Campus News

UK Transportation Master Planning Continues Through Summer 2015

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 16:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2015) — Work on the University of Kentucky’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is ongoing. The TMP aims to improve access and mobility to, from, and around campus for all members of the UK community, and work on this initiative will continue throughout the summer months. The university remains committed to sharing draft recommendations and soliciting feedback from the campus community. Despite the pace of the planning process, no major changes in permit allocation or pricing models will be implemented for the coming academic year. However, there is a tremendous amount of work underway to ensure the university continues to meet the access needs of the campus community.


TMP Ongoing Planning Efforts:

Over the past three years, the university has invested — or is about to begin construction on — $1.7 billion in a campus transformation unlike any other in higher education.  “Along with these incredible opportunities, we know that the campus transformation also provides challenges,” said Eric N. Monday, UK’s executive vice president for finance and administration. 


Over the past many months, there has been a comprehensive process of gathering information and input regarding the challenges and opportunities for transportation and mobility on campus.  Based on the feedback received to date and their analysis, Sasaki and Associates will submit draft recommendations and an associated financial plan to UK over the summer.  The university will then have the opportunity to provide further feedback and revisions, with the goal of finalizing the plan during the fall semester.


“The university will continue to foster an open dialogue with the campus community throughout this process,” Monday said. ”We want to reach as many people as possible who are affected by campus transportation.”


No Major Permit Allocation or Pricing Changes for Academic Year 15-16:

Given the planned timing for the completion of the TMP, there will be no major changes to parking permit allocation or pricing for the coming year. As recently noted in a communication from President Capilouto regarding the FY16 budget, parking rates will increase by only a modest $1 per month this coming year for most permit types.


Planned Improvements for Academic Year 15-16:

While the plan will not be finalized until this fall and implementation of the TMP will be phased over the ensuing months and years, the university is not waiting to make improvements to campus transportation and mobility.  For example, several projects are underway to increase parking supply for this fall, including:

  • Expansion of the Commonwealth Stadium Orange Lot (~500 spaces)
  • Construction of the Reynolds Lot at the northwest end of Scott Street (~230 spaces)
  • Addition of spaces at Commonwealth Stadium through design efficiencies (~200+ spaces)
  • Expansion of the Linden Walk Lot (~36 spaces)
  • Construction of the new Greek Park Lot at the southeast end of Rose Lane (~35 spaces)

Moreover, the university is also exploring options to improve transit service and expand transportation alternatives.


History of Outreach and Feedback and Call for Ongoing Involvement:

The campus community has been heavily involved in the TMP planning process from the beginning. At the end of January, UK hosted two public forums to receive feedback from the university community. A representative from Sasaki and Associates presented a timeline for the plan, answered questions from the audience and noted the feedback that audience members provided.


Sasaki and Associates returned to the campus in late March to host a second round of public forums and to present preliminary solutions for the campus community to consider. These concepts were highly informed by community feedback.


Videos of all forums are can be accessed by clicking the links below.


The planning team has also been receiving feedback on these important issues from the TMP online survey — developed and administered with the University of Kentucky Transportation Center — which yielded more than 5,000 responses — and through the EVPFA website (


Members of the community are encouraged to visit the EVPFA website throughout the summer to stay apprised of TMP progress, review draft plans and provide valuable feedback.


Additional feedback and input can be sent to




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

UK Announces Third-party Administrator Sought for Body Bequeathal Program

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 15:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 19, 2015) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto today announced that UK's body bequeathal program (BBP) will be overhauled, including a transition to third-party administrator to manage it, following a comprehensive audit he ordered that uncovered shortcomings in overall operations, administrative oversight and record keeping.


The comprehensive audit did not uncover financial impropriety or misuse of donated remains.  The body bequeathal program (BBP) supports medical training for students, physicians, dentists, physical therapists, and other health care workers by allowing individuals to donate or will their body for the advancement of medical science and for teaching needs. It has existed at UK since 1960.


"I want to apologize on behalf of the entire UK community for the failings we uncovered in this important program," Capilouto said. "The body bequeathal program has long been important to our teaching mission. It also has been important to so many individuals and their families who made selfless donations, born of compassion and fueled by a sense of service to others. We apologize to them and want them to know that we are moving quickly to fix what was broken and restore their trust in us."


Specifically, a more than three-month examination Capilouto ordered of the program has resulted in the decision by the president and senior administrators to have the program managed by external third-party professionals. However, even before the comprehensive audit was completed, Capilouto ordered significant management and oversight changes for the program that have been enacted as the transition to a third-party administrator continues over the next few months.


In January, Capilouto wrote to dozens of families after The Herald-Leader identified a backlog in burials of cremated remains. Capilouto apologized to families and said an immediate, comprehensive review would be conducted. A copy of the letter can be found here: Families and others with questions about the program can call 859-323-6582.


Within weeks of that outreach, management of the program was shifted to the Dean's Office in the UK College of Medicine. Previously, the program was in the anatomy department. In addition, a new oversight committee is being formed to help provide governance structure and support while the transition is made to a third-party administrator.


New program management software has been approved to develop and to ensure appropriate record-keeping and reconciliation of financial records.  And UK officials stopped accepting new registrations for donation in late February. Anyone who has previously registered will be received into the program provided the criteria for acceptance at registration is met.


