone for roughly eight years after making the switch from flute to saxophone in high school. Since being at UK, she has gained experience in flute, saxophone and clarinet. Wagoner has studied for five years under Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Saxophone Miles Osland, who she counts as a mentor as well as his wife Lisa Osland, adjunct professor of saxophone. While this will be her first trip to California, Wagoner has played several events across the country as a member of Wildcat Marching BandUK Mega-Sax, the UK Sax Quartets, UK Jazz Combos, UK Wind Symphony and UK Jazz Ensemble, which she toured China with last summer. 


The Disneyland All-American College Band is an ensemble of 21 college musicians who provide musical entertainment in the park. Disney chooses students who are musically gifted, have a diverse musical background and an expressive and outgoing personality as part of the All-American Band. Wagoner is only the second UK student to make the band.


Along with performing five-days-a-week, band members will also be able to study with professional musicians from the Los Angelese area and complete a musical educational project. Performances include big band, flag retreat and several parade shows throughout the park. In addition to being the only member playing the baritone saxophone, Wagoner will also be asked to play the flute, clarinet and piccolo while with the Disneyland All-American College Band.


The audition process consisted of one round of submitted video auditions followed by a second round of live auditions. As part of the band, Wagoner and her bandmates will live in California for three months where they are provided housing and a weekly stipend.


“The group is extremely difficult to get into, and I still can hardly believe I made it,” Wagoner said. “I can't wait to see how much better I become as a saxophone player once my time at Disney is up.”


UK Jazz Studies is part of the UK School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts. The school has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.



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

New Digital Portal Expands Global Visibility for Kentucky Research

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — The University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University (WKU) announce the launch of Kentucky Research Commons, a new digital portal that presents and provides access to the breadth and depth of research being conducted in at several universties in Kentucky.


The portal features a real-time readership map that visualizes when and where content is being downloaded. The site illuminates the global reach and significance of the outstanding research from Kentucky institutions.


"It is exhilarating to see the scholarly endeavors in the Commonwealth hold broad appeal around the world. This new portal certainly helps researchers and the academic communities develop a clear picture of the reach and impact of their work,” said Adrian Ho, director of Digital Scholarship at UK Libraries


The Kentucky Research Commons hosts a wealth of valuable scholarly materials, ranging from faculty publications, to online peer-reviewed journals, to conferences and events, to electronic theses and dissertations, to special archival collections. Users can browse content by institution, discipline or author. They can also type in search terms for easy discovery.

Hosted by bepress on its Digital Commons platform, the site aggregates contents from the institutional repositories of a growing number of Kentucky institutions, including Asbury Theological Seminary, Bellarmine University, Eastern Kentucky University, UK, University of Louisville and WKU. Institutional repositories are playing an increasingly significant role in the way universities share, manage and preserve their scholarly outputs. 


Connie Foster, dean of Libraries at WKU, believes there is strength in numbers. "The Kentucky Research Commons brings another dimension to open access, collaboration and the intellectual output of universities in the Commonwealth through a shared research portal. Faculty can showcase their research; students can explore research and creative efforts across Kentucky; legislators, funding bodies and all citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond can visualize the impact of educational outcomes in one place. The Readership Map highlights in real time the use of the portal and dramatically visualizes international reach. While each institution shown in this portal realizes individual growth and impact, the collective strength cannot go unnoticed in this endeavor. The continued commitment by bepress to create new and enhanced ways to support its user community is unparalleled.”


Visit the Kentucky Research Commons at


For more information, contact Adrian Ho, UK Libraries’ director of Digital Scholarship, at For more information about UKnowledge, see For more information on WKU's participation, contact Connie Foster, WKU’s dean of University Libraries, at For more information about TopSCHOLAR, see


UK, founded in 1865, is the state's flagship research-intensive, land-grant university dedicated to improving people's lives through excellence in teaching, research, health care, cultural enrichment and economic development. More than 30,000 students enrolled as graduate, undergraduate or professional students in Fall 2014. As the premier research library system in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, UK Libraries provides ever-expanding access to quality information resources, teaching and learning programs and services, and excellent learning spaces. UK Libraries plays an essential role in the university's goal to elevate the quality of life and enhance the intellectual and economic capital within Kentucky, and is integral to teaching and learning, research, and outreach. For more information, see


Established in 1906, WKU today serves more than 20,100 students on its main campus in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and its regional campuses in Glasgow, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox and Owensboro, Kentucky. WKU offers more than 170 undergraduate degree programs and more than 50 graduate degree programs, including doctoral degrees in educational leadership, nursing and physical therapy. More than 75 degrees are available completely online. WKU is home to the state's only independent Honors College with 1,300 students. WKU is guided by the vision to become "A Leading American University with International Reach." That vision is achieved through nationally recognized programs such as engineering, and journalism and broadcasting, and accounting, as well as the internationally renowned forensics team. For more information, see


Founded by professors in 1999, bepress exists to serve academia  by delivering scholarly communications and publishing services for academic institutions, empowering their communities to showcase and share their works for maximum impact. Through their services bepress seeks to link communities of scholars, listen to their needs, and provide solutions to support emerging academic missions and goals.


Bepress is the provider of Digital Commons, the leading hosted institutional repository (IR) software platform. Digital Commons is a suite of tools and services that enables institutions to manage, display, and publish scholarship to the Web in a beautiful, highly visible showcase. Digital Commons offers the features of a traditional IR as well as professional-grade publishing software, management tools, and individual faculty and researcher pages to promote and disseminate scholarship and serve academia.


With Digital Commons, universities can collect, preserve, and make visible all of their intellectual output, including pre-prints, working papers, journal articles, dissertations, master's theses, conference proceedings, presentations, creative works, and a wide variety of other content types.



