VIDEO: 'MosquitoMate' Develops From UK Entomology Research

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 16:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2014) — Who would have thought of mosquitoes being put to work to help decrease and control the mosquito population? University of Kentucky professor and researcher Stephen Dobson and his former graduate student, Jimmy Mains, that's who.


Dobson, professor of medical and veterinary entomology in the Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Mains have developed a technology that uses male mosquitoes to effectively sterilize females through a naturally occurring bacterium.


"Most mosquito control companies use chemical pesticides which are sprayed out of trucks and planes, or maybe out of a backpack sprayer," Dobson said. "Ours is a very different approach. By using a natural bacterium called Wolbachia and the mosquitoes' innate ability to find mates, we are applying an approach which does not require chemicals."


Mains is a medical entomologist with the company recently formed by Dobson, MosquitoMate. The principal investigator on the project, Mains earned his Ph.D. from UK in 2012 while working in Dobson's lab. Mains just received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin field trials that both men hope will demonstrate that this technique can be effective across the nation and beyond.


"A big advantage to our method is that the male mosquitoes are ‘self-delivering.’ We don't need to devote hours in finding and treating all the mosquitoes in your yard. The male mosquitoes find the females for us," Mains said. 


Mains and Dobson credit UK's Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship, housed within the Gatton College of Business and Economics, with helping them to take their research from the lab to the field. The center assists UK faculty and others in commercializing their research so they can transfer the technologies they have originated to the outside world for eventual far-reaching application.


"MosquitoMate has obtained an experimental use permit for open field releases," said Dobson. "We're now able to apply the bacterium in small defined areas. The idea is to develop data which we can give to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to demonstrate that it works and hopefully, MosquitoMate can move into actual sales and commercial use of the product."


The primary target for MosquitoMate is the Asian tiger mosquito and as the name suggests, it is an introduced pest.


"It came to the U.S. in the mid-1980s and spread throughout the country," Dobson said.  "By eliminating this mosquito, we will be going back to a more natural state."


Mosquitoes such as the Asian tiger historically have been much more than a nuisance, transmitting diseases to humans.


“Now we are getting new reports of a new pathogen called the Chikungunya virus, in which there is an epidemic in the Caribbean and we're starting to get cases to show up in the U.S.,” said Dobson.


“Recently cases have popped up in the United States, including right here in Kentucky,” Mains said. 


The researchers believe that at this point, the cases are thought to be from tourists who leave the country, become infected and then return to the U.S.  “But there is the concern that we could start having local transmissions where mosquitoes are picking it up and transmitting it here within the U.S.,” Dobson said. 


Female mosquitoes bite and can transmit pathogens like the Chikungunya virus.  Male mosquitoes, though, do not bite, instead they are pollinators. They spend their lives hunting for females and drinking nectar.


"The Asian tiger mosquito is a container breeder," said Mains. "One homeowner's yard can contain hundreds of sites, such as gutters, flower pots, other receptacles and essentially anything that contains water."


Dobson said the MosquitoMate team is rearing large numbers of mosquitoes in the laboratory and removing the females before going to the field.

"We gather the males into cages and then transport the mosquitoes to the targeted site," Dobson said.


"Our employees basically walk around the perimeter of the house releasing the mosquitoes from the cage," said Mains. "This distributes the mosquitoes within the area pretty evenly."


An important advantage of this methodology over the traditional mechanical spraying of pesticides is that chemicals have the potential to affect non-targets, such as bees, butterflies and other insects that are beneficial to the ecosystem. The MosquitoMate approach only impacts female mosquitoes.


In addition to testing in Kentucky, MosquitoMate has collaborators in California, Florida and New York who are carrying out trials to prove that this method can be effective at multiple sites.


Dobson and Mains intend to take the evidence they gather back to the EPA and apply for a full registration, which would enable them to market their technology throughout the U.S. and in time, to other countries around the world that are trying to stop the spread of mosquito-borne diseases to their citizens.


"To play a key role in helping to reduce or eliminate a significant health threat to our population while building a company which potentially will create a large number of new jobs is a thrilling proposition," said Mains. "We believe MosquitoMate can do just that."




MEDIA CONTACTS: Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940; Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200.


Vasconez Elected President of Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 14:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2014) — The University of Kentucky's Dr. Henry Vasconez has been elected the 2014-15 president of the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.


Previously, Vasconez served as vice president for the society. At UK, he is the chief of the division of plastic surgery and is a professor of surgery and pediatrics in the UK College of Medicine. He also holds the William S. Farish Chair of Plastic Surgery.


Vasconez received his medical training at Central University Medical School in Quito, Ecuador. He completed a general surgery residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago and a plastic surgery residency at Emory University in Atlanta. He also completed a fellowship at the International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery, the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  


His main research interests include bone metabolism, bone substitutes and wound healing. He also specializes in craniofacial surgery, pediatric plastic surgery, breast reconstruction and aesthetic surgery.


The Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons strives to maintain professional excellence, provide forums for the exchange of information among members, and promote and further medical and surgical training within their society and amongst other regional and national groups of plastic surgeons.

Three Researchers from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Awarded Bright Focus Grants

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 12:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2014) — The Bright Focus Foundation has announced that three different researchers from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky have received Bright Focus grants for 2014.


Professor Steve Estus and associate professors Harry LeVine and Paul Murphy were each recognized for their work on Alzheimer's disease.


"Only 25 Bright Focus grants are awarded worldwide each year, so it's an achievement to get one. But three Bright Focus grants in a single year is truly exceptional," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK HealthCare's executive vice president of health affairs. "These awards are an appropriate reflection of Sanders-Brown's international reputation for groundbreaking research into the causes and treatments for Alzheimer's and other cerebrovascular disease."


The Bright Focus programs are designed to provide initial funding for highly innovative experimental ideas. Most awardees use the grant funds to demonstrate key findings that lead to later interest and additional funding from industrial or governmental funding agencies. This year, Bright Focus awarded 25 grants worth a total of $8.7 million. The three grants awarded to the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging total $605,000.


Each of the three grants awarded to Sanders-Brown addresses a different aspect of Alzheimer's disease (AD) detection, prevention and treatment.


Building on previous research identifying hereditary differences in a gene known to be associated with a reduced risk of AD, Dr. Estus and his lab will try to demonstrate that this gene inhibits the production of cells beneficial to the prevention of AD.  Ultimately, this work could lead to new treatments for the prevention of AD.