Moreover, during the transition period, officials are working to contact families to appropriately resolve issues with 235 cremated remains that are at UK.  The cremated remains will either be interred or returned to the family as per their wishes.


In addition, some 90 donated bodies are currently being utilized in the program. The audit did not find problems associated with the cadavers. Those cadavers will either be cremated as they are at the end of the normal period for study or will continue to be utilized for educational research as they normally would.


"Our core mission is teaching, research, care and service," said UK Provost Tim Tracy, who helped lead the management and financial reviews of the existing body bequeathal program. "Even before a comprehensive audit was completed, we determined that the operational and programmatic failures were such that we needed to move forward with an overhaul of the program as quickly as possible. We believe, to that end, that it is in the best interests of UK and the families involved to work with an outside partner to manage and administer this important program.


Specifically, the audit cited as deficiencies:


·         The need for clear, consistent communication to families and ensuring a timely disposition of remains in accordance with donor or family wishes.


·         Much of the administrative processes were conducted via inconsistent paper records, rather than utilizing modern software technology and data management.


·         Funding for the program — and sources of funding whether through donations or fees — also were difficult to track and reconcile along with an appropriate accounting of when burials took place. The audit, however, found no misappropriation of funds.


·         There were unclear practices for donations and fees associated with the program as part of a financial model for funding the initiative that was inadequate.


·         An inadequate governance structure was in place that did not ensure sufficient oversight and quality control.


·         Questions were raised about whether one employee — the coordinator — had too many responsibilities to appropriately administer the program.


·         It was determined that a crematorium, while functional, was not on a routine maintenance schedule, and there were poor records for its usage levels.


"We are a learning institution. That means when problems are found, we acknowledge them and work, collaboratively, to fix them," said Eric Monday, UK's executive vice president for finance and administration. "That's precisely what we have done here. As soon as the university became aware of issues, we conducted a thorough and comprehensive examination, the results of which are being made completely public to the community we serve. As importantly, we are reaching out, apologizing to those impacted and detailing precisely how we will fix this important program so that it can continue the important service it provides to both UK and our state."



MEDIA CONTACT:  Jay Blanton, 859-257-6605

UK Student's Win at International Competition Places Her on Carnegie Hall Stage

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 15:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 20, 2015) — This Memorial Day, the University of Kentucky will be well represented on one of the nation's most prestigious stages as doctoral candidate Hye Jin Yeom performs at Carnegie Hall. Yeom was one of only 12 first place winners in the college students and professionals' pianist category at the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition, which qualifies her to perform in a special winners recital held in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall on May 25.


A solo appearance at Carnegie Hall is no small feat. "It is a dream for any serious musician to play solo at Carnegie Hall. A performance there never 'just happens' — one has to earn it with hard work, dedication and never-ending self-improvement," said Yeom's professor, Irina Voro, professor of piano at UK School of Music.


Yeom will play Allegro de Concierto, op. 49 by Spanish composer Enrique Granados.


American Protégé is dedicated to advancing the careers and promoting the talents of all participants and winners. Judges select several winners from different categories including brass, wind, piano, string and voice. The competition is open to artists from around the world who qualify in any of five categories related to age and experience.


The 2015 competition saw submissions from musicians from approximately 30 countries. Previous winners have gone on to perform on TV shows, such as "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "The Voice," as well as several prestigious concerts.


"Hye Jin Yeom definitely earned her performance at Carnegie Hall. It is an honor for UK School of Music and the entire university that our student won first prize at the international competition," Voro said.


Yeom recently completed her second year of doctoral studies under Voro. She earned her master's degree in piano performance from Morehead State University.


Music has been an important part of Yeom's life from a very early age when she began playing the piano at the age of 5 in her home in South Korea. "Music is beyond language, I believe. And the music depicts the ‘beyondness’ of the world and human beings."  


Locally, the award-winning musician can be heard not only on a UK stage but also at Harrodsburg Christian Church, where she plays the piano and organ.


Yeom's passion for music is still strong more than 25 years after the first time sitting down at a piano. "I love Hans Andersen’s expression about music: 'Where words fail, music speaks,'" Yeom said. "Without music, I don’t know how I could awake my soul to see the world the way it is."


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;


SEC Enrollment Management Conference Discusses Issues, Challenges

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 14:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 18, 2015) — Colleges and universities across the country face both significant opportunities and challenges associated with recruiting and retaining students.


How does financial aid work and what are the challenges in explaining the process to families? How do universities ensure that primary and secondary educational curricula are aligned with admission requirements? What are the importance of social media and branding when it comes to engaging with prospective students?


Those are some of the weighty and important topics and questions that will be addressed at the 9th Annual SEC Enrollment Network Meeting, which starts today and is being hosted at the University of Kentucky.


“We all face so many of the same challenges and tremendous opportunities as research universities in the South,” said Don Witt, UK’s associate provost for enrollment management. “Coming together with sister institutions provides us with a unique opportunity to discuss issues and the values we share, along with potential opportunities for partnership.”


