Campus News

UK Design Welcomes New School of Architecture Director

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 13:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 18, 2016) The University of Kentucky College of Design has announced the appointment of Jeffrey Johnson as the new director of the School of Architecture. Johnson joins the faculty from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University where he was the founding director of the Asia Megacities Lab.


"I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at the UK College of Design and look forward to working directly with the students and faculty of the School of Architecture at such an exciting time,” Johnson said. “We have a great opportunity to build on the school’s esteemed reputation as we continue its course as a leader in architectural education."


Johnson, a registered architect and a member of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), was chosen from nearly 50 highly accomplished international candidates for the position. “What impressed our committee is that he’s successfully oscillated between academia and professional practice throughout his career,” said Anne Filson, chairman of the search committee. “That combined with his record of intellectual leadership made him an exceptional candidate within a very competitive field.”


Most recently, Johnson has been critically examining the historically unprecedented "museumification" of China during the current museum building boom. He has lectured extensively and has taken part in numerous international events, symposia, forums and workshops on the topic of architecture, cities and urbanization. In addition to teaching at Columbia University, he has also taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology and at Tongji University in Shanghai.


“In addition to his balance of practice and academia, Professor Johnson is a promising leader in the school and college because of his experimentation at a range of scales from interiors to urban design,” Dean Mitzi Vernon said. “We are excited to have his voice at the table as we grow the College of Design.”


Johnson, who received his master's degree in architecture in 1992 and his bachelor's degree in architecture in 1990 from Ball State University, begins as director of the UK School of Architecture on July 1.



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: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Wilson, 859-257-5367,; or Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716,



UK College of Fine Arts Dean to Lead Arts College at Syracuse University

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 13:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2016) — After six years as dean of the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts, Michael Tick will step down to assume the position of dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. He begins at Syracuse July 1.


Syracuse University is a private, coeducational, urban institution located in the heart of Central New York. As dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Tick will lead more than 300 full-time and part-time faculty and nearly 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students in six schools and departments.


“I’m very appreciative of Michael’s leadership for the College of Fine Arts for the last six years. During his tenure, the college has made significant advancement through new facilities and programs, while maintaining a commitment to the highest standards of artistic expression, which have been recognized literally around the globe,” said Tim Tracy, UK provost. “We wish Michael and his family only the best as they pursue this newest chapter in their lives at Syracuse."


Under Tick’s leadership, the School of Art and Visual Studies moved into a new state-of-the-art facility through a nearly $24 million university investment in a renovated historic building. The building includes specialized areas such as digital media labs, a multipurpose 3D fabrication lab, student studios, and gallery space. In fall 2016, the college will launch the Creative Arts Living Learning Program in a new 1,100-bed residential hall with multidisciplinary spaces for visual, performing, and literary arts. The facility, a partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, will dramatically enhance student opportunities for creative discovery and innovation on UK’s campus. Because of Tick’s advocacy and commitment to facility improvements, the initial scope and architectural program are in place for a new School of Music Instruction building, which will support rehearsal space for the Wildcat Marching Band.


During his tenure, Tick built a centralized administrative support infrastructure for the College of Fine Arts with new positions for communications, recruiting, development, and information technology. The college hired its first chief financial officer and developed an integrated business unit in anticipation of the university’s new budget model. This centralized infrastructure provides strong fiscal oversight of program expenditures as well as a unified identity for student success and patron and donor engagement.


One of the College of Fine Arts' many international successes under Tick’s leadership was a successful partnership with the Art College of Inner Mongolia University. In collaboration with the UK Confucius Institute, both colleges agreed to several terms including exchanges of students for study and research; exchanges of faculty members for research, lectures, and discussions; exchanges of academic materials and academic publications; and joint research activities. Delegates from Inner Mongolia came to UK’s campus in 2013 for a week of collaborative concerts, master classes, lectures, and exhibitions. Thirty-five faculty, staff, and students from UK traveled to Inner Mongolia in 2015 to do the same. At present there are nearly 20 students from Inner Mongolia completing their degree programs on UK’s campus through 2+2 and 3+1 programs. Discussions are underway for a similar program in Malaysia.


In the last six years, the College of Fine Arts has seen the addition of the University of Kentucky Art Museum as an auxiliary unit, Lexington’s only accredited art museum. The Department of Art was renamed the School of Art and Visual Studies and expanded its offerings with major growth in UK Core classes reaching thousands of students in other colleges. The Department of Theatre was renamed the Department of Theatre and Dance to reflect the growing popularity of dance within the department; at its inception the dance minor had six students and, in less than three years, enrollment grew to more than 50 students. The School of Music expanded its partnership with UK HealthCare through a graduate program in music therapy. The Arts Administration program launched an online master's in arts administration, the first of its kind at a public university. Most recently, University Senate voted to move the Arts Administration program to its own freestanding unit as a department, recognizing the growth in undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, Tick realized his vision to build strategic partnerships across campus through initiatives with the College of Communication and Information, the College of Arts and Sciences, UK HealthCare, the College of Design, and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, among others.


In 2015, Tick was elected for a three-year term to the Board of Directors of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans. Through his leadership in this and other professional organizations, Tick has brought the College of Fine Arts international recognition for its contributions to creative research and has affirmed the vital contributions of the arts to the health of UK’s campus.


Prior to joining UK in 2010, Tick spent 11 years as the chair of the Department of Theatre at Louisiana State University (LSU) and producing artistic director of Swine Palace, the department’s Equity theatre company. Before joining LSU in 1999, Tick served on the planning committee that established in 1985 the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA), a regional secondary arts school affiliated with the Virginia Stage Company, the Virginia Opera, the Virginia Symphony, and the Virginia Ballet Theatre. As founding chair of the GSA Department of Theatre, Tick served on the faculty of Old Dominion University. He has also served the faculties of the University of Rhode Island, Northwestern University, Rend Lake College (Illinois), Harvard University (in association with the University of Rhode Island), the University of the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas), and Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds.



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, visit #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Blanton, 859-257-6605

New Podcast ‘Behind the Blue’ Explores UK Stories That Impact the University, State, World

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 22:23




LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2016) — Some stories require a little more — a little more discussion, more context, more depth and breadth.