LeVine's lab will be looking into a molecule that helps in early detection of AD. By honing in on the specific neurons in the AD brain marked by this molecule, Dr. LeVine and his team hope to learn what makes humans uniquely susceptible to AD, with long term goals to improve animal models of AD and identify potential therapeutic strategies.


In 2012, Murphy worked with fellow Sanders-Brown researcher Dana Niedowicz to create a genetically engineered mouse with obesity, diabetes and AD-like symptoms to study why obese people seem to have a higher risk for AD or other dementias.  This mouse with "mixed dementia" will be used to search for treatments among therapies that have already undergone clinical safety trials or are already being used to treat other conditions.


Dr. Guy Eakin, vice president of scientific affairs for the Bright Focus Foundation, notes that three Bright Focus awards for Sanders-Brown researchers isn't a complete surprise.

"Sanders-Brown has long been a well-recognized leader in Alzheimer’s disease research," Eakin said. "Their work is exceptionally compelling, and ranks amongst the most promising ideas currently being studied in the effort to understand and conquer Alzheimer’s disease."


Bright Focus Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting research and providing public education to help eradicate brain and eye diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.  Bright Focus awards are intended to advance early-stage, investigator-initiated research around the world by providing funding for unique research hypotheses with the potential to grow into future clinical realities. For more information on the Bright Focus Foundation and its 2014 grants, go to


The University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) was established in 1979 and is one of the original ten National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Alzheimer’s disease Research Centers. SBCoA is internationally acclaimed for its progress in the fight against illnesses facing the aging population. 



Keeping Acute Back Pain from Becoming Chronic

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 10:36


LEXNGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2014) — Chances are, you're one of the eight in 10 people who experience back pain during their lives. Daily life, job conditions, recreational activities, and simple aging have left most of us acquainted with some sort of back pain, ranging from acute and temporary to chronic and disabling. The good news is that most back pain resolves on its own and doesn't need serious medical treatment. However, even a single, acute episode of back pain can leave small but consequential impairments that can lead to further incidents or chronic pain. For this reason, it's important to be proactive in keeping your back pain from becoming serious.


Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent acute back pain from progressing:


1.     Know that you need to address the problem. While very few cases of back pain require serious treatment like surgery, it's important to take steps to prevent the problem from worsening.

2.     Pay attention to your body position and posture. Like your mother said: Sit up straight! In sitting up straight, we engage the muscles in our core, which protects the back and decreases the likelihood of progression from acute to chronic pain.

3.     Stay fit. When it comes to back pain, general fitness counts. In addition to the need for strong core muscles to protect our backs, cardiovascular fitness is also associated with protection against back pain.

4.     Maintain healthy body mass index/weight.  Research shows that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to experience back pain.

5.     Use specific exercises for your needs. If you're sitting or standing in your job all day, there are specific exercise that can help your back. The Mayo Clinic provides guides for healthy back exercises in 15 minutes a day, available at

6.     Resume normal activities as soon as possible. Bed rest for longer than a day can actually slow your recovery, so stay active and try to perform as much of your normal routine as you can.


However, it's also important to know the "red flags" that might indicate you're dealing with something more serious than garden variety back pain. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if your pain isn't resolved in three-to five weeks.


·      Pain that goes below the knee

·      Severe, unrelenting pain that wakes you up at night or gives you cold sweats

·      Sudden, unexplained weight loss  


If you have back pain and are interested in participating in back pain research at the University of Kentucky, contact the Human Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Lab, 859-323-3876 or


Dr. Arthur Nitz is a professor of physical therapy in the UK College of Health Science.


This column appeared in the July 13, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.


Supafunkrock, Jazz, Latin, Celtic and Classical Music, Singletary Center Has It All

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 18:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts kicks off its 2014-15 Singletary Signature Series with the man behind the Supafunkrock sound, Trombone Shorty, in a season that also includes performances from popular jazz, Latin and classical artists as well as a holiday program with Celtic flair. All tickets to Trombone Shorty, Branford Marsalis, Diego Garcia, Tomaseen Foley's "A Celtic Christmas" and Joshua Bell go on sale 10 a.m. today (Monday), July 14.


Trombone Shorty performing "Fire & Brimstone." 


The 2014-15 season will open in September with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews is a rare artist who can draw both the unqualified respect of jazz legends and deliver a high-energy show capable of mesmerizing audiences worldwide. With an unprecedented mix of rock, funk, jazz, hip-hop and soul, he had to create his own name to describe his signature sound: Supafunkrock. Andrews is the kind of player who comes along maybe once in a generation. Lexington audiences can hear Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue beginning 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12.


Returning to Singletary Center this fall is a legendary jazz musician from the celebrated Marsalis family, Branford Marsalis. A Grammy award-winning and Tony award-nominated saxophonist and composer, Marsalis is joined by the renowned Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for 20 performances only, on his national "Well-Tempered" tour, featuring Baroque masterpieces by Tomaso Albinoni, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Handel, Antonio Vivaldi and more. Leader of one of the finest jazz quartets today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. Branford Marsalis and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia will take the stage 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26.



Diego Garcia video of "Sunnier Days." 


Warm up your chilly November nights with the Latin sounds of Diego Garcia. Prior to his successful solo career, Garcia made his mark on the indie music scene as front man for the popular New York indie rock act Elefant. Drawing from his Argentine roots, he explores his Latin heritage with a sound that conjures the spirit of 1970s troubadours like Sandro and Jobim, as well as singer-songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Harry Nilsson. A breakout star with the release of his solo album "Laura," NPR named Garcia’s debut “one of the top 25 albums of the year.” His poignant first single “You Were Never There,” features lush string arrangements, delicate Spanish guitars and distinctly Latin flavor. Diego Garcia brings his sound to the Singletary stage 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15.



A preview of Tomaseen Foley's "A Celtic Christmas."


Kentucky families looking for a different way to celebrate the holidays can take in Tomaseen Foley's "A Celtic Christmas." Now in its 17th season, "A Celtic Christmas" recreates the joy and innocence of a night before Christmas in a remote farmhouse in the parish of Teampall an Ghleanntáin in the west of Ireland. The show remembers when neighboring families gathered around the fire to grace the wintry night with haunting melodies of traditional Irish Christmas carols, to raise the rafters with the joy of their music, to knock sparks off the flagstone floor with traditional dances, and to fill the night with the laughter of their stories. Tomaseen Foley's "A Celtic Christmas" will warm your heart beginning 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21.