Over the course of two-and-a-half days, Witt said representatives from each of the 14 SEC schools will hold sessions on issues ranging from counselor relations to implementation issues surrounding the new SAT. In between sessions, enrollment management leaders will hear from UK President Eli Capilouto and Provost Tim Tracy, while also getting the opportunity to get a bit of Lexington flavor at area restaurants and in the region’s horse country.


“Enrollment management leaders are on the front lines of some of the most important issues we face in public higher education,” Tracy said. “We are serving as host of this conference at a particularly interesting time for higher education, as recruitment and retention issues are more important than ever before for our institutions."


“Stephen Barnett, Prim Wathen and our entire enrollment management team at UK have put in countless hours to prepare for this conference, while continuing to work on advising conferences and the first-year class that will be here before we know it,” Witt said. “I’m proud of our team and excited for the opportunity to showcase Lexington and what UK is doing, while also sharing best practices and some challenges with each other.”



MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155

ACE Presents 'Peter Pan Jr.'

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 12:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 19, 2015) — Faith, trust and just a hint of pixie dust! The University of Kentucky Academy for Creative Excellence (ACE) is proud to present its spring musical, "Peter Pan Jr." from Musical Theatre International (MTI). The musical, based on the Disney film and J.M. Barrie's play, will take the stage May 22-24, at the Downtown Arts Center (DAC).


"Peter Pan Jr." is a modern version of the timeless story about Peter, the boy who didn’t want to grow up. Peter, along with Wendy, Michael and John fly to Neverland where adventure awaits as they befriend the lost boys, mermaids and Indians. But things take a turn as the friends encounter Captain Hook and his band of pirates. Filled with adventure and rated G for all audiences, this musical is a magical story for the young and young at heart.


ACE was created in 2009 as a preparatory performing arts program for young students in Lexington and the surrounding communities. The academy provides training and instruction in performing arts and encourages excellence, enthusiasm, professionalism and passion among its students. ACE is a department of UK Opera Theatre.


"Peter Pan Jr." will be presented 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 22; 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23; and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 24, at the Downtown Arts Center. Tickets for this show are $12 for children and $15 for general admission. To purchase tickets in advance, call the DAC box office at 859-425-2550. Tickets are also available at the door.


UK Opera Theatre is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The School of Music has garnered national recognition 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;

Middle Schooler Shadows UK Neuropsychologists After Winning National Contest

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 09:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 19, 2015) -- Thirteen-year-old Abby Gottesman watched through the glass as the pineapple was strapped into place and made its way through the center of an enormous donut.


It sounds like something from the school cafeteria, but in fact Abby was enjoying her dream day learning from neuropsychologists from UK HealthCare.


Most 13-year-olds aren't really certain what they want to be when they grow up, or their career aspirations are more generic: nurse, fireman, lawyer.  But Abby's career goal to be a neuropsychologist puts her in rarefied company.  Her essay outlining her life's pursuit and why she felt she would be a good neuropsychologist made her one of only five middle schoolers in the country chosen to shadow people in their chosen discipline through the DreamUP! Program.


The DreamUP! Program is a no-cost career exploration program and contest for middle school students across the United States sponsored by Office Depot and USA TODAY. The program is designed for students to follow a set of career exploration lessons and concludes with students writing a 500-word essay about their dream job/career.


"When I read Abby's essay entry I was blown away," said Amelia Anderson-Mooney, Ph.D., the neuropsychologist who planned Abby's dream day.  "This young woman will achieve anything she puts her mind to."


Neuropsychologists specialize in assessing the cognitive and behavioral effects of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Down syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease.  By using standardized testing to assess behavior and cognition, coupled with technology such as MRI, neuropsychologists aim to understand how brain function influences the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of neurological disease.  They work hand-in-hand with neurologists and other physicians to assist patients in managing their situation safely and effectively.

Anderson-Mooney wanted to make sure that Abby learned about essential brain functions and the tools neuropsychologists use to measure those functions.   So the seventh grader from Lexington Traditional Magnet School started her day with the Neurocognitive Service team at UK HealthCare's Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, learning about their educational backgrounds and gaining hands-on experience with the cognitive tests neuropsychologists use with their patients. 


The group then discussed a case study so that Abby could to see how those tests are used in real life  The day concluded with a visit to UK's Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Spectroscopy Center (MRISC), where they put a pineapple through an MRI to demonstrate how the technology helps assess brain structure.  Finally, with the MRISC’s Dave Powell, Ph.D. at the controls, Anderson-Mooney served as a human volunteer for fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), which demonstrates in real time which parts of the brain are responsible for motor control as Anderson-Mooney followed simple instructions presented to her on a screen.  


"I was extremely excited because this is a big deal," said Abby. "It's great exposure so I can know what I'm going to do when I grow up."


And Abby wasn't the only one who enjoyed the experience.


"It’s my opinion that I have the best job in the world with the best people in the world, and I was very proud to introduce Abby to it,” Anderson-Mooney said. 

Strategic Plan Town Halls Provide Opportunities for Community Feedback

Sun, 05/17/2015 - 21:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 19, 2015) — The University of Kentucky campus provided valuable feedback in a series of town halls focusing on the UK Strategic Plan.


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


The draft is available here on the Strategic Plan website.


The Strategic Plan town halls took place at the following dates and locations. Click on the links to view videos of the discussions.


1.    May 6, Lexmark Public Room   

2.    May 7, UK Athletic Association Auditorium, W.T. Young Library

3.    May 13, Bio-Pharm Complex, Room 234-B


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


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

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

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


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



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


UK Police Issue Golden Alert

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 17:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2015) — University of Kentucky Police have issued a Golden Alert after a man disappeared from Kentucky Clinic on the UK campus this afternoon.


Salvador Lara Ortiz, 64, walked away from his family around 1 p.m. today while in Kentucky Clinic. According to police, Ortiz, who has Alzheimer's disease, does not speak English and has difficulty communicating verbally.


UK Police, Lexington Police and the Lexington Fire Department have been searching since Ortiz was reported missing.


Anyone with information is asked to call UK Police at #8573 on any cell phone or dial 911.

Breaking Barriers as a First-gen Female in Computer Science

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 12:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 19, 2015) — She comes from a Kentucky town of fewer than 7,000, but she’s no stranger to traveling the world’s most influential cities. She only just earned her bachelor’s degree in December, but began working toward her master’s last year. She is a female going into in a historically male-dominated field, but has had no trouble landing top internships and research positions.


And while many may think working at NASA and on an international project to unwrap ancient scrolls would be the pinnacle of Abigail Coleman’s career, this is actually just the beginning.


Coleman is a first-generation college student at the University of Kentucky. She graduated with a degree in computer science from the UK College of Engineering and is now a graduate student at the university. Her studies keep her busy during the academic year, so she’s eager that summer has begun.


She won’t be taking a break though; instead, she’ll work full-time on a project that fuses ancient history and modern technology.   


“I got this great opportunity to work on this project, and I figured I’d get my master’s at the same time,” Coleman said. “I didn’t apply to any other college. I knew it wasn’t a question.”


The ancient Herculaneum scrolls project has been in the works for years, led by Department of Computer Science Chair and Professor Brent Seales, but has reached a turning point this year, and with the help of Seales’ team, may reach another soon.


It’s an international collaboration: physicists from Italy, a papryologist from France, and Seales leading the computer science initiative at UK.


With the scrolls carbonized by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy, it is simply impossible to unroll them without destroying them. So while the physicists can scan a 2,000-year old scroll at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the papryologist can study the scroll’s content, computer software is needed to visualize the scroll and scan through it for writing. With the hundreds of carbonized layers, the software Seales and others are working on becomes vital for delivering full works rather than only individual letters.


Coleman, joined by several other student researchers, has specifically worked on UV mapping. UV mapping is a way to make a 2D image representation of a 3D model's surface, in this case 2D images or pages of the 3D scroll.


“It’s cool doing something that’s never been done before,” she said.


Coleman is from Princeton, Kentucky, and has always been fascinated by technology. She excelled in her computer science courses, becoming a University Scholar, which allowed her to  work toward her master’s degree before graduating with her bachelor’s. During her time at UK she has also been a member of Phi Sigma Rho, a social sorority for women in engineering and technology.


Last summer Coleman interned at NASA, working on a user interface to train individuals who work on controls for the international space station.


“It was a refreshment for people that work on mission control in Huntsville,” she said. “I loved it. I learned something new every day.”


This summer will again provide a unique learning and professional experience working on the ancient scroll software, otherwise known to the group as “Volume Cartography.”   


Following the end of the semester, Coleman traveled with the team to Paris, France, where they presented at the Google Cultural Institute and trained their collaborator at the Institut de France to use the software.


With much of the software developed this semester, the group is hoping to unveil a full page of text by the end of the summer.


”Once you actually start getting results, seeing your stuff working, it’s so worthwhile,” Coleman said.


What’s next for Coleman after working on the ancient scrolls project and earning her master’s from UK?


“I would love to go back to NASA, but I’ve learned a lot in this project with imaging processing,” she said. In other words, she is now ready for a range of opportunities that lie ahead.   




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

Mind Matters Health Fair Will Focus on Brain Health

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 09:27

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 18, 2015) — We often hear about the things we need to do to maintain heart health.  But did you know you should also be thinking about brain health?


In addition to the human suffering caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementias, there is an enormous financial strain on the health care system and families, consuming about $20 billion in direct costs alone.  As the baby boomer generation continues to age, that figure is expected to rise exponentially.  Finding a cure for Alzheimer's is our ultimate goal, but finding ways to help people stave off dementia by just five years  — whether through medicines or lifestyle changes — would make an enormous impact on the cost of patient care and the emotional stress experienced by the families of a loved one stricken by dementia.


The UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA), one of the world's leading research centers on age-related diseases, is dedicated to finding ways to slow down and/or cure Alzheimer's disease.  We are always eager to share our knowledge with the world, but care especially for Kentuckians — the people in our own backyard.


To that end, we will be holding our seventh annual "Mind Matters" health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, May 18, at the Fayette County Extension Office, 1140 Red Mile Place, Lexington. The event is free of charge and anyone who is interested in learning about aging brain health for themselves or a loved one is welcome.


The focus of this year's event is proper nutrition for a healthy brain, providing information on how diet can help promote healthy brain aging and prevent age-related brain disease. There will be free 'brain healthy' food provided by chef Ouita Michel as well as live cooking demonstrations.