That’s the idea behind “Behind the Blue” — a new weekly podcast created by UK Public Relations and Marketing. It is designed to explore — through probing, in-depth interviews — the stories that make UK the university for Kentucky and that have impact across the institution, the Commonwealth and, in some cases, the world.


The first podcast, appropriately enough, focuses on election-year politics and the presidential election. To provide insight and context on an extraordinary and historic election, UK political science professor and elections expert Stephen Voss discusses at length the forces shaping this year’s presidential race, his insights on both the Democratic and Republican parties, and an individual candidate or two, who may be making headlines.


Voss is quoted extensively in state and national publications for his views on politics. He is seen as a dispassionate and in-depth observer of the political scene, attributes on full display in this first episode of “Behind the Blue.”


Stay tuned for new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.


There will be more information in coming weeks about where you can find and subscribe to this podcast that focuses exclusively on the stories that make the University of Kentucky such a special community.


The first episode can be heard by clicking the play button above; it can be streamed from YouTube at; and it will be available via iTunes later in the week.




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: #uk4ky #seeblue

UK Well Represented at NAFSA: Association of International Educators’ National Conference

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 17:11




LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2016) — The University of Kentucky will be well represented by current and future leaders as well as expert presenters at the national conference of NAFSA (Association of International Educators), ’“Building Capacity for Global Learning,” May 29-June 3 in Denver, Colorado.


UK’s contingent will join others in welcoming plenary speakers of note: David Brooks, op-ed columnist for The New York Times and a frequent analyst for PBS, NPR and NBC’s “Meet the Press"; Bryan Stevenson, visionary legal scholar, advocate and champion for social justice who founded and directs the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization committed to fair and just treatment for all people in the U.S. legal system; Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, journalist, author and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Kailash Satyarthi, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 in recognition of his ongoing efforts to eliminate child labor and for the right of all children to an education.


UK presenters include Ellie Holliday, Summer Eglinski, Thomas Teague, Michael Hagel, Bessie Guerrant and Seth Riker, who also serves the NAFSA regional team as the communications coordinator.


In addition to the expert presenters, UK’s NAFSA leaders include Region VI’s chair-elect, Frances Henkel, a student advisor with the UK International Center. She will coordinate the session proposals for the Region VI conference in the fall and learn about the best practices and innovative ideas happening all over the region. Henkel will chair the regional conference next year in Louisville. John Honeycutt of the UK International Center will also attend. He serves on the NAFSA Regulatory Ombud Subcommittee as the region VI regulatory ombud for student issues. Honeycutt’s committee liaises with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service centers and provides vital regulatory updates to NAFSA members. At the national conference he will focus on federal policies affecting international education. Jason Hope, international risk analyst for the UK International Center, is Kentucky state representative to NAFSA, and Seth Riker is the communications coordinator for Region VI.


“The field of international education is full of smart, supportive and passionate professionals who navigate complicated regulations and sometimes incredibly complex student issues,” Henkel said. “Both our regional conferences and participation in the annual conference have helped me to grow and learn from amazing colleagues over the years and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the region in this way.”


NAFSA plays a vital role in keeping professionals well versed in the increasingly complex world of global education. It represents four key professional practice areas: comprehensive internationalization, education abroad, international education enrollment and international student and scholar services, as well as cross-cutting competencies, which describe the shared skills and knowledge needed across all international education domains: advocacy, intercultural communication, community communication and leadership.


The NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies™ is the most comprehensive listing of the necessary competencies for success in the field of international education. Created by a group of NAFSA member leaders and reviewed by numerous international education experts, the NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies forms the basic building blocks of the international education profession. This inventory is intended to define the professional knowledge, skills and abilities expected of international education professionals working in the United States, regardless of their area of specialization or role within the field. From advisor to manager to policy maker, the International Education Professional Competencies offer everyone working in international education a direction for professional success.


Presenters representing UK for the upcoming national NAFSA conference include:


Ellie Holliday

Assistant director of International School Partnerships and coordinator of International Student and Scholar Mobility for the UK College of Education, Holliday earned her master's degree in diplomacy and international commerce from the UK Patterson School and worked with the UK Education Abroad office for two years co-coordinating its Peer Ambassador Program.


Presentation: "Beyond Orientation: Supporting International Students and Scholars by Strengthening Partnerships."

Holliday will focus on what happens after the variety of orientation and support services many colleges have in place for new international students. She will discuss gaps in support experienced by students and scholars and will provide ideas for closing those gaps through forging strong, collaborative relationships. She hopes her listeners can identify areas where international students and scholars experience a gap in support and develop ideas for closing this gap, can think strategically about how to use existing resources to better serve this unique community and explore how to develop stronger partnerships utilizing various resources.


Summer Eglinski

Director of Gatton Global Initiatives in the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics, Eglinski previously worked as an academic advisor for business and as an education abroad advisor at both UK and Kennesaw State University. She received her master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas in 2009.


Session: Eglinski, Holliday, UK Gatton College Academic Adviser Thomas Teague and Leigh Poole, director of the International Center at Winthrop University in South Carolina, will chair a session discussing how to extend support of international students and scholars beyond the orientation period through strategic campus partnerships.


Eglinski is also a co-presenter at a poster presentation titled “Enhancing Learning Before, During, and After Education Abroad: Education Abroad and Academic Advisors as Orientation Facilitators.” Eglinski and Teague will co-present a poster “Beyond the Orientation: Student Learning via Advising Before, During and After Education Abroad.”


Michael Hagel


Data management specialist at UK International Center/International Student and Scholar Services, Hagel manages UK’s student and scholar tracking tool and the OPT student list.


Presentation: "Cloud Computing for the International Student and Scholar Services Office."


Bessie M. Guerrant

Associate director of Undergraduate Research, Guerrant is a former Kentucky Distinguished Educator and has extensive experience in public school education reform and improvement initiatives. She has developed and managed several university programs targeting both high school and undergraduate students in research. She has served on many boards and committees, including the executive board of the Council on Undergraduate Research in Washington, D.C., and the board of directors of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. She has served as a proposal reader for the National Science Foundation, NASA and the U.S. Department of Education..


Presentation: "Undergraduate Research Abroad: Creating Global Opportunities."

