Campus News

Former Navy SEAL Finds a Challenge in Adventure Writing

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 16:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — “We thought we’d do one more run,” said Cory Zigmund about a trip he took to Colorado to visit his brother during the summer of 2013. They were on a backcountry glacier and planned to hike to the top and snowboard down. On the ride down, Zigmund hit a ditch on the rough slope and wiped out, completely dislocating his shoulder. As a trained U.S. Navy SEAL medic, Zigmund knew how to fix it, but his brother had to do it. Step-by-step, he walked his brother through the processes of popping his bone back into joint so they could complete the run.


Zigmund has filled his life with adventures — most of which have not required impromptu medical assistance on the face of a glacier. But even the especially challenging ones haven’t discouraged him from taking advantage of an opportunity to explore something new.


Hiking, climbing, snowboarding and diving through both water and the sky — he’s explored a lot of terrain. This spring, Zigmund gets to blaze a new trail by being the first student graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from UK’s new Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies (WRD).


After spending eight and a half years with the SEALs, Zigmund returned to his home state of Kentucky and enrolled at UK as an English major, and just two semesters before graduating he added a second major in WRD — still managing to graduate in four and a half years.


Zigmund thinks that the two programs complemented each other.


"WRD went right along with what I was doing in English and the things I would like to do in the future, which include writing about my experiences exploring both the more accessible outdoors and remote wildernesses,” Zigmund said.


English had been one of Zigmund’s favorite subjects in high school, and writing had always been a part of his life. In fact, during middle school, just for fun he and his father wrote a book together. It was a story where kids traveled to a new dimension, having fantastic adventures that Zigmund has come close to experiencing in real life.


When Zigmund was a senior at Henry Clay High School, he spearheaded the creation of a semester-long creative writing class. The class was a success and Zigmund continued to meet with the teacher after the term was over, through an independent study, discussing style and writing. His teacher urged him to consider doing something with writing instead of going into the military as he had planned.


His teacher’s words stuck with him over the years he served, and when he was ready for the next adventure, he knew what path to follow — equipped with years of unique experiences that would filter into his writing.


Throughout his time majoring in English at UK, Zigmund took several WRD classes including Travel Writing and Multimedia Writing, and when he heard that WRD was offering a major, he sought information about what he would have to do to graduate as a double major. He spoke with WRD faculty Beth Connors-Manke and Brian McNely and learned he only needed 24 additional credits. Not one to turn down an opportunity to try a new adventure, Zigmund went for it.


“Everyone in the WRD program has been phenomenal. They’ve been extremely helpful. Any questions I’ve had have been quickly answered. They’ve been outstanding,” Zigmund said.


And the praise goes both ways. McNely shared that “working with Cory was one of the best things that could have happened to me as director of undergraduate studies. Helping him navigate a path to the degree helped me navigate the WRD curriculum, and to learn the administrative ins and outs of my new role in the department. Professors often note that they learn much from their students; this was definitely the case for me as I worked with Cory over the last year, in both my role as a faculty advisor, and as a professor.”


According to Joshua Abboud, Zigmund “represents the kind of student we look for as WRD majors.” Having worked with Zigmund in multiple classes, Abboud considers his student to be “bright, curious, hard-working and possessing a self-awareness of how his work impacts the world around him. All of Cory’s work has shown an ability to connect his professional interests to his personal interests in innovative ways.”


Both Abboud and McNely note Zigmund’s ability to integrate his love for travel and exploration with his skills in writing and media. It was in their classes that Zigmund began developing a website, bringing his two passions together. It’s an outdoor adventure website — part guidebook, part survival manual, part trail map — that he’s compiled from his own experiences and written for people of all skill levels. He hopes to continue building it by collaborating with some of his friends who share the same interests.


Abboud has seen the progress of this project and explained that Zigmund wants to help “others find the same kinds of excitement he derives from these excursions, and he makes that excitement contagious.”