Joshua Bell performs "The Four Season" Summer III. Presto by Antonio Vivaldi.


Classical aficionados will not want to miss violinist Joshua Bell as he makes his debut at the Singletary Center next April. Often referred to as the "poet of the violin," Bell is one of the world's most celebrated violinists. He continues to enchant audiences with his breathtaking virtuosity, tone of sheer beauty, and charismatic stage presence. His restless curiosity, passion, universal appeal and multi-faceted musical interests have earned him the rare title of "classical music superstar." Bell will join conductor John Nardolillo and the acclaimed UK Symphony Orchestra to perform a program that includes Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto #1 in G Minor Op. 26 and Camille Saing-Saëns' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28. Joshua Bell and UK Symphony Orchestra grace the stage 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 3.


Ticket prices vary for the 2014-15 Singletary Signature Series performances and are on sale today beginning at 10 a.m. Tickets to Singletary Signature Series shows can be purchased by calling the Singletary Center ticket office at 859-257-4929, visiting online at, or in person at the venue. Processing fees will be added to purchase upon transaction.


A part of the UK College of Fine Arts, the Singletary Center for the Arts presents and hosts around 400 artistic, cultural and educational events annually for the university community, Lexington community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



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

Sports Center Garage Construction to Begin July 14

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 17:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2014) — As part of the annual routine maintenance work on the University of Kentucky's parking structures, construction will impact the Sports Center Garage (PS #7) starting Monday, July 14. UK Parking and Transportation Services says the work will cause approximately 50 parking spaces on the top level of the facility to be blocked.


During the summer months, parking demand is reduced, providing increased flexibility in parking alternatives. Employees who normally park in the Sports Center Garage should allow extra commute time.


If the facility is full, employees may park in any E or R areas or the K areas at Commonwealth Stadium. Visit to view the campus summer parking map and identify alternate parking locations.


The work on the Sports Center Garage is expected to last approximately one week. However, as always, construction is weather-dependent and the timetable may change.


Members of the campus community are encouraged to tune into 1700 AM (WQKH 253) to hear campus parking and transportation information. The station broadcasts 24 hours, seven days a week.

One Year After NCI Designation, Markey Continues to Grow

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 17:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2014) — A year ago, a crowd of hundreds gathered in Pavilion A of the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital to celebrate a long-awaited special announcement – the unveiling of the UK Markey Cancer Center as the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.


The designation was the culmination of years of tireless work by the faculty and staff of Markey and its supporting service lines and colleges – all guided by Director Dr. Mark Evers, who came to UK in 2009 with the vision of propelling Markey to NCI designation.


"Even before earning the NCI designation, we'd already taken extraordinary steps in the past few years in terms of combating cancer incidence and mortality through preventative measures, treatments and research," Evers said. "But having the support and approval of the NCI has already made a huge impact in terms of both research and our clinical care."


Patient Care at Markey

As the word spread about Markey's NCI designation, clinicians and staff experienced an increase in the patient population in almost every clinical area. In 2014, Markey saw nearly 150 more new patients over the previous year, with total patient visits increasing from roughly 75,000 last year to more than 85,000 this year – which also marks a 29 percent increase in patient visits compared to just five years ago.


In particular, Markey's outpatient clinics are growing -- the Comprehensive Breast Care Center, the Multi-Disciplinary Clinic, and the Gynecology-Oncology Clinic saw unique patient growth of 29 percent, 10 percent, and 5 percent, respectively, over the past year.


With such an increase in patient volume – and variety – Evers and his team have also stepped up recruitment, seeking out the best cancer specialists in their fields to join the Markey Cancer Center. Markey's already vast team of specialists now includes a bevy of new team members added in the past year, including four medical oncologists; three hematology and blood and marrow transplantation specialists; three surgical oncologists; two genitourinary cancer surgeons; two oral and maxillofacial surgeons; and a specialist in oncofertility, a new program starting up at the cancer center. 


Cancer Research

Recruiting strong researchers is a major aspect of earning and maintaining an NCI designation, and this year Markey landed a major established research team in metabolomics. Rick Higashi, Hunter Moseley, Teresa Fan, and Andrew Lane joined Markey last fall, bringing with them more than $18 million dollars in funding. One of the major focuses of the team's work is to develop early diagnostic approaches for lung cancer based on metabolism markers, which is especially important in Kentucky, where we own the distinction of having the worst rates of lung cancer incidence and death in the country.


Over the past two years, Markey has increased its funding from the NCI by 27 percent and from other National Institutes of Health divisions by 16 percent. Overall, since the end of calendar year 2012, Markey's total research funding from both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources has increased by $7.3 million.


Additionally, Markey researchers continue to push major findings out to their peers in academia – in 2014, Markey authors published 528 scientific articles, 49 more than the previous year.


Moving forward, Evers notes that his team will continue to seek out new clinician-scientists who have experience in clinical trials and early phase drug development, with the goal of significantly increasing the number of patients who participate in trials. Another emerging field of research for Markey is molecular epidemiology, the study of potential genetic and environmental risk factors for disease identified at the molecular level, which has the potential for great impact in Appalachia.



Markey's Reach Across the State

Though based in Lexington, Markey also strives to provide access to top-notch cancer care across the state and beyond through the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. The Affiliate Network is a group of healthcare facilities that provide high-quality cancer services and programs in their communities with the support and guidance of the UK Markey Cancer Center, allowing patients to receive their care closer to home.


Currently, the network comprises nine hospitals across the state of Kentucky:

  • Norton Cancer Institute, Louisville
  • Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Ashland
  • Hardin Memorial Hospital, Elizabethtown
  • Frankfort Regional Medical Center, Frankfort
  • Georgetown Community Hospital, Georgetown
  • Harrison Memorial Hospital, Cynthiana
  • Appalachian Regional HealthCare (ARH), Hazard
  • St. Claire Regional Medical Center, Morehead
  • Rockcastle Regional Hospital, Mt. Vernon

Since Markey earned the NCI designation, demand for new affiliations has grown. Two new ARH hospitals will be added this summer, moving Markey further into Eastern Kentucky, an underserved area known for some of the worst rates of cancer incidence and death in the country. Additionally, evaluations are under way for seven other hospitals, including two outside the state of Kentucky, extending Markey's reach further and establishing it as the destination cancer center for the region. 