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

Early Passion for Science, Medicine Puts UK Grad on Fast Track to Medical School

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:13
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — Two seems to be a lucky number for graduating senior Sibi Rajendran, of Frankfort, Kentucky.


Two years ago, Rajendran, the son of Narayanan and Preetha Rajendran, graduated from two high schools simultaneously in two different Kentucky communities. He finished his secondary studies at Franklin County High School, in Frankfort, and the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science, in Bowling Green, in May of 2013.


On May 9, with the benefit of college studies completed at the Gatton Academy, Rajendran is finishing up his major in biology and minor in neuroscience in two years at UK at only 18 years old. He will head to UK College of Medicine this fall.


While doing his junior and senior years at Gatton Academy located at Western Kentucky University, Rajendran took college level classes in math and science, where the goal of course assignments was searching for answers to some of life's toughest questions, from alternative fuel sources to a cure for cancer. Rajendran and many of his fellow high schoolers finished their secondary education with more than 60 hours of college credit.


It was the environment and the resulting opportunities of a bustling research institution with a medical facility that led Rajendran to UK next.


"The opportunities to immerse myself in research, volunteering and academics in areas relevant to my future plans of becoming a physician brought me here to UK. UK not only has a stellar undergraduate academic program in my area of interest, but opportunities to get involved in the hospital and medical campus that complete the perfect pre-medical curriculum for me."


Rajendran's quest to understand the living world around us and what makes us human led him to his choice of studies in biology and neuroscience. "Not only is this incredibly relevant to my future in medicine, but means I get to learn about the interactions that make us uniquely human. My studies in neuroscience stem from that deep fascination with what makes us human, as the neurobiology of the brain and nervous system are at the center of who we are."


Continuing his high school practice of working on real world problems related to health, Rajendran chose to participate in undergraduate research in neuroscience at UK with his mentor James Geddes, director of the UK College of Medicine Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center.


"Research allowed me to go beyond the classroom to spend more time studying a specific area that really interested me. For me, doing research has both confirmed and strengthened my passion for neuroscience and medicine," the senior said.


Rajendran's research involves a family of enzymes known as calpains. He worked with particular isoforms calpain 5 and 7, atypical calpains whose role in the nervous system are poorly understood. His projects explored the role these atypical calpains play in neurodegeneration, and has implications in traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, along with other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.


In addition to his success in the lab, Rajendran is a Chellgren Fellow, as well as a member of the UK Honors Program and Phi Beta Kappa. Outside of the classroom, he volunteers at Albert B. Chandler Hospital, served as a peer mentor in the Honors Program and competed with the UK Quiz Bowl team.


Rajendran, who has received a $20,000 Charles T. Wethington Jr. Fellowship from the UK Graduate School for professional studies, looks forward to returning to his alma mater this fall to start medical school and is ready to see what the future holds for his passion in the complex biology of the human body.


"After all of my studies, I hope to begin a career in medicine as a physician. I am currently unsure of my future specialty, so my goal is to enter the field of medicine with an open mind."



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

UK Joins Nation in Saluting Nursing Profession

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 17:50

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2015) – During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2015, the University of Kentucky and the nation will celebrate 3.2 million nurses who work as providers, leaders, researchers and policy leaders.


“Nurses are truly at the nexus of art and science,” said Janie Heath, Warwick Professor and Dean of the UK College of Nursing. "The art of managing the care of a multitude of individuals from a host of backgrounds and applying competent and compassionate care, which will enable so many to live longer, stronger and healthier lives." 


The impact a single nurse has throughout his or her career is significant. The JONAS Center for Nursing Excellence reports that a registered nurse working full time in a hospital touches the lives of more than 14,400 patients during the span of his or her career. The ethical complexity of working with such a vast number of patients is reflected in the theme of this year’s National Nurses Week, "Ethical Practice. Quality Care." 


"Nurses make ethical decisions every day and help patients do the same," said Pamela F. Cipriano, president of the American Nurses Association. "As nurses make decisions, they are practicing at the highest ethical standard, both for the work they do and how they actually support patients and families in the right to self-determination and the care they receive."


According to Heath, the ethical issues nurses face are growing in complexity. UK HealthCare and the UK College of Nursing are at the forefront of helping nurses tackle these issues through integrative models of education and health care delivery.


"Nurses are now being portrayed as caring, sophisticated, dedicated, intelligent and independent caregivers," Heath said. "Word is out that for well over a decade nurses are ranked by the Gallup Poll as having the highest level honesty and ethical standards of all professions.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Live stream: Strategic Plan Town Hall

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 16:24





LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2015) — The University of Kentucky campus is encouraged to participate in a series of town halls focusing on the UK Strategic Plan.


The first will take place today, Wednesday, May 6, from 9-11 a.m., in the Lexmark Public Room (209 Main Building).


Individuals watching via live stream may email questions and comments to and tweet questions and comments to @UKYProvost.


UK Provost Tim Tracy announced in an email to campus Wednesday, April 29, that a draft of the strategic objectives, strategic initiatives and action steps for the plan — an 8-page document — is now available, for community feedback.


The draft is available here on the Strategic Plan website.


The Strategic Plan town halls will take place at the following dates, times and locations, (please note that the time for the May 7 event has changed; the time reflected below is correct):

  1. Wednesday, May 6: 9-11 a.m., Lexmark Public Room, 209 Main Building
  2. Thursday, May 7: 1-3 p.m., UK Athletic Association Auditorium, W.T. Young Library
  3. Wednesday, May 13: 10 a.m.-noon, Bio-Pharm Complex, Room 234-B

The leadership team will review campus feedback and make final edits to the plan before presenting it to the UK Board of Trustees for its consideration in June.


The Strategic Plan focuses on five main areas and builds upon work that faculty, staff and students completed over the past year. These areas include:

  1. Undergraduate student success
  2. Diversity and inclusivity
  3. Community engagement and impact
  4. Graduate education (we will address professional education initiatives separately once this process is completed)
  5. Research 

In the coming days, a situational analysis and introduction for the proposed plan will be circulated, as well. After the campus and Board of Trustees consider the plan, the UK community also will be involved in development of an implementation plan as well as specific ways to measure progress.


"Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees and President Capilouto, we have a compelling vision for the University of Kentucky: to be one of the handful of exceptional public, residential research institutions in the country, with an unwavering commitment to our Commonwealth," Tracy said. "To make this vision a reality, the UK Strategic Plan will guide our actions, and how we measure our progress, as we move forward together." 




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

A Celebration of the Life and Career of Historian Lance Banning

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 12:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Department of History, in partnership with University Press of Kentucky, will celebrate the life and career of late University of Kentucky Professor of History Lance Banning. The event scheduled for May 15 will feature a talk on Banning’s legacy by Oakland University Associate Professor of History Todd Estes, one of Banning's first doctoral students.


Editor of a posthumous collection of Banning’s essays, "Founding Visions: The Ideas, Individuals, and Intersections that Created America," Estes will share his thoughts on Banning. Also offering brief personal reminiscences are two of Banning’s former doctoral students, Leslee Gilbert, vice president at Van Scoyoc Associates, and David Nichols, associate professor at Indiana State University. The event will be held 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, at Hillary J. Boone Center. The talk will run from 5-6 p.m. with a reception to follow.


Banning was one of the most distinguished historians of his generation. His first book, "The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology," was a groundbreaking study of the ideas and principles that influenced political conflicts in the early American Republic. His revisionist masterpiece, "The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic," received the Merle Curti Award in Intellectual History from the Organization of American Historians and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.


Banning was assembling a collection of his best and most representative writings on the Founding era when his untimely death stalled the project just short of its completion. Now, thanks to the efforts of Estes, this work is finally available. "Founding Visions" showcases the work of a historian who shaped the intellectual debates of his time. Featuring a foreword by Gordon S. Wood, the volume presents Banning’s most seminal and insightful essays to a new generation of students, scholars and general readers.


Lance Banning (1942–2006) taught at Brown University and UK and held a senior Fulbright appointment at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1997. During his prolific career, he held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the Center for the History of Freedom.



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


What’s Next: Student Research, Randall Lewis

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 11:54



Credit: Video by Vis Center media team


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2015) — Randall Lewis, who completed his mechanical engineering master’s in 2014, conducted research projects on immersive environments for night vision training and unmanned aerial vehicles made from wood.


Lewis's work is featured in the above video, produced by UK's Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments (the Vis Center) as part of its "What's Next" series. It may also be viewed at "Reveal," the official website for UK Research Media, at  





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

Grant Funds Continued Study of Aging and Alzheimer's Disease in Down Syndrome

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 11:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2015) -- Two researchers from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging have received a multi-million dollar grant renewal to unlock the mysteries of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and brain aging with the help of people with Down syndrome (DS).


People with Down syndrome have a third copy of Chromosome 21, and that chromosome is the same one responsible for the production of a molecule called amyloid precursor protein. Since amyloid overproduction causes the brain plaques that are a cardinal feature of AD, virtually 100 percent of DS people have Alzheimer's pathology in their brain by the time they are 40, although many of them do not yet have the dementia that is the clinical manifestation of AD.


"People develop Alzheimer disease at different ages. It could be in their 30's or in their 20's, but typically it's in their 60s, 70's, or 80's," says Elizabeth Head, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and co-principal Investigator for the project. "It's a little easier to study Alzheimer's disease in Down syndrome because of the predictability of the age when the DS population develops signs of the disease."

In other words, according to Head, "We may get a clearer understanding of AD that allows us to explore how and why AD develops without following people for 40 plus years. The data we're collecting will undoubtedly ultimately help people with Down syndrome lead healthier lives, and is also likely to inform our understanding of AD in the non-DS population as well."


Dozens of people with DS have volunteered for the research, which involves annual visits for brain imaging, blood work, and neurocognitive testing. The NIH grant renewal, which totals $2.5 million over five years, will allow Head and her co-PI Frederick Schmitt, Ph.D., professor at Sanders-Brown and at UK's Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, to continue following their initial cohort of 45 participants and add up to 50 more to the group.


Brooke Estep, 40, has been involved in the study for about three years. Brooke's father found out about the study online and presented the idea to Brooke, whose response was an enthusiastic "Yes!"


"Brooke has a friend with Alzheimer's and a grandmother with dementia, and she saw this as a way to be proactive," said Deborah Estep, Brooke's stepmother.


Brooke defies the negative stereotype of people with DS.  She is extremely independent -- has her own apartment, travels alone, reads and writes, balances her checkbook. She is cheerful with a wry sense of humor.  "I love doing this," she says on a recent visit to Lexington for her annual testing.  "I'm helping myself and I'm helping others too."


Test participants meet and get to know a phalanx of research team members who supervise everything from an MRI to assess the status and health of their brain to a comprehensive neurocognitive evaluation that assesses intellectual capacity, visual/spatial skill, executive functioning and a host of other data related to memory, language and learning.


One aspect of the study that is particularly exciting for the team -- and for Brooke -- is the gait analysis study.  Brooke thinks it's fun to walk across what appears to be an enormous yoga mat that records and analyzes every step she takes. But for Head, Schmitt and the team, the data they're collecting might prove their hunch that changes in gait could be a predictor of cognitive decline.


"We believe that gait is related to praxis, when the two sides of our brains share and process information to complete a complicated task such as making a meal," explains Head. "So if a person's gait changes -- perhaps their steps aren't fluid or even, or they have a wider stance, or they hesitate at barriers such as stairs or cracks in the sidewalk -- it's possible that the connections between the two sides of the brain are in decline and other cognitive deficits are not far behind."