The event will also feature interactive exhibits, health and memory screenings, and presentations about healthy brain aging, Alzheimer's and music therapy.


The best health outcomes happen when patients, families, and physicians work together.  The Mind Matters Health Fair is an opportunity for you to arm yourself with the latest information on brain health for your own benefit and for that of others.


Dr. Greg Jicha is an aging and Alzheimer's disease specialist at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.


This column appeared in the May 17, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Welcomes Provost Tim Tracy

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 15:28


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2015) — 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, Godell talks to UK Provost Tim Tracy about the university's strategic planning process. 


To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit


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

May is for Membership at Spindletop Hall

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 14:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2015) — Kick off the summer with The Club at University of Kentucky’s Spindletop Hall May is for Membership! Spindletop is currently offering 50 percent off all initiation fees through the month of May.


Spindletop members enjoy four swimming pools, 10 tennis courts, two chipping & putting greens, Roxie’s upscale casual member dining with veranda, summer Tiki Bar and Grill, exclusive access to Lexington’s Legacy Trail, basketball and volleyball courts, expansive grounds, picnic areas, special club events and the spectacular Spindletop Hall mansion.


UK faculty, staff, and all members of the UK Alumni Association are eligible for club membership. Spindletop offers memberships for all stages of life ranging from family, single parent, couples, individuals, seniors and young alumni. Rates vary based upon membership type.


UK employees are able to deduct dues straight from their payroll.  


For more information on joining, check out Spindletop’s website here, call 859-255-2777 or email



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

UK Plants Hemp Research Plots

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 11:53

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2015) — Agronomists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment began planting their 2015 hemp research plots May 14 on the university’s Spindletop Research Farm.


This is the second year for UK to conduct industrial hemp research. 2014 was the first year that hemp was legally grown in the state in decades. UK conducted the 2014 pilot project under the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s guidance.


This year’s research projects are funded by several corporations, with administrative support from KDA. Similar to 2014, UK will work in collaboration with scientists from other Kentucky universities. UK agronomists David Williams and Rich Mundell are the lead researchers on the UK projects.


UK researchers will evaluate the yield and fiber quality differences among different harvest times and harvest methods as well as retting times and retting methods. Retting is the process of separating the fiber from the stem. UKAg agronomists will collaborate with researchers at Eastern Kentucky University on this project, which is funded by Sunstrand LLC.


In a second research project, Williams and Mundell will examine the best production method for cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, such as hemp-based cannabidiol, may be used in food and dietary supplements for consumer health and wellness benefits. The pharmaceutical industry is researching them for a variety of therapeutic purposes. CannaVest Corporation funded this project.


Another project, funded by Freedom Feed and Seed, will allow UK researchers to manipulate plant growth rates in the greenhouse and in the field of hemp used for grain and cannabinoid production. They will study specifically whether small plants make the harvest simpler and whether small plants have any yield difference compared to larger plants.


UK researchers will conduct additional projects with Murray State University and Western Kentucky University. In collaboration with Murray State University researchers, UK scientists also will conduct a small variety trial of hemp plants for grain production. UKAg researchers will work with researchers from Western Kentucky University on a project that looks at hemp’s tolerance to agricultural herbicides.


Kentucky Hemp Seed Research and Development Company, a subsidiary of Atalo Holdings, donated a significant amount of seed to the 2015 UK hemp research project.




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

First Generation International Graduate Engineers Success

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 10:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2015) — For one University of Kentucky student, last week’s commencement ceremonies fulfilled a dream generations in the making.


Tony Kao, a native of Cambodia, immigrated to the United States when he was 5 years old after his parents sought better opportunities for their son. They settled in Georgetown, Kentucky, where Kao’s natural curiosity led to a developed interest in cars at an early age.


“I liked to understand how some things worked and why some things didn’t,” Kao said. “I didn’t like to accept ‘just because’ as a valid reason for something.”


Kao’s interests led him to UK to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. The transition to college life was difficult, Kao says, but far from unmanageable.


“Coming in as a first-generation student taught me to be adaptive to my surroundings, whether it’s in the classroom or the workplace,” Kao said.


The workplace has been especially rewarding for Kao, who has interned with both Toyota and Marathon Petroleum. Kao also served as the president of the student section for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 


Kao enrolled at UK as a First Scholar, a scholarship program for first-generation college students. The program also provides academic support and services for students like Kao, who took away more than just academic guidance.


“I’ve made lifelong friends with faculty and other students in the First Scholars Program,” he said. “I can't imagine what my college experience would have been like without them.”


Though there were certain challenges along the way, Kao found encouragement in his UK community.


“I remember pushing myself really hard during my junior year and I struggled to keep up,” he said. “Luckily, with the support of family, friends and faculty, I made it out for the better.”


Kao hopes his accomplishments at UK will inspire future students in his family for generations to come.


“I hope I can pass on my experiences over the last few years to my younger cousins,” he said. “I want to help them come in more prepared than I was and be more successful as well.”


Following commencement, Kao will relocate to Texas, where he has accepted a full-time position with Marathon Petroleum. As he prepares to take the next step in his career, Kao passes on some advice to his fellow international students.


“Make a lot of friends and learn from all of them, inside and out of your major,” Kao said. “You can learn just as much about your areas of interest, yourself and your surroundings from someone who isn’t in your field as someone who is.”



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

Post Doctoral Students Can Share Research in June 12 Symposium

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 20:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) — They conduct lab research and teach classes, but they are neither faculty nor graduate students. Postdoctoral scholars, or postdocs, serve an important role at the University of Kentucky, however, they are scattered across various departments and have not always had an opportunity to meet and share their work.


Professor Susan Odom in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, said, "Most postdocs don’t have any kind of formal gatherings that are specifically targeted toward them."


In 2014, Odom collaborated with Matt Casselman, a postdoc in chemistry, to organize UK’s Society of Postdoctoral Scholars (SOPS). SOPS offers weekly activities like professional development workshops or research presentations. 


On Friday, June 12, SOPS will host its first Postdoctoral Research Symposium at the William T. Young Library. The symposium will allow for the exchange of ideas across a broad range of fields, and abstract submissions are welcome from any discipline.


“It’s a great way to bring everyone together, to network, and further everybody’s goals,” Casselman said.


The symposium will feature the university’s Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis as the keynote speaker, as well as oral presentations given by postdoctoral scholars from numerous fields represented on UK’s campus and from other Kentucky universities including the University of Louisville.


By extending the invitation to other area universities, Casselman and co-organizers Caitlin ScottSarah Edwards, and Lindsay Boehme hope “to gather a critical mass of postdocs.” Casselman said. ”We want it to be open to everyone to talk about their research.”


In addition to the oral presentations, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students are invited to present posters. Prizes will be awarded to the two top postdoctoral and top two graduate student posters. The first place award winners will receive $150, and second place winners will receive $50.


To submit an abstract for an oral presentation or poster, visit The deadline to apply for oral presentations is May 20, and the deadline for posters is June 5. Use the same link to register to attend the symposium. There is no deadine to register to attend the symposium, although on-site registrants will not be provided with lunch.


There is no charge to present or attend the symposium. Lunch and coffee will be provided. Funding for the symposium is provided by an ESPCoR award from the National Science Foundation. Poster prizes are sponsored by the UK Office of Graduate Studies.


For more information, and if you wish to participate, please contact the symposium organizers at

Take Part in National Bike to Work Day May 15

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 18:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) — May is National Bike Month. If you haven’t taken advantage yet of the many activities going on with Bike Lexington, University of Kentucky Parking and Transportation Services says now is the perfect time to get started; National Bike to Work Day is slated for Friday, May 15. According to the League of American Bicyclists, Lexington has more than doubled its bike commuter share since 2000.


Do you have hesitations about biking to work? Parking and Transportation Services has compiled a list of resources to help address common concerns.


I don’t know how to plan my route. Which roads have bike lanes?
Review the Lexington Bike Map and the UK Bike Facilities Map (PDF) in selecting your route. You may also consider using interactive online maps, such as Google Maps and


I don’t feel comfortable bike commuting because I feel that the roads are unsafe.
Cyclists and motorists have the same rights, rules and responsibilities on most Kentucky roads. Follow the guidelines from the state Share the Road campaign. Review the UK Bicycling Advisory Committee’s Bicycling Basics guide (PDF) for a how-to guide on navigating campus on bike. If you don’t feel confident in your abilities, consider taking a bicycle commuting class before embarking on a bike commute.


I don’t know where bike parking is located, or the existing bike parking is inconvenient.
Check out the UK Bike Facilities Map (PDF) to find the racks closest to your destination. If you see a need for more or upgraded bike parking, please submit a Bike Parking Request Form (PDF).


I’d like to bike to work, but I live too far away.
If it is not feasible for you to bike commute the entire way, consider combining mass transit and biking. All Lextran buses are equipped with a bike rack.


I have to dress up for work, so I don’t think bike commuting would work for me.
Bike commuting is generally at an easy pace, so you don’t need to worry about getting sweaty. However, you may consider packing your clothes with you or keeping multiple sets of work clothes at the office.

Medical Student Provides Critical Care Training to Nepali Doctors Before Earthquake Emergencies

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 16:58

LEXINGTON, KY. (May 15, 2015) — Not even sopping wet hiking gear could blemish Jennifer Cotton's memory of a pink- and orange-hued morning sun surfacing over the Himalayan mountain line.


In between medical training sessions at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, the fourth-year University of Kentucky medical student trekked across the Kathmandu Valley, stopping at small villages along the way, with a group of colleagues from around the world. On the first day of their adventure, a constant pouring of rain drenched their clothes, which they dried over a campfire that night. But Cotton dismissed the wet, rugged outdoor conditions when she woke at 4 a.m. to a magnificent illumination across the sky.


"It's something you just can't quite put into words," Cotton said.


Feeling a close connection to the culture, land and people of Nepal since her trip in February, Cotton was troubled to learn of the devastation caused by two recent earthquakes in the region. A magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 25 caused the deaths of more than 8,000 people, and a magnitude 7.3 earthquake rattled the eastern part of Nepal near Mount Everest on May 12. Cotton, who graduates from the UK College of Medicine on May 16, is raising funds to help Nepali doctors replenish intensive care unit supply boxes, which cost as much as $4,000 and have been depleted since the first emergency response. 