The Future of Cancer Care in Kentucky

Following last year's announcement of Markey's NCI designation, Evers joked with his staff that they had one day to celebrate – and the next day, they'd be back in full swing, ready to propel Markey to the next level of designation: an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Currently, 41 of the 68 total NCI-designated cancer centers in the country hold a comprehensive cancer center status.


To earn this top level of designation, cancer centers must show a depth and breadth of research in each of three major areas: laboratory, clinical, and population-based research, as well as substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas. Additionally, outreach is especially important, and comprehensive cancer centers must demonstrate professional and public education and outreach capabilities, including the dissemination of clinical and public health advances in the communities it serves.


NCI designations are renewable every five years, and Evers hopes that Markey's next application will be for comprehensive status. To reach that level, Markey has a long to-do list, including increasing cancer-related funding, accruing more patients into clinical trials (including pushing these trials out into the state via the affiliate network), and maintaining and increasing focus on Appalachian Kentucky.


"Our progress in the past year has been spectacular, but we can – and should – do more," Evers said. "As the only NCI-designated cancer center in Kentucky, it's our responsibility to be the leader in cancer care and to always seek out new ways to improve rates of cancer incidence and death in the state, and to make sure that we can also offer the best possible care for our patients right here in Kentucky. Earning a comprehensive cancer center designation from the NCI will be another big step in that direction."





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

UK's Ecological Research and Education Center Gaining Stature

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 16:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 11, 2014) — The University of Kentucky's Ecological Research and Education Center has reached an important milestone in becoming a recognized field station.


For 18 years the Ecological Research Facility (ERF), located on the north side of town, was used as a site for controlled experiments. Four years ago the University of Kentucky bought a former library building that was adjacent to ERF. With financial assistance from LexMark, ERF was able to become a field station.  


UK biology faculty and undergraduate students have since used the Ecological Research and Education Center (EREC) for a broad range of ecological environmental and genomic research. In addition to research, EREC is also involved in furthering the education of undergraduate students and community outreach.  


Now, those at EREC wish to heighten the field station’s reputation. Biology Professor Philip Crowley and collaborators came together to write a planning grant to the National Science Foundation. The approved “Field Station Planning for the Ecological Research Center at the University of Kentucky” grant will fund workshops and multiple discussions to advance the goals of EREC.


“What we need is input from outside,” said Crowley. “People who have done this successfully.”


During the 17-month project period, experienced field station leaders and academics from varying universities will come to EREC to give their input on how to advance everybody’s cause. By receiving fresh and new ideas from outside sources, EREC is taking a step forward in becoming nationally and internationally important.


“This puts us in a much better position to seek funding and to recruit researchers and students to implement these ideas,” said Crowley.


Crowley is optimistic that after the workshops, EREC will be better situated to increase its research activity and productivity of dissertations. In addition to research output, Crowley hopes that the teaching component of EREC will also be strengthened to benefit undergraduate lab students.


Three UK Students Invited to Fulbright Summer Institutes in the UK

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 16:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced the selection of three UK students by the US-UK Fulbright Commission to participate in Fulbright Summer Institutes in the United Kingdom.


Kelsey Potter, an English and integrated strategic communication junior, has been awarded a place at the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) Summer Institute at Shakespeare’s Globe, a three-week cultural and academic program for U.S. students.


In addition, Rebecca Rose Boehman, a pre-pharmacy sophomore, and Yvonne Johnson, an English and computer science sophomore, have been awarded a place at the Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute, a five-week cultural and academic program for U.S. students held at University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde.


The US-UK Fulbright Commission is the only bilateral, transatlantic scholarship program, offering awards and summer programs for study or research in any field, at any accredited U.S. or U.K. university. The commission is part of the Fulbright program conceived by Senator J. William Fulbright in the aftermath of World War II to promote leadership, learning and empathy between nations through educational exchange. Award recipients and summer program participants will be the future leaders for tomorrow and support the “special relationship” between the U.S. and U.K.


As a participant of the AIFS Summer Institute at Shakespeare's Globe, Potter has been selected from a strong applicant pool to explore William Shakespeare’s work and the playhouse for which he wrote. During her time there, she will study on-site at the Globe Theatre, work with professional theatre practitioners, and develop her knowledge of Shakespeare studies and drama.


"I am so thankful and excited for this experience. The opportunity to study Shakespeare’s work at the Globe Theatre is a dream come true," Potter said. "I’m looking forward to meeting other students who share my passion for theatre and to build friendships abroad. I know that this experience will change my life, and I hope to bring the knowledge and skills that I gain during the program back to the U.S."


A native of Worthington, Kentucky, Potter graduated from Raceland-Worthington High School before coming to UK. She was involved in numerous local theatre productions as an actor and stage manager while managing her own photography business.


At UK, Potter is a Chellgren Fellow and member of the Honors Program. She also serves as the public relations manager for the undergraduate literary journal Shale, promotions director for TEDxUKY, and a social media intern for the Honors Program. In addition, Potter is a member of the Student Activities Board, the Italian Club and Sigma Tau Delta.


The theme for the Fulbright-Scotland Summer Institute that Boehman and Johnson will take part in is "Scotland: Identity, Culture and Innovation." The institute will provide American undergraduates with a unique perspective on the cultural and political forces that have shaped modern Scotland, with a strong emphasis on its pioneering role as a technological nation. As participants in the program, Boehman and Johnson will explore and learn about the heritage, history and culture of Scotland through visits to Scottish Parliament, museums, galleries and sites of historic interest, including castles, battlegrounds, stately homes and areas of scenic beauty.


Boehman, a native of Carmel, Indiana, graduated from St. Theodore Guerin High School. An active member of the Pre-Pharmacy Club at UK, she selected her major based on family influence.


"I have a passion for science and medicine and a passion for working with people. I was exposed to the field of pharmacy through family members, especially my mother. I also have a particular interest in the effects of drugs on children and hope to specialize in clinical pediatrics," Boehman said.


After completing her undergraduate studies, Boehman hopes to attend UK College of Pharmacy.


Johnson, a native of Pendleton, Kentucky, graduated from South Oldham High School. Since elementary school, she has actively pursued creative writing and technology opportunities. Johnson also attended the Governor's School for the Arts.