Zigmund shared his belief that “you should always try to find ways to combine things you enjoy, with what experiences, what knowledge, and what education you have and put it all together. English and WRD will definitely enable you to write and inform your audience about whatever passions you share.”


This summer Zigmund is planning another trek across Rocky Mountain National Park with a friend he met in the military — another medic, so they’ll both be in good hands.




MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-433-2784,

Kentucky Primary Care Association and UK HealthCare Announce Partnership Benefiting Rural Care Practitioners

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 13:45


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) – The Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) and UK HealthCare announced today a groundbreaking partnership aimed at providing more than 800 patient care providers access to UK HealthCare support services such as supply chain contracts, medical professional placement services, practice transformation support/training and an after-hours pediatric call triage center.


KPCA has more than 250 member clinics from Paducah to Pikeville and from Covington to the Tennessee border serving some of Kentucky's most underserved citizens and focusing on improving the health of those they serve.  


The partnership provides KPCA members access to services at heavily discounted rates or at no charge to the facilities. One of the prominent features of the partnership is the recognition of KPCA organizations as “affiliate” sites under UK HealthCare's group purchasing contract. Under this purchasing arrangement, the savings to some of the larger health centers and clinics is quiet significant, adding thousands back to the annual budget, and more efficient management of purchasing volume.


“Primary care physicians, especially those in rural areas, have the extra burden of high patient volume, limited staff, and stretched resources,” said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “By partnering, UK HealthCare and KPCA members can grow important programs and services for their patients while also controlling and reducing operating costs. In today’s health care environment, this will be a game changer for many KPCA members.”


However, this collaboration is as much about improving the quality of care provided in KPCA member clinics as it is reducing costs.


"By addressing some of these issues related to costs, clinics with already scarce resources can instead focus on improving the quality of care provided across the Commonwealth," said Joseph E. Smith, executive director of the Kentucky Primary Care Association. “We’ve had a longstanding association with the University and UK HealthCare and this partnership elevates that relationship by adding a strong commitment to assisting rural doctors, nurses and practice managers who face some of the toughest transitions taking place in medicine today.”


KPCA members will have access to robust staffing solutions through Kentucky Medical Professional Placement Services and the Kentucky Medical Opportunities Website, an online marketplace linking candidates to vacancies across the state, active job search features for recruits, and links to offline events that link job seekers with interested organizations looking to fill positions across the clinical spectrum. 


This cooperation also affords KPCA members access to practice transformation services, or Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) consultants, that work with intensive cohorts across the state, assisting practices in the transition to quality and value-based care models. As a compliment to the PCMH model, UK HealthCare’s afterhours pediatric call triage service has been extended to KPCA members as well, providing organizations with around the clock access to specially trained registered nurses and over twenty-six community pediatricians and nurse practitioners throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky.


The Kentucky Primary Care Association was founded in 1976 as a private, non-profit corporation of community health centers, rural health clinics, primary care centers and other organizations and individuals concerned about access to health care services for the state’s underserved rural and urban populations. Association members are providers of primary care – first contact, broadly trained physicians, nurses and other professionals deliver that whole-person health care.


UK HealthCare is the University of Kentucky's health care system and encompasses UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital as well as the patient care services at Markey Cancer Center, Gill Heart Institute and all UK’s clinics and outreach locations. UK HealthCare is a research intensive, referral academic medical center that aims to ensure all Kentuckians — no matter how complex their medical problem — can be taken care of in Kentucky and not required to leave the state for advanced subspecialty medical care. 

College of Communication and Information Presents Awards

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 12:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information held its 15th annual Excellence Awards Dinner Friday, April 24, at the Hilary J. Boone Center. The event honored outstanding faculty, staff, alumni and past award recipients.