"It's horrible, and it's hard to watch from here," Cotton said of the situation in Nepal. "We're trying to do the best we can from here. They don't need medical volunteers — they need supplies."


After traveling to Montreal to provide ultrasound training at a conference in 2014, Cotton was invited by the Nepal Critical Care Development Foundation to serve as a trainer during an ultrasound workshop held in the capital city of Kathmandu. During her two-week trip, Cotton and medical colleagues from around the world taught Nepali doctors the latest techniques in critical care ultrasound. The only American to participate as a trainer in the conference’s workshop, Cotton said she was humbled to have the opportunity to pass her skill set on to Nepali doctors.


Although she was younger and less experienced than the Nepali doctors, she had mastered critical care ultrasound skills through her involvement in the UK College of Medicine Ultrasound Interest Group and the mentorship of Dr. Matt Dawson, UK HealthCare director of point of care ultrasound.


The Nepal Critical Care Development Foundation is building a stronger critical care training program in Nepal by offering a fellowship in critical care and providing intensive care unit (ICU) medical supply boxes for the region. Until recently, the area provided few opportunities for advanced critical care training.


Cotton instructed many local doctors on how to hold an ultrasound probe for the first time. Because of Cotton's training, doctors from across the region were equipped with new skills in trauma and critical care ultrasound only months before two major disasters. Cotton said she will continue to participate in the annual ultrasound trainings in Nepal.


Cotton was a member of the team of University of Kentucky student sonographers who won the first World Cup of Ultrasound contest during the World Congress of Ultrasound in Medical Education last fall. She will complete her emergency medicine residency training at The Ohio State University. Ultrasound is listed by Stanford University as one of the most valuable skills for medical students entering the field.


Cotton is in the process of establishing a nonprofit foundation to support the Nepali doctors long-term. To support disaster relief kits for Nepal now, visit



MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Maserati Mingle in Downtown Lexington Previews Keeneland Concours d’Elegance

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 16:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) — Keeneland Concours d’Elegance will host the Maserati Mingle Friday, May 15, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Court House Square in downtown Lexington.


Sponsored by Maserati of Cincinnati, event admission is free to the public and will feature a variety of exotic automobiles, including vintage models from Maserati, Ferrari and Porsche. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on site.


“This will be a fun, memorable event with a number of local classic cars on display at downtown Lexington’s Court House Square,” Connie Jones, Concours co-chair, said. “It serves as a warm-up for the upcoming Keeneland Concours d’Elegance on July 16-19, and all proceeds will benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital."


Tickets and information for the Keeneland Concours will be available at the Maserati Mingle.


For the 2015 Keeneland Concours d'Elegance on Saturday, July 18, the featured marque is Maserati, in celebration of the company's 100th anniversary in 2014. Supporting sponsors for the Maserati Mingle event include the UK Federal Credit Union, WEKU and Harp Enterprises.


Since the first event in 2004, the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance has showcased the finest in automobiles and the attractions of central Kentucky on the lush grounds of the Keeneland Race Course. Activities include a Bourbon Tour, Hangar Bash and the Tour d’Elegance of scenic Kentucky back roads. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital to help bring better health care to the children of Kentucky. For more information, visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, 

Markey's Narrative Medicine Programs Helps Heal Mind and Body

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 16:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) – Storytelling has always been an essential part of the human experience. From prehistoric tales of the hunt, to fairytales, and even modern blockbusters, stories have reflected the culture, values and experiences of not only the characters but the storyteller himself.


Though storytelling has always been a powerful force in society, only recently has its power been used to encourage healing. The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is working to recognize the powerful patient stories that result from a cancer diagnosis and use these stories to help patients through a method known as narrative medicine.


During a narrative medicine session, patients sit one-on-one with a health professional to share their personal stories, whether it's as simple as their actual day-to-day experiences or their emotional journeys. As patients share their unique experiences, the narrative medicine facilitator will help to tease out important details and insights and help patients use their story as a way to cope and recover mentally.


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.


Though talking points vary greatly from patient to patient, one thing that remains consistent in each session are a series of questions asked by Markey's Narrative Medicine Facilitator Robert Slocum.


"What is your source of hope?"

A cancer diagnosis changes a person's life overnight. For many people, fighting cancer can mean taxing treatments, unexpected financial burdens, time away from loved ones and time away from activities they enjoy. It can be easy to focus on treatment, and healing the body, and forget about the toll that the experience takes on the mind.


At Markey, staff is always concerned with finding ways to keep patients engaged and maintain their sense of hope throughout treatment.


Slocum believes that  one way to achieve this is through patients sharing their story and experiences.


"This is a person who happens to have cancer," Slocum said. "A person with a life, with dreams, hopes, responsibilities, and ways to share. Staying connected to that during the process of treatment can be very important."


Many patients are open to sharing their experiences but are unsure of how to do it. They feel holding these conversations might burden loved ones or health professionals. They might feel that their personal experience is not important.


Narrative medicine is a chance to express to them that their experiences do matter.