A member of the Honors Program and writer for Shale, Johnson had to narrow down her vast interests to select her two majors at UK, English and computer science. "I chose areas of study that I most enjoyed. I have a wide range of interests, and I'd have about eight different majors if I could, but I narrowed it down to my top two. I've been creatively writing since first grade, and I've been teaching myself how to build websites and how to code since sixth grade. The two interests really went hand-in-hand because the reason I wanted to build a website in the first place was so that I would have somewhere to showcase my writing."


After finishing her undergraduate studies, Johnson plans to attend graduate school.


The US-UK Fulbright Commission selects participants through a rigorous application and interview process. In making these awards the commission looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Program and a plan to give back to the recipient’s home country upon returning.


The Fulbright Summer Program covers all participant costs. In addition, summer participants receive a distinctive support and cultural education program including: visa processing, a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in country, a re-entry session and opportunity to join alumni networks.


Created by treaty on Sept. 22, 1948, the US-UK Fulbright Commission offers grants at postgraduate and postdoctoral level for study in any discipline and at any accredited institution in the U.S. and U.K., as well as a number of special exchange programs for shorter projects or for younger scholars. It is funded by a range of partners including leading U.S. and U.K. universities, charities and both governments. This year, the commission is hosting nine summer institutes at the following host institutions: University of Bristol; University of Exeter; Durham University; King's College London; Queen's University Belfast; Cardiff, Bangor and Aberystwyth universities; Dundee and Strathclyde universities; and more. For more information, visit summer-institutes.


Students interested in applying for a Fulbright Summer Institute, 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 the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



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

UK Professor Releases Debut CD 'Lost Trumpet Treasures'

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:03

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2014) — University of Kentucky School of Music's Jason Dovel, an assistant professor of trumpet, has just released his debut solo CD, "Lost Trumpet Treasures." The album is a collaboration with Julliard-trained pianist, Edward Neeman, as well as internationally acclaimed trumpeter Vince DiMartino, who was once the trumpet professor at UK.


The title of Dovel's CD, "Lost Trumpets Treasures," captures the artistic purpose of the disc: to promote high-quality trumpet literature that has not been recorded and/or has been 'lost' from the mainstream repertoire.


"It is hoped that this project not only provides reference recordings for these wonderful pieces, but also helps promote a renewed interest in their performance." Dovel said.

The CD is now available for purchase through the record company Mark Records at and will be available on Itunes and other online retailers in August 2014.


Prior to coming to UK, Dovel was an associate professor of trumpet at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. An active soloist, Dovel has had recent performances in 14 states as well as at different festivals across the country. In addition to his solo career, Dovel is an orchestral trumpeter, performing with numerous orchestras, ballets and operas. During the summer months, he often plays trumpet with Ash Lawn Opera in Virginia.


Outside of performing, Dovel has published articles in the Music Educators Journal, International Trumpet Guild Journal and The Instrumentalist, and he has been a recordings reviewer for the International Trumpet Guild Journal since 2006. He studied privately with Keith Johnson, George Novak, Charles Saenz, James Kluesner, Charlie Geyer, Barbara Butler, Barry Bauguess (Baroque trumpet) and Bruce Dickey (cornetto).


The UK School of Music at 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 Family Center Offers Divorce, Parenting Services

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 16:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2014) — In efforts to continue to provide affordable counseling services to families, couples and individuals of Lexington, the University of Kentucky Family Center is now offering a divorce support group for children, as well as free parenting consultations.


The divorce support group for children offers a safe, fun place where children learn skills that will help them to better deal with parental separation or divorce. Guided by therapists through the course of six sessions, children will take part in an imaginary space adventure, allowing them to learn how to better cope with parents' divorce while making it easier to talk about the difficulties associated with it.


The support group is limited to six children per group, ages 7-10 years old. Sessions will be held at the UK Family Center, 205 Scovell Hall, from 10-11 a.m. and 6-7 p.m. on July 21, 24, 28 and 31, and Aug. 4 and 7. If these times and dates do not work, individuals are encouraged to call the center for additional availability.


A fee of $30 covers one child and $45 covers two or more children. To register or to find out more information about the support group, call 859-257-775 or email


A second new service, free parenting consultations, is being offered by the UK Family Center for parents who are feeling overwhelmed, concerned about their child's behaviors, struggling to relate to their preteen or teenager, noticing a sudden change in their child's overall mood, or for those who are just in need of reassurance, education and advice.


Parenting consultations are confidential but clients must bring someone else with them to receive services, such as a spouse, partner, family member or friend involved in the child’s life. Consultations will be from 2-6 p.m. on every second and fourth Friday of the month at the UK Family Center. Walk-ins are welcome but to avoid waiting, call 859-257-7755 to reserve a session.


The UK Family Center is a community mental health facility serviced by therapy interns who are in the family sciences master's program at UK. Interns are supervised weekly by their clinical supervisors who are licensed marriage and family therapists within UK's family sciences' faculty. The Family Center has contributed its efforts to the community for more than 25 years. As a nonprofit, the Family Center's first priority is to provide a place of genuine personal growth for therapy interns and their clients.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder,, or Whitney Hale 859-257-8716 Since its founding in 1865, the University of Kentucky has been dedicated to improving people's lives through excellence in education, research and creative work, service, and health care as Kentucky's flagship institution and one of the nation's top land grant universities. Please join us in celebrating the university's 150 year storied history and help us build on that tradition of success as part of UK's sesquicentennial celebration through 2015. Visit to access UK sesquicentennial news, in addition to archived news stories and announcements. Keep up with UK sesquicentennial activities on social media by looking for #UK150.

UK Receives $3.75 Million For Community-Based Rural Cancer Prevention

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 15:50

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2014) — At 44, Sherry Payne was uncommonly young to be diagnosed with colon cancer. She was also too young to have started regular colon cancer screenings, so by the time she developed symptoms and went to the doctor, the disease had already progressed to Stage 3. It was 1998, and she was given two years to live.


"As you can see, I did not take that seriously and I am still here," Payne says today.


More than 15 years after her diagnosis, Payne is cancer-free and dedicates her life to cancer prevention in Eastern Kentucky. A Knox County resident, she works as a community health advisor for the American Cancer Society, improving communities' health by encouraging men and women to practice early detection of colon, breast, and cervical cancer while it is in the most treatable stages.


