UK FUSION Foundation for Service and Leadership at UK

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 17:05



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) — When Connor Appelman came to UK as a freshman, he knew he wanted to get involved on campus, but wasn't quite sure where to start. He heard a few guys in his residence hall talking about UK FUSION (For Unity and Service In Our Neighborhoods) and decided to join them. The rest is history.


"I volunteered a lot in high school," Appelman said, "and I knew I wanted to get involved with service somehow at UK right away. FUSION seemed like that first step without a big commitment — just a few hours on the Monday before classes started. I thought it would be a good way to get acclimated with campus and Lexington and meet new people."


Little did Appelman know then that a few hours on that first Monday he was on campus would turn into a four-year relationship with FUSION.


"In my four years volunteering with FUSION, I've done everything from painting curbs to stuffing care packages and just about everything in between," Appelman said. "FUSION has really helped me get out of the 'UK bubble' and see the needs of our community and how I can contribute."


UK FUSION is a program housed in the Center for Community Outreach (CCO) and is the largest one-day service event in the state of Kentucky. UK teams up with nonprofit agencies throughout Lexington and sends more than 1,000 student, faculty and staff volunteers to complete projects across Fayette County. Small groups of students are paired with a veteran student and a UK faculty or staff volunteer who serve as site leaders.


"My junior year, after two years as a participant, I volunteered to be a site leader," Appelman said. "I enjoy being a site leader because I participate in the day just like one of the gang, but I have some experience, both in service and on campus, that I can rely on to make connections with new students and help them feel comfortable being at UK."


"FUSION is such a great way to start off the school year — not focusing on yourself or on school but on service and giving back," Appelman said. "It just gives you a really good perspective; college is busy but you do have free time and volunteering is rewarding.


"The CCO is such a great resource on our campus; it helps get you off campus, breaks your routine and opens up your eyes to things going on off campus." 


"DanceBlue is the big spring service event on campus and FUSION is the large fall service event and I really want to encourage everyone to give it a try; service opens up your eyes to different people and teaches you how to be a better person," Appelman said.


Appelman has used FUSION as his kickstart to volunteering on campus; he has been involved with several organizations and opportunities including DanceBlue, the Children's Miracle Network and Kentucky Children's Hospital, and Habitat for Humanity.


"Obviously a big part of college is the academics and learning, but at the same time there is that aspect of learning how to be a person and to mature into an adult and learning how to interact with different people in different situations," Appelman said. "Eventually, I hope to go to medical school and pursue a career as a physician. But this kind of transcends pretty much any job and career that you’re going to have. You have to be able to work with people."


"There are obviously many people and many situations, many programs and places that need student help," he said. "FUSION is such a great program for the Lexington community and for UK students, and I’m just very glad that I was able to be a part of it these past four years. It’s one of the most rewarding and enriching things you can do while you’re at UK."


Learn more about UK FUSION and all the programs within the Center for  Community Outreach at The CCO seeks to serve, connect and unite the University of Kentucky with the surrounding community in collaborative efforts to promote life-long community service. Connect with the CCO on Facebook here and on Twitter at


See photos from this year's K Week events, including UK FUSION, here.



MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909


Richard Edelman To Deliver 2014 Bowling Lecture

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 15:44

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 16, 2014) — Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, will deliver the 2014 James C. Bowling Executive-in-Residence lecture at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center Recital Hall.  This is the 15th year for the program.


Edelman will speak on “The Rise of Communications Marketing.”  The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications Alumni Association.


Edelman has 67 offices and 5,000 employees worldwide.  Richard Edelman was named president and CEO in September 1996.


As the creator of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, Edelman has become one of the foremost authorities on trust in business, government, media and NGOs. He has spoken on this topic at several conferences including the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where he regularly leads discussions among global heads of business, government and media conglomerates. The firm’s research is widely cited in media publications and academic journals from around the globe.


Edelman has extensive experience in marketing and reputation management, having led assignments with major corporations, NGOs and family businesses in more than 25 industries around the world.  He has counseled countries in every region of the world on economic development programs.


Edelman topped PRWeek‘s list of most powerful executives in 2013 and was recognized as the third highest rated CEO by Glassdoor in 2014. In 2011, he was ranked No. 78 on Ethisphere Institute’s “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.” In 2010, Forbes named him one of “America’s Favorite Bosses” (No. 8). Advertising Age recognized Edelman as “Agency Executive of the Year” in 2008. 


“We’re honored to welcome Richard Edelman to UK for this year’s program," said Beth Barnes, director of the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the UK College of Communication and Information. "The public relations path is the largest segment of our integrated strategic communication program.  Having the head of the world’s largest PR agency come to campus is exciting for both our students and faculty members.  And it’s a special pleasure because Richard’s father, Daniel Edelman, was our executive-in-residence in 2003.”


Edelman earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1978 and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1976. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1972.


Thomas T. Noland Jr., senior vice president of corporate communications for Humana Inc., is the 2014 Excellence in Public Relations award recipient from the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications.  He will be honored at a reception Oct. 21 preceding the annual James C. Bowling Executive-in-Residence lecture.


Noland leads and coordinates all of Humana’s internal and external communications and public relations. He also directs the company’s reputational equity initiatives and serves as Humana’s chief spokesperson.


Noland headed the team that won a national Silver Anvil Award, the “Oscar” of the public relations profession, for Humana in 2009 for strategic communications and media relations surrounding the company’s Freewheelin’ bike-sharing program at the 2008 Democratic and Republican national political conventions.


Noland joined Humana as manager of public affairs in 1984. He became vice president of communications in 1991. In 1993, he was recruited by The Cobb Group, a Louisville subsidiary of Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., New York, to create the Health Care Industry Group of high-technology, health-related newsletters and magazines. He returned to Humana in 1997 as vice president of corporate communications and was named senior vice president in 1999.


Noland was elected to membership in 2006 to the Arthur W. Page Society, a select national consortium of leading senior corporate communications executives across all industries. He is a member of the Strategic Communications Committee of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the health benefits industry’s principal trade association, and a national lecturer at conferences sponsored by AHIP, The Conference Board, the Public Relations Society of America, and the International Association of Business Communicators.


In Louisville and Kentucky, Noland is active in civic affairs, serving on the board of directors and executive committee of the Fund for the Arts and Historic Locust Grove, and on the boards of the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation, Yale in Kentucky, and (as an appointee of the Governor of Kentucky) the Governor’s Scholars Program. He is the former president of the board of directors of the Louisville Orchestra, the Kentucky Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Filson Historical Society, and previously served on the boards of The Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Kentucky Opera, and the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival.


A native of Norwalk, Connecticut, Noland is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in history in 1975. He attended Duke University from 1971-73 where he was editor-in-chief of The Archive, the campus literary magazine. Noland completed the Stanford University Professional Publishing Program in 1993.

The Bowling Executive-in-Residence Program began in 2000 and brings to UK nationally known public relations practitioners to not only deliver an address, but also meet with students interested in public relations careers. The program includes the executive-in-residence visit, the excellence award and a scholarship for a senior integrated strategic communication major with an emphasis in public relations.  The 2014 scholarship recipient will be announced at the lecture.

The series honors James C. Bowling, the late retired assistant chairman of Philip Morris Companies Inc. He attended UK and later served the university as a member of the UK Development Council. In addition to serving on several national boards, Bowling also worked with the UK College of Agriculture, UK Gatton College of Business and Economics, and the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 

Town Hall Meetings to Discuss UK Internationalization

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 15:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) — The University of Kentucky International Center will host a series of town hall meetings next week to get feedback on internationalization at UK and suggestions for improvements.


"Our goal is to make this a truly internationalized campus," said Beth Barnes, interim associate provost for internationalization and director of the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications. "For example, we have been fortunate to see tremendous growth in both Education Abroad enrollment and international student enrollment. We want to reflect on how we can continue to improve our internationalization efforts in these and other aspects of becoming a global campus."


To be as convenient as possible to all who are interested in joining, three different dates and locations have been scheduled throughout campus. The meetings are scheduled for:

  • 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22 in the UKAA Auditorium of the Young Library
  • 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 in the 127 Commons Room of the Wethington Building
  • 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 in the Seay Auditorium of the Agricultural Science Building North


All members of the UK community interested in participating in the town hall meetings are invited to discuss the internationalization of UK's campus.


For more information, contact

UK HealthCare Hosting 50th Anniversary Transplant Symposium on Oct. 24

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 14:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) – UK HealthCare will host a special symposium to mark a major anniversary: 50 years of transplantation on Friday, Oct. 24, 


The UK Transplant Center is celebrating its five decades of transplant innovation, expertise and patient-centered compassionate care at UK with presentations by some of the top transplant specialist in the country.


The following featured speakers will give presentations:


  • Dr. Ronald Busuttil, Dumont Professor of Transplantation Surgery at UCLA, who is internationally known as a leading expert in liver transplantation, will be the keynote speaker and discuss the evolution of transplantation.
  • Dr. James Wynn, professor of surgery at the University of Mississippi, who previously served as president of United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and chair of the UNOS Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Committee, will share some of his experiences at UNOS.
  • Dr. Bruce Lucas, UK professor emeritus of transplant surgery, and one of the first UNOS presidents, will end the day sharing historical moments from the UK Transplant Center's history.


Presenters will be joined by speakers from the UK medical staff including Dr. Roberto Gedaly, chief of abdominal transplant surgery; Dr. Charles Hoopes, director of the Transplant Center; and Dr. Jay Zwischenberger, chair of the Department of Surgery.


The symposium begins at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and concludes at noon. All remarks will be held in the Pavilion A auditorium of UK Chandler Hospital.


This event is free, but registration is required. To register, please contact Debbie Cruse at or call (859) 218-4021 for more information.



Singletary Center to Welcome Back Jazzman Branford Marsalis

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 14:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts will welcome back a legendary jazz musician from the celebrated Marsalis family, Branford Marsalis, this fall. Marsalis will be joined by the renowned Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for 20 performances only, on his national "Well Tempered" tour. The Singletary Center has the honor of hosting one of these stops at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26.


Marsalis is a Grammy award-winning and Tony award-nominated saxophonist and composer, as well as being the leader of one of the finest jazz quartets today. Also a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, he is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. This particular tour has a decidely more classical bent featuring Baroque masterpieces by Tomaso Albinoni, Johann Sebastian Bach, François Couperin, Pietro Locatelli and more.


Ticket prices are based on seating location and range from $25 to $50 plus processing fees. The tickets can be purchased via phone at the Singletary Center Ticket Office at 859-257-4929, online at, or in person at the ticket office.


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



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

PKP's Quarterly Highlights Passion of Longtime UK Fans

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 11:15
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) — Passionate University of Kentucky sports fans Wendell and Vickie Bell, Jim Brown, and Bob Wiggins are featured in a column in the Fall 2014 issue of FORUM, the quarterly magazine of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, which honors academic excellence in all disciplines.  Authored by Carl Nathe of UK Public Relations and Marketing, the article celebrates the institutional pride exhibited by Brown, a UK football supporter for 70 years who is now in his mid-90s; Wiggins, 85, who has followed the Wildcat basketball fortunes for more than six decades; and the Bells, generous donors and followers of UK Olympic sports teams who recently saw the new soccer stadium at UK dedicated in their honor.  Phi Kappa Phi's robust award programs give more than $1 million each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, member and chapter awards and grants for local and national literacy initiatives.  Founded in 1897, the society annually inducts students from more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. PKP membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff, alumni and community members who have achieved scholarly distinction also may qualify.  PKP's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others." For more information, visit  The UK Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi recently issued its annual invitations for membership. The chapter's annual induction ceremony will take place Monday evening, Nov. 10 (note the date change from the previously announced Nov. 3) in the Small Ballroom of the UK Student Center. Phi Kappa Phi is supported by The Chellgren Center which is part of the Academy for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.   MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;  

Odom Awarded Lifetime Scholarship From Chickasaw Nation

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:01


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) — University of Kentucky senior, Jaye "Jaxcy" Odom, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has received the Chickasaw Nation Lifetime Scholarship. This honor is awarded to tribal citizens who are full-time students pursuing a degree from an accredited institution of higher education. Odom has been involved with the Chickasaw Nation through her attendance of tribal meetings and participation in activities to promote pride in Native American culture.


"When I found out that I had been awarded the Chickasaw Lifetime Scholarship, I was elated. It was an indescribable honor to be a recipient of this highly competitive scholarship, and it meant a lot to me that my tribe believed in me enough to make such a huge investment towards my future," Odom said.


The lifetime scholarship is intended to assist students by providing funding for tuition, fees, books, and room and board. The award is distributed to a selective number of recipients every year after careful consideration. Recipients must have completed 24 hours of college credit and possess a 3.0 GPA. Students who complete their undergraduate degrees are invited to reapply for the Lifetime Scholarship to assist with graduate and doctoral programs.


The Chickasaw Nation Lifetime Scholarship requires recipients to agree to a service repayment component upon completing a degree program. Recipients agree to serve one year for every year they receive the scholarship with a maximum of two years of service. Odom, a psychology major at UK who is also pursuing a minor in philosophy, plans to complete a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. She aspires to serve as a psychologist at one of Chickasaw Nation's behavioral health centers upon graduation.


"My career goals are to design and implement evidenced-based practices for minority issues and autism spectrum disorders," Odom said.


Bill Anoatubby, the governor of Chickasaw Nation, has been recognized for his leadership in promoting mental health awareness. Odom aspires to join the governor's efforts once she completes her doctoral degree.


The Chickasaw Nation is dedicated to the preservation of family, community and heritage. The tribal government focuses their efforts on supportive programs and services to Native Americans. The Chickasaw Nation pursues self-sufficiency and self-determination which helps to ensure that Chickasaws remain united and determined. 




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

Mays Speaks in Canada About Impact of Services and Systems Research

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 09:45


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) — Glen Mays, University of Kentucky College of Public Health professor and director of the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services & Systems Research (PSHSSR), recently traveled to Canada to speak about the impact of PHSSR on practice. Through a week-long series of speaking appearances and discussions, Mays explored what can be learned from comparative research on US and Canadian public health delivery. 


During his travels, Mays shared his knowledge and experiences concerning PHSSR with researchers, health officials, and students in British Columbia. He gave seminars for the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and the British Columbia Population Health Network, spoke to members of the Health Officers Council, and presented at the University of Victoria, the Knowledge Exchange Forum, and the Ministry of Health.


From his tour, Mays discerned that the models of public health financing, organization and delivery that are present in Canada are relevant to American experimentation with public health system analysis and transformation.  


“There is much to be learned about ways of improving the organization, financing and delivery of public health strategies in the U.S. through comparative research with Canadian models,” he said.


For a full account of Mays’ insights from his Canadian trip, visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,

UKAg Extension Agent is National Educator of the Year

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 09:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2014) – Lora Lee Frazier Howard has been empowering Kentuckians to lead fuller, healthier lives since 1981 as a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Clay County. Recently, she received recognition for those efforts when the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences named her the 2014 Educator of the Year.


“I was very humbled to receive this honor,” she said. “I share this award with the businesses, organizations and individuals that work cooperatively and volunteer their time to provide successful programs to improve the well-being of families in Clay County.”


To be eligible for the award, the recipient must already have earned the association’s Distinguished Service Award, which Howard accepted in 1983, and the Continued Excellence Award, which she earned in 2009.


Through the years, Howard has spearheaded many programs and services from her Clay County base and held many officer positions in professional development organizations. She’s also won numerous awards throughout her tenure in Cooperative Extension.


“Every educational program that Lora Lee presents is focused on improving not only the life of the individual participant, but the family as a whole,” said Louise Moore, UK Cooperative Extension District 2 director. “Whether it is teaching about nutrition, the importance of taking care of your health, increasing your physical activity or making handmade gifts, her programs provide tips on including the family in the activity, saving the family dollar or increasing family communication.


"She is the ultimate professional, and has served as a mentor to many new agents in the district. Her role as president of the Kentucky Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences allowed her to serve as a role model to all agents across the state.”


Howard has a long list of county programs she has initiated, many in health and nutrition. She has long encouraged her clients to take part in cancer screening, exercise programs, family financial health programs and many others. Recently, she also played a key role in creating the program Green Gardening.


“We are often told to find a job that we love, and we will not work a day in our life; that happened to me,” she said. “My career as a family and consumer sciences agent has allowed me to work with many different individuals in a variety of roles to impact my community. I like to think that the work I am doing today will live on in the lives of the families and women impacting our community tomorrow, and for years to come.”


The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences educates and recognizes extension professionals who impact the quality of life for individuals, families and communities.




MEDIA CONTACT:  Aimee Nielson, 859-257-7707




UK Alumni Association 2014 December Grad Salute is Oct. 14-15

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 20:43

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2014) — Calling all December graduates!


The UK Alumni Association 2014 December Grad Salute will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 14, and Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the King Alumni House, located at 400 Rose Street (on the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue).


Finalize all your Commencement needs in one stop! Representatives will be on hand to assist students in making final graduation selections for the following:

  • Purchase an official custom cap, gown and tassel.
  • Verify there are no stops or holds on your graduation records.
  • Obtain career information and employment resources.
  • Register to participate in the Commencement ceremony.
  • Receive information on exit counseling for student loans.
  • Order an official University of Kentucky class ring.
  • Purchase a University of Kentucky diploma frame.
  • Order official personalized graduation announcements.
  • Support a Big Blue tradition with a gift to the University of Kentucky.
  • Be part of a new UK Tradition and order a Wildcat Alumni Plaza Paver.
  • Sign up to become a member of the UK Alumni Association at a special rate of $25 per year for new grads. 

Please contact Meg Phillips at or 859-257-3569 with any questions.


For information regarding Commencement ceremonies, please visit


The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit or call 1-800-269-2586.

Study Up North Campus, There's a New Tutoring Space in Town

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 14:01

Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2014) — After providing almost 24,000 peer tutoring sessions last year at The Study in the Kirwan-Blanding Complex's Commons, University of Kentucky Academic Enhancement has opened a new location for free peer tutoring this semester in the first floor of Champions Court I. The Study North will meet the student demand for a location on north campus, as well as provide the university with a space designed specifically with tutoring in mind.


With UK's main tutoring service offered on south campus, it was not surprising when 50 percent of UK students began voicing through surveys and focus groups that they would be more likely to utilize free peer tutoring if there was a location near them on north campus. In response to that request, Academic Enhancement, part of UK Division of Undergraduate Education, looked at the addition of new housing on north campus as an opportunity to meet a need.


"UK's campus is pretty big, so having a peer tutoring program available and available in the evenings close to a student's dorm, close to where a student hangs out, close to where a student studies is a really big part of getting them to walk in that door the first time," said Anna Sharpe, assistant director for peer tutoring and a geography doctoral candidate. UK students who use peer tutoring tend to use it at least five to seven times.


Integrated strategic communication junior Jordan Mason, of Louisville, Kentucky, agrees that the second location is going to be convenient, not only for those living on north campus but even for students living in nearby apartments. "I really love the idea of The Study North. It's in a great location, right across from the Student Center. Living off campus, it's a lot closer to where I live now, and I won't have to make that walk to south campus."


The mission of Academic Enhancement is to enhance the academic experience of all UK students by providing programs and services that support students in mastering the skills needed to become successful lifelong learners. Services are student-responsive and programs are purposefully student-centric and intentionally designed to foster interactions that promote learning strategies and attitudes toward academic life that are characteristic of successful college students.


Academic Enhancement's goal of providing a second space dedicated to peer tutoring started becoming a reality beginning this month as The Study North had a soft opening offering tutoring 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Champions Court I. Less than a week from now, the facility will expand its services from eight to 24 hours a week and be fully operational on Oct. 20. The UK campus is invited to a grand opening open house hosted by staff from The Study North and Presentation U! North from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29.


Mason hopes her fellow students will check out the new space. "I think it is a really great place. It really helps to have a peer tutor, someone who knows what they are talking about but is also around your same age group and really knows the subject in and out."


After the full opening, peer tutoring will be offered from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Tutoring will be offered in 12 subjects at The Study North including:

·       accounting,

·       Math 110,

·       Math 113,

·       Math 114,

·       Math 123,

·       Math 162,

·       Math 213,

·       Chemistry 105,

·       Chemistry 107,

·       economics,  

·       Physics 231, and

·       Physics 232.

Many of these courses were selected to meet the needs of Living Learning Program participants in the residence halls nearby. In addition, basic supplies are on hand from textbooks to construction sets for organic chemistry.


In creating a new space for tutoring, Academic Enhancement looked at interior design options they could select to better serve students including items requested specifically by peer tutors and students using The Study. Instead of having to offer multiple rolling white boards to tutoring groups, The Study North features modular DIRTT wall systems with floor-to-ceiling writable surfaces and 55 inch built-in monitors for collaboration. In addition, the space is furnished with brand new furniture in The Study’s signature colors, including seats that are capable of charging students' many electronic devices.


"There are some purposefully built spaces for seminars, there is a 24-seat classroom there that we will use for Study Smarter Seminars and other things. There are also some purposefully built smaller areas for students to get together in groups of four or five, so that they can organize their own study sessions," said Benjamin C. Withers, associate provost of Undergraduate Education.


Aside from new furniture and technology, The Study North also shares their space with two other entities to benefit students. Noting the undeniable connection between studying and coffee, The Study North was specifically located next to the new campus location of Common Grounds Coffee Shop.


"There is also a stage that's halfway in between The Study and the new coffee shop, in the hope that students will be able to use that stage to present perhaps activities that arise from UK Core courses. I can envision a guitar concert there, or I can envision a theatrical performance. A way to enliven the space and show the students that the academics they experience in the classroom can also be enjoyed outside of that classroom environment," Withers said.


They also hope the social space featuring the stage and the coffee house will also help bring students and faculty together outside the classroom for meetings, events and even office hours.


The Study North is also home to a satellite location for Presentation U! (aka Presentation U! North), a program developed to help UK students enhance their multimodal communication (oral, written, visual) skills for projects and presentations. Presentation U! North is open from 3-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The primary location, Presentation U! @ the Hub in the William T. Young Library, opened Aug. 27.


And those who have used The Study will find probably the most important component will be at both locations, as the two facilities will share an amazing staff of approximately 150 student tutors recruited by Academic Enhancement. All of the peer tutors are undergraduates with at least a 3.0 GPA, who earned an A or B in the course(s) they tutor. They all are also recommended by a faculty member. In addition, tutors are thoroughly trained. Academic Enhancement's peer tutoring program is College Reading and Learning Association certified. Tutors are trained in QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer), pedagogical methods, and university policy and procedures.


"Really what makes the space is our peer tutors. That sounds really basic, but it's the people. It's the way that they smile at students when they walk in the door, it’s the green t-shirts that point out who the tutors are in the space, and it's our student program coordinators who are there to answer any questions and address any concerns that students might have about the peer tutoring program," Sharpe said.




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

Barnes Helps Advance Health Care in South Africa

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 11:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2014) — Beth Barnes, professor and director of the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications, within the College of Communication and Information, recently lent her expertise to rural health advocates in the Rainbow Nation, leading a workshop at the Rural Doctors Association of South Africa 2014 conference, "Building resilience in facing rural health realities."


Barnes spoke about branding on behalf of the American International Health Alliance in the session, “Effective communication and media engagement as a rural health advocate,” sponsored by the Rural Health Advocacy Project. The American International Health Alliance, a nonprofit organization, funds the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications’ work in Zambia. The school partners with the Zambia Institute of Mass Communication (ZAMCOM) to improve and enhance the training of journalists in southern Africa covering HIV/AIDS stories through a program funded by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.


Barnes’ session intended to help rural health care workers and associations better understand the importance of branding, and how having a clearly communicated identity can be helpful in working with other aspects of the health care sector, including patients.


In addition to educating South Africa’s rural doctors, Barnes also met with those working in a relatively new health care profession, the Professional Association of Clinical Associates of South Africa (PACASA). Clinical associates are similar to physicians assistants in the U.S., but were only recently implemented in South Africa’s health system in 2008, according to the PACASA website.


Barnes said that because the profession and the PACASA representation are fairly young, it’s important that other members of the health care team, such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists, understand the role of the clinical associate.


“Patients also need to have a sense of the kind of preparation a clinical associate has had and how the clinical associate can help in patient care,” said Barnes.


To achieve this level of understanding among health care workers and patients, Barnes will help PACASA develop branding and a strategic communication plan, contributing to the success of the profession as a whole.


"It's really a privilege for me to be able to work with the leadership group for the Professional Association of Clinical Associates of South Africa as they work to help educate people on what their profession is about,” said Barnes. “Clinical associates can help to fill a gap in delivery of health care in rural areas in South Africa; a solid communication plan can help them to develop the credibility they need to be fully accepted by their patients and others involved in delivering health care."




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 

'Generation Open' Focus of Open Access Week

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 10:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2014) — Free access to funded research has gradually surfaced to be the new standard in academia. In recognition of this change, University of Kentucky Libraries will host a panel discussion titled, "Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness," as one of the events presented to celebrate Open Access Week 2014, Oct. 20-26. The panel discussion begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in the  UK Athletics Auditorium in William T. Young Library.


Research funding agencies across the world have implemented policies that require grant recipients to ensure free online access to the results of their funded research. The U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum last year that required federal agencies with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to develop strategies to enable public online access to the findings and underlying data of funded research. Students and scholars who plan to pursue their careers in academia today are "Generation Open".


The event will commence with the director of the Research Data Center at UK Libraries, Mary Molinaro. She will provide a description of the current research environment and expectations of researchers' roles today. Dr. Douglas Scutchfield, founding director of the College of Public Health and founding director of the Center for Health Services Research and Management, will be the first panelist. Scutchfield will discuss the benefits of open access from the researcher's perspective as well as his personal experience of taking the lead to support open access by creating a new open access journal, Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research.


The second panelist, Professor Matthew Zook, of the UK Department of Geography, will focus on the value of openly sharing research data, especially in terms of how it contributes to scholarship, innovation and the public good.


Immediately after the discussion panel, there will be a question and answer session followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public.


Additional events for Open Access Week include the Kickoff Event Webcast from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, in the Niles Gallery, at Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. The panel is moderated by early career researcher, Meredith Niles, of Harvard University. There will be a discussion about early career researchers and their institutions supporting and rewarding open access research.


"Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal" will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Medical Center Library Computer Lab. UK Libraries is hosting this workshop to help researchers consider what open access journals