Honorees included:


Friend of the College Award: Recognizes a person who has demonstrated support to the College of Communication and Information or one of its units by volunteering, providing internships, or by their involvement in programs supported by the college. This year the college honored two recipients:

Janice Birdwhistell, former College of Communication and Information director of development for 13 years and chief of staff for Dean Dan O’Hair for two years until her retirement

Kip Cornett, founder and current president and CEO of advertising agency Cornett and current chair of the Breeders’ Cup Festival Week Host Committee


Outstanding Alumnus Award: Recognizes an alumnus of the College of Communication and Information for their many contributions to the college and community. This year the college honored:

Lonzell Watson, (Telecommunications, 1999)


Faculty Teaching Excellence Award: Recognizes faculty who not only demonstrate mastery of the subject matter, but also awareness of current developments, and a vision of what is to come.  They demonstrate the ability to effectively communicate that knowledge to students in ways that foster understanding, intellectual growth, and a broadening of perspectives. This year the college honored:

Matthew Savage, assistant professor of health communication in the Department of Communication


Graduate Teaching Excellence Award: Recognizes students who not only excel in their own studies, but they also demonstrate knowledge and expertise of their field through teaching undergraduate students. This year the college honored:

Timothy Bill, doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Communication, also serves as the director of forensics and the head coach of the university’s competitive speech and debate team


Faculty Research Award: Recognizes faculty achievement in research that is important to both the college and the faculty member’s area of expertise. This year the college honored:

Sherali Zeadally, assistant professor of information communication technology in the School of Library and Information Science


Outstanding Staff Award: Recognizes outstanding work and contributions by a staff member. This year the college honored two recipients:

Amber Troxell, administrative assistant for the School of Library and Information Science

Maggie Chapman, administrative staff officer


Faculty Community Service Award: Recognizes achievements by faculty in service to the community. This year the college honored:

Shari Veil, associate professor of communication and associate dean for undergraduate affairs


Outstanding Advisor Award: Recognizes the critical role played by advisors in fostering academic achievement, clearing pathways to graduation, and providing meaningful engagement on campus and in the community. This year the college honored two recipients:

Schyler Simpson, lecturer, recruiter

            Mike Farrell, associate professor in the School of Journalism and                                       Telecommunications



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

Three UK Students Awarded Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarships

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 09:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2015)  Three University of Kentucky students have received the Undergraduate Research Abroad Scholarship (UGRAS), which will support their international independent research projects during the 2015 summer session.


Annie Griggs, a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Faith VanMeter, a psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences and Marcel Roman, a political science and international studies double major in the College of Arts and Sciences are the recipients of the scholarship — chosen because they demonstrate the ability to explore exceptional academic undergraduate research abroad with the support of UK faculty mentors.  UGRAS is a result of funding from a collaboration between the UK Education Abroad Scholarship fund and the Office of Undergraduate Research. UGRAS awards each recipient $5,000.  


“The UGRAS award is a special highlight for me as both a researcher and the director of undergraduate research at UK," said Diane Snow, who is also a professor of neuroscience.  "It’s so exciting to be able to offer these students the opportunity to take their research inquiries to the next level and simultaneously experience research from a global perspective.  The experiences they will have outside the U.S. will benefit not only them and their career goals, but the goals of their UK mentors and the overall UK research mission. We at the Office of Undergraduate Research, and Education Abroad, who jointly sponsor the UGRAS, are so very proud of our amazing students!”


Griggs will complete her project, "Temporal Predictability of Nectar: Does it differently influence aggression in cloud forest hummingbirds based on species and breeding season?" in Costa Rica.  Her UK faculty mentor is David Westneat, professor in the Department of Biology and director of graduate studies.


"I am beyond thrilled to receive this scholarship. I love ecology and field work and to have this opportunity to do research in the cloud forest in Costa Rica is incredible," Griggs said. "Going abroad for this experience not only opens me up to the rich and unique biodiversity of Costa Rica, but also to different methods and ideas. I hope to go to graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. for ecology, so this experience fits perfectly into my future career and research interests.  I am so grateful that I was chosen to receive this scholarship, and I cannot wait to get started!"


VanMeter will complete her project, "The Role of Emotional Support During Child Abuse Victim Interviews: Benefits for Disclosure and Evidence Gathering," in England.  Her UK faculty mentor is Peggy Keller, member of the Developmental Psychology Program and faculty associate of the Center for Research on Violence Against Women.


"I am very honored to receive this scholarship," VanMeter said. "This experience will allow me to gain valuable research skills that I will be able to apply in graduate school. I hope to become a clinical psychologist, and this project will be very relevant to the population that I hope to work with as a clinician. Additionally, I have never been out of the country before, and this will allow me to become more cultured and gain a sense of independence. I am extremely excited about this upcoming adventure, and I know it will be very rewarding."


Roman will complete his project, "Land Rights and Ethnic Politics in Fiji," in Fiji.  His UK faculty mentor is Emily Beaulieu, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.


“As a policy debater and member of the UK Debate Team, I’ve been acquiring research skills on a variety of topics for seven years," said Roman. "This time, however, the UGRAS scholarship will help provide me with the tools and skills necessary to produce and develop my own research from the field instead of merely synthesizing information from the work of others.


“This opportunity afforded to me from UGRAS isn't just to simply analyze and further understand the socio-cultural processes of Fijian politics, it’s an opportunity to open myself up to vulnerability and to be self-reflexive in the gaps that my methods and research may produce vis-à-vis an environment and group of people that are dealing with a civil society that is fundamentally distinct from the American and Western experience.” 


The institutional benefit of undergraduate research is only a part of why Anthony Ogden, director of Education Abroad at UK, deems the scholarships a smart investment.


"As a Research 1 institution, we are investing in ways to ensure students graduate with the essential knowledge and skills to engage with their discipline on the world stage. Conducting research abroad will help students learn firsthand the demands and rigor of their field in a real-world way.”


Ogden has observed that undergraduate students who participate in research abroad programs often go on to pursue graduate or professional degrees in their fields.


"These experiences not only foster knowledge and skills in a given research area, but they can also lay a foundation for a student’s professional network."



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

UK's Kentucky Ag Leadership Program Accepting Nominations

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:47

LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 8, 2015) — The Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program is accepting nominations for Class XI.


KALP, housed in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is an intensive two-year program designed for young agricultural producers and agribusiness individuals from Kentucky and Tennessee.


“Anyone who wants to be on the cutting edge of decisions that affect agriculture, rural communities and society in the 21st century will benefit greatly from going through this program,” said Will Snell, KALP co-director. “Graduates of the program have gone on to become active leaders in legislative bodies, farm and commodity organizations, agribusinesses and their local communities, which is vital for the future of agriculture in today’s challenging marketplace and policy arena.”


Applicants must be U.S. citizens, residents of Kentucky or Tennessee, be involved in some phase of agriculture, and be willing and able to commit around 50 days over the two-year period to participate in this premier leadership program. The program dates back to the mid-1980s and was originally called the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Program, though it was never commodity specific. Philip Morris fully funded the first seven classes. Now more than 150 financial supporters provide funding, including the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, Kentucky agribusinesses, farm organizations, program alumni and participant fees. Participants will be responsible for tuition of $2,500 payable in two installments to help offset the $15,000 individual program costs.


The program consists of 10 domestic seminars devoted to important agricultural issues. Sessions also focus on improving participants’ communication, leadership and management skills. Class members will visit a variety of Kentucky agribusinesses, Frankfort and Washington D.C., and will travel to other states and nations to explore agriculture in different settings. The previous 10 classes have yielded 267 graduates, many who subsequently have taken on leadership positions in agriculture.


“This program is about more than farming,” KALP co-director Steve Isaacs said. “Participants will polish essential leadership skills, identify common rural and urban concerns, understand current public policy issues and establish a basis for lifelong learning and development.”


Interest is expected to run high for the 22 seats available in Class XI. Snell and Isaacs, both from the UK Department of Agricultural Economics, said they generally receive around 100 nominations for each class. Candidates may self-nominate or be nominated by county extension agents, farm organizations, trade associations, alumni of previous leadership programs or other interested individuals. The nomination form link and additional details can be found at the Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program website, Nominations are due June 15. All nominees will receive information about the program and procedures for submitting the required application, which will be due July 15. Interviews to select class members will be in mid-August, with the first seminar scheduled for Nov. 4-6.




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


UK Certification Program Targets Wine, Brewing, Distilling Industries

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 16:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — For several years, University of Kentucky students have been able to take classes related to the wine, beer and distilled spirits industries. Now, those courses will come together into a cohesive undergraduate certification program that will prepare students for careers in this growing economic sector.


Wine, brewing and distillation form a multi-billion dollar industry with myriad career opportunities in science, engineering and the arts, said Seth DeBolt, horticulture professor in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.


“Through the undergraduate certificate in distillation, wine and brewing studies (DWBS), students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to pursue various career options within these industries,” said DeBolt, who serves as the program director. “We are excited about this program and its ability to provide trained employees for this thriving Kentucky industry and provide excellent career options for our students.”


DeBolt and his colleagues have been consulting with these industries within the state to ensure the program will be a positive experience for their students as well as meet industry needs.


In addition to leading the program, DeBolt is one of several faculty from three colleges and seven departments who will be instructors for the program. The certificate has the flexibility in its course structure for students from a variety of degree programs to develop skills advancing their career options.


Students will gain an understanding of the career opportunities in wine, brewing and distilled products industry; be able to define key technical methods and analytical skills required for a career in these industries and understand the history of wine, brewing and distilling and how this relates to human culture.


“When a small group of us had our initial discussions about the potential of a certificate program, I knew I wanted to be a part of this exciting initiative,” said Bert Lynn, a faculty member in UK’s chemistry department and co-director of the internal advisory group. “As a chemist, I have always been fascinated by the orchestra of compounds that define the flavors and fragrances in spirits. The DWBS certificate provides me an opportunity to share my enthusiasm for this science with students from diverse backgrounds. I cannot think of a more enjoyable teaching experience.”


In the near future, they hope to award between 100 and 150 certificates per year. In addition to training and knowledge in the field, these certificate holders will have an appreciation for the history and traditions behind Kentucky’s DWB industries.


“I join Seth in saying that we are excited about this program and excellent career options provided for our students,” Lynn said.


Internal and external advisory boards made up of faculty and industry, respectively, will oversee the program. The first certificates will likely be awarded sometime late this year or in 2016.


“In the spirit of the land-grant university, we are happy to embark on this top quality teaching program that meets industry needs and strengthens the Kentucky land-based economy,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “We hope this program leads to closer partnerships and collaborations with our valued commercial partners.”


Wine, beer and distilled spirits are a growing industry in Kentucky. In 2013, bourbon production from more than 40 Kentucky distilleries surpassed 5 million barrels with a value greater than $8 billion a year. Some 10,000 people are estimated to work in this industry.


“Additionally, approximately 25 new craft and full-scale distillers will be opening soon, and there are more than 70 wineries and a thriving craft beer movement that demand trained and knowledgeable employees,” DeBolt said. “Finding graduates with an understanding of fermentation and their industry are vital to the industries’ rapid growth.”




MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Skillman, 859-323-4761.

Civil Engineering Professor’s Research Proves Timely for Concerned Community

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 15:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2015) — Near the end of January, the community of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was faced with a disturbing possibility: their children could be exposed to harmful chemicals while attending a local public school every day, based on the fact that a contaminated site lay beneath the school.


Following confusion and panic from parents and students, nationally recognized experts were called to engage with the school community. Kelly Pennell, University of Kentucky civil engineering professor, was one of three researchers who flew down in early February for a public information session.   


Vapor intrusion — Pennell's area of expertise and the scientific term for the cause of concern in Winston-Salem — occurs when chemicals from contaminated groundwater or soil vaporize and enter into indoor air spaces.


In an interview with a Winston-Salem public radio station, Pennell said that vapor intrusion is an ongoing issue for the country because of legacy contamination sites where spills occurred years ago.


"It's a problem in many localities," she said. "There's not one state that isn't dealing with this issue."


Vapor intrusion is similar to radon intrusion, but differs in several ways; importantly, vapor intrusion results from the actions of a “responsible party” that caused the pollution rather than — like radon — through naturally occurring processes. With vapor intrusion, the party responsible is often liable to deliver a solution once science-based evidence confirms a problem exists.


"Many times, people look at their floor and say, 'Well I don't have any cracks in my floor,' but yet we see that low concentrations of these compounds can enter the indoor air through many different pathways — even in the absence of visible cracks," Pennell said.


And when individuals breathe 20,000 liters of air a day, compared to drinking only two liters of water a day, even low concentrations in indoor air are significant.


"We're just, in the past 10 years I'd say, really trying to systematically evaluate potential health risks from vapor intrusion," said Pennell, who earlier this year received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her project “Vapor Intrusion, Knowledge Brokers, and Environmental Health — A Three Dimensional Perspective.”


Vapor intrusion, depending on the chemicals and duration of exposure, can have the potential to cause cancer, and has more recently been linked to acute health risks such as birth defects.   


One research question Pennell and the UK Superfund Research Center are currently looking at is how the health (nutrition, physical activity) of the individual can modulate the effect of that exposure, while also investigating new methods for reducing exposures to pollutants. She and her team of undergraduate and graduate students are also looking at how atmospheric effects, like wind and precipitation, can influence the vapor intrusion process. For example, how wind flows around a building can alter the air exchange rates inside of a building.


Pennell, who joined UK faculty in 2013, has been involved in many vapor intrusion research projects, including computational modeling with collaborators at Brown University, a field study with collaborators at Brown and Boston University in the metro-Boston area, and now lab, modeling and community-engaged studies at UK.


Using this multi-pronged approach, she continues to gain a stronger scientific understanding of what factors affect vapor intrusion and when it can and cannot occur.


For example, the field study in Boston with Brown University and Boston University delivered an unexpected finding; Pennell calls it "CSI of the toilet." The team was finding indoor air concentrations of a chemical and narrowed it down to the upper level of the building; an odd finding because vapor intrusion should come from the ground floor.


It turns out, there was a small sewer gas leak in the upstairs bathroom, a fairly common occurrence. But this sewer gas contained high levels of the chemical and the leak was identified as a potentially significant exposure route that was originally overlooked.


"The toilet was removed and the students sampled the sewer pipes to evaluate the vapor concentrations. The students were quick to tell me, 'hey, we never signed up to do plumbing research,'" Pennell joked.


Although it may not have been what they expected, the team's work would soon prove valuable.


Word spread about the finding and the California Environmental Protection Agency invited her team to talk to the agency about it. In March, new collaborators developing methods for evaluating the sewer gas pathway presented how sewer gas can be a source of these chemicals in indoor air at the Association for Environmental Health and Sciences Annual Meeting.


Pennell says the finding is especially of interest to regulators, and "from a health stance, this (sewer gas) is an important exposure pathway."


Not only an issue in the realm of health and the environment, vapor intrusion often becomes a legal dispute between those who may be liable and those affected. In this way, Pennell draws from her past experience as an environmental consultant and government liaison, positioning her work at the center of research, policy and practice.


"As part of the UK Superfund Research Program, we do monthly seminars in Frankfort at the state offices. We ask them what types of topics they want to learn about, and we organize seminars based on their interests. I've given several talks on vapor intrusion and environmental health," Pennell said. She and her team also bring in national experts to speak on other topics of interest to state agency staff.


As a researcher, she says it is important to think what in her research is of value to the public, and at the same time she realizes the nature of her work often includes uncertainty and is not immediately transferable to real-world problems.


As the school district in Winston-Salem was faced with a decision and also a lot of uncertainty, Pennell says when considering environmental exposures they must use what they know as true or what is likely, then individuals can make better decisions instead of only reacting to emotions.


Several months after Pennell visited Winston-Salem, the school in question is now vacated, but members of the community still contact Pennell about test results and for support.


"Back in January, when a parent from Winston-Salem called me on my cell phone asking questions about my research and how it related to the health of her child, I was humbled and caught somewhat off guard, but mostly, I was motivated," Pennell said. "It was truly a privilege to have been welcomed into her community as they struggled with a difficult, but all too common problem.”




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

Kentucky Celebrates Small Businesses

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 15:55

LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 7, 2015) — The Commonwealth’s best were celebrated in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort May 6 with an awards ceremony recognizing outstanding small businesses and small-business people. Kentucky Celebrates Small Business was presented by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC), part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Kentucky district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Lexington chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. 


“Small Business Week is big in Kentucky! These three organizations share the mission of supporting and encouraging small business and are proud to celebrate the wonderful entrepreneurial talent in Kentucky,” said Becky Naugle, KSBDC director.


KSBDC selects Kentucky Pacesetter businesses based on how the nominees are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving their communities.


This year’s outstanding Kentucky Pacesetters are:

A.C.E. Compressor Services Inc., Mayfield

Green River Appliance, Owensboro

Stewart and Stafford Inc., Pikeville

Sustainment Solutions Inc., Lancaster


Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes outstanding small businesses and entrepreneurs with awards across the country. The Small Business of the Year winner from each state has the opportunity to be acknowledged at both regional and national levels.


The 2015 Kentucky Small Business Administration award winners are:

Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year: Scott Shinn, president and CEO of Sustainment Solutions Inc.

Kentucky 8(a) Graduate of the Year: Kathy Mills, president and CEO of Strategic Communications

Kentucky SBA Resource Partner of the Year: David Oetken, director of Small Business Development Center Louisville

Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year: Mark Strother, president and CEO of Commercial Bank of Grayson

Kentucky Home Based Business of the Year: Nicole Mueller, president and owner of Startup Productions LLC

Kentucky Woman Small Business Advocate of the Year: Michelle Gorman, small business specialist at U.S. Bank of Bowling Green

Kentucky Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Shane Hamilton, president and owner of Service Maids LLC


“Entrepreneurs are the engines who drive our economy forward,” said Ralph Ross, district director of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Every year we honor them during Small Business Week, and this year we have an extra reason to celebrate. The Kentucky unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1 percent, and demand for SBA loans has increased 30 percent over last year. Our Kentucky entrepreneurs are hard at work, and we cannot thank them enough.”


The Lexington chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners strives to propel female entrepreneurs to spheres of economic, social and political influence through strengthening economic development, creating innovative and effective changes in the business culture, building strategic alliances and transforming public policies.


Their Winners’ Circle Award is presented annually to a Kentucky woman who has shown outstanding leadership, financial stamina and control, contributed to her community through time and resources, understands and resolves complex issues, and is dedicated to furthering women in business through personal support and mentoring. The 2015 recipient is Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven, past president of the American Medical Association and a Lexington-based infectious disease physician.


The chapter also presented the following awards:

Woman Business Owner of the Year: Dr. Jennifer Fuson, owner of Lexington Women’s Health

Member of the Year: Karen Boone, owner of Kreations by Karen

Tribute Award: Ericka Harney, executive director of Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance

Rising Star Award: Kelly King Bakehorn, owner and president of The Grand Reserve and The Barrel House

Legacy Award: Kathy Gornik, president and CEO of Aperture Consulting


“With the latest census statistics showing that the majority of all workers in America are employed by small-business owners, we are reminded that small-business owners are the true unsung heroes of our times,” said Janey Moores, NAWBO Lexington chapter awards coordinator. “That same census also shows that women now own at least a third of all businesses in the U.S. As more and more women follow the dreams of their hearts by owning their own businesses, America grows stronger by the day and remains the land of the free and the home of the brave.”


The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 15 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website,




MEDIA CONTACT: Roberta Meisel, 859-257-7668.

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.