Her passion has also led her to work with researchers at the University of Kentucky (UK) Rural Cancer Prevention Center (RCPC), which has just received a $3.75 million, five-year grant renewal from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote screening and prevent death from colorectal cancer in Central Appalachia and other rural areas.


The UK RCPC, housed at the UK College of Public Health, is a planned collaboration of community members, public health professionals, and researchers that conduct applied prevention research to reduce health disparities associated with cervical cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer among residents of the Kentucky River Area Development District (KRADD). The UK RCPC is one of just 26 CDC-funded Prevention Research Centers (PRC) in the country, and the only one focused on developing and disseminating strategies for rural cancer prevention.


The central mission of the PRC program is to support community-based, participatory prevention research to drive major community changes that can prevent and control chronic diseases. In line with this mission, the work of the UK RCPC is guided by a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that sets research and service priorities. Payne serves as one of 13 members on the RCPC board, along with other health care professionals, administrators, and educators; business, media, and government representatives; and family members of cancer survivors.


In fact, it was the CAB that directed the RCPC to dedicate its current five years of funding to colorectal cancer screening and prevention. In the previous five years of funding, the RCPC focused on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and cervical cancer screening at the direction of the CAB.


"This is where we need to be focusing our attention — in the response to needs indicated by representatives of the community," says Dr. Richard Crosby, director of the RCPC and professor and chair of the department of health behavior in the UK College of Public Health.


The data supports the decision of the CAB to focus on colorectal cancer: Not only does Kentucky have the nation's highest rates of cancer incidence and death, more people from Appalachian Kentucky die from colorectal cancer than those diagnosed with colorectal cancer in other regions of the state.


While colorectal cancer is usually a slow growing cancer that has a much higher survival rate if detected and treated early, delayed or no screening can lead to late-stage diagnosis when the chance of survival is significantly lower.  For people living in rural areas like Appalachia, where they may be geographically and socially isolated from health care providers, a major problem is a lack of access to recommended screenings for colorectal cancer. This is especially true in the KRADD counties, all eight of which are classified as Healthcare Professional Shortage Areas by the U.S. Health Services and Resources Administration.


The counties in which the RCPC works also experience severe economic distress. Collectively, the communities that compose the KRADD represent one of the lowest income regions in the country, and the three poorest counties in the U.S.--Breathitt, Lee, and Owsley--are all located in the KRADD.


"This is about serving Kentuckians, and we are targeting an area of the rural Appalachia that has extremely high rates of colorectal cancer morbidity," says Crosby. "We're focusing on a project that engages people at a point when we can still do something to prevent their death."


Over the next five years, Crosby and the RCPC team will develop, implement, and disseminate an intervention to promote a simple, at-home screening test called FIT (fecal immunochemical test) that could drastically increase rates of annual colorectal cancer screening in rural areas. FIT tests use a new technology for detecting antibodies to polyps (potentially cancerous clumps of cells) in the stool. With FIT, you simply brush the surface of the stool with a brush included in the kit and then dab the end of the brush onto the test card, which is mailed off for testing. The test is quick, painless, low-cost, and doesn't require a trip to the doctor -- still somewhat unpleasant, but likely preferable to an unnecessary colonoscopy or, of course, cancer. In the case of a positive FIT test result, RCPC staff will help individuals navigate the healthcare system to get further testing and treatment as needed.


Their upcoming work will build upon the successes of their previous round of funding, which focused on cervical cancer prevention and screening. The cervical cancer prevention program developed by the RCPC is now being used in 18 local Kentucky health departments and has also been adapted for use in 30 local health departments in North Carolina.  Over the next five years, Crosby and the RCPC team will leverage the key partnerships that have supported their previous success, not only working with the CAB but also with local health departments, the Kentucky Department of Public Health, and further academic and medical resources on campus like the Markey Cancer Center, the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, the College of Communication and Information, the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks, and the Kentucky Cancer Registry.


Crosby says the work of the RCPC goes beyond the "bench to bedside" goal of moving laboratory discoveries into new applications, such as treatments or devices, for humans.


"This is 'bench to community' work — we want to keep people from needing bedside care at all," he says.


Payne is similarly hopeful that efforts of the RCPC to prevent colorectal cancer in Appalachia will spare others the experience she endured, and prevent deaths from treatable cancers.


"I am so grateful to be part of the RCPC project," she says.   "While under treatment, I saw too many colon cancer patients passing away when they could have avoided late stage cancer if they had participated in cancer screenings."  


MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,

Portion of Rose Street Expected to Close July 21

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 21:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) —  As site preparation and utilities upgrades continue for construction of the new Academic Science Building at the University of Kentucky, the portion of Rose Street between Huguelet Drive and Funkhouser Drive will close July 21. This is a minor delay from the originally scheduled date of July 7.


The portion of Washington Avenue that has been closed from Limestone to Gladstone is expected to reopen July 21, at which time Washington Avenue from Gladstone to Rose Street will close.

UK Sophomore Among Top Award Winners in Psychology Video Challenge

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 17:23


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 10, 2014) – University of Kentucky sophomore psychology major Kara McCord won one of the 2014 Noba Student Video Award top prizes, awarded by the Diener Education Fund (DEF) and Noba Psychology, for her video titled “Flashbulb Memories”.


The worldwide competition recognizes the most outstanding student-made videos developed around psychological concepts related to memory.


McCord’s entry, judged by a panel of leading psychologists, was among entries from the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia. In addition to receiving a cash award of $3,000, her video focusing on a phenomenon of autobiographical memory, will be included as a part of the Noba Psychology digital textbook in a module centered on memory.


The Noba Psychology Collection is a free and open-licensed intro-to-psychology resource created for college-level learners and instructors as an alternative to expensive traditional textbooks. Noba emphasizes “active” learning and created the 2014 Student Video Award as an opportunity for students to connect to the science of psychology in a creative and meaningful way.


Referring to McCord’s entry, Noba co-founder Ed Diener said, “As scientists we put a heavy emphasis on accuracy and as instructors we value clarity in our communication. Kara did a terrific job getting the flashbulb memory concept across in a way that will really help other students learn.”


Noba plans to announce a new video award competition for the coming academic year in September of 2014.

Six UK Architecture Students Named Finalists in National Furniture Competition

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 12:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) — Six students from the University of Kentucky School of Architecture in the College of Design have been selected as finalists in the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) "Design Emphasis" Student Furniture Design Competition in Atlanta, Georgia. The competition will be held in the Georgia World Congress Center the week of Aug. 18, 2014.