Guerrant will examine the links between undergraduate research and studying abroad and how research abroad differs from regular study abroad programming. She hopes her listeners develop an understanding of why setting up an undergraduate research abroad program is valuable for their top students and their institution; develop knowledge on how to finance an undergraduate research abroad program; and develop an understanding of the outcomes and deliverables of undergraduate research abroad.


Seth Riker

Marketing and communications manager for the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and  communications coordinator for NAFSA Region VI, Riker recieved NAFSA's inaugural Rising Star Young Leader Award in 2015 for his exceptional work to promote international education through several new and creative strategies, his contributions to Region VI, and his work as UK's first Education Abroad promotion and outreach coordinator.


Presentations: "Breaking into Education Abroad" and "Creating Videos on a Budget for an International Office."


"NAFSA has been a great outlet for networking and development,” Riker said. “I've made connections across the country with international educators in all areas of academia. In a time when campus internationalization is the expectation, not a luxury, my NAFSA network has been critical for benchmarking and idea sharing. If UK is to become an internationally recognized institution, fostering the next generation of global leaders, we all have a role to play."


“I participate in most NAFSA national, regional and state conferences,” said Holliday, “because they help me stay up-to-date with changes and updates in the fields of international student and scholar services and education abroad, both of which I work with in my position as assistant director of International School Partnerships in the College of Education. I also enjoy being able to network and meet with colleagues in the field.”


Eglinski says her participation in NAFSA is like involvement with any professional organization. “Being involved with NAFSA allows me to check the pulse of the field, in this case international education as it pertains to higher education. It allows professionals to share best practices, information and research in a collegial setting."


“It can be very easy to feel alone when you work with unique populations,” Eglinski said. “Involvement with NAFSA cracks the barriers of isolation, opens up resources and introduces you to ways of thinking that are new. Because I also work with exchange programs within the College of Business, NAFSA national conferences provide me with the valuable opportunity to also meet with my international partners in a central location. Of the eight exchange programs the Gatton College supports, six of our partners will be attending the NAFSA conference in Denver. This allows me to meet with representatives from our partner schools, discuss issues, learn about their programs in greater depth, and share information about UK and Gatton conveniently, easily and efficiently.”


With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. For more information about the organization, visit To learn more about its advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit and @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter.



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: #uk4ky #seeblue



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




STUDY: Regular Exercise at Any Age Could Keep the Mind Young

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 14:30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2016) — Recent research suggests that exercise might provide some measure of protection from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias.


A group of researchers led by Nathan Johnson, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, was able to demonstrate a positive correlation between fitness and blood flow to areas of the brain where the hallmark tangles and plaques of AD pathology are usually first detected.

Thirty men and women ages 59-69 were put through treadmill fitness assessments and ultrasounds of the heart. Then they received brain scans to look for blood flow to certain areas of the brain.


“We set out to characterize the relationship between heart function, fitness, and cerebral blood flow, which no other study had explored to date,” Johnson said.  “In other words, if you’re in good physical shape, does that improve blood flow to critical areas of the brain? And does that improved blood flow provide some form of protection from dementia?”


The results showed blood flow to critical areas of the brain – and so the supply of oxygen and vital nutrients – was higher in those who were more physically fit.


In layman’s terms, this study demonstrates that regular exercise at any age could keep the mind young, said Johnson.


“Can we prove irrefutably that increased fitness will prevent Alzheimer’s disease?  Not at this point,” Johnson said.  “But this is an important first step towards demonstrating that being physically active improves blood flow to the brain and confers some protection from dementia, and conversely that people who live sedentary lifestyles, especially those who are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s, might be more susceptible.”


Since people who exercise frequently often have reduced arterial stiffness, Johnson and his group postulate that regular physical activity – regardless of age – maintains the integrity of the “pipes” that carry blood to the brain.


“In the mid-late 20th century, much of the research into dementias like Alzheimer’s focused on vascular contributions to disease, but the discovery of amyloid plaques and tangles took prevailing research in a different direction” Johnson said.  “Research like this heralds a return to the exploration of the ways the vascular system contributes to the disease process.”


Johnson’s research, which was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health CTSA (UL1TR000117) and the University of Kentucky's Clinical Services Core, was published in the current issue of NeuroImage.


Media Contact: Laura Dawahare,

A Day in the Life of a UK Student: May 17, 1912

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 13:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 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 223rd diary entry from May 17, 1912, recalls the senior rising before the sun, breezing through her logic exam and an afternoon of recreation.


May 17th. Get up at four o'clock again. Logic was easy. In the afternoon visit the swimming pool, then come home and play my first game of tennis; play all afternoon, so am awfully stiff.



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: #uk4ky #seeblue



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



Longtime UK Professor, Administrator Susan Carvalho Joins University of Alabama

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 11:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) – Longtime University of Kentucky scholar and academic administrator Susan Carvalho is assuming the position of dean of the Graduate School and associate provost at the University of Alabama.


Carvalho begins in Alabama on July 1.


“For more than 25 years, Susan Carvalho has embodied excellence in teaching and scholarship, as well as a number of pivotal leadership roles at the University of Kentucky," UK Provost Tim Tracy said. "As a faculty member, as a college administrator, and for the last six years as a member of the provost’s leadership team and, most recently, as a dean, Susan has always taken on roles with enthusiasm, focus and intellect. In particular, she has been one of the primary drivers behind our increasingly successful efforts to internationalize our campus — an initiative that has made us a more diverse, inclusive and vibrant community.


“I have every confidence that she will continue her outstanding career at our sister institution, the University of Alabama. We wish her only the best as she takes this next step in her professional career."


Carvalho currently serves as associate provost for internationalization and interim associate provost and dean of The Graduate School.


She has an extensive administrative background, having previously served as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, convener of the General Education Reform Steering Committee, interim chair of the Departments of Hispanic Studies and  Political Science, chair of the Domestic Partner Benefits Committee, and she also held a concurrent appointment for six years as director of the Spanish School at Middlebury College in Vermont.


Carvalho currently holds the rank of full professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies. An internationally visible scholar of Hispanic cultural studies, she has published one monograph and one edited volume, along with numerous scholarly articles and book reviews, and has delivered more than 40 invited lectures and conference presentations. 