"It is important to hear again and again that we are here to listen," Slocum said. "We want to hear your experience. Your experience matters. That can be the opening that many people felt 'oh there was never a good time to talk,' well, this is a great time to talk."


This adjunct therapy becomes especially helpful for cancer patients in isolation, where they may be confined to a room with few approved visitors for a month or more. Lola  Thomason, the patient care manager for Markey's blood and marrow transplantation and medical oncology floor, notes that these patients are at a particularly high risk of developing psychosocial issues, simply due to lack of interaction and conversation.


"Narrative medicine gives patients an opportunity just to get their story out," Thomason said. "Just being able to get those feelings off their chest means so much to them."


Slocum is frequently referred to patients by Thomason and her team, a system that is working well so far.


"Lola has a sixth sense for who needs to be seen and when they need to be seen," Slocum said.


"Where do you get your strength?"

There is, without a doubt, strength that comes from being able to share your personal story.


When Slocum holds these important conversations with patients, he focuses on helping patients discover what their personal strength is and helps them find the strength to share their experience with others, if they choose.


"It is possible to draw out and draw on a patients sense of strength," Slocum said. "It is an opportunity for a patient to come to a clearer understanding of their life and what they are going through presently in the context of everything they have faced before."


Narrative medicine begins with a referral from a health professional and a simple conversation.


"It can be simply 'how are you feeling today', 'what brings you to the hospital' or 'how has treatment been going'," Slocum said. "That can be the start of a conversation that begins to go a little bit deeper."


Once patients choose to participate in narrative medicine, they can share their story in the way that they are comfortable. Patients are free to share as much or as little as they would like to. The purpose is for patients to begin to share their story and also provide an opportunity for them to process their experiences.


One of Slocum's patients at Markey, Dr. David Gagnon, has been very open to sharing his experiences dealing with a rare blood cancer and subsequent brain cancer diagnosis.


Gagnon has a unique story to tell as both a doctor and a cancer patient. Because he understands the doctor and patient viewpoint, he has gained an understanding of the importance of sharing experiences and emotions.


"Patients who don't talk don't seem to do well," Gagnon said. "I have found that talking and sharing with physicians and other patients who are going through this is helpful for me and helpful for them."


During his session with Slocum, Gagnon's topics run the gamut of his life experiences, including thoughts on his career as a physician, to his hobbies and fitness goals, to his spirituality. While Gagnon has an interesting perspective, every patient offers a unique viewpoint that Slocum hopes to help draw out and build upon as a source of strength for the patient.


"Patients come in all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and with different perspectives," Slocum said. "I try to work with whoever they are and whatever they bring."


"What gives you the courage to face the future?"

For some patients, narrative medicine has allowed them to find the courage to share their story with others. This might mean sharing what they are feeling with family members or even writing it down for other patients to read and hopefully relate to.


Many patients come out of a narrative medicine session with a fresh outlook on their treatment, and on life in general.


"I've had patients say wonderful things about how their perspectives have changed in cancer treatment," Slocum said. "They don't take things for granted anymore. Cancer is a terrible diagnosis, but it's also a second chance."




Narrative medicine is just one of the ways that Markey has worked to foster hope, strength and courage in their patients. Their integrative medicine program helps to find alternative medicine practices that complement a patient's existing treatment. Markey offers a wide range of integrative programs including narrative medicine, art therapy, music therapy and Jin Shin Jyutsu.


For more information on narrative medicine or for referrals, contact Robert Slocum at (859) 324-0955 or


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

Cuban Artist's Imagined Mythological Figures Exhibited at UK Chandler Hospital

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 15:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) — Without words to explain her process or motive, Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso started drawing and painting muscular male figures on construction paper. She then cut out the figures, which ranged from a few inches to 8 feet tall, and methodically installed them on the walls of her family's apartment using square pieces of brown packaging tape.


Deaf and unable to speak since birth, the 29-year-old artist lives a mostly isolated existence in a small town near Havana, Cuba. Her limited human interactions occur within the confines of her family's apartment. Because Pedroso can only communicate for basic needs through rudimentary signs, no one knows the artist's own interpretations of the mythological figures and body parts she creates.


A collection of her imagined figures are currently on display in the UK Chandler Hospital East Gallery in an exhibit titled, "Misleidys Francisca Castillo Pedroso: Cut and Flex." The artwork depicts the full bodies of men with bulging muscles and brightly colored organs and ligaments, as well as paintings of stand-alone body parts, including hands, feet and heads. An integral element of Misleidys' work, the squares of brown packaging tape are maintained around the edges of each cutout.


Since she started creating the figures a few years ago, Pedroso's work has evolved with the addition of female figures in bikinis and groupings of heads joined together to depict human relationships, such as twins or families. Pedroso's mother has observed her standing in front of her drawings, looking at them and gesturing as if she were speaking to them. Misleidys looks at her paintings in the eyes, as though she recognizes them.


"Whatever the true nature of this work may be, Misleidys is clearly breathing life into her figures, creating beings that exist in the space between our world and her own," Phillip March Jones, curator for the UK Arts in HealthCare program, said.


Pedroso's work has recently appeared in Havana Biennial and Art Papers magazine. The exhibit, coordinated by the UK Arts in HealthCare program, will be on display throughout the summer.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,