The six students who have been selected to compete are:

· Nikki Challita, architecture graduate student from Bellbrook, Ohio;

· Adam Eaton, 2014 graduate with a master's degree in architecture from Bellbrook;

· Adam Logsdon, architecture graduate student from Louisville, Kentucky;

· Mark Manczyk, architecture graduate student from Taylor Mill, Kentucky;

· Sarah Mohr, 2014 graduate with a master's degree in architecture from Smithton, Illinois; and

· Don Shepperson, architecture senior from Lancaster, Kentucky.


All six students in the competition were in the spring 2014 furniture studio taught by Professor Leonard Wujcik.


The "Design Emphasis" competition brings students from design schools across the nation to exhibit their work at IWF for judging by a panel of professionals made up of furniture industry designers, manufacturing and retail executives, and members of the trade press who have design-oriented backgrounds. The competition recognizes and rewards designs in five categories: seating, case goods, commercial/office/hospitality furniture, accent furniture/accent tables, and design creativity.


Over $10,000 in prize money will be awarded and presented in a ceremony following the judging of "Design Emphasis." As well as being involved in the competition, the students will also be able to attend the trade show itself, allowing them to make valuable career contacts and share ideas with fellow design students from across the country.


IWF is a trade show known around the world for offering new and innovative products and solutions for furniture manufacturing, cabinetry, architectural woodworking, material processing and other related industries, as well as bringing industry professionals from around the globe together for great networking opportunities. At IWF, visitors can view the newest products and trends and learn from those who have already troubleshot the solutions. 




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

UK Forestry Professor Researching Emergency Care App

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 16:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) — University of Kentucky Department of Forestry Professor Jeffrey Stringer has been awarded funding by the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center (CARERC) for a pilot research project that is developing a web-based application that identifies the closest emergency personnel for those injured in the logging industry. He is one of five recipients of research funding from CARERC.


A professor of hardwood silviculture and forest operations, Stringer's current research project would aid all those working in the forest and wood industry, which provides 59,300 jobs in 109 of Kentucky's 120 counties, as well as providing over 12.8 billion dollars annually to the state's economy. The industry is based on the production of hardwood sawlogs and pulpwood, which are harvested by over 1,300 family owned logging firms.


Stringer's pilot project is aimed at developing a web-based application to automatically generate least-travel-time routes from user-defined logging sites to the closest emergency personnel location (EPL). Under regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), contractors are required to provide access routes from any given logging site to EPLs, such as hospitals and police and fire stations, prior to the start of ground operations. Normally, access routes are in the form of printed maps and/or a set of directions that are found by using applications like Google or MapQuest; however, while these are helpful tools, they don’t always provide the best EPL, especially if there are multiple locations.


When accidents happen on logging sites, finding the fastest possible route and closest EPL is crucial, thus enhancing the importance of Stringer's research. His application would have the ability to be used with a mobile interface and/or developed into an app for smartphone usage. The application will also store all requested access routes, as well as expected harvesting duration to maintain an an online spatial dataset displaying active logging sites and associated access routes to EPL's at any given time.


The research team plans to implement the pilot project among the 54 rural counties within Kentucky's Central Appalachain region; however the project is designed to eventually be applicable to the entire CARERC catchment area (eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, southern West Virginia, western Virginia, and western North Carolina).


CARERC is one of 18 university-based occupational safety and health training programs in the United States. Their mission is to provide state-of-the-art interdisciplinary occupational safety and health research, education and training opportunities for stakeholders in 177 high-need counties of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and Virginia.




MEDIA CONTACT: Courtney Eckdahl,, 859-218-1304.


UK Professors' Book Highlighted in HuffPost Blog

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 15:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) — A book by two University of Kentucky professors was highlighted recently in a Huffington Post blog by author Janet Mason.


"A Positive View of LGBTQ: Embracing Identity and Cultivating Well-Being" by Sharon Rostosky, professor of counseling psychology in the UK College of Education and Ellen Riggle, professor of political science in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, is one of two books Mason focused on as exhibiting the importance of identity in the LGBTQ community.


Mason said the book "talks about the unique strengths that being LGBTQ can engender, including looking at relationships differently, having compassion for other oppressed groups based on our own 'outsider' status, and using the introspection that comes from the necessary self-understanding about your sexual orientation or gender identification to be true to yourself in all ways."


The book gives individuals' firsthand accounts of positive LGBTQ identities and Mason included two of those excerpts from the book in her blog. She also talks about another book focusing on LGBTQ and identity, "Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Muslims" by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle.


The blog, titled "A Positive View of LGBTQ and Living Out Islam: There Is Magic All Around" can be found on the Huffington Post website at The blog has been reprinted on a variety of websites around the world.


Mason's latest book, "Tea Leaves" is a personal memoir.

HDI, Spalding Improve Access to Higher Ed for Adults With Disability

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 15:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) — The University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute (HDI), through its Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP), works with Spalding University in Louisville, the third post-secondary institution approved by the U.S. Department of Education for a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP).  The program provides opportunities for students with intellectual disability to enroll in college.


SHEP offers support to these students in class and outside the classroom as well as providing professional development and technical assistance for faculty and staff.


Spalding joins Murray State University and Bluegrass Community Technical College in offering this innovative program for students who, in the past, have been underrepresented on college campuses.


Tricia Baldwin, daughter of John and Pat Baldwin, is the first student to be enrolled in the Spalding CTP program. Tricia says she has found a place on the Spalding campus. 


“I feel happy about attending Spalding University and having a chance to show how much I can do," she said. "Plus I like making new friends."


Her parents are proud and supportive of their daughter, and they say the CTP has provided her with important opportunities for personal growth.  


"Tricia's experience has provided her with a new outlook to the future for better employment as well as an avenue for her to be accepted for what she can achieve, despite her disability,” said Tricia's mother, Pat Baldwin.   


A provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, CTPs support students with intellectual disability who wish to continue their education beyond high school to prepare them for independent living and better jobs. CTPs offer academic advising and a structured curriculum that includes participation in fully integrated classrooms with students without disabilities. Enrollment in a Comprehensive Transition Program allows students to apply for federal financial aid and have access to state financial aid opportunities. Another key feature of CTPs is the use of peer mentors to support students with intellectual disability in the classroom and social opportunities. 