She has brought over $3 million in international grants and projects to UK, both to internationalize the UK campus and to advise on higher education in developing countries.


“UK has been a wonderful place to work and live for the past 26 years. The transformations the campus has seen have been incredible, and I have always found role models among the faculty, staff, and administration,” Carvalho said. “I look forward to watching UK’s continued advancement from afar, and with wonderful memories of the students and teams with whom I’ve had the privilege to work.”



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, visit #uky4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Jay Blanton,; 859-257-6605

College of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner Named NAP Distinguished Fellow

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 16:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — The National Academies of Practices (NAP) has designated family nurse practitioner Kathy Wheeler, a faculty member in the UK College of Nursing, a Distinguished Public Policy Fellow. The honor was given during the NAP national conference in April.  


Distinguished Public Policy Fellows of the NAP have achieved exemplary careers in their respective health profession and made enduring contributions to public policies influencing health care practice. Nominated by fellow NAP members, fellows are elected for life.


Wheeler has devoted nearly four decades of work toward creating a positive practice environment for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).  She was a founding member of the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives, later serving as executive director.  Instrumental in obtaining prescriptive authority for APRNs in 1996, she has gone on to secure numerous other legislative and regulatory changes to improve health care delivery in Kentucky. 


She has published and presented extensively on numerous policy and practice topics, recently chairing the Health Policy Module Working Group of the Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, producing a nationally distributed series of modules to educate nurse practitioners on health policy.  As Chair of the International Committee of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) she has worked to educate APRNs on global practice issues. 


Wheeler has affected policy through numerous elected or appointed board positions, including her roles as commissioner and secretary of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program; as treasurer, Region 4 director and Kentucky State Representative of the AANP; a member of the Kynect Advisory Board; chair of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools International Subcommittee on Advanced Practice Nursing Professional Nurse Credentials and Standards Committee; a member of the Kentucky Nursing Technical Advisory Committee; and a member of the Kentucky Drug Management Review Advisory Board. Wheeler is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program. 


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,



13-Year-Old Boy Enjoys Being “Normal Kid" Again After Epilepsy Surgery

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 16:02

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) − Anyone who's 13 years old — or who was once 13 — can relate to the embarrassment of a parent insisting on sitting in the room while they showered.


Unfortunately, that was the reality for 13-year-old Joey Maggard until a delicate surgical procedure eliminated his epileptic seizures this past January.


At the time of his surgery, Joey's seizures were so frequent and unpredictable — about 20-30 per month — that his mother, Erin Smith, would sit in the bathroom in case he seized while showering.


"It was so frustrating for him and heartbreaking for me," Erin recalls. "He wanted so much to be 'just a kid,' but the reality was that being 'just a kid' could have been dangerous for him."


Adding to the disappointment were the other restrictions imposed upon Joey. He could no longer play his beloved sports or have sleepovers with friends.  He was forced to follow a restricted diet and reduce Xbox and electronics use. After his seizures increased in frequency, his school district asked that he be tutored at home for the last half of his sixth grade year.


"Epilepsy is often misunderstood by the lay public, and epilepsy patients are often teased or shunned, particularly when they are younger," said Dr. Meriem Bensalem-Owen, director of the Epilepsy Program at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute at the University of Kentucky. "As a result, they often isolate themselves for fear of losing control in public, and depression and anxiety commonly go hand-in-hand with the stigma of epilepsy."


Bensalem-Owen considers it part of her responsibility to reassure patients that they are not alone in their journey.


"More than 150,000 Kentuckians are living with epilepsy today," she explains. "I think many patients are surprised when I tell them that."


Even more reassuring, Bensalem-Owen believes, is the fact that she has a personal experience with epilepsy.


"My son had seizures few years ago, and I literally told myself 'OK, so now I have to be as brave as the parents of my patients and do what I tell them to do.' So I understand, not just as an epileptologist but as mom, what Joey and his family were going through and I can reinforce with them that there is a team with them every every step of the way."


Joey's odyssey began when he was nine. Erin said that while Joey's birth was stressful, otherwise "he was great, he hit every milestone." With no family history, his first and second seizures — about six months apart — were a shock to his family. After Joey experienced a grand mal seizure — considered the most violent and dangerous of all seizures — a CAT scan at a hospital close to their Lincoln County home found a lesion in his brain.  He was referred to Dr. Qutubuddin G. Khan, a pediatric neurologist at the UK Kentucky Neuroscience Institute (KNI).


The Epilepsy Program at KNI is accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as  Level 4 Center — its highest designation. A Level 4 center provides more extensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatment, including thorough and highly technical evaluation for a wide range of surgical treatment for epilepsy. Since 2003, US News and World Report has included NAEC Level 4 adult epilepsy centers as a part of its ranking criteria.


"Level 4 epilepsy centers have the professional expertise and facilities to provide

the highest-level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy,” said Dr. Larry Goldstein, chair of the UK Department of Neurology and KNI co-director. "To achieve this designation is an apt reflection of our institutional commitment to provide the best subspecialty care to the people of Kentucky and beyond."


At first, Khan tried a variety of medications, alone and in combination.  Each time, says Erin, they would work for a while, but Joey's seizures would eventually return.


"One of the things I loved most about Dr. Khan was how candid he was," said Erin. "After each setback, he'd sit with us and explain patiently what our next options were and the pros and cons of each option."


Based on initial testing to determine what areas of the brain Joey's seizures came from, Khan felt Joey was a good candidate for surgery, and referred him to Bensalem-Owen for further evaluation.


A crucial step in the process of assessing Joey’s seizures — and a hallmark of centers with NAEC Level 4 accreditation — is invasive brain monitoring, where the skull is opened and a delicate web of electrodes is placed directly on the brain. Over a period of days Joey was monitored and brain mapping was performed to pinpoint exactly which parts of his brain controlled essential functions like speech, and those points were compared to the areas were his seizures arose. It's a painstaking and uncomfortable process.


"I asked Joey if he was ready for this, and he looked me straight in the eye and said YES," said Bensalem-Owen.  "He said he was tired of missing school and having poor grades. I was impressed by how determined and brave he was."


Brain mapping indicated three small areas that were leading to Joey's seizures.  Two areas were perilously close to the part of Joey's brain that controlled vision and motor function; Bensalem-Owen knew that precision was critical to a successful outcome for Joey.


Once the doctors knew which parts of Joey's brain to target and which parts to avoid, KNI neurosurgeon Dr. Thomas Pittman performed the surgery to remove the lesions that were causing his seizures. Then began the waiting game.


"Joey's been seizure-free since his surgery," said Amy.  "He now can take showers and be alone outside without my constant supervision. I know we've got a ways to go before we're out of the woods, but this has been a huge burden lifted."


Furthermore, says Bensalem-Owen, Joey's vision and other motor function have remained intact. "We couldn't have hoped for a better outcome," she said.


Bensalem-Owen stresses that while surgery isn't an option for everyone, there are large swaths of individuals with epilepsy who either don't know about or are afraid of surgery, and those people are suffering needlessly.


"In the U.S., there are more than 100,000 patients who are candidates for surgery, and only about 2,000 people elect to have the surgery every year," she said.  "We need to educate patients and healthcare providers that surgery shouldn't be treated as a last resort, that patients don't need to suffer from the physical and emotional effects of epilepsy for ten or twenty years.  If someone has uncontrolled epilepsy for more than a year, they should seek an opinion at an accredited epilepsy center."


In a post-surgery appointment with Bensalem-Owen, Joey was bouncy and talkative.  His hair was growing back, mostly covering the scar that extends from the top of his head to just behind his ear. His grades have rebounded since his return to school in March and he has been cleared to play sports in June. He will continue epilepsy medication as an added precaution, but Bensalem-Owen predicts a complete return to the life that allows kids to be just that — kids.


"On my first day back to school, as I was going down the hall teachers were shrieking and kids were hugging me," Joey recalled with a smile. "I was back with my buddies again, and I was so happy."


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: #uk4ky #seeblue


Media Contact:  Laura Dawahare,, (859) 257-5307


UK Dentistry Supports Infant Cleft Care

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 15:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 18, 2016) – During a routine 20 week prenatal checkup, Stacey and Brock Westlund learned their baby, Jensen, would be born with a cleft lip, a condition where tissue that makes up the lip and roof of the mouth (palate) doesn't join completely during pregnancy and a baby will be born with an opening in the lip and roof of mouth, known as a cleft lip, palate or oral cleft.


In the United States, nearly 6,800 babies are born with oral clefts each year. In most cases, the condition requires surgery to avoid long-term complications. Following the news, the Westlunds began searching for options to help Jensen once he arrived. Their search led them to Dr. Cristina Perez, assistant professor in pediatric dentistry at UK Dentistry.


Originally from Utah, the Westlunds and their two children moved to Kentucky in 2012. Both work at the University of Kentucky — Stacey as a cardiac sonographer at Gill Heart Institute and Brock as a resident in medical physics at the Markey Cancer Center. Although their first two children were born without oral clefts, Stacey is not a stranger to the condition as she was born with a cleft lip and palate.


“In my hours upon hours of research regarding clefts and the means by which optimal results are obtained during repair, I spent a lot of time focusing on Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM),” she said. “With NAM use, some babies are able to avoid the most difficult surgery which is the bone graft. And from my memories of that particular surgery, it would have been nice to have bypassed it.”


NAM treatment involves creating a specially fitted molding device for infants to wear in their mouths in the months preceding surgery. The dentist then sees their NAM patient weekly to make adjustments to the molding device. Upon learning about NAM, Stacey began searching for an area dentist experienced in the treatment. Her search led her to the UK HealthCare blog – A Passion for Cleft Care hosted by Dr. James Liau, UK pediatric plastic surgeon. From there, Liau connected Stacey with Dr. Perez.


“Dr. Liau and I both attend clinics involving cleft care held by the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs. At his suggestion, I looked into becoming trained to offer NAM treatment to help babies with cleft conditions,” said Perez. “The work is challenging as my patients are too young to understand, cooperate, or tell me where it hurts. Seeing the progress babies like Jensen make each week has been very rewarding. I’m glad I can make their next steps easier, as well as expose our pediatric dental residents to this type of treatment.”  


When asked if her medical background has helped to make treatment easier, Stacey said, “nothing can prepare a person for the NAM…every cleft is different and every child reacts to it differently. I knew from everything that I had read…NAM would be a commitment…time consuming. In all honesty, any concerns or hesitations that should have surfaced were overshadowed by the determination."


“Dr. Perez is outstanding…She loves what she does and I know that she loves little J,” said Stacey. “She has been so supportive and accommodating…We have a love-hate relationship with what we call “NAMY,” more love than hate because it has been a blessing for Jensen.”


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: #uk4ky #seeblue


Media Contact: Olivia McCoy,, 859-257-1076

Display of Classic Cars in Downtown Lexington Marks Countdown to Concours

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 15:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 18, 2016) — The Maserati Mingle, a free preview of classic cars marking the lead up to the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance, will take place at Lexington's Court House Square on Friday, May 20.


Sponsored by Maserati of Cincinnati, the Maserati Mingle will feature a variety of exotic automobiles, including vintage models from Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche and local classic cars. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on site. The exhibition opens at 5:30 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m. 


This year patrons are invited to attend an after-party at the 21c Museum Hotel at 167 West Main St. from 8 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and must be purchased in advanced. 


“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 weekend on July 14-17, and all proceeds will benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital."


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


Chrysler is the feature marque of the 2016 Keeneland Concours d'Elegance on Saturday, July 16. UK Federal Credit Union and WEKU are supporting sponsors of the event. 


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 grounds of the Keeneland Race Course. Activities include a Bourbon Tour, Hangar Bash and the Tour d’Elegance of scenic Kentucky backroads. Proceeds benefit Kentucky Children’s Hospital to help bring better health care to the children of Kentucky. 


For more information, click here


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Discounts Available to Join The Club at UK's Spindletop Hall

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 15:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — The University of Kentucky is proud to make available two clubs for its faculty and staff – one on campus, the Hilary J. Boone Center, and the second, larger facility, The Club at UK’s Spindletop Hall on Iron Works Pike.


Although it may not be widely known, UK faculty and staff always receive 50 percent off the initiation fee at The Club at UK’s Spindletop Hall. However, for a limited time the club is offering extra discounts this spring for faculty and staff. New members will receive an additional 33 percent off the initiation fee, but only through May 31.  


For example, the regular initiation fee for a UK family membership is $375, but with the extra discount, the initiation fee is $250. Dues for a family are $127.50 per month. Memberships are also available for singles, single-parent families, couples, seniors and more.


Some of the many benefits of a Spindletop membership for staff and faculty are:

·       Use of the mansion with versatile space for social or business events

·       Three heated swimming pools, including one with family-fun water features, a baby pool, swim and dive teams, and the Tiki Bar and Grill

·       10 tennis courts, two chipping and putting greens, pickleball and croquet courts

·       Easy access to the Legacy Trail with bike rental and storage available

·       Roxie’s upscale casual indoor and al fresco dining

·       Picnic areas and outdoor event space

·       Discounted golf opportunities at the University Club of Kentucky and other area courses


Spindletop offers another valuable perk for members. Being a part of the Association of College and University Clubs entitles Spindletop members to reciprocal privileges at nearly 80 university-related clubs across the country and around the globe. For a downloadable list of ACUC clubs, visit


For more information about how to become a member of The Club at UK’s Spindletop Hall, call 859-255-2777 or email or



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: #uk4ky #seeblue



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


UK Granted Permission to Conduct Drone-based Research Nationwide

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 15:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — The University of Kentucky has received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct research with unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, nationwide, following FAA regulations.


"UK is among the first universities in the country to receive this new FAA “blanket” CoA," said Suzanne Smith, director of the UK Unmanned Systems Research Consortium and the Donald and Gertrude Lester Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "Now, UK faculty will be among the first to perform and publish their research on leading-edge autonomy technologies and applications, and the new scientific discoveries that are sure to result."


The FAA's public Certificate of Authorization (CoA) allows UK researchers to fly drones that are less than 55 pounds up to 400 feet and less than 100 mph at sites across the U.S., away from airports and under other FAA procedures. UK is currently reviewing its guidelines with respect to drones on campus.


Procedures for those flying under the CoA include registering the UAS; issuing a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) 24 hours prior to flights; having a certified pilot overseeing all flights along with trained visual observers; following safety procedures; maintaining a logbook; and submitting monthly reports.


Researchers across a range of disciplines will now be allowed to conduct flights, including mining, precision agriculture, atmospheric science, and transportation — all areas of significance for Kentucky and the nation — at their respective research sites.


"For example, researchers in transportation can conduct bridge inspection research for all but a handful of the 11,000 bridges in Kentucky at this altitude," Smith said.


UK researchers also continue to increase their UAS-based research collaborations across the nation. This summer, UAS-based mining research led by College of Engineering Professor Braden Lusk will be conducted in West Virginia and Wyoming. The three-state, four-university CLOUDMAP program, funded by the National Science Foundation to research atmospheric science and led at UK by Michael Sama, Jesse Hoagg, Sean Bailey, Marcelo Guzman and Smith, will be conducted in Kentucky and Oklahoma. Other projects, such as Elk research in Robinson Forest, as well as geological and transportation research across Kentucky, are in the planning stages.


"This type of research could not be accomplished without the support of many individuals campuswide," Smith said. "And the researchers are very grateful."


To fly previously, UK researchers had to submit a separate application for each aircraft/location/flight-plan combination. Each application required multiple parts and could take three to nine months or more to process.  


UK researchers who would like information should email Suzanne Smith at or Ryan Nolin at



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, visit #uky4ky #seeblue



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

CI Connect LLP Students Mentor Texas Fourth Graders Through Pen Pal Program

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 14:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — Freshmen students in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information’s CI Connect Living Learning Program participated this past semester in a pen pal program with fourth grade students at Joe Wright Elementary in Jacksonville, Texas.


The program mutually benefited both groups. The CI Connect students played a mentor role to their pen pals, and the fourth graders had the opportunity to learn about college from a UK student.


“Ideally, I see our students reaching out and playing a mentor role for students that are less advantaged, less privileged, that may have no one in their immediate support group that have any connection with college,” CI Connect Director Alan DeSantis said.


In addition, the freshmen learned how they can positively affect those around them.


“What I’m hoping is this gives the CI Connect students a perspective to think about how they are influencing people, not just here on campus, but also outside of this context,” DeSantis said. “I think college students have a lot more influence and impact than what they give themselves credit for.”


The fourth grade students also benefited from the CI Connect students' firsthand knowledge.


“I think it is a great way for students to get some information,” Laura Essary, fourth grade teacher, said. “They can hear from real students and not just from a brochure.” 


“Telling these students about college and how it's a good idea to study and do all their homework is really how we are influencing these students,” CI Connect LLP student Jillian Jones said. “We haven't met face-to-face or Skyped with these students, so the only influence we have on them is what we write to them. Opening a letter written from someone (900 miles away even) is a great feeling because it's very personal and intimate.”


As a “No Excuses University” school, Joe Wright Elementary focuses on encouraging students to learn about college through various programs. To make students aware of different colleges and universities across the country, each classroom “adopts” a college and learns about it. Essary’s class chose to learn about UK.


In researching and contacting various faculty and staff at UK, Essary was put in touch with CI’s Communication Director Catherine Hayden. Formerly an advisor to the student authors of the University of Kentucky K Book, Hayden assisted with coordination of a pen pal program between that group of college students and a class of third graders in Illinois. After its success, she suggested a similar program for Joe Wright Elementary and the CI Connect LLP.  


Both Essary and DeSantis hope the pen pal program helped the fourth grade students realize that college is an achievable dream.


“These fourth grade students will be able to have at least one person in their support group, their social network, that has gone to college, that is encouraging them to go to college and answering any questions they may have about higher education that they may not have received before,” DeSantis said.


“I think the program was successful if it can spark excitement about college in even just one of my students,” Essary said.


DeSantis also hopes this program imparted a spirit of service to his students.


“I’d like my students to develop a greater sense of compassion for people, to feel connected to other people,” DeSantis said. “There’s something about giving to others that I think changes us.”



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, visit #uky4ky #seeblue



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

UK Staff Members: Vote for Your Representative to the UK Board of Trustees

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 13:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — Voting is now open for the University of Kentucky staff representative to the Board of Trustees election and will close Friday, May 27.


Staff members can vote at after signing in with their Link Blue credentials.  


The UK Staff Senate invites all university staff to participate in the campaign and election process. The staff trustee candidates are Mike Adams, space and facilities coordinator in the UK Department of Biology and David Melanson, assistant director for external affairs and development in the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER).


Adams is from Eastern Kentucky and went to Hazard Community and Technical College, which led him to Lexington. He worked in consumer electronics for some time, advancing to the role of service manager. Adams later decided to pursue a new direction and enrolled at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. After his time there, he attended UK where he began working as a lab technician. Adams is currently the space and facilities coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences.


He has served on the College of Arts and Sciences Staff Council, Staff Senate, serving as chair for three terms, the Staff Appreciation Day Commission, the President's Strategic Review Committee, the Campus Revitalization Committee and on two of the past provost search committees.


A native of New Hampshire, Melanson graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in English-Journalism. Following college, he moved to Kentucky and began his career as a news reporter at the Advocate-Messenger in Danville. He then moved to St. Louis, where he served as communications manager for an international not-for-profit organization.


Melanson returned to Kentucky in 2004 and began his higher education career at UK. He was named the first presidential speechwriter at UK in March 2004, a position he held for nearly seven years. Melanson then became director of alumni and external relations at the UK College of Pharmacy and later joined the team at CAER in December 2015.


Eligible staff members are encouraged to take part in the election process. Regular staff with a full time equivalency (FTE) of .75 or greater and those in phased retirement are eligible to vote any time between May 13-27 in the election at and at UK Appreciation Day on May 26.


On Monday, June 6, official election results will be announced. The newly elected staff trustee will begin his term July 1.


Questions and comments may be directed to Ann Eads, Staff Senate Election Committee chair, at, or Jann Burks, chair of the Staff Senate, at      



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, visit #uky4ky #seeblue



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

13-Year-Old Boy Enjoys Being “Normal Kid" Again After Epilepsy Surgery

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 11:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — Anyone who's 13 years old — or who was once 13 — can relate to the embarrassment of a parent insisting on being in the room while they showered.


Unfortunately, this was the reality for 13-year-old Joey Maggard of Lincoln County until a delicate surgical procedure eliminated his epileptic seizures this past January.


At the time of his surgery, Joey's seizures were so frequent and unpredictable — about 20 to 30 per month — that his mother, Amy Smith, would sit in the bathroom in case he seized while showering.


"It was so frustrating for him and heartbreaking for me," Amy recalls. "He wanted so much to be 'just a kid,' but the reality was that being 'just a kid' could have been dangerous for him."


Joey will share his story this morning at 10 a.m.  With him will be his mother and Dr. Meriem Bensalem-Owen of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute, who directed the care that and returned him to health and life as a “normal kid.”


The event will be live streamed.  To watch, click here.


Return here later today to read more about Joey and his return to life as "just a normal kid."


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: #uk4ky #seeblue


UK Financial Aid Summer Outreach

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 09:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016)  This summer, the University of Kentucky Office of Student Financial Aid has enhanced community involvement as part of their commitment to the UK Strategic Plan and student success goals. The office will highlight Student Financial Aid through outreach and campus activities. This opportunity will allow UK to share information with families about the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) rule changes on Prior-Prior Year (PPY).


Financial Aid representatives will be present throughout the summer at the Lexington Eastside Public Library, the YMCA of Central Kentucky and dispersed throughout the UK campus.


“The UK Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is pleased to team up with the Lexington Eastside Public Library and the YMCA of Central Kentucky to offer a series of financial aid workshops this summer," said Director of Student Financial Aid Nimmi Wiggins. "The financial aid process can be very intimidating and our goal is to help de-mystify the process and inform families about all the financial aid options available including grants, loans, scholarships and work opportunities."


UK Financial Aid staff will be at the Lexington Eastside Public Library to offer financial aid workshops on three Saturdays during this summer.  The informal workshops will provide assistance to students and parents having difficulty and/or questions about FAFSA completion, FSA ID problems, verification requirements and securing aid. Laptops will be made available at the library for families wanting to complete the FAFSA and/or set up a FSA ID during the workshop.


Lexington Eastside Public Library Workshops will be held the following dates:

·      Saturday, May 14, from noon to 4 p.m.

·      Saturday, June 18, from noon to 4 p.m.

·      Saturday, July 16, from noon to 4 p.m.


UK Financial Aid staff will be at the YMCA of Central Kentucky to offer a financial aid workshop for the families of the Black Achievers who are rising high school seniors.  Information about FAFSA completion, FSA ID and PPY will be discussed.


YMCA of Central Kentucky Workshop will be held the following date:

·      Saturday, July 16, from 9 a.m. to noon


Lastly, the Financial Aid Help Desk will be set up at various locations around campus to help students and visitors who have questions or need assistance with financial aid and/or the KHEAA verification process. On the first Tuesday of every month, financial aid counselors will be available at the Help Desk, which will be located at the most popular locations across campus.


Financial Aid Help Desk will be held the following dates:

·      Tuesday, June 7, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Bowman's Den

·      Tuesday, July 5, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at The 90

·      Tuesday, August 2, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at White Hall Classroom Building


"We hope students and visitors will feel more comfortable in an informal setting to come ask questions about the aid process," said Wiggins.


In addition, UK financial aid counselors are available to assist students and families throughout the summer between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on how to contact a financial aid counselor, 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: #uk4ky #seeblue



MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett or Rebecca Stratton, or, 859-257-1909/(859) 323-2395 

College of Education Celebrates 197 Teachers Who Made a Difference

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 17:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — There were no winners and no losers at the recent University of Kentucky College of Education’s Teachers Who Made a Difference recognition ceremony. Often, the nominators were celebrated as fervently as the nominees. If tears fell during the ceremony – and many did – they were never bitter or sad, but full of joy and admiration.


This year, 197 educators were honored by their former students as a Teacher Who Made a Difference in their lives and the lives of others. Organizers were pleasantly surprised this year when students named teachers from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland and Tennessee.


“Teachers and students often develop strong relationships, with the impact of that bond lasting a lifetime, for many,” said Mary John O’Hair, dean of the College of Education. “The UK College of Education is thankful to play a part in helping students show gratitude for a special teacher.”


Each year, any Teacher Who Made a Difference submission is accepted, up to a predetermined limit. Also each year, the program is assisted by a spokesperson who helps get the word out. In the past, John Calipari, Dermontti Dawson, Tubby Smith, Lee T. Todd Jr., Kyle Macy, and Dan and Cheri Issel have led the charge. UK women's basketball coach Matthew Mitchell once again volunteered to team with the college to help the program.


“Teaching is my job, teaching is my passion. And it is something that I love and hope to do the rest of my life,” said Mitchell. “It is a tremendous thing to be a teacher.”


Take for example, the case of UK physical therapy graduate student and Jamaican native Carolyn Blissett and her mentor, UK associate professor of physical therapy and director of the College of Health Sciences PT clinical education director M. Lynn English.


In her nomination letter, Blissett wrote, “Dr. Lynn English has been one of my greatest blessings during my educational and professional journey towards becoming a physical therapist. After hearing about the difficulties that I was experiencing at a clinical site, she took the time to meet with me one-on-one to listen to me and provide guidance to help me grow in my areas of weakness. Due to my strong interest in doing a clinical rotation in Belize, Dr. English used her resources to help to make that clinical site a possibility for me and future UK students.”


Blissett went on to use words and phrases like “leader, mentor, passion, approachable, strong commitment to service” to describe English.


“Throughout my two and a half years in the physical therapy program,” said Blissett, “Dr. English has encouraged me and believed in my potential to pursue my dreams of becoming a medical interpreter and a bilingual physical therapist. She has provided me with opportunities to develop that passion and her belief in me has helped me to believe in myself even more.”


For her part, English speaks of Blissett with high praise. “Carolyn is one of the most enthusiastic, personable people I know. She works very hard at everything she does and does so with a smile on her face.”


English remembers fondly that Blissett became proficiently bilingual in a matter of a few weeks during a UK Shoulder to Shoulder Global mission to Ecuador. Now, she is a volunteer interpreter for UK’s physical therapy clinic here in Lexington.


The University of Kentucky College of Education Teachers Who Made a Difference Program began in 1998 as part of the college’s 75th anniversary celebration. With more than 100 teachers honored that year and the overwhelming support from the UK campus and community, the College of Education decided to make it an annual event. After 18 years, nearly 2,000 educators have been honored.



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: #uk4ky #seeblue



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

UK Alum to Honor Cousin, Fallen Officer Ellis, With 'Immortalizing' Song

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 16:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2016) — This Sunday, May 15, flags will be flown at half-staff and the country will honor thousands of fallen police officers on Peace Officers Memorial Day — including fallen Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis. Following the ceremony in Washington, D.C., a special performance on the West Lawn will pay tribute to him.


"A song can never be unwritten — it's sort of an immortalizing thing," said Hannah Ellis, a 2012 integrated strategic communication graduate from UK and cousin to Officer Ellis. "Every time I sing this song I see my family and what we went through together."


Hannah, a musician living in Nashville, knew she wanted to honor her cousin — who was killed in the line of duty and while pursuing his passion - with her own passion, singing.


"It was the day after Daniel's funeral and I was watching what Katie (Daniel's wife) was going through," she said. "I thought, 'what is the truest way to write this song?'"


And so with co-writers Steven Dale Jones and Justin Ebach, they wrote the song, "Officer Down," from the perspective of Katie Ellis.


"I never wanted to overstep; I wanted it to be true," Hannah said. "And I think it's true to me and a lot of people who have experienced something similar."


Later, the Fraternal Order of Police asked Hannah to come sing her song at the Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony, where Daniel's name will be etched in marble on the 304-foot-long memorial. She will sing the song in front of a national audience as well as both her immediate family and Daniel's. And while she sings, she'll remember how supportive Daniel was of her music.


"He always encouraged me to go after my passion, and that's what he did," she said. "He was so passionate about being a police officer, and he was a great one."


Since his death, Hannah said the community support surrounding the Ellis family has been a blessing and they have felt very loved.


"I hope everyone in the crowd on Sunday who has lost their own hero feels that same love and support," she said.


Hannah will sing her song "Officer Down" around 11 a.m. Sunday and the song will be available on iTunes on Friday, May 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, visit #uky4ky #seeblue



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

Nurses Should Practice Pause to Maintain Mental Wellness

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 15:45

By Janie Heath, Ph.D., dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2016) — Nurses are at the forefront of the health care industry, repairing our fractured systems while providing care to each individual patient. To help our nurses take on these tremendous responsibilities, we must enable them to build their own strength and resilience during and beyond National Nurses Week by promoting practices such as mindfulness and self-care.


Bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment – mindfulness – is a practice that can be implemented immediately at no cost and can help nurses. According to numerous scientific studies, mindfulness can help reduce psychological and physiological stress, while improving empathy, job satisfaction and a sense of wellbeing.


Nurses need our help. Many are wounded and filled with fatigue and moral distress from managing increasingly higher chronicity of care in complex systems with depleted resources, workforce shortages, long hours and safety concerns. Burnout is seen in nurses all over the world, leading to impatience with co-workers, patients, friends and family.


“The Pause,” a method developed by Jonathan Bartels, a trauma nurse in the University of Virginia Health System, illustrates how mindfulness can generate profound improvements at the point of care. After unsuccessful patient resuscitation efforts, Bartels and health care team members implemented a 45-second pause, allowing time to honor the life that was, recognize the team effort, breathe deeply, and recharge and renew for the next patient.


Paying attention to patients is what nurses do; however, we are often compelled to race in, assess a patient, move rapidly into the treatment phase and proceed to the next patient. If we invited more pauses, more stillness into our care environments, would it make us more resilient? Would it improve our health and wellness? Would it improve our relationships? Would it help prevent burnout?


For National Nurses Week, please reach out and thank a nurse for continually responding to the demands and needs of others, remind them to take time for their own health and wellbeing, find ways to invite stillness into the care environment so that our nurses can be happier, stronger and more balanced providers.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,