The team also takes blood samples from each participant.  As of now, there is no so-called biomarker for AD that would allow diagnosis from a blood test like what is currently available for certain viruses or bacteria.  But a large database of blood samples from patients like Brooke might identify factors in the blood that allow for a diagnosis of AD before a person shows any symptoms.


"If we are able to use the data from this cohort to develop more predictors of AD, it might well be the so-called ‘canary in the coal mine’ that we could use to catch AD earlier, intervene earlier, and provide a better quality of life," said Schmitt.


In the meantime, Brooke looks forward to her annual visits with the team and relishes the thought that her participation in the study might help advance the cause. "We keep saying to ourselves, 'Isn't it awesome that of all our family members, Brooke might be the one to make a lasting mark on society?'" said Deborah Estep. 


Schmitt takes Deborah's thoughts a step farther. "About 5 million people in the U.S. alone have Alzheimer's disease, and the social and financial impact of that on patients and their families is immense. People like Brooke who selflessly volunteer their time for the greater good are essential to our efforts to find a cure for this dreadful disease, and we are profoundly grateful for their help."


For more information about participating in the Down Syndrome Study, contact Roberta Davis at or 859-218-3865.


For more information about participating in any research, including current studies at UK and the national ResearchMatch registry, please visit or call 859-257-7856. 



Top Scientific Minds Highlight UK College of Pharmacy Research Conference

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 21:17


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2015) -- Graduate students from across the nation will descend upon Lexington and the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy June 11-13 for the 47th annual Pharmaceutics Graduate Student Research Meeting (PGSRM).


PGSRM is a graduate student-organized conference with more than 20 schools participating across the midwest to eastern regions. The main research areas covered in this conference are drug design and discovery, formulation development, drug delivery, biotechnology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, biopharmaceutics, pharmaceutical materials science, and pharmaceutical analytical methods.


The College is hosting this event for the first time since 1985 and registration for the event – including poster and podia presentations – is now open for members across the UK graduate, postdoctoral and faculty scholar communities. More than 200 students in attendance are expected from schools throughout the region.


“We hope fellow graduate students from across the UK community come out and support PGSRM, it’s a great way to welcome the visiting students and scholars to UK and to showcase all the excellent research taking place here ” said Lin Ao, a UK College of Pharmacy graduate student and co-chair of PGSRM 2015. “Our guest speakers represent a wide array of scientific disciplines that we hope will be interesting to faculty, postdocs, and students across campus.”


Featured speakers include:


• Brad Anderson, Ph.D., the H.B. Kostenbauder Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Division of Drug Development at the UK College of Pharmacy, and co-program director/MPI for the UK Cancer Nanotechnology Training Center. His current research interest include controlled drug delivery to solid tumors using nanotechnology, chemical stability in amorphous solid-state formulations, and molecular dynamics simulations to explore the properties of drugs in amorphous formulations.


• Renier Brentjens, M.D., Ph.D., director of cellular therapeutics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of acute and chronic leukemias. His laboratory is focused on developing novel treatment approaches for certain leukemias and lymphomas utilizing the patient's own immune system.


• Kim Brouwer, Pharm.D., Ph.D., a UK College of Pharmacy alumna, is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor and chair of the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics of the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy and a professor in toxicology. Dr. Brouwer directs an NIH-funded research program focused on hepatobiliary drug disposition and development and refinement of in vitro model systems to predict in vivo hepatobiliary disposition, drug interactions and hepatotoxicity.


• Paul Hergenrother, Ph.D., the Kenneth Rinehart Jr. Endowed Chair in Natural Products Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois. The overarching goal of his research is to use organic compounds to identify novel cellular targets that can be exploited in the treatment of diseases including cancer, degenerative disorders, and drug-resistant bacteria.


• Hamid Ghandehari, Ph.D., professor in the Departments of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Bioengineering, director of Utah Center for Nanomedicine, and co-founder and co-director of the Nano Institute of Utah and director of the University of Utah Nanotechnology Training Program at the University of Utah. His research focuses on the design of new polymers for gene therapy of head and neck cancer, targeted delivery of polymer therapeutics to solid tumors, oral delivery of chemotherapeutics, and assessing the biocompatibility of silica and dendritic nano constructs.


Ao notes that there are many ways for attendees to engage in PGSRM 2015. From attending world-class lectures to presenting a poster or podia presentation or attending one of the many banquets and social events, the meeting is primed to be a hit for UK’s scientific community.


“PGSRM provides a great opportunity for graduate students to discuss their research with peers, alumni, and members from academia, government and industry,” said Ao. “And we look forward to seeing members from throughout the campus community also take part in this unique opportunity.”


The deadline for registration and abstract submission is May 15. Registration is $65 and is available through the official PGSRM 2015 website:

Students Partner With Kentucky Refugee Ministries to Give Family New Home

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 19:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2015)  Students enrolled in a College of Communication and Information course worked with the Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) to provide a fully furnished apartment for a refugee family from the Congo as part of their class project this semester.


Students who worked on the project are junior geography major Lindsey Funke, freshman economics major Clay Thornton, freshman chemistry major Elizabeth Woodall, freshman nursing major Kaitlin Kilcourse and freshman biology and psychology major Hamza Ashfaq. They are in Allyson Beutke DeVito’s section of CIS 112, an accelerated composition and communication course that incorporates a service-learning component.


“All of our CIS 112 students complete at least 10 hours of community service around the Lexington community,” DeVito said.


Students collected donations of money, furniture and other items for the home through a Facebook group.  They used the donations to furnish the home and make it comfortable for the new family.  The students even helped the family settle into their new apartment on the night they arrived in Lexington.


“The joy on the sons’ faces as they saw that they each had their own beds was contagious and so humbling,” Kilcourse said.


After the family, KRM staff and the students arrived at the new home, there was a knock on the front door.  A fellow refugee family from the Congo brought dinner for the family.


“I was blown away by the generosity of those who have so little,” Kilcourse said.  “It was midnight by the time we arrived, and the woman who prepared the traditional meal had just given birth to a baby boy four days earlier, but she was so willing and happy to sacrifice her time to prepare this meal to welcome our family to the United States.”


Students learned more about refugees and their lives.  Kilcourse noted that The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees describes a refugee as a person who has left his or her home country because of a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality or membership of a particular social group or political opinion.


“However, I think the definition should include a description of refugees as people of great strength and courage who have overcome obstacles I would only face in my nightmares,” she said.  “The refugee community is one filled with stories of hope, hard work and perseverance.”


The refugee family inspired the students who helped them.


“They leave everything behind, which takes tremendous courage, strength, and resilience most of us could only dream about,” Thornton said.  “It is humbling and inspiring, to say the least.”


For Thornton, the idea of an American ‘melting pot’ became personified when he met the family. 


“As Americans, we always take pride in our heritage as a ‘melting pot’ representative of many peoples; yet, I cannot express how much more pride I experience in that sentiment after helping the refugee family resettle in Lexington,” Thorton said.


The project brought students, families and the UK community together for a common goal.


“Friends near and far contributed goods and donations to support the family,” Funke said.  “I was able to take a weekend and go home to collect apartment items with my grandmother, bringing my own family closer together through the project.”


The project brought people together, taught students a new perspective and helped a deserving family settle into a new home.


“The thoughtfulness and solidarity that the refugee community exudes should be an example for the rest of society on how to treat one another,” Kilcourse said.


Kentucky Refugee Ministries Inc. assists refugees who have been legally admitted to the United States as victims of warfare or other forms of persecution because of their religious or political beliefs. KRM, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to providing resettlement services to refugees through faith- and agency-based co-sponsorship in order to promote self-sufficiency and successful integration into the community.  KRM is committed to offering access to community resources and opportunities and to promoting awareness of diversity for the benefit of the whole community.


For more information on Kentucky Refugee Ministries or to learn how to volunteer, visit



MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover and Rebecca Stratton; 859-323-2395;,

VIDEO: On National Teacher Appreciation Day, Beyonce-approved Music Video Highlights STEM Teaching

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 16:48



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2015) – STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers received a boost to their “cool” factor with the “All the STEM Teachers” parody of Beyonce’s hit song “All the Single Ladies…Put A Ring On It” released today in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day.


The musical dance video, which can be found at, features lyrics and choreography rewritten to focus on the importance of STEM teaching in the U.S., spotlighting the career choice as one that is fun, high-energy and innovative. The producers of the video hope it will “go viral” and generate more dialogue about one of the most critical and rewarding career paths open to today’s generation of young people. Currently, the nation is experiencing a shortage of science and mathematics teachers in our middle and high schools. The shortfall has been the subject of much attention from educators and lawmakers alike.


“Our number one goal with this video was to shine a bright and positive light on teaching careers,” said Ed Dickey, of the University of South Carolina Department of Instruction and Teacher Education and leader of the Teach Science and Mathematics effort. “Playing off the hit Beyonce song will help us connect with a younger generation. By communicating with our audience through this video, we hope to augment traditional communications about the value of STEM teaching as a career path. Plus it is a lot of fun.”


“Our efforts here mirror a national movement to recruit more and improved STEM teachers,” said Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, STEM PLUS program co-director in the University of Kentucky College of Education. “We are partnering with the national Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership and the 100Kin10 project to recruit, place, and retain 100,000 STEM teachers nationally by 2023 and to have a comparable impact in our own states.” 


Dickey and Mohr-Schroeder collaborate with teams at over 100 universities to improve STEM teacher recruitment.


Approved by Beyonce and her team, the parody is a collaboration between the University of South Carolina (UofSC) and UK. The video was filmed using students and faculty from the University of South Carolina’s schools of Education, Dance and Journalism and Mass Communications as well as students from C.A. Johnson High School.


Students who might have an interest in teaching science or mathematics are encouraged to visit for more information.


Along with UofSC, UK is especially equipped to train STEM teachers like never before with the College of Education's STEM PLUS (Producing Leaders for Urban/rUral Schools) program. The program, offering an undergraduate bachelor’s degree and teacher certification is the first STEM education major in the nation and represents a unique transdisciplinary approach to teacher education.


“We think teachers prepared this way will have a better understanding of STEM fields and career pathways and integrate that knowledge in their own classrooms,” said Mohr-Schroeder.


Housed within the College of Education’s Department of STEM Education, STEM PLUS is a double major in STEM Education and the student’s chosen area of focus (such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, earth science, and computer science). The program makes it possible to earn a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification in four years.


In 2011, UK STEM faculty joined a national campaign, known as 100Kin10, that endeavors to enrich America’s classrooms with 100,000 excellent STEM teachers by 2021. One of those teachers will be Jamie Kosel, who graduated from Jacobs High School in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in 2011, and is currently finishing her senior year in UK’s STEM PLUS program while student teaching at Henry Clay High School.


“Math is known to be a difficult subject for many students,” Kosel said. “This all roots directly from the way the material is presented to a student and their self-esteem towards math. Everybody is capable of being good at math. In the past, math was typically presented in a very dry manner- hand-written notes and excessive drill-and-practice homework assignments. The really cool thing about STEM and math in general is that we are trying to incorporate engineering and technology into our lessons to spice things up. I try to encourage collaboration, inquiry learning, and applications in my classes.”


The STEM PLUS program familiarizes students with all areas of STEM, while also building a depth of knowledge in the specific subject students wish to pursue in their teaching careers. Additionally, it is a clinically-based teacher preparation program, meaning students take education-focused coursework each semester and go into local schools for field experience starting their freshman year. They learn to teach STEM subjects in such a way as to engage learners and make STEM knowledge and skills relevant and useful for all students.