Barry Whaley, SHEP project director, says the Spalding CTP is an important component in an ongoing drive to improve access to education for adults with disabilities throughout Kentucky.


“The indisputable fact is that supported higher education works," Whaley said. "The expansion of the Kentucky CTP network enables our students to make new friends, pursue their interests in the classroom and gain valuable work experiences. We welcome Spalding as a partner in our efforts to expand supported higher education across the Commonwealth.”



MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396;

UK Students Have Banner Year Racking Up National Honors

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 14:55

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2014) — Each year University of Kentucky students are recognized on the national, and even international, stage with a variety of prestigious scholarships, internships and fellowships that acknowledge their excellence in the classroom, as well as in research and extracurricular activities.


In the 2013-14 school year alone, UK students earned 11 more national awards than the previous year, including a prized Truman Scholarship and two Goldwaters. This brought the year's count of major honors to 35 with several national organizations awarding UK double the number of scholarships they provided in the previous year.


Helping UK students and recent alumni garner such honors is the mission of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (formerly the UK Office of External Scholarships), an office devoted to matching students to and preparing them for such valuable opportunities. The UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, under the direction of Pat Whitlow, is dedicated to working with young scholars on the application process for large scholastic prizes.


Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing. A transcript of this video can be found here.


"My role is to listen to students’ dreams and aspirations and make them aware of opportunities that will support them as they move forward. I also help nominees reflect on their accomplishments and how to write about them effectively in an application or speak about them in an interview. They already have the talents and achievements so I help with activities and advice so they can present themselves in the strongest possible way," Whitlow said.


One of the primary responsibilities of the office is to administer the campus nomination process for 12 major awards that require an institutional endorsement. For these particular opportunities, like the Truman and Rhodes Scholarships, students must apply first to a campus review committee, which will then select the students who will represent UK. Nominees receive feedback on their application and are officially nominated by the institution. 


The work of Whitlow and her assistant, Jennifer Strange, has not gone unnoticed by the award recipients.


UK's 2013 Astronaut Scholar, 2013 Goldwater Scholar and one of the university's 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipients, Josiah Hanna, a 2014 computer science and mathematics graduate, felt his work with the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards was invaluable in receiving his honor. "I met with Dr. Whitlow after UK was going to nominate me. I felt like I was the only student they were working with and their only goal was for me to get this award. And, I know that is not true, because I know lots of the students working for awards and they get the same type of attention."


But the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards doesn't just work with those 12 awards alone, the primary goal of the office is to recruit and prepare UK students with strong academic and extracurricular records to help them be successful in pursuing nationally competitive opportunities. They share their knowledge of the process by helping UK students find scholarships and fellowships that match their particular area of study and research funded by nonprofit groups, government agencies and companies.


"There are scholarships in every field and lot of them you don't even know about, but that's one of the great things they are there for. They can definitely help you connect with opportunities in whatever field you are interested in. I wouldn't have even known about the Udall Scholarship if it weren't for Pat Whitlow and everyone at the office," said 2013 Udall Scholar Sam Beavin, a 2014 chemistry graduate with an emphasis in biochemistry, who is now in his first year of medical school at UK.


The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards can help you determine if you are eligible for a particular award, assist you in crafting a personal essay, practice for an interview, and shepherd you through the application and/or nomination process. The office's goal is to increase the number of UK students and alumni who apply for, and receive, these national and international awards.


There are many scholarship opportunities that allow direct application. For those awards, the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards provides advice and assistance to students preparing an application.


The process of applying for a nationally competitive scholarship is, in itself, a learning experience. It challenges the student to think through his or her career plans, to set ambitious long-term goals, and to imagine how they can use their talents to shape and change the world. In order to be a successful candidate for one of these highly competitive awards, the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards recommends students begin to consider opportunities as early as freshman year, building extracurricular and leadership background, as well as participating in community and public service while maintaining a high grade point average.


It is important to begin the scholarship preparation well before national deadlines. For the scholarships requiring university endorsement, there will be a campus deadline for receipt of materials that is typically one month prior to the final submission date.


"Any student in any field can think about applying for some of these awards, most of them are open to all disciplines. UK has many students that could be successful in these award competitions, but haven’t yet stepped forward. No students should be shy about coming to see me, but, it is definitely a benefit to come in early in your academic career, and probably even early in the academic year, although we do publish all of the deadlines on our website and on Facebook," Whitlow said.


The UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards is part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education




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

Make Tummy Time Fun for Infants

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 11:16

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2014) -- Many parents and parents-to-be are aware of the “back to sleep” recommendation made by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advises that infants sleep on their backs. Making sure your baby sleeps on his or her back significantly reduces the chance of sudden infant death (SIDS). However, when infants are awake and being watched, they should spend time on their bellies, starting from the first few days of life.


Many infants today spend far too many of their waking hours on their backs or in sitting devices such as car seats, swings, and carriers. Too much time spent on their backs and in devices has led to increases in head and neck deformities in infants and delayed motor development. Infants need to be on the floor on their bellies learning to move and explore their environment.


Infants should be encouraged to lift up their heads and look around while on their bellies. As their motor skills develop, teach infants to reach for objects and prop up on their elbows or hands during "tummy time," which helps to build strong back and neck muscles important for later activities such as sitting, crawling, walking, and talking. 


If infants don’t have tummy time during their first few weeks of life, they might dislike being on their tummies. Parents can get on the floor lying on their backs and place the infant on their bellies, so they are tummy-to-tummy and face-to-face. Infants love that time looking at the parent’s face and don’t seem to mind being on the tummy as much.


Parents can try that several times a day for a few minutes and then progress to both parent and infant on their tummies face-to-face on the floor. That gets the infant accustomed to a firm surface, while still looking at the loving parent who (if not accustomed to being on the floor) is probably making some interesting faces! Eventually the infant will not mind being on his or her tummy if there are fun, appropriate objects placed at eye-level. Of course, the floor must be baby-safe: all small objects, which they might get in their mouths, must be removed.


Ultimately, infants will learn to roll from their tummies and soon crawl and creep around the house, exercising their independence and learning about their environment. Crawling and creeping are important motor skills that should be encouraged long before walking.  Remember: for infants, it's back to sleep and tummy time to play.



Susan Effgen, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, Division of Physical Therapy.


This column appeared in the July 5, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader