'Three Minute Thesis' Prepares Students to Present Research

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 18:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2014) — Four students seeking their master's degrees and five students doctoral programs competed last week in an event designed to prepare them for presenting research.


The "Three Minute Thesis" event, hosted by the UK Graduate School and the Graduate Student Congress, is a research communication initiative requiring graduate students to speak succinctly and engagingly about their current research to a nonspecialist audience.


It provides students with the opportunity to practice presenting their work, and to receive feedback from a panel of judges. A preliminary competition took place during the previous week, culminating with a final competition Tuesday, Nov. 11.


Jianing Li, a doctoral student in the UK College of Medicine, in pharmacology and nutritional sciences, won first place in the doctoral competition, with a presentation titled "Peanut allergy, not just peanuts.”


Shayan Mohammadmoradi, a graduate student also in the UK College of Medicine in pharmacology and nutritional sciences, took first place in the master's competition, with a presentation titled, "Cholesterol lowering effects of probiotics: a clinical trial."


Li and Mohammadmoradi also won the People’s Choice Awards for doctoral and master’s respectively. 


Second and third place winners included:


·         Carolyn Crowdus Meyer - anatomy and neurobiology - doctoral second-place winner

·         Gary Gregg - plant and soil sciences - master's second-place winner

·         Victoria Pook - entomology - doctoral third-place winner

·         Laura Higley - classics - master's third-place winner


Other students who competed in the final round were Kendra Staggs (pharmacology and nutritional sciences), Qian Sun (entomology), and Joey Van Noy (plant and soil sciences). 


Jianing Li will represent the University of Kentucky at the Southern Council of Graduate Schools Regional Competition to be held March 7-8, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Videos of the master's and doctoral winners are now on the 3MT website:


Throughout the competition, representatives from "Presentation U," an initiative designed to cultivate multimodal communication skills across the curriculum, also provided information and tips on how to deliver effective presentations.


"Communicating one’s research clearly and concisely, especially to others who may be unfamiliar with it, is a vital skill for graduate students," said Morris Grubbs, assistant dean, Office of Graduate Student Development. "The challenge is to translate the research effectively while not dumbing it down.  No matter their career plans, students should practice the art and skill of telling a compelling story about their work.  The 3MT is a longer and more formal exercise than the 30-second or 1-minute “elevator pitch” and allows the student to use a slide of images to help illustrate the research story."




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

UK Benefactor Honored by Fundraising Professionals

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 17:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2014) — Earlier this week, Carol Martin "Bill" Gatton received the Distinguished Philanthropist Award from the Bluegrass Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at their annual National Philanthropy Day Celebration Luncheon in Lexington.


Each year, the AFP Bluegrass Chapter presents this award to an individual, corporation or foundation making a significant contribution to society through acts of kindness and charitable giving.


University of Kentucky Vice President for Development Mike Richey said, "Bill Gatton has a big heart for helping young people achieve their dreams for education. He is making extraordinary gifts to advance higher education in Kentucky and beyond. And his professional achievements and philanthropic vision distinguish him as one of the most outstanding graduates of the University of Kentucky.”


Gatton was born on his family’s farm in Muhlenberg County as the youngest of four children. He served as president of Future Farmers of America in Kentucky and graduated from high school as the class valedictorian.


Gatton enrolled at the University of Kentucky in the fall of 1950. Two years later, as a 20 year-old sophomore, he got a job selling cars at the L.R. Cooke Chevrolet dealership on High Street. He graduated from UK in 1954, spent two years in the U. S. Army, and then attended the prestigious Wharton Graduate School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He majored in finance and banking, taking additional courses in sales management and real estate.


After graduating from Wharton, Gatton opened one of the first Volkswagen dealerships in Kentucky. Eventually, he sold it to obtain the Chevrolet - Cadillac dealership in Bristol, Tennessee. His business grew. He acquired other dealerships in other markets, eventually owning nine dealerships in Tennessee, Alabama and Texas. He also invested in banking and real estate, including the Beaumont development in Lexington. In 1981, he formed Area Bancshares of Owensboro, and eventually it became the largest bank holding company in Kentucky, owning 17 banks with 65 branch offices located from Harlan to Paducah.


Gatton said, “I have enjoyed making money, but I’ve discovered it’s even more enjoyable to give it away to something worthwhile.” 


Gatton has given the University of Kentucky the two largest gifts it has ever received -- $14 million for the College of Business and Economics in 1995, and $20 million for a new UK student center earlier this year. His total philanthropy to his alma mater now exceeds $45 million. Gatton said he hopes his giving will encourage others to also support the University of Kentucky.


“Bill Gatton’s historic support for the University of Kentucky is having a profound impact on higher education in the Commonwealth," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "Bill is helping us meet the challenges we face today so that we can move the University of Kentucky boldly forward into the future.”   


Mr. Gatton has also given significantly to the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky which has been named “America’s Number One Public High School” by Newsweek magazine.

He has given to the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University.

He has established scholarships which have provided assistance to dozens of students from throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

He has given the land in Lexington for the Beaumont Centre amphitheater, the Beaumont Centre Family YMCA, and for a new YMCA in Hamburg.

He has given assistance to more than 2,300 public school teachers to help buy supplies for their students.

For many years, he has employed a woman year-round, making dolls for distribution to needy children at Christmas.

And he has made significant gifts to other educational institutions, as well as countless gifts to worthy causes in the many communities where he has had business enterprises. 



MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; Michelle Lowe, 859-257-1838.



Opportunities Remain to Participate in Circle of Love

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 17:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2014) – It’s the season of giving, and what better way to give than to sponsor a child through the Circle of Love Program.


Circle of Love is a great opportunity for UK students, faculty and staff to make hundreds of holiday wishes come true through buying gifts from a wish list made by children in need from Fayette county and other surrounding county elementary schools.


Currently there are about 35 children left without a sponsor for the holiday season. Sponsors are needed before Thanksgiving, because the deadline to turn in gifts is approaching quickly. Sponsors can pick up wish lists in the Center for Student Involvement until Tuesday, Nov. 25.


Sponsors are asked to purchase two to four gifts per child, with at least one being a clothing item. If possible, a grocery store gift card is encouraged for purchase, so that the families can enjoy a meal over the break. Gifts are to be unwrapped so the parents can see what their child is receiving, but including gift wrap and tape is greatly appreciated.


Gifts should be returned from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, or Tuesday, Dec. 2, to Room 251 Student Center .


Circle of Love program is organized by the Center from Community Outreach (CCO).


For more information, contact CCO Advisor Jillian Pyatte at  



MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

Explore 'Kentucky's Cookbook Heritage' This Thanksgiving With UPK

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 16:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2014) — With Thanksgiving around the corner, cooks across the Commonwealth may still be deciding what traditional Kentucky dishes must be served at the annual holiday feast. A new book by retired faculty member of the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology, John van Willigen, might just have the answer.


While many home chefs and foodies enjoy reading and collecting cookbooks, few scholars have examined them with an eye toward what they can tell us about the culture that produced them. In "Kentucky’s Cookbook Heritage: Two Hundred Years of Southern Cuisine and Culture," anthropologist and food scholar van Willigen examines cookbooks from the Commonwealth that have been published over the last two centuries.


Van Willigen analyzes cookbooks for the glimpse they provide of what Kentuckians ate, how they prepared food, the cooking technology they used, and the changing social setting of food preparation and consumption. He traces the developments in recipe format, as well as how assumptions about what constitutes common culinary knowledge have changed. In addition, van Willigen's book by University Press of Kentucky (UPK) explores how the cookbook enterprise has been structured by gender, class and ethnicity, including documenting the Native American origin of many foods important to Kentucky and the broader South.


Beginning with Lettice Bryan’s "The Kentucky Housewife" (1839), which reflects the food traditions of the region’s upper-class white households in the decades prior to the Civil War, van Willigen surveys the breadth of cookbooks from the Bluegrass State. He charts the rise of cookbooks from a novelty to a business, tracing the rise from less than 20 published prior to 1900 to the more than 200 that have been published since 2000.


Van Willigen breaks down the cookbooks into two general categories: community or charity cookbooks, like "Housekeeping in the Bluegrass" (1875), which was published by the women’s group of the Presbyterian Church in Paris, and those written by food writers, chefs, restaurateurs and celebrities with Kentucky ties, such as Louisville caterer Jennie C. Benedict’s "The Blue Ribbon Cookbook" (1904), though no edition published in her lifetime contains the recipe for her famous Benedictine spread.


In addition to tracing Kentucky’s culinary history, van Willigen also illuminates the lives of its important figures. He tells the story of Nancy Green, the Montgomery County native who became the original Aunt Jemima, as well as that of Bowling Green native and pioneering food critic Duncan Hines. In addition, "Kentucky’s Cookbook Heritage" features more than 80 sample recipes spanning the Commonwealth’s history, making it both an informative and useful addition to the library of anyone who cares about food in the Bluegrass State.


A professor emeritus of anthropology at UK, van Willigen is the author of many books, including "Food and Everyday Life on Kentucky Family Farms, 1920–1950."


UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the 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.



Kentucky Corn Dodgers from "Kentucky Cook Book" (1894)


Make up one pint of meal, with one teaspoon of salt, a piece of lard the size of an egg, mix with warm water and sweet milk, (don’t make too thin as you cannot handle to make nice smooth pones) work the mixture well, with your hand until perfectly smooth, then make into pones, put on a hot baker that is well greased, cook in a hot oven, put on top shelf and let brown first, (as it prevents cracking) then place at the bottom and finish cooking.


Scalloped Oysters from "Favorite Recipes: (1938)


1 pint oysters

4 tablespoons oyster liquor

2 tablespoons milk or cream

½ cup stale bread crumbs

1 cup cracker crumbs

½ cup melted butter salt and pepper


Mix bread and cracker crumbs, and stir in butter. Put a thin layer in bottom of a buttered shallow baking dish, cover with oysters, and sprinkle with salt and pepper; add one-half each oyster liquor and cream. Repeat, and cover top with remaining crumbs. Bake thirty minutes in hot oven. Never allow more than two layers of oysters for Scalloped Oysters; if three layers are used, the middle layer will be underdone, while others are properly cooked. A sprinkling of mace or grated nutmeg to each layer is considered by many an improvement.


Woodford Pudding from "Housekeeping in the Blue Grass"  


Three eggs, one tea-cupful of sugar, one half tea-cupful of butter, one half tea-cupful of flour, one tea-cupful of jam or preserves, one teaspoonful of soda dissolved in three teaspoonfuls of sour milk. Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Mix all well together and bake slowly in a pudding pan. Serve with sauce.



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

NASA Awards UK Researcher $500,000 'Early Stage Innovations' Grant

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 14:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2014) — Alexandre Martin, a University of Kentucky assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been awarded $500,000 from NASA to improve the design of heat shields on spacecrafts over the next three years. His UK proposal was one of 11 university-led proposals selected for the Early Stage Innovations Space Technology Research Grant.


The goal of Martin's project, "Model Development and Experimental Validation of Reactive Gas and Pyrolysis Product Interactions with Hot Carbon Chars," is to better understand the behavior of material under extreme heating environments, such as the one experienced by a spacecraft when it enters an atmosphere.


"More specifically, we will be performing detailed experiments that would allow us to understand and model the complex physical interactions that occur when a very hot gas interacts with an equally hot piece of porous carbon," said Martin.


Two California-based researchers, co-investigators on the project, will carry out the experimental phase of the research. Jochen Marschall, a scientist at California-based SRI International, a nonprofit research institute, will lead the experimental aspect. UK postdoctoral scholar and visiting scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, Francesco Panerai, will also perform experiments.


The team's research should eventually improve the design of heat shields on spacecraft by increasing the fidelity of the predictive models and reducing the weight dedicated to the heat shield. Reducing the thickness of a heat shield allows a spacecraft to carry more usable payload to its destination.


"Research in these critical technology areas will enable science and exploration of our home planet, future deep space missions and our journey to Mars," said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, in a news release. "New space technology enables exploration while providing real world economic benefits to the American people right here on Earth, right now."


The Early Stage Innovations project leverages a $1.05 million NASA and Kentucky EPSCoR award that Martin received in 2013 on a related topic. Martin also credits the support and past grants awarded through NASA Kentucky Space Grant Consortium and EPSCoR Programs over the last three years for enabling the teams to develop expertise needed for the proposals.




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

First Gen Students Network With UK Faculty, Staff

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 11:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2014) — When the residents of the First Generation Living Learning Community (1GLLC), Robinson Scholars Program and First Scholars Program gathered for dinner with first generation faculty and staff last week, the dinner included more than a good meal.  


The event provided first generation students with the opportunity to practice their networking skills in a low-stress environment, equipped with a showing of faculty and staff from all over campus.


“I really enjoyed getting to know multiple professors at the faculty dinner because it allowed me to see that most college professors were just like me as a freshman – scared and confused,” said Haley Spillman, a freshman from Grant County, Kentucky, and resident of the 1GLLC. “The dinner was an eye-opening experience and a great way for networking in the future.”


With roughly 90 in attendance, this event was one of the most successful the 1GLLC has put on all year.


“I am always so impressed with our first generation students at UK," Jeff Spradling, director of the Robinson Scholars Program, said. "And having the chance to visit with them at this event reinforced my already strong belief in what UK is doing to ensure their success. It is particularly encouraging to see faculty get involved in the lives of our students, and I really appreciate their willingness to take time out of their busy schedules to support our efforts.”


Students were encouraged to wear business casual attire and come prepared to talk.


“I enjoyed meeting students and hearing about their first-semester experiences at UK" said Kathi Kern, history professor in the UK College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching. "I came away convinced that the living learning community for First Gen students enhances their success at UK. The students in the first gen program have built an 'esprit de corps' that made me nostalgic for my college days.”


Kelsey Carew, 1GLLC coordinator, perhaps summed up the experience best.


“I feel that this event helped lower the mental barrier that many first generation students face when challenged with interacting with faculty and staff on campus," she said. "The students were able to experience first-hand that these campus leaders are approachable and most importantly human! I was so proud to see how confident these students seemed in their conversations as the night went on. I truly feel that many of them left the evening feeling a little more empowered to embrace the challenge that so many identify with in interacting with faculty and staff.”


Students were entered into a drawing for an iPad mini for attending the event. Freshman Monica Kettavong from Louisville won the prize.


The Office of First Generation Initiatives is part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.







MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 267-5365;

UK Pianists to Present Concert for the Ears, Eyes, Imagination

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 10:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2014) – University of Kentucky piano students will get creative in a memorable concert for the ears, the eyes and the imagination. The UK Piano Studio will present “Making Music To Be Seen” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, in the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. The classical concert with a modern twist is free and open to the public.  


The concert will showcase undergraduate and graduate students, both majors and minors, in the studio of Professor Irina Voro. The students will play a variety of solo and duet pieces for piano, as well as collaborations with other instruments.


The participating students and Voro said that music conveys stories and emotions “behind the notes.” The music requires the audience to listen with more than just their ears, but with their imagination.


In an attempt to fully engage the audience’s imagination, the students will present personal visual images and stories for the pieces they perform; these images will portray the emotions they “decoded” in their musical pieces.


The concert format is intended to engage sight, sound and imagination to create an immersive experience and enrich the audience’s perception of the music.


"Making Music To Be Seen” is a production of the Keyboards, Voice and Strings Division of the School of Music within the UK College of Fine Arts. The School of Music has achieved awards and national and international recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as for music education, composition, theory and music history.



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

Quit and Win Contest Coming for UK Faculty, Staff

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 09:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Today marks the fifth anniversary of the University of Kentucky going tobacco-free: Big Blue celebrates 5 years tobacco-free #seeclear #seeblue. In celebration, the UK Tobacco-free Campus Initiative is announcing a UK Quit and Win Contest for UK faculty and staff.


The UK Tobacco-free Campus Initiative invites faculty and staff members who use tobacco products to enroll in the UK Quit and Win Contest which begins Jan. 16, 2015 -- a perfect time to act on New Year's Resolutions. Sign-ups begin in December.


Quit for 30 days and enter a drawing to win up to $1,000.  Prizes include:

·         One first prize of $1,000;

·         Two second prizes of $500 each; and

·         Two third prizes of $250 each


For more information on the contest, email Amanda Fallin at, and for more information on quitting visit



SAB Student Leaders Present at the 2014 NACA Mid-America Regional Convention

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 00:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2014) — Members of the Student Activities Board executive team, directors and committee chairs attended and participated at the 2014 National Association for College Activities Mid-America Regional Convention in Convington, Kentucky, in early November. NACA brings together student activities boards from universities across the nation to share ideas, build networks and view many types of artists.


Two directors, Melissa Simon, director of the Cultural Arts Committee, and James Collard, director of the Engaging Issues Committee, presented on Friday, Nov. 7, in the educational sessions.


Simon's presentation, “Breaking Down the Barriers: Arts Integration for Campus Life,” focused on three techniques to assist other universities in integrating art into their events and making these events beneficial to their campus community.


"Presenting at NACA gave me the perfect platform to represent the board and discuss my personal findings on the struggles of integrating the arts onto campus life and discuss with other colleagues on what they can do to further art programing,”  Simon said. “It was very rewarding.”


Later in the day, Collard’s presentation, “#TrendingTopics: Engaging Students in Current Issues,” focused on educating universities on how they can bring innovative and effective events to their campus that give students a safe environment to discuss uncomfortable topics.


“It was such a great opportunity to be able to present what our board does in front of other boards from our region,” Collard said. “I felt grateful to be able to share the concepts of our #TrendingTopics program with other universities so they can better understand how to challenge their students on current topics and allow them to make informed decisions.”


Besides having two directors present in educational sessions, SAB also had other members present to serve as delegates. The delegates collected and brought back vital information that will help the board improve and program even better events.


“Personally, my favorite moment was seeing everyone be so involved when watching artists and performers to bring back ideas for our programming board,” Mark Taylor, director of market research, said. “Moments like that reminded me that SAB is really a team and truly believes in the four core values we have.”


SAB will have two representatives at the 2015 NACA National Convention. The convention is Feb. 14-18, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Collard and Olivia Senter have been selected to present at two of the many educational sessions after submitting proposals during the beginning of summer 2014. Collard will be presenting on Engaging Issue’s #TrendingTopics events, as he did at the regional convention, and Senter will be presenting on repositioning an organization’s brand image.


“SAB students are not only leaders here at UK, but also within the NACA community and are continuing to set the bar high for themselves and others,” Courtney McCalla, advisor for the Student Activities Board, said. “I am looking forward to seeing what they will contribute to the national convention and what new ideas they will bring back to campus.”


SAB brings more than 100 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff and the greater Lexington community.


Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at or Instagram at or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.



MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

SAB CONTACT: Olivia Senter,


Big Blue Crush Blood Enters Stretch Drive Today

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 00:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Cat fans should get ready to roll up their sleeves to prove they bleed blue because the 27th annual Big Blue Crush – the blood battle between Kentucky and Tennessee – is entering the stetch drive today, the fourth day of the annual event  begins today and runs through Friday, Nov. 21.


Kentucky and the Kentucky Blood Center (KBC), which has won the past four years, leads the competition 13-12 with one tie against Tennessee and Medic Regional Blood Center in Knoxville.


Besides saving a life and helping to keep the win streak alive, donors will receive a long-sleeve gray T-shirt and a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Kentucky-Louisville game Nov. 29. In addition through Friday, those who give at a KBC donor center will also get a movie pass to an area cinema.


Big Blue Crush is always the week prior to Thanksgiving and helps ensure a strong blood supply heading into the holidays. This year, for the first time in its 27-year history, Big Blue Crush follows the UK-UT football game instead of preceding it.


Donors this year have a new Jefferson County donation location opportunity. Kentucky Blood Center (KBC) recently opened the new Middletown Donor Center at 12905 Shelbyville Road in the Middletown Station Shoppes near the Walmart Supercenter and Target.


“While Big Blue Crush is a fun week for donors, it’s also an important week for the blood supply because blood donated during Crush is needed by Kentucky patients during the upcoming holiday season,” said Martha Osborne, KBC’s Executive Director of Marketing and Recruitment.


Along with the new Middletown location, KBC also has donor centers in Beaumont Centre and the Andover Shoppes in Lexington, and in Somerset and Pikeville. All KBC donor centers are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during Crush week.


Big Blue Crush blood drives located throughout the region can be found at, where Cat fans can also make donation appointments. 

Kentucky Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame Honors Several With UK Ties

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 23:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The Fifth Annual Kentucky Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center in Louisville last night had a definite University of Kentucky 'flavor' to it.


Three of the four individuals who entered the hall of fame in the class of 2014 have strong UK ties, while one of the three younger executives celebrated as an 'emerging entreprenuer' serves in an advisory role to UK's Gatton College of Business and Economics.


The hall of famers inducted are:

  • James Booth, a current member of the UK Board of Trustees. Booth, a native of Martin County, is the chief executive of Booth Energy Group and owns several other businesses.


  • Chris Sullivan, UK graduate and member of the Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame. Sullivan, a resident of Florida, is co-founder and former president and CEO of the Outback Steakhouse restaurant company.


  • John A Williams Sr., UK graduate and also a member of the Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame. Williams, of Paducah, is the founder and chairman of CSI, providing customers with integrated and streamlined technology solutions. Currently, he serves as co-chair for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute for School Principals.


  • Ulysses Lee "Junior" Bridgeman, former star basketball player for the University of Louisville who went on to a successful career in the NBA.  Bridgeman is the president and CEO of Bridgeman Foods Inc., which  owns and operates more than 160 Wendy's restaurant franchises across the country, as well as more than 118 Chili’s restaurants.


Among those honored as an emerging entrepreneur was Nate Morris, co-founder and CEO of Morris Industries in Lexington. A social entrepreneur, he is the co-founder of Rubicon Global, North America’s leading provider of sustainable waste and recycling services.  Recently named to Fortune Magzine's '40 under 40,' Morris is a member of the Dean's Advisory Council at the Gatton College.

Sexual Assault Can Inhibit Student Success

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 18:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The reason a female student might not return to her university after her freshman year:


A.    Finances

B.    Grades

C.    Rape


Too many times ‒ more frequently than we have truly understood ‒ the answer is “C.”


The results of a study done among female freshmen at the University of Kentucky in 2011 linking sexual assault and poor academic performance are “direct and compelling,” wrote its authors, Carol Jordan, director of the UK Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women; Jessica Combs, a graduate student in clinical psychology; and Gregory Smith, a professor, university research professor, and director of the doctoral program in clinical psychology.


It wasn’t particularly surprising – for UK results mirror numerous national studies -- that the rate of prior sexual assault among women entering the university was more than 40 percent. Neither were the subsequent findings.  An additional 24 percent were sexually victimized during their first freshman semester. Nearly 20 percent more were raped or sexually assaulted during the second semester of their freshman year.


Jordan pointed out that a college with 10,000 female students could experience more than 350 rapes a year. Sexual assault and rape can bring on post-trauma reactions, such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression, even suicide.


As distressing as those numbers are, it appears that the burden of rape or sexual assault, whether before, or during college, has an identifiable impact on a woman’s success, particularly her academic success.


“For universities concerned about the retention of their students and improving rates of graduation,” said Jordan, “the negative impact that victimization has on academic performance and dropping out is notable.”


Compared to non-victimized women, the study found that women who were previously sexually victimized tend to enter college with lower GPA scores and continued that trend during their freshman year. The same pattern was true for women who were sexually assaulted or raped during their first semester; their grade point average (GPA) subsequently dropped. The study noted that statistically GPA did not predict being a victim.


The severity of the assault also seems to play a role. The most dramatic impact was seen for women who experience a forcible rape in their first semester of college; 14.3% of them ended the semester with a GPA below 2.5.


Much of the poor showing on individual GPAs as well was attributed to inability to concentrate, depression, disorganized thoughts, poor memory, anxiety -- symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress.


The authors concluded with their implications for practice, policy and research:

·       Study findings emphasize that clinicians, counselors and advocates working with college women who are victims of rape and sexual assault need to attend to academic performance and ensure that if class attendance, examinations, or grades are a challenge, adequate advising and other supports are available.

·       University professionals on college campuses need to include the risk of victimization among factors included in retention programming.

·       Researchers studying retention/persistence patterns in higher education settings and those studying sexual assault among college students need to ensure that the relationship between victimization and academic performance is included in research designs.




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

Senior Advisor for USAID to Speak, Part of International Education Week

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 17:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — The University of Kentucky will host Christie Vilsack, senior advisor for international education at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Thursday, Nov. 20, as part of UK's International Education Week.


Speaking at 6 p.m. in Memorial Hall, Vilsack will discuss USAID’s education strategy in her presentation titled, "Let Girls Learn: Education in Developing Countries." This event is free and open to the public.


USAID's education strategy is an initiative focused on improving children’s reading skills, strengthening workforce development and providing fair opportunities for education in areas ridden by conflict. As USAID’s senior advisor for international education, Vilsack travels the world to visit with education leaders, to learn about international programs and to share her insights about education.


As the USAID senior advisor for international education, Vilsack calls herself the storyteller for USAID education. 


"I speak externally about USAID’s education strategy on behalf of Administrator Raj Shah," Vilsack said. "I educate members of Congress, work with our counterparts in other development agencies around the world, with our UN partners, our implementing partners, private partners and look for ways to partner with other agencies of government.  One of our education goals involves higher education, so I also spend time traveling to college and university campuses to talk with students, faculty and administrators about international education.  I have also expanded my reach to Main Street audiences as well.  As a small town Midwesterner and a politician I also understand the importance of communicating with American taxpayers who support the work we do."


A full Q&A with Vilsack is available here.


This event is free and open to the public.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-535;


Keeping the Wild, Wild Cats Safe

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 16:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Tonight, University of Kentucky Student Government will host it's fifth annual Campus Safety Walk. As students and administrators walk through campus this evening, they will identify areas where physical improvements can be made to enhance safety, specifically looking for walkways and areas that are unsafe for students to travel at night.


Student Government Director of Campus Safety Andrew Kirk explained the safety walk as, "a unique opportunity for students and administration to cooperatively work to create a safer campus."


As part of his outreach to the campus community, Kirk has also created a Twitter account, @UKCampusCowboy, that solely focuses on campus safety.


"A prominent roadblock was student exposure to safe practices and behavior," Kirk said when asked how the Twitter name came about. "In order to raise awareness, the idea of a 'campus cowboy' came to being."


Kirk also explained that the idea originated from his love of western films.


"Growing up, I enjoyed watching old western films with true cowboys like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood," Kirk said. "To me, a cowboy is a protector. Cowboys, in many western films, fought for what was right. In this way, I wanted the symbol for my position to let students know that Student Government cares about safety."


"Coming into my role within SGA, I knew all along that I wanted student input to be at the forefront of all I do," Kirk said. "The Twitter account serves to not only provide students with up-to-date safety information, but also provides an easy way for them to voice safety concerns and ideas."


Kirk has gathered student feedback and compiled a list of safety concerns on campus. He said that participants in the safety walk will be looking for safety concerns across campus. From this feedback, a robust list of safety concerns will be compiled.


"After the walk, I will be working with UK administration and the UK Police Department to find practical solutions in order to make our campus safer," Kirk said.


The campus safety walk event will begin at 7:30 p.m., with refreshments in 103 Main Building, followed by the walk across campus at 8 p.m. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.


Connect with Student Government on Twitter at @UKSGA and @UKCampusCowboy.

HIV/AIDS Drugs Could Be Repurposed to Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration; Study Published Today in Science

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) – A landmark study published today in the journal Science by an international group of scientists, led by the laboratory of Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati, professor and vice chair of the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky, reports that HIV/AIDS drugs that have been used for the last 30 years could be repurposed to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as other inflammatory disorders, because of a previously undiscovered intrinsic and inflammatory activity those drugs possess.


AMD is a progressive condition that is untreatable in up to 90 percent of patients and is a leading cause of blindness in the elderly worldwide. The two forms of AMD, wet and dry, are classified based on the presence or absence of blood vessels that have invaded the retina. A detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying wet AMD has led to several robust FDA-approved therapies. In contrast, there are no approved treatments for dry AMD thus far.


Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) are the most widely used class of anti-HIV drugs. NRTIs are thought to be therapeutic in HIV/AIDS patients because they target the enzyme reverse transcriptase, which is critical for replication of HIV. Previous work from the Ambati lab found that a type of toxic molecule called Alu RNA accumulate in the retina to cause dry AMD; interestingly, Alu RNA and HIV are similar in that they both require reverse transcriptase to fulfill their life cycle. 


In their Science publication, Fowler et al. report that multiple FDA-approved NRTIs prevented retinal degeneration in a mouse model of dry AMD. Surprisingly, this effect of NRTIs in the eye was not due to the well-known function of these drugs to inhibit reverse transcriptase. Instead, NRTIs blocked an innate immune pathway called the “inflammasome”, even in experimental systems in which the NRTIs were not capable of blocking reverse transcriptase. 


In their report, they also showed that NRTIs were effective in other disease models that share common signaling pathways with the dry AMD model, including the “wet” form of AMD - a disease that when treated still does not lead to substantial vision improvement in two-thirds of patients - and graft-versus-host disease which is the major obstacle preventing successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. 


"Repurposing of NRTIs could be advantageous, for one, because they are very inexpensive. Moreover, through decades of clinical experience, we know that some of the drugs we tested are incredibly safe. Since these NRTIs are already FDA-approved, they could be rapidly and inexpensively translated into therapies for a variety of untreatable or poorly treatable conditions," said Benjamin Fowler, the lead author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Ambati lab. Ambati added, “We are excited at the prospect of testing whether NRTIs could be effective in halting the progression of AMD in patients.”


NRTIs were originally designed to treat cancer in the 1960s. They re-emerged in the late 1980s and became the first drugs FDA-approved to treat HIV/AIDS.


MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or, or Kristi Lopez at 859-806-0445. 


Community Leadership Institute of Kentucky Recognizes Inaugural Graduating Class

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 14:02


HAZARD, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Graduates of the inaugural class of the Community Leadership Institute of Kentucky (CLIK) will be recognized today at a ceremony held in conjunction with National Rural Health Day at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard.


CLIK is a three-week, no-cost, intensive leadership development program designed to enhance research and capacity-building competencies in community leaders who play a key role in data-based decision making related to health and health care. Leaders from schools, health departments and organizations in rural communities were among those completing the program.


“National Rural Health Day was created by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health as a way to showcase rural America and increase awareness of rural health-related issues.  It is fitting that we are able to recognize our CLIK graduates on this important day and we applaud their commitment to improving health in their communities,” said Fran Feltner, director of the UK CERH.


Collaborations between academic centers and community leaders offer unique and potentially powerful opportunities to affect change and find solutions. 


"We look to these graduates to lead in UK’s commitment to sustainable, community-based approaches to address the most serious challenges of Kentucky – challenges that deprive individuals, families and communities of a rich quality of life," said UK President Eli Capilouto.


CLIK participants were selected through a competitive application process, with priority given to health, education, and human service leaders from Appalachian Kentucky. Through seven CLIK sessions, they received training in topics including grant development, budget management, quality improvement, human subjects protection, project evaluation, and using publically available datasets. Volunteer faculty from the University of Cincinnati, the University of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Department of Health served as instructors.


In addition to diverse skills training, each CLIK graduate’s organization will receive a $1,500 grant to support a pilot project and six months of technical assistance from the CLIK program. Participants’ projects ranged from addressing diabetes and children’s oral health to revitalizing an elementary school green house so that students can learn to grow and prepare their own food.


Stephen Richardson, CLIK graduate and school health coordinator for the Knott County School Board, plans to pilot a school-wide daily tooth brushing initiative for grades K-2.  Kentucky’s rates of childhood tooth decay are among the highest in the nation, and as an educator, Richardson frequently witnesses the consequences of poor oral health.  In addition to physical complications like dental pain or tooth loss, poor oral health can negatively affect a child's self esteem, ability to learn, and future ability to gain employment.  


“After being involved in several other leadership programs, I must say this has by far been the best one yet,” said Richardson. “The small group along with the content of the presentations has made this a worthwhile event for myself. Everything about this program will help me in my chosen field,” he said. 


The 2014 CLIK graduates are:

  •  Sandy Bowling, Hazard, LKLP Community Action Council - “Creating a Climate for a Healthy Lifestyle”
  • Neva Francis, Martin, Kentucky One Health, St. Joseph Martin - “St. Joseph Martin/Floyd County Health Department Diabetes Partnership”
  • Sandy Hogg, Whitesburg, Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative - “Staff Wellness and Nutrition Program"
  • Stephen Richardson, Hindman, Knott County Board of Education - “Student Oral Health”
  • Haley Siler, Bowling Green, Barren River District Health Department - “Cooking with Benefits”
  •  Kelsey Tackett, Prestonsburg, Floyd County Schools- “Successful Women and Appalachian Girls Present: Seeds of South Floyd”


"We are fortunate to have recruited a highly motivated and talented inaugural CLIK class. These are innovative thinkers and community leaders who have taken the lessons taught by our faculty and applied them to address real life problems in their local settings. We are excited to see how our CLIK participants continue developing their projects and launch new initiatives to foster positive changes in their communities," said Nancy Schoenberg, PhD,  director of fommunity engagement and research for the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science.


CLIK is made possible by a partnership between UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science (funded by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences), the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, and the Kentucky Office of Rural Health.


For more information about Click For details visit the Center for Clinical and Transitional Science website at or contact Beth Bowling at or 606-439-3357, ext. 83545.


MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,



UK Center of Excellence In Rural Health and Kentucky Office of Rural Health to Celebrate National Rural Health Day

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 13:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) – The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) encourages rural providers and communities to join the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), and other state and national rural stakeholders to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” during the fourth annual National Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov. 20.


NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America,increase awareness of rural health-related issues, and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues.  Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.


Events recognizing National Rural Health Day and “Celebrating the Power of Rural” are being planned throughout the nation.  In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear has marked the occasion by proclaiming Nov. 20, 2014, as Kentucky Rural Health Day. The Kentucky Office of Rural Health has asked that rural providers and communities across the Commonwealth post information on local events to their Facebook page to share with others what they’re doing to “Celebrate the Power of Rural.” 


Approximately 62 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” notes NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”


These communities also face unique health care needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of health care providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger says. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”


The UK CERH serves as the federally designated KORH. The mission of the UK CERH is to improve the health of rural Kentuckians. The UK CERH accomplishes this through education, research, service, and community engagement. The KORH mission is to support the health and well-being of Kentuckians by promoting access to rural health services.

For more information on KORH and UK CERH services and resources, please visit Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found on the Web at


MEDIA CONTACT:  Beth Bowling,, 606-439-3557

Hope Koehler to Perform 'Lost Melodies' From John Jacob Niles

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Hope Koehler will present a recital of little known music by legendary composer and balladeer, John Jacob Niles, and other work from her latest CD at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24, at the Niles Gallery in the University of Kentucky Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. Koehler, a UK alumna and preeminent interpreter of Niles' work, will perform various pieces from her recently released CD, "Lost Melodies." This event is free and open to the public.


"Lost Melodies" features a selection of pieces by Niles, most of which have neither been published nor recorded until now. Koehler will perform a selection of these works and Robert Schumann's "Frauenliebe und Leben," as well as songs by Fernando Obradors, Xavier Montsalvatge and Duke Ellington for the recital. She will be accompanied by James Douglass on the piano. This concert is made possible with support from an endowment, "Our American Music," a gift of Thomas M. T. Niles.


To hear Koehler perform "Go 'Way from my Window" by Niles, play the video below. 


A soprano, Koehler has appeared worldwide in recitals, concerts, operas and productions. Some of these productions include "Carmen," "Rigoletto," "The Impressario," "The Sound of Music," "Oklahoma," "Fiddler on the Roof" and "West Side Story." She is also a featured soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble, led by UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey.


"Koehler an ideal interpreter, whose dusky timbre and voluptuous tone imbue every note with a mixture of sadness, beauty and hopeful longing," attested Opera News in a review of "Lost Melodies." "This repertoire fits her plush, rich-hued voice like a glove and she encompasses the wide vocal and emotional range of the songs with apparent ease."


John Jacob Niles was an influential voice in the American folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s. He also was an eminent collector of Appalachian ballads and African-American spirituals. The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music is named after the celebrated Kentucky composer and displays many traditional instruments he crafted. The center is a collaborative effort of UK School of Music and UK Libraries. The center is located at the Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.


Koehler's recital of "Lost Melodies" is presented by the Niles Center at the UK School of Music. The School of Music, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.



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

UK Artists to Create Kroger Murals

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2014) — Three artists with ties to the University of Kentucky School of Architecture and UK School of Art and Visual Studies will create murals for the new Kroger being built on Euclid Avenue in Lexington. Associate Professor of Architecture Liz Swanson, 2008 UK architecture graduate Aaron Scales, and art alumnus John Lackey will create the three large-scale murals to be featured in the grocery store.


Kroger in partnership with LexArts commissioned local artists to design and create one exterior and two interior murals for the store. From the more than 50 submissions, a selection committee of local arts and community leaders and representatives from the neighborhood selected the winning artists. Joining Swanson among the winners is Scales, who will work on his piece with brother Jared Scales as part of the duo known as BroCoLoco, and Lackey, owner of Homegrown Press.


Lackey's exterior mural, which will face Marquis Avenue, has a budget of $25,000. Swanson and BroCoLoco's interior murals will be located in a seating area and the produce section of the grocery and have budgets of $10,000 each.


Stuart Horodner, director of the Art Museum at UK, was a member of the committee that selected the winning murals. Other committee members were: architect Graham Pohl; Urban County Councilmember and owner of Farmer’s Jewelry Bill Farmer; West Sixth Brewery owner Ben Self; artist and art educator Georgia Henkel; Bryan Station High School student Ella Hellmuth; and LexArts Community Arts Manager Nathan Zamarron.



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

PTS Offers Free Rides to Blue Grass Airport for Students

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 09:10

LEXINGTON, Ky (Nov. 20, 2014) — University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is helping students with their Thanksgiving break travel plans by offering free shuttle service from campus to Blue Grass Airport. This is the eleventh year that PTS has offered the complimentary airport service.


The shuttle will operate Monday, Nov. 24 through Wednesday, Nov. 26 with daily campus pick-up times of 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Students should plan to leave campus at least two hours prior to take-off.


Although the shuttle is free, reservations are required. To schedule a pick-up, students should submit a ride request through the form found here:  Ride requests should be submitted at least two business days in advance.


A PTS representative will email to confirm a pick-up time and convenient location. Students are responsible for their own transportation back to campus.