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UKSGA Scholarship and Award Applications Now Available

Mon, 02/29/2016 - 12:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2016)  Each year, the University of Kentucky Student Government Association (UKSGA) awards several scholarships to UK students and faculty. Applications are now available.

 

The Lyman T. Johnson Odyssey Award will be given to one student who has demonstrated a sincere commitment to working for the betterment of the campus and/or community. This award is in honor of Lyman T. Johnson, the first African-American student to enroll at UK. UKSGA will award the scholarship to a student that the committee finds to have most closely demonstrated the spirit and dedication of Lyman T. Johnson.

 

The Constitutional Scholarship will be awarded to one undergraduate student who has excelled academically and contributed to the university as well.

 

The Academic Excellence Scholarship will be awarded to one undergraduate student and one graduate student who has excelled academically and contributed to the university as well.

 

The Robert G. Zumwinkle Student Rights Award will be bestowed upon one student and one faculty or staff member that has done the most to promote and protect student rights on campus during the current academic year. The Zumwinkle Award was named in recognition of Robert G. Zumwinkle, former vice chancellor at UK. Zumwinkle also served as the vice chancellor for Student Affairs, chairman of the UK Student Code Committee and was a long standing member of the American Civil Liberties Union, a national organization known for promoting individual rights.

 

For additional scholarship requirements, visit http://uksga.org/applications/scholarships-awards. Applications are to be turned in to the UKSGA office located in 351 Blazer Hall by 2 p.m. Monday, March 21. No late applications will be accepted. For questions or additional information, email Noel Ekman at ndek222@g.uky.edu.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett or Rebecca Stratton, katy.bennett@uky.edu or rebecca.stratton@uky.edu, 859-257-1909/859-323-2395 

DanceBlue Raises $1,631,067.49

Sun, 02/28/2016 - 16:57

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 28, 2016) – After 24 hours of dancing in anticipation, DanceBlue chairs and committee members revealed the 2016 grand fundraising total of $1,631,067.49 to the nearly 800 student participants and crowd of supporters.

 

Whether participating as a dancer, volunteer, committee member or a supporter, DanceBlue is something no one ever forgets, especially the last few hours. With a family talent show featuring children from the clinic and an emotional memorial hour to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer, the reveal this afternoon was a much anticipated moment for so many people at UK.

 

It all began in 2006 by raising $123,323.16 and has increased every year. With this year's total, DanceBlue has contributed $9.8 million to the Golden Matrix Fund and the DanceBlue Kentucky Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.

 

Nearly 800 dancers completed the 11th annual DanceBlue. All of the money raised at this annual 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon benefits children with cancer and their families and cancer research.

 

"DanceBlue has opened my eyes to a whole new way of serving my community," Erica Shipley, 2016 overall chair, said. "It’s an amazing organization because it’s mutually beneficial. DanceBlue allows students to be involved in something bigger than themselves. Dancers get to partake in the celebration of life and watch the kids at the marathon forget about the worries of cancer. All parties involved are impacted. Over the past 24 hours, we have been one campus united for one cause and it has been awesome."

 

Everyone at DanceBlue was there for a reason this weekend. They were there for a cure, for hope and most importantly, for the kids.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, 859-257-1909, or Rebecca Stratton, rebecca.stratton@uky.edu

 

 

UK Unveils Website, Effort to Underscore How University Serves Commonwealth

Sun, 02/28/2016 - 15:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2016) — The University of Kentucky has unveiled a website — www.uky.edu/uk4ky — that is designed to tell UK's story of service to the Commonwealth and ask supporters to let policymakers know of the importance of continued funding.

 

"We are the university for Kentucky," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "This site tells the story of our momentum and of how we are serving more people and educating more students than at any time in our 150-year history. It also provides a clear avenue for how people can become involved in helping tell that story to legislators and policymakers."

 

The site, which debuted last week, describes the details and some of the impacts of proposed state budget cuts, currently being considered by the state legislature. 

 

 

The proposed state budget being considered by legislators would reduce UK's funding by nearly $13 million this year, another $25 million next fiscal year and would put at risk about a third of the university's state appropriations the following year through an as-yet-defined performance funding plan.

 

The site describes how UK's budget works as a way of demonstrating the importance of state investment. Learn more here: www.uky.edu/see/UK4KY/fact-fiction. It also provides information for how those interested can contact legislators by phone or email with a message of support. Visit www.uky.edu/see/UK4KY/show-your-support.

 

"Our state faces many significant challenges and we support our policymakers in finding solutions," Capilouto said. "But we can't create a stronger future for our state tomorrow by cutting investments in education today. This site, we hope, provides a brief look in a compelling way at the importance of state investment in our continued work for Kentucky and how proposed reductions in funding would inarguably impact that service."

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Jay Blanton, 859-257-6605, jay.blanton@uky.edu

 

UK Students Send Books Abroad

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 17:12

LEXINGTON, KY. (March 2, 2016)  University of Kentucky Education Abroad (UK EA) and International Studies Abroad (ISA) hosted the first “Night of Service” recently at the International Book Project. Students were offered the opportunity to participate in a local service project while learning about international service learning.

 

“UK Education Abroad is hosting 'Nights of Service' in an effort to involve students in Lexington-based community projects,” said Susan Meredith, UK EA adviser. “We hope that by serving locally, students are inspired to serve internationally as well.”

 

This semester’s "Night of Service" took place at the International Book Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy, education and global friendships by sending over 200,000 books annually to developing nations and impoverished areas in the United States. Boxes from this particular day of service were sent to Papua, New Guinea, and Kosovo.  

 

For more, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o4fREsQpI0.

 

“Working with an organization like the International Book Project inspired me to continue giving back to my community, both locally and internationally,” said freshman psychology and Spanish double major, Sarah Smoak. “It kindled the spark for service learning in me, and has made me want to seek out more opportunities to serve people.”

 

UK Education Abroad offers international service learning programs through ISA. Students can spend a summer in India, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic among other places participating in service projects with nonprofit organizations, municipal offices, schools or clinics. There is also a semester-length option in Cuzco, Peru.

 

For more information about international service learning, visit the digital catalog or contact Susan McVey Meredith, UK EA adviser, at susan.mcvey@uky.edu or call 859-313-2143.

 

Education Abroad is a unit of the UK International Center. Its primary responsibility is to facilitate high quality, academically sound and experientially rich study abroad, research abroad and intern abroad programs for UK students. More information about the International Center can be found at www.uky.edu/international/.

 

Connect with Education Abroad on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, the blog enKompassYoutube and Snapchat (@ukyabroad). Visit 315 Bradley Hall to talk with an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador, email educationabroad@uky.edu, call 859-257-4067 or go online to www.uky.edu/educationabroad for more information.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302, gail.hairston@uky.edu

 

 

UK MBA Program Still Accepting Applications

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 16:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2016) — The University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics is still accepting applications for the One Year Accelerated MBA and Professional Evening MBA programs.

 

The One Year Accelerated MBA is an 11-month program that runs from June to May each year. Both business and non-business majors can apply. Students can also take advantage of a yearlong internship program called Project Connect, which provides valuable real-world experience. This program’s coursework is enhanced by a number of workshops, certificate programs, team competitions, outside speakers and panel discussions.

The Professional Evening MBA can be completed in two or three years with convenient evening-only classes, allowing students to work fulltime during the day. This program begins in August or January of each year, and provides a deeper knowledge of advanced business processes which helps students increase their value to their present company or organization.

 

Harvie Wilkinson, director of the Gatton MBA programs, said, "If you want to make yourself more marketable in today's competitive job market, or if you want to expand your skill set so that you can be successful in your career, then acquiring an MBA may be an attractive option for you."

 

The application deadlines for the One Year Accelerated MBA program is May 11 and the Professional Evening MBA is July 1. For interested candidates, we encourage you to visit the UK’s MBA programs at http://gatton.uky.edu/mba for more information on the programs and how to apply.

You can also contact Christopher Carney, director of MBA Recruitment at christopher.carney@uky.edu.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACTS: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200/carl.nathe@uky.edu; Chris Carney, 859-257-7645/christopher.carney@uky.edu

 

Deadlines Approach for Education Abroad Summer Programs

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 16:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2016)  University of Kentucky Education Abroad (UK EA) summer program application deadlines are approaching, with the majority of the applications closing March 1. Students can make the most of their summer break by earning credit abroad through UK-sponsored programs led by UK faculty members.

 

UK EA is offering many sponsored — or faculty-directed — programs in summer 2016. Faculty-led programs are unique because students will study alongside their peers from the university and earn UK credit directly without the need to fill out an academic approval form. These programs typically run for about four weeks and are a good option if students are lacking any UK core or major requirements.

 

There are few programs highlighted below, but students can find all of the faculty-led programs running this summer here.

For more information about any of these programs, contact Education Abroad by visiting our Resource Center in 315 Bradley Hall, emailing eapa@uky.edu, or calling 859-257-4067.

 

Education Abroad at the University of Kentucky is a unit of the UK International Center. Its primary responsibility is to facilitate high quality, academically sound and experientially rich study abroad, research abroad and intern abroad programs for UK students. More information about the International Center can be found at www.uky.edu/international/.

 

Connect with Education Abroad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, our blog enKompass, Youtube and Snapchat (@ukyabroad). Visit 315 Bradley Hall to talk with an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador, email educationabroad@uky.edu, call 859-257-4067 or go online to www.uky.edu/educationabroad for more information.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302, gail.hairston@uky.edu

 

Kyprianou Named 2016 Urology Care Foundation Distinguished Research Scholar Alumna

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 15:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2016) – Dr. Natasha Kyrpianou has been chosen as the 2016 Urology Care Foundation Distinguished Research Scholar Alumna. The award recognizes those in the urologic community who have compiled significant and substantial research and demonstrated academic leadership as well as a commitment to scholarship to advance urology care. Dr. Kyprianou will be honored at the Urology Care Foundation Research Honors Program on May 7.

 

Currently serving as a professor of Urology, Biochemistry, Pathology and Toxicology and Cancer Biology in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Kyprianou has done extensive research in the field of urology; in 2002, Kyprianou joined the Markey Cancer Center as the James F. Hardymon Chair in Urologic Research.

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

Media Contact: Olivia McCoy, olivia.mccoy1@uky.edu, 859-257-1076

'Mommy Goose' and Other UPK Books in Spotlight at Kentucky Crafted

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 14:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2016) — The University Press of Kentucky (UPK) returns this weekend to one of Kentucky's premier arts events, Kentucky Crafted: The Market, with a varied selection of new publications including one particularly fitting for the event celebrating the state's artists. “Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains,” is a one-of-kind nursery rhyme book featuring the art of two of the state's most popular folk artists.

 

The signature event of the Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Crafted is produced each year to showcase the highest quality art, craft, literature, music, film and food found in the state. More than 200 Kentucky Crafted and select out-of-state artists, musicians and artisanal food producers make their finest work available to wholesale buyers and the general public during the three-day event.

 

Buyers have the rare opportunity at the market to place orders directly with producers of Kentucky traditional and contemporary fine art and craft, as well as publishers of Kentucky-related books, such as Mike Norris’ “Mommy Goose,” illustrated by Minnie Adkins.

 

“Mommy Goose” is a piece of American heritage with a collection of 50 original nursery rhymes celebrating Appalachian tradition and speech and is designed to engage young children with a series of simple and often humorous verses that gradually become more challenging as the book progresses. Readers can advance to longer, more complex rhymes as their skills develop — at home or with the guidance of teachers. Featuring sheet music for the original song “Tell me, Mommy Goose,” this multidimensional book is certain to entertain while introducing a new generation to hallowed folk traditions.

 

Mike Norris is a native of eastern Kentucky who has been writing stories, poems and songs for more than 40 years. He worked as the director of communications for Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, for many years, where he also performed as a folk musician. He has written two other children’s books, “Sonny the Monkey” and “Bright Blue Rooster,” both of which were illustrated by Adkins.

 

Minnie Adkins is a folk artist with permanent collections at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, the American Folk Art Museum, the Huntington Museum of Art and the Kentucky Folk Art Center. Adkins, who has been called "the most important female wood carver in the history of American folk art” by Matt Collinsworth, director of the Kentucky Folk Art Center, has won the Kentucky Arts Council's Artist Award honoring lifetime achievement in the arts. She has contributed essays to numerous collections on folk art and crafts.

 

Kentucky is one of a few states in the nation to sponsor a show of this kind for its art and craft businesses. Its 34-year tradition of excellence has not gone unnoticed. Kentucky Crafted was named the number one fair and festival in the country four times by readers of AmericanStyle magazine. The Southeast Tourism Society has named it a top 20 event for 15 years.

 

UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. The editorial program of the press focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at University of Kentucky, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.

 

Kentucky Crafted will take place 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 5, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at the Lexington Convention Center. One-day tickets are $10 and two-day tickets are $15. Children 15 and under are admitted for free. For more information on Kentucky Crafted, visit http://artscouncil.ky.gov/KentuckyArt/Event_Market.htm

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; whitney.hale@uky.edu

Making Breastfeeding Best for Women Working Outside the Home

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 13:35

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2016) — The health advantages of exclusive breastfeeding have been documented and reported for both mothers and children. According to a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationally 79 percent of infants had ever been breastfed and 49 percent were breastfeeding at six months. The same report showed, in Kentucky, 61 percent of infants were ever breastfed and only 32 percent were breastfeeding at six months. The goal standard is to increase the proportion of infants that are breastfeeding at six months; with planning and support from the community those rates can improve.

 

Many mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding however, they encounter significant barriers that decrease their chances of initiating breastfeeding or continuing until the recommended six months. Working outside the home can be one of those barriers and is related to a shorter duration of breastfeeding. Low-income women are more likely than their higher-income counterparts to return to work earlier and to be engaged in jobs that make it challenging for them to continue breastfeeding.  

 

"Baby-Friendly" facilities work to teach new moms to initiate breastfeeding and Mommy and Me Workshops focus on educating women during the two weeks following delivery. There are some steps women can take to maintain breastfeeding while working outside the home.

 

Recognizing additional challenges that women working outside the home may have, makes it increasingly important to support their breastfeeding goals. Some women know early in their pregnancy they will work outside the home after delivery; this knowledge allows new moms to plan their return to the workplace. Storing breastmilk is a key step to continuing breastfeeding.

 

A few weeks before returning to the workplace mothers can begin freezing breastmilk, labeling bottles with the date so older bottles can be used first. In a standard freezer, milk is usable for three months after bottling. A breast pump is the most important tool in the process of creating your own "milk bank," most health insurances cover the cost of pumps; Medicaid recipients also receive this benefit through the local health department. Teaching the baby to drink breastmilk from a bottle is a process that should begin a few weeks before returning to work and family members can help in this. Additionally, the goal to pump breastmilk should be discussed with employers to accommodate the best times and place to pump. Finally, the goal of continuing breastfeeding should be discussed with child care providers.

 

Commitment to providing women with the support that they need to achieve their infant feeding intention is a collective effort. When we come together to protect every mother’s right to breastfeed, as long as she and her baby desired, we'll begin to see a positive change in the health of our nation.

 

Media Contact: Olivia McCoy at 859-257-1076 or Olivia McCoy at olivia.mccoy@uky.edu 

University of Kentucky Physicist Discovers New 2D Material that could Upstage Graphene

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 13:24

 

View the video above to hear more about the new material discovered by Menon that could upstage graphene. Video by REVEAL Research Media.

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2016) — A new one atom-thick flat material that could upstage the wonder material graphene and advance digital technology has been discovered by a physicist at the University of Kentucky working in collaboration with scientists from Daimler in Germany and the Institute for Electronic Structure and Laser (IESL) in Greece.

 

Reported in Physical Review B, Rapid Communications, the new material is made up of silicon, boron and nitrogen — all light, inexpensive and earth abundant elements — and is extremely stable, a property many other graphene alternatives lack.

 

"We used simulations to see if the bonds would break or disintegrate — it didn't happen," said Madhu Menon, a physicist in the UK Center for Computational Sciences. "We heated the material up to 1,000-degree Celsius and it still didn't break."

 

Using state-of-the-art theoretical computations, Menon and his collaborators Ernst Richter from Daimler and a former UK Department of Physics and Astronomy post-doctoral research associate, and Antonis Andriotis from IESL, have demonstrated that by combining the three elements, it is possible to obtain a one atom-thick, truly 2D material with properties that can be fine-tuned to suit various applications beyond what is possible with graphene.

 

While graphene is touted as being the world's strongest material with many unique properties, it has one downside: it isn't a semiconductor and therefore disappoints in the digital technology industry. Subsequent search for new 2D semiconducting materials led researchers to a new class of three-layer materials called transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs). TMDCs are mostly semiconductors and can be made into digital processors with greater efficiency than anything possible with silicon. However, these are much bulkier than graphene and made of materials that are not necessarily earth abundant and inexpensive.

 

Searching for a better option that is light, earth abundant, inexpensive and a semiconductor, the team led by Menon studied different combinations of elements from the first and second row of the periodic table.

 

Although there are many ways to combine silicon, boron and nitrogen to form planar structures, only one specific arrangement of these elements resulted in a stable structure. The atoms in the new structure are arranged in a hexagonal pattern as in graphene, but that is where the similarity ends.

 

The three elements forming the new material all have different sizes; the bonds connecting the atoms are also different. As a result, the sides of the hexagons formed by these atoms are unequal, unlike in graphene. The new material is metallic, but can be made semiconducting easily by attaching other elements on top of the silicon atoms.

 

The presence of silicon also offers the exciting possibility of seamless integration with the current silicon-based technology, allowing the industry to slowly move away from silicon instead of eliminating it completely, all at once.

 

"We know that silicon-based technology is reaching its limit because we are putting more and more components together and making electronic processors more and more compact," Menon said. "But we know that this cannot go on indefinitely; we need smarter materials."

 

Furthermore, in addition to creating an electronic band gap, attachment of other elements can also be used to selectively change the band gap values — a key advantage over graphene for solar energy conversion and electronics applications.

 

Other graphene-like materials have been proposed but lack the strengths of the material discovered by Menon and his team. Silicene, for example, does not have a flat surface and eventually forms a 3D surface. Other materials are highly unstable, some only for a few hours at most.

 

The bulk of the theoretical calculations required were performed on the computers at the UK Center for Computational Sciences with collaborators Richter and Andriotis directly accessing them through fast networks. Now the team is working in close collaboration with a team led by Mahendra Sunkara of the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at University of Louisville to create the material in the lab. The Conn Center team has had close collaborations with Menon on a number of new materials systems where they were able to test his theory with experiments for a number of several new solar materials.

 

"We are very anxious for this to be made in the lab," Menon said. "The ultimate test of any theory is experimental verification, so the sooner the better!"

 

Some of the properties, such as the ability to form various types of nanotubes, are discussed in the paper but Menon expects more to emerge with further study.

 

"This discovery opens a new chapter in material science by offering new opportunities for researchers to explore functional flexibility and new properties for new applications," he said. "We can expect some surprises."

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

Research is the Topic of WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Today

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 16:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell. Today's program explores the role of research in the University of Kentucky's Strategic Plan. Godell talks with UK Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis. 

 

To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit http://wuky.org/post/plotting-uks-research-future.

 

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

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

UK Historian Contributes to Discussion of Historic Basketball Championship

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 16:41

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) – University of Kentucky history Professor Gerald Smith will take part in panel discussions associated with a CBS Sports Network’s special about the 1966 Texas Western University versus University of Kentucky national basketball championship game. The television special, “Championship of Change,” will explore the impact the game had on the sports and cultural landscape of America. The one-hour special airs at noon Sunday, Feb. 28, on CBS.

 

Against the backdrop of the civil rights movement in 1966, and for the first time in NCAA Championship history, an all-black starting lineup took the floor for Texas Western and defeated top-ranked and all-white Kentucky on March 19, 1966.

 

In a unique panel discussion, moderated by journalist Jack Ford, members of the 1966 team, journalists, historians (including Smith) and other special guests, provide accounts of basketball life in the segregated south, the challenges and triumphs of the 1966 Miners team and the way the game has resonated with fans throughout the years. The program also includes interviews with former Kentucky players Pat Riley and Larry Conley.

 

"As a historian,” said Smith, “I found it extremely rewarding to serve on a panel with the Texas Western players and listen as they shared their side of the story." While in El Paso, Smith interviewed six of the Texas Western players, along with former Arkansas head coach, Nolan Richardson. He has donated those taped interviews to the UK Nunn Oral History Center.

 

The 1966 national championship game remains one of the most famous in sports history.

 

To view a clip from the documentary, visit http://cbsprt.co/1KIfsvB. To view a clip from the 1966 game, visit https://youtu.be/V6-QpNV_lww

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302, gail.hairston@uky.edu

 

 

Nominate a Student Employee for Student Employee of the Year

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 16:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Human Resources Student Employment Office needs your help in recognizing UK students making outstanding contributions beyond the classroom.

 

If you supervise or work with a student worker, consider nominating them for the ninth annual Student Employee of the Year Award. Nominations are open now through March 18. The award recognizes undergraduate students who have shown exemplary commitment and initiative in their work.

 

“Student employees are a valuable part of campus life,” said Chuck Embs, student employment program coordinator. “It is very rewarding to be a part of an event that recognizes them in this way. If you have a student worker that has been dedicated and a valuable addition to your team, we encourage you to be a part of this too and nominate them.”

 

To be eligible, students must:

  • Currently be work-study or hourly student employees at UK.
  • Have completed or expect to complete at least six months of part-time or three months of full-time employment before April 2016.
  • Be in a UK undergraduate degree program and enrolled at least half-time for both the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters.
  • Not be employees of the UK HR Student Employment Office.

Please use this online form to submit a nomination.

 

Nominations are due by March 18. The Student Employment Office will select 10-15 finalists to compete for Student Employee of the Year. Each finalist and their nominating supervisor will be recognized at an award ceremony April 13.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398; blair.hoover@uky.edu

2016 Global Health Case Competition to be Held Saturday

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 16:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Global Health Initiative is welcoming its second annual Global Health Case Competition (GHCC), which will take place 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at the College of Pharmacy. The competition will involve participants addressing ways to combat childhood obesity in Mexico.

 

Twelve interdisciplinary student teams representing 15 different colleges will develop strategies to address a critical global health scenario during the Global Health Case Competition.
 
For this year’s scenario, each student team will serve as a multidisciplinary consultant team to the Division of Child Health in Mexico’s Ministry of Health. The teams will create a strategy for reducing the health and socio-economic burdens of childhood obesity in Mexico and determine the costs and trade-offs involved.
 
The student teams will have 15 minutes to present their strategies to a panel of judges, followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer portion.
 
One team will be chosen to advance to the 2016 International Emory Global Health Case Competition, which will take place on April 8-9, 2016 at Emory University. There, the UK winning team will face teams from 24 other universities who will collaborate to learn about, develop and recommend innovative solutions for the 21st century global health posed problem. The first-place team at the Emory competition will win $6,000.
 
The UK Global Health Case Competition is organized by the Global Health Initiative, whose mission is to advance research and educational programs for students to improve the health of people throughout the world.
 
For more information about UK’s 2016 Global Health Case Competition please visit the GHCC website.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

VIDEO: Former DanceBlue Clinic Patient Gives Back, DanceBlue 2016

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 16:25

 

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

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016)  DanceBlue has a profound impact on the children treated in the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. Not only does money raised through DanceBlue benefit the Golden Matrix Fund and in turn the clinic, but student participants actively shape the treatment experience of the patients.

 

R.J. Hijalda, University of Kentucky freshman, will be dancing in DanceBlue 2016 on the Morale Committee; but he is no stranger to the organization or its impact. In 2011, Hijalda was diagnosed with Stage IV A Hodgkin lymphoma as a freshman in high school.

 

“I heard stories from high school students when I was in eighth grade that high school would be some of the hardest years of your life," Hijalda. said. "It was definitely a big change for me and then being told I had cancer was just like a double whammy."

 

On the day of Hijalda’s diagnosis he was rushed into surgery to remove tumors on his back that were pressing against his spine. Soon after, doctors told him that he would have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments in the DanceBlue Clinic. Hijalda went through four cycles of chemotherapy that lasted three weeks each. After the chemo, he went into 10 days of radiation treatments.

 

Hijalda spent a lot of time in the clinic. He filled most of his time spent there playing video games, but admits that there were some scary and surreal moments during his treatment. The nurses, social workers and DanceBlue student volunteers in the clinic went out of their way to make Hijalda and his family feel comforted during this trying time.

 

In April of Hijalda’s freshman year of high school, doctors told him that all of the tumors in his body where dormant and he was essentially cancer free!

 

Around the time of Hijalda’s diagnosis he had to be completely focused on beating his cancer and becoming healthy again. But now, only a few years since his battle, he’s excited to be on the other side as a DanceBlue participant, dancing "For The Kids"  — healthy and ready to lend a hand and encourage children who were in his shoes not long ago.

 

“I'm definitely excited to be on the other side of DanceBlue," Hijalda said. "I’m excited to get the full picture and see what they do behind-the-scenes and see how much work goes into it all. It takes a lot of time and commitment to make the actual event happen and raise all the money that they do for the clinic."

 

Since it’s inception in 2006, DanceBlue has raised more than $8.2 million to support pediatric cancer patients and fund research. Hijalda hopes that one day DanceBlue will be an event that celebrates a eternal cure for cancer.

 

Hijalda has a special message that he wants to make sure all children fighting their battle with cancer know: “Pediatric cancer patients are definitely not fighting the battle alone. Even if they think they are, there are hundreds even thousands of other kids, or other people in the world supporting them in their battle. I know what they're going through, what they have to battle everyday. The students at DanceBlue, stand up for 24 hours to simulate the pain and the hardships that the kids have to go through so that they have a little sense of what they have to go through every day, so they're definitely not alone in their fight with cancer.”

 

The DanceBlue 2016 Marathon will take place this weekend, Feb. 27-28, from 2 p.m. Saturday through 2 p.m. Sunday, in Memorial Coliseum. The marathon is open to the public from start to finish.

 

DanceBlue is the University of Kentucky's 24-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that benefits the Golden Matrix Fund and the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. For more information about DanceBlue, registration information or to support its efforts, visit www.danceblue.org

 

DanceBlue is a program housed in the Center for Community Outreach. The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite UK with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote lifelong community service. For more information about the CCO, visit www.ukcco.org. Connect with the CCO on Facebook here and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ukcco.

 

Give to DanceBlue here and connect with DanceBlue on Facebook at www.facebook.com/danceblue and on Twitter at https://witter.com/UKDanceBlue and on Tumblr at danceblue.tumblr.com. You can also follow DanceBlue on Instagram. 

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

DANCEBLUE CONTACT: Allee Williams, pr@danceblue.org

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett or Rebecca Stratton, katy.bennett@uky.edu or rebecca.stratton@uky.edu, 859-257-1909/859-323-2395 

MLK Center Hosts 'The Convo' Part 2 Featuring Malik Yoba and Amir Windom

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 15:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2106) — The Martin Luther King Center — in partnership with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) — will continue the second installment of their new series, "The Convo," as Malik Yoba and Amir Windom talk to campus about preventing the demise of personal and professional relationships. The event will be held 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Memorial Hall.

 

Amir Windom is a Grammy Award-winning record executive. Malik Yoba is an actor, entrepreneur and educator. Attendees can expect the event to be a “fish bowl” conversation between Windom and Yoba. Those in attendance can also participate through a live microphone as well as a Twitter wall.

 

Yoba and Windom plan to speak on topics such as branding, interpersonal communication, leadership skills and community activism. The event will be recorded and made available on the Martin Luther King Center website, as well as social media.

 

The first event of the series — also featuring Amir Windom — was a great accomplishment and very well liked by students.

 

"'The Convo' series with Tatyana Ali was a huge success. The students were very engaging and it's really created a lot of additional excitement for 'The Convo' series part two featuring my good friend Malik Yoba,” Windom said. “What the MLK Center and myself have created with this 'Convo' series will only get better and add more value to UK students and community."

 

Windom has been a major part of making "The Convo" series possible said Kahlil Baker, director of the University of Kentucky Martin Luther King Center.

 

“His message and ability to connect his success to the students and inspire them made it easy to bring him back to campus,” Baker said.

 

The Martin Luther King Center's goal is to provide programs of substance for students. Windom has been supportive of the center and used his relationships to bring individuals such as Fonzworth Bentley, Jeff Johnson, Tatyana Ali and now Malik Yoba to UK.

 

The center has plans to continue "The Convo" series with an equally inspirational guest. For more information on the Wednesday, March 2, "Convo" series event with Amir Windom and Malik Yoba, click here.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Blair Hoover, 859-257-6398; blair.hoover@uky.edu

A Day in the Life of a UK Student: Feb. 26 and 28, 1912

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 14:34

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) —  In celebration of the University of Kentucky sesquicentennial in 2015, UK Special Collections Research Center began releasing the diary entries of former student Virginia Clay McClure in fall of 2014. The diary chronicles the day-to-day activities of McClure's junior and senior years at the State University of Kentucky (now UK) from 1910-1912. McClure's 179th and 180th diary entries from Feb. 26 and 28, 1912, recalls time spent with friends and later attending a dinner for the YWCA and YMCA student organizations, which leads to her not being prepared for logic class the next day.

 

Feb. 26th. Addie, William, and I go to see Elsie who was a dear "Slim Princess." We saw another demonstration of the superlative degree! Had an awfully good time, though lessons go glimmering and Zemmie calls on us for the only page we hadn't read the next day.

 

Feb. 28th. Dean Hamilton entertains Y.W. and Y.M.C.A. with a buffet supper in honor of Mr. Whorley. Everything is perfectly delicious  fruit, sandwiches, (digestible and otherwise) coffee, etc. Mr. Kohnhurst is a regular clown. Mr. Harrison says he's the biggest blockhead that ever was, but I don't mind standing. However, my Logic quiz suffers the next day — Quite a large audience to see some freak performance by a fat man.

 

 

More on Virginia Clay McClure

 

Virginia Clay McClure, a native of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, graduated in 1912 with an AB degree and received her master’s degree in 1928 from UK. After receiving her AB, she taught for a year at Middlesboro, Kentucky, another year at Paducah, Kentucky, and seven years in Cynthiana, Kentucky. After this, she returned to Lexington, where she taught for nine and a half years in the Fayette County schools. At this point, she took two and a half years off of work to complete her doctorate.

 

The first woman to receive a Ph.D. from UK, McClure said that her department chairman did not “want a woman to get a doctor’s degree.” In spite of those words, McClure received her doctoral degree in American history in 1934.

 

Her dissertation was “The Settlement of the Kentucky Appalachian Region,” about which “nothing had been done before.” McClure did significant original research for the dissertation and made several trips to Eastern Kentucky with Katherine Pettit, who had taught in settlement schools, including Pine Mountain School, which she helped to establish. 

 

McClure planned to teach at the college level but after finishing her dissertation in the midst of the depression, colleges were laying off faculty rather than hiring them. She then joined the Fayette County School system, then Lexington City Schools, and taught United States history and government at Henry Clay High School from 1934-1959. A position that she found quite rewarding.

 

The UK alumna and educator was very active in the community. McClure was a member of Central Christian Church and Kappa Delta Pi Honorary, Kentucky and National Retired Teachers associations, Salvation Army Auxiliary, Cardinal Hill Hospital Auxiliary and numerous historical societies. She was also a charter member of the Lexington Rose Society, twice serving as president, and was a member of the American Rose Society.

 

McClure passed away in 1980 at 91 years of age.

 

The Virginia Clay McClure papers are housed at the Special Collections Research Center and include a diary/scrapbook, a photograph album and other assorted photographs related to McClure's time as an undergraduate at State University, Lexington, Kentucky from 1910-1912. The scrapbook includes clippings, small artifacts, programs and invitations, but the bulk of the material is McClure's many personal writings. The photograph album and loose photographs also document this time period and include photographs of her UK classmates (many of whom are identified and also mentioned in her scrapbook); class trips and events (such as Arbor Day); and women playing basketball among other casual snapshots.

 

This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections Research Center. UK Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian collection and the digital library, ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

Diary transcriptions completed by senior Taylor Adams, Special Collections Learning Lab intern and history major from Ashland, Kentucky.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; whitney.hale@uky.edu

Health Sciences Researcher Helps Draft "Historic" Position Statement on Nutrition in Athletes

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 14:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) — An assistant professor in the UK College of Health Sciences is the lead author on a paper that is being hailed as the most important single source of information in the field of sports nutrition to date.

 

The position statement, available here, was released jointly by the American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Dietitians of Canada, represents an evidence-based analysis and synthesis of more than eight years of relevant nutritional research on important dietetic practice questions, including fluid and nutrient intake, nutrition strategies for exercise recovery, and the use of performance-enhancing supplements.

 

 

Travis Thomas, Ph.D., RDN, CSSD, LD, of the University of Kentucky's College of Health Sciences, directed the effort with more than a dozen representatives from the three organizations.

 

"This is the most comprehensive directive on nutrition and athletic performance currently available, representing our collective evidence-based stance on nutrition factors that influence athletic performance and emerging trends in the field of sports nutrition," Thomas said.

 

Thomas emphasized the need for this position paper in light of the proliferation of information available to athletes and the people who help them.

 

"Sports nutrition is a dynamic area of science, and with the growing amount of information available naturally comes inconsistency and confusion," he said. "These three organizations felt it was time to identify themes, synthesize data, and streamline information for the benefit of athletes and the professionals who work with them.”

 

Indeed, Thomas notes that the nutrition goals and requirements for athletes are not static and must account for day to day changes that athletes experience (training vs. competition, during periods of injury and/or illness), the varied nutritional needs by sport (gymnasts vs. runners, for example), and even special populations and environments (vegetarian athletes, high altitude competition).

 

Significant points of the position paper include:

 

·      Calorie, nutrient, and fluid recommendations for active adults and competitive athletes vary before, during and after exercise.

·      New perspectives on sports nutrition include individualized recommendations that accommodate the unique issues of individual athletes regarding health, nutrient needs, performance goals, physical characteristics (body size, shape, and composition) and food preferences.

·      Optimal health and athletic performance may be affected by the appropriate type, amount, and timing of food, fluid and supplement choices across different scenarios of training and competitive sports.

·      The availability of foods and supplements promoted as athletic performance enhancers is burgeoning, but sound evidence supporting their efficacy and safety is often lacking.

 

The Australian Institute of Sport has developed a classification system that ranks sports foods and supplement ingredients based on significance of scientific evidence and whether a product is safe, legal, and effective in improving sports performance. Supplement use is best undertaken as an adjunct to a well-chosen nutrition plan and is rarely effective outside these conditions.

 

The bottom line, Thomas said, is that registered dietitians who are board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics are as integral to an athlete's team as a coach or personal trainer.

 

"We have the education, training and experience necessary to ask the right questions and identify the best nutrition plan for an athlete, taking into account the myriad factors that affect an athlete's performance," Thomas said.

 

According to Scott Lephart, Ph.D., dean of the UK College of Health Sciences, the work performed by Thomas and his colleagues has the potential for international impact.

 

"This position statement is thorough, synthesizing an unprecedented breadth and depth of data for the benefit of athletes worldwide, and Dr. Thomas' appointment to lead the group is an honor both for him personally and for the College of Health Sciences," Lephart said.

 

Thomas' work on nutrition and athletic performance will be part of a larger effort at the college called the UK Sports Science Research Institute, which will look into nutrition and other factors that enhance performance and prevent injury in athletes of all ages and the tactical athletes of the US Special Forces.

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

Media contact: Laura Dawahare, Laura.Dawahare@uky.edu, (859) 257-5307

 

Confucius Institute Taking Applications for Summer Teaching Programs at Chinese Universities

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 13:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2016) — In order to strengthen collaborative teaching and research between the University of Kentucky and China's universities, the UK Confucius Institute is offering three summer teaching programs at Jilin, Shanghai and Qingdao Technological universities. UK faculty wishing to apply to any of these summer programs, should submit their application by Friday, March 4.

 

UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program in Jilin University

 

The UK Confucius Institute is working with Jilin University Academic Affairs Office and Office of International Affairs to present the 2016 UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program at Jilin University, in Changchun, China, as part of the university's 2016 UK Education Week @ JLU.

 

Eight UK faculty from various disciplines will be selected for this opportunity to teach at JLU for a three-week period running May 15 through June 4. Faculty participating in the program will be expected to:

· teach four class hours twice each week for three weeks;

· give a presentation on research in the field;

· participate in activities provided by the department and university; and

· work with JLU faculty to develop a collaborative research plan.

All courses will be taught in English.

 

As part of this program, JLU will cover travel and accommodations and provide a $1,200 teaching stipend.

 

Faculty interested in applying for the 2016 UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program at Jilin University should submit an application packet to Jie Dai, special project coordinator at UK Confucius Institute, at jda242@g.uky.edu. Applications should include:

Shanghai University Elite Teaching and Research Program

 

In Shanghai, China, the UK Confucius Institute is working with Shanghai University Office of International Affairs to launch the SHU Elite Teaching and Research Program. Via this opportunity, five UK faculty will be selected to do research and teach at SHU.

 

As part of this month long program, UK faculty will:

· work with a SHU partner professor to develop a collaborative research project;

· give two presentations on research in the field;

· participate in activities provided by the department and university; and

· teach a one-credit course.

All teaching will be done in English. UK associate professors and full professors from various disciplines may apply for this program. Individuals participating in this program must complete their one month period between May 10 and July 10.

 

For this program, SHU will cover travel and accommodations and provide a $1,200 teaching stipend.

 

Faculty interested in applying for the 2016 UK Shanghai University Elite Teaching and Research Program, should submit an application packet to Yang Zengxiang, China Partnership associate director at UK Confucius Institute, at zya229@uky.edu. Applications should include:

The UK Confucius Institute will notify candidates of their selections by March 20.

 

UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program in Qingdao Technological University

 

In Qingdao, China, the UK Confucius Institute is working with Qingdao Technological University to launch the UK Faculty China Short-term Teaching Program. As part of this program, three UK faculty will be selected to teach for three weeks this summer at Qingdao Technological University from July 11-31.
 

As part of this program, UK faculty will:

· teach 10 class hours plus work two office hours per week per course;

· work with Qingdao Technological University to organize several seminars to discuss social and cultural studies, academic research as well as global education and communication; and

· submit a curriculum package, including selections of reading articles, classroom training instructions and homework.

All courses will be taught in English. Assistant, associate and full professors at UK in various disciplines may apply.

 

For this program, Qingdao Technological University will cover travel and accommodations; provide a $2,000 teaching stipend, $150 meal allowance, office space and equipment; and offer two Chinese cultural tours.

 

Faculty interested in applying for the 2016 UK Faculty China Short-Term Teaching Program at Qingdao Technological University, should submit an application packet to

Lian Zhu, Chinese instructor at the UK Confucius Institute, at lian.zhu@uky.edu. Applications should include:

The UK Confucius Institute will notify candidates of their selections by March 15.

 

A gateway for Chinese language, culture and art to the people of Kentucky, the UK Confucius Institute provides leadership, support and coordination for Chinese language and programs in K-12 schools as well as on UK's campus; assists and facilitates establishing and maintaining faculty and student exchanges between UK colleges and Chinese universities; conducts Chinese language and cultural exchange; and promotes education about China on campus, across the Bluegrass region, and throughout the Commonwealth.

 

For more information on these UK Confucius Institute's summer teaching programs, contact Huajing Maske, director of UK Confucius Institute and executive director of the Office of China Initiatives, at huajing.maske@uky.edu.

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; whitney.hale@uky.edu

UK Professors Go Primal with 'Far Cry'

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 18:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2016) – Cha Winja warhamas!

 

Translation: “We speak Wenja here!”

 

Wenja?

 

It isn’t surprising that only a very few people — so far, at least — recognize “Wenja” as a language. Even fewer can speak Wenja. But after a teaching session next week, the University of Kentucky campus could harbor the single largest concentration of Wenja speakers in the world.

 

Two UK assistant professors of linguistics — Andrew and Brenna Byrd — are intimately familiar with Wenja. They imagined and brought to life Wenja and other prehistoric-sounding languages for the new video game “everybody” is talking about, "Far Cry Primal©" by Ubisoft, released earlier this week. People are talking because "Far Cry Primal" is a rarity in the gaming world. The 10,000-year-old world focuses on survival violence, without guns, without cars.

 

Designing a realistic world, not just a game, was the goal of "Far Cry Primal" engineers. They wanted to create a world that could have conceivably existed in our dim past, 10,000 years ago to be exact. They consulted paleontologists, who helped the designers and artists fill their imaginary world with the plants and animals that actually existed in 10,000 BCE. They populated their world with mammoths and saber toothed tigers — and three tribes of interacting prehistoric homo sapiens. To interact, the humans had to communicate.

 

Unless they wanted to be restricted to grunts, communication obviously required some sort of language, but everything the designers tried sounded trite or just plain wrong, either too much like modern man or too much like science fiction. That’s when they discovered UK linguist Andrew Byrd and his research into ancient languages, including his online reading of fables in Proto-Indo-European, a language that hasn’t been heard in 5,000 years or more. Then, they discovered Byrd’s wife Brenna was also a linguist, but one who focused more on teaching foreign languages. Ubisoft designers rejoiced. They had found what they needed, an expert to create an ancient-sounding language and a second expert to teach the Stone Age languages to the actors who would bring their Primal world to life.   

 

Andrew and Brenna Byrd did not create Wenja as an imaginary alien language of grunts and snarls, as heard in countless television shows and movies. They created Wenja based on two lifetimes of researching ancient languages, including Proto-Indo-European (PIE).

 

“Scholars have known for some time that a number of languages spoken in Europe and Asia derive from a common source, which was likely spoken in the Russian Steppes 6 to 8,000 years ago,” said Andrew Byrd, an assistant professor in English and linguistics.

 

But Andrew and Brenna Byrd needed something even older, a language spoken with a mammoth trumpeting in the background.

 

“We had to ‘translate’ backwards in time. We needed to create a proto-PIE language, a language that may have been spoken about 7,000 years before PIE existed. Brenna and I used what we knew about PIE to imagine what an earlier version of that word may have been,” Andrew Byrd said.

 

“The hardest, but probably most fun, part,” he said, “was coming up with appropriate war cries, celebratory chants, curse words. More often than not, it was the actors who created these phrases (‘Nuha!) or PIE itself (‘Hasa!’)."

 

The couple created a true — though imagined — language of more than 40,000 words with established grammar, syntax and structure. Then, it was Brenna’s job to teach that language to a group of actors. She submerged them in the language immediately, encouraging them to live the language to breathe life into it again. And suddenly, it just was.

 

“They began speaking to each other in Wenja off the set, in their spare time. Or bringing me the script and asking if that was what the character would really say. They weren’t just memorizing the lines. They were speaking the language,” Brenna Byrd said. “That’s when this hypothetical ancient language — just a jumble of sounds, really — began to feel tangible, natural, a living language.”

 

Andrew pointed out the three things that made this"Far Cry Primal" so important to even the academic world: first time PIE has been used since it was spoken thousands of year ago and the first time a video game has been created in a constructed, prehistoric language.

 

“Besides,” he said, “it’s just plain fun, more primal to scream as you attack an enemy ‘u mi-gwaru hada’ instead of ‘eat my spear.’”  

 

UK students can enjoy a taste of that same experience. From 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, in White Hall Classroom Building, room 114, Andrew and Brenna Byrd will explain in more detail their incredible journey back in time with "Far Cry Primal." Along with a few surprises here and there, there will be an abbreviated lesson in Wenja.

 

For more about the "Far Cry Primal" experience, visit:

 

www.gamespot.com/videos/reality-check-far-cry-primal-vs-real-stone-age/2300-6429594/

 

www.gamespot.com/videos/far-cry-primal-behind-the-scenes-bringing-the-ston/2300-6429577/

 

www.gamespot.com/videos/far-cry-primal-all-rideable-beasts/2300-6429568/

 

www.gamespot.com/videos/now-playing-far-cry-primal/2300-6429557/

 

For an exclusive interview with Liana Kerzner, visit https://youtu.be/U0QE8F4eip4

 

 

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uky4ky #seeblue

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302, gail.hairston@uky.edu

 

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