Katherine Poe graduated from Larry A. Ryle High School in Boone County in 2012 and is currently a junior in the STEM PLUS program.


“I chose math because so many students struggle and hate math, but I want to show them they can succeed and have fun while doing it,” Poe said. “It is important in education to be able to connect concepts to other subjects and real world problems. Having the STEM background makes this easier because you are learning how all of these subjects can be integrated.”


Through an agreement with the UK College of Engineering, all STEM PLUS students take an introductory engineering course, and can optionally take more advanced engineering and computer sciences courses.


“Ultimately, this program gives undergraduates more exposure to the unique learning opportunities being created in the STEM field,” Mohr-Schroeder said. “Teachers prepared in our program will be able to give their students the opportunity to spark an interest in STEM.”


For more information on STEM PLUS, visit


About the University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina (UofSC) was established in 1801 and is a full-service, state-supported research university that includes the 358-acre Columbia campus and seven regional campuses with a total full-time student body population of more than 39,500 and 2,100 full-time faculty members. The University provides researchers with a full range of grant-related services through its Sponsored Awards Management, Research Compliance, and Contract and Grant Accounting offices. Located in the capital city of Columbia in the geographic center of the state, UofSC’s main campus is part of a thriving metropolitan community of more than 450,000 inhabitants. UofSC offers a broad spectrum of educational opportunities with 14 colleges and schools that encompass 324 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting programs.


About the University of Kentucky

Founded 150 years ago as a land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky is nestled in the scenic heart of the beautiful Bluegrass region of Kentucky. UK’s 918-acre campus adjacent to downtown Lexington is home to more than 30,000 diverse students representing 117 countries and every state in the nation, and approximately 14,500 employees. UK is one of eight universities in the U.S. that has well-established programs in agriculture, engineering, medicine and pharmacy on a single campus, leading to groundbreaking discoveries and unique interdisciplinary collaboration. Kentucky’s flagship university consists of 16 academic and professional colleges where students can choose from some 200 majors and degree programs.




MEDIA CONTACTS: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, or Jean Triskett, 803-361-3774, 

UK Receives Grant to Empower Urban, Homeless Youth

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 15:29

LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 5, 2015) — Imagine a person with no family, no schooling, no transportation and no home. Then, think about that person being only 15. This is a reality for some Kentucky young people who find themselves homeless or unstably housed.


A team of researchers led by experts with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment are reaching out to homeless or unstably housed young people in Louisville with the opportunity to develop essential life skills. Janet Kurzynske, Kerri Ashurst and Ken Jones received a five-year grant from the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


According to the 2013 Kids Count statistics, Kentucky teenagers have high rates in several categories that increase their chances of being homeless or unstably housed. These include a later-than-expected or no high school graduation, unemployment, teen births and incarceration.


Due to a lack of consistent life skill programs available to this group, the Louisville YMCA’s Safe Place Services contacted the Jefferson County Extension office for help. They were able to connect them with UKAg researchers, and a partnership developed. Kentucky State University also joined the partnership to help these young people take a positive step forward.


“We have always wanted to work with the homeless, but in order to work with them you need infrastructure that Cooperative Extension doesn’t have,” said Janet Kurzynske, UK extension professor in dietetics and human nutrition and the project’s lead investigator. “When you are working with homeless youth, you have to provide shelter. That’s what the YMCA has. So it made for a really good collaboration.”


UK will collaborate with two YMCA centers in Louisville for the project. One is a shelter that offers housing, food, transportation to school, homework assistance and counseling to homeless or unstably housed young people under the age of 18. The other is a youth development center that offers young people between 18 and 22 bagged food, showers, washing machines, dryers, basic skills training and computer access.


“They are different groups and different ages, but when you look at the life skills they are missing, they very much are lacking the same things,” Kurzynske said.


For the program, UK hired Nick Brown as an extension associate housed at the YMCA centers in Louisville. Brown has extensive experience with homeless youth and the YMCA programs offered to them.


Brown will work with young teens at the shelter to identify their most critical life-skill needs and then help them strengthen those skills, as they are only allowed to stay at the shelter for 30 days. At the youth development center, he’ll offer educational programs and work with those youth on both a group and a one-on-one basis, as they are allowed to use those services for a longer period of time. Areas he will cover include communication, boundaries, healthy lifestyles, workforce preparation, personal safety, stress management, goal setting and financial management.


“The YMCA’s No. 1 goal is to reunite the youth with their family, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds,” Kurzynske said. “That’s why life skill education is so important, because they can’t always be reunited or sometimes they need some additional life skills to be reunited.”


UK and KSU extension personnel will also work with the group to build a community garden at the YMCA shelter that will be used as a food source and provide them with a hands-on opportunity to build a skill and learn about teamwork. Extension personnel are also providing a valuable link to other potential partners the youth may be able to access in the area.


Throughout the process, the researchers will collect pre- and post-test data from participants to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Part of this data will go into CYFAR’s Common Measures for workforce preparation, a national program that measures the young people’s ability to effectively solve problems and make decisions and provides a perception of their competence.


“We are really looking at it from a positive standpoint. These youth have had enough negative in their lives; we’ve got to help them focus on the positive,” said Kerri Ashurst, senior extension specialist with Family and Consumer Sciences Extension.




MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.




UK Arts Administration Students Help At-Risk Kids Capture 'A Beautiful Life'

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 15:12


Video from Studio Walz website,  


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2015) — As adults, many of us look back fondly on childhood and the world of wonder that surrounded us. Nothing seemed impossible until the daily routine of life dampened our sense of optimism with age and responsibility.


Unfortunately, bleak realities can come all too early for some children, who witness domestic violence or struggle with illness at an early age. In an attempt to help bring light to these sometimes dark times, a class of University of Kentucky arts administration students developed real life arts workshops for children working with two Lexington organizations. The resulting artwork is the focus of a book published by the class that will raise money for the organizations and future community art programs from the class.


The enterprising UK arts administration students presenting these art workshops are part of a spring course first presented in 2014 that created an initiative called Art in Unlikely Places. The class is led by Mark Rabideau, adjunct assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Arts Administration Program. The goal of Art in Unlikely Places is driven by a belief that creativity is the seed of hope. The initiative connects inspiring artists to those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts.


The students' vision is that this organization will deliver the work of inspiring artists to the ailing, the impoverished and the distraught, sharing beauty with those whose life-circumstances might otherwise prevent them from discovering the hope that is found in the artistic moment. 


Students participating in Art in Unlikely Places, now in its second year, developed a project titled "A Beautiful Life: Through the Eyes of a Child." The project introduced children in need to the arts by providing them an opportunity to express themselves in creative ways. At the suggestion of some members of the class, the group partnered with Greenhouse 17, a refuge for children who have been witness to domestic violence, and The Kidz Club, where children with medical needs are provided special attention with academic and social interaction.


"As a child, the arts were so strongly encouraged to me at an early age. The same goes with my classmates. We wanted to share our love with these children, so that they could have an opportunity like we did to experience the power the arts have," said art studio senior Janie Kegley, of Louisa, Kentucky, who serves as director of marketing for the arts administration course.


Art in Unlikely Places held workshops with 30 local children from the organizations, prompting the kids to create artwork that expressed their inner feelings, hopes and dreams. All were asked to draw what made life beautiful to them.


In addition to using visual arts to help the children give voice to their feelings, the class also invited music therapists from Evolve to partner with them and lead the children in songs and games.


Lending his talents to "A Beautiful Life” is renowned fiber artist, UK Professor Arturo Alonzo Sandoval. The internationally celebrated artist was pleased to participate when approached by one of his students, noting that service is one of the three elements of being a UK professor.


The class was honored Sandoval took them up on their request. "Arturo is an artist who has touched the lives of myself and another student inside our class. When we were discussing artists there really wasn't any competition. His heart is so big and he achieved a product even better than we imagined. He did all of this for free and we are so grateful," Kegley said.


Sandoval, with the assistance of photographer Scott Walz, incorporated images of the artworks the children created into four quilts. Two of the art quilts will be donated to the respected organizations and the remaining two have been sold to benefit the program.


"The four art quilts are digital compositions of the original drawings the participating children accomplished," Sandoval said. "Scott Walz, my IT designer/expert, used his skills and our collaborative design sense to layer the children’s drawings into four lovely images with lots of energy, color and texture."


Sandoval and Walz believe helping bring the artwork from the coloring page to a book and art quilt form was a great fit for their talents. "The goal of art is to communicate beauty," Sandoval said.


For only $30, arts patrons can purchase the book of original artworks by children at Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club and receive an invitation to Art in Unlikely Places finale this week. All Art in Unlikely places supporters will be invited to the unveiling celebration of the final artworks Thursday, May 7, at Lexington Art League. Light refreshments will be served accompanied by a musical guest appearance from the popular UK a cappella group, the acoUstiKats.


Proceeds from the event will allow Art in Unlikely Places to continue to send art workshops back to Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club.


Additional funds will also insure that the Art in Unlikely Places will continue to thrive and benefit the future students of the program. "This class is groundbreaking in education. We want to make sure the students after us can have the same experience. It has truly been life changing," Kegley said.


In addition to the dedicated students in Art in Unlikely Places, who created and executed "A Beautiful Life," the project also was made possible with support of local organizations and businesses like the UK College of Fine Arts, WRFL, Red Mango, T.G.I. Fridays and Bourbon n' Toulouse, who helped the class and UK student organization achieve their fundraising and marketing goals for the semester.


For further information on this student project, visit Arts in Unlikely Places at their GoFundMe website: You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at:;; and



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

Alumni Drive Reconstruction, Realignment Project Promises Safer, Better Transportation Artery

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 08:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray — joined by key state legislators — announced Monday the start of work on the realignment of Alumni Drive between Tates Creek and Nicholasville Roads.


The $5 million project is slated for completion by Sept. 1, in time for the start of the UK football season. Beshear, Gray and Capilouto were joined at the announcement and ceremonial groundbreaking Monday by Sen. Reginald Thomas and Rep. Kelly Flood, both instrumental in the project.


"Alumni Drive serves as one of the gateways to our campus,” Capilouto said. "We look forward to the project’s completion in September, at which point we will have a safer, more functional route for the UK family and the many who visit our campus and the Arboretum every day." 


The project, which is funded through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and was approved during the 2014 legislative session, was a priority for Sen. Thomas and Rep. Flood as well as Gov. Beshear, who authorized the project.


“Once this project is complete, all travelers along Alumni Drive — whether on foot, on bicycles, or in vehicles — will enjoy a friendlier, safer trip,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Like many of our road improvements, this project will improve access and safety but will also encourage citizens to enjoy nearby recreational spaces.”


Key features of the realignment project include:

  • The reconstruction and realignment project is designed to help calm traffic on Alumni Drive, a major connector road that serves 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day. The realigned road also is expected to slow vehicular speeds, and the new design features will include enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
  • At the intersections of College Way and University Drive, roundabouts – also known as traffic circles – will replace existing stop signs.
  • The road changes will also include moving College Way to the west, along with creating new entrances to the Commonwealth Stadium Blue Lot and to athletics facilities.
  • The improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities along the corridor will provide safe connections to existing facilities, as well as opportunities for recreational use.
  • Additionally, the improvements will include an ADA-accessible route from main campus to the Arboretum.


"It was a great pleasure to work with Governor Beshear, Mayor Gray and the University of Kentucky on behalf of this project, which will improve traffic flow and the safety of our community,” said Sen. Reginald Thomas. "This project has been a high priority, and I look forward to seeing its completion in September in time for the start of the home football season.


"The Alumni Drive redirection and realignment project will provide enormous benefits for our community, most notably by increasing the safety of a major connector road. I'm proud to have worked with Governor Beshear, other members of the Fayette legislative delegation, Mayor Gray and UK in obtaining the funding for this important initiative,” said Rep. Flood, whose district includes Alumni Drive and the campus.


Alumni Drive will be closed beginning Sunday, May 10, with traffic being re-routed through the immediate area. Access to the Arboretum will be maintained at all times via Tates Creek Road. The Lexington Senior Center will be accessible from Nicholasville Road. Additionally, the other occupied buildings on Alumni Drive – a child care center and UK graduate housing – will be accessible throughout the project.


“Alumni Drive is a significant corridor for Lexington, connecting neighborhoods, businesses, the Arboretum and the UK campus,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “For many citizens, this project will require a major adjustment to travel routes for the next several months.”


Maps and more detailed information on the project can be found at and a fact sheet is available at: Those traveling in the area should plan accordingly and allow extra time.


For more information on the project visit:



MEDIA CONTACTS:  Blair Hoover,; Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395; Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155

Student Summer Parking Permits Now Available

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 08:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015)  Student summer parking permits became available for purchase Friday, May 1, at the University of Kentucky.


These permits are $7 per week and may only be purchased in person at the Parking and Transportation Services office, located in the Press Avenue Garage (PS #6), at the corner of Press and Virginia Avenues. The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer permits may be purchased for any number of weeks between May 11 and August 7, 2015.


All University parking lots will be controlled for permits during the summer months.  For more information on summer parking policies, visit



MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton and Blair Hoover, (859) 323-2395;,

Fowlkes Returns to UK to Lead Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 16:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) -- Dr. John Fowlkes took the helm as new director of the University of Kentucky's Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center earlier this year with a vision to build upon the center's past work and develop a robust and comprehensive adult and pediatric center providing research, education and patient care for the thousands of Kentuckians diagnosed with diabetes. But the Texas native who has spent the last decade at the University of Arkansas Children's Hospital, has found himself in familiar territory.


Fowlkes, who succeeds Dr. Philip Kern who served as the Center's inaugural director and who had been performing a dual role as director of the UK's Center for Clinical and Translation Science, previously held the Barnstable Brown Gala Professorship in Diabetes Research at UK in 2000-2001 and was part of the UK Department of Pediatrics from 1996 until 2001.


"Having that prior life here and knowing the expertise that already exists at UK, provided the excitement and impetus for me to return to UK to develop a comprehensive diabetes center," said Fowlkes. "I think there is a potential to organize research, education and patient care in a way that we can see some real accomplishments and do some things that are very innovative."


However, Fowlkes, a nationally recognized clinician scientist funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who is intimately involved in patient care, realizes some challenges lie ahead.

Fowlkes' primary goal is to begin the work of "rethinking the clinical care model" and developing a new way of delivering state-of-the-art patient care.


"Right now we are looking at how to get the team in a collaborative environment and to develop operational clinic space that is much more than just seeing patients and prescribing drugs," he said. "We want to be able to see a patient, educate them and most importantly, serve as a medical home that addresses all of their needs in a one-stop shop."


The team he refers to includes Dr. Kathryn M. Thrailkill, professor of  pediatrics and the newly named Barnstable Brown Chair in Pediatric Diabetes Research; Dr. Alba E. Morales Pozzo, an associate professor of pediatrics; and Clay Bunn, Ph.D., who will direct pediatric research laboratories. All three joined Fowlkes in coming to UK from the University of Arkansas.


In Kentucky and in the U.S., diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability. Besides leading to premature death, both types 1 and 2 Diabetes are associated with complications that threaten quality of life. It is also the leading cause of adult blindness, end-stage kidney disease and nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations.


Already UK has a sizable diabetes patient population in both pediatrics and adults, but Fowlkes wants to better coordinate care throughout the various ambulatory clinics where those patients are treated and wants to provide educational opportunities. Additionally, the clinical care will be complemented with intellectual questions looking at outcomes, quality and providing fertile material for research. Increasing the number of clinical trials available for both pediatric and adult patients is also a big focus for the future, he said.


"Diabetes is perhaps the greatest scourge assaulting Kentuckians. It kills indirectly through heart attack, strokes, kidney failure, nerve damage and blindness but there is an explosion of new therapeutic treatment modalities," said UK College of Medicine Dean Frederick de Beer "The Barnstable Brown Center under Dr. Fowlkes' leadership has the potential to be developed to lead and integrate our assault on diabetes."


Currently, the Center has approximately $24 million per year in research funding focusing on prevention and treatment of the disease and various complications of diabetes. Funding comes from the NIH, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and other funding agencies, as well as the Barnstable-Brown family.


Patricia "Tricia" Brown and Priscilla "Cyb" Barnstable, together with their mother Wilma Barnstable, have been hosting a Derby eve gala to raise money for diabetes research in Kentucky for nearly 25 years with celebrities coming from around the globe to attend the famous Barnstable Brown Gala in Louisville -- with the most recent event being held this past Derby weekend.


Tricia Brown's late husband, Dr. David Brown, was diagnosed and later died of diabetes was the inspiration for the establishment of the Barnstable Brown. Since 2008, all proceeds from the gala go to the center at UK. 


"The Barnstable-Brown family made not only the essential initial investment but provides continuous support and a consistent presence that is an incredible and immeasurable asset to our center," said Fowlkes. "Their enduring commitment is something that makes a true impact and we are very appreciative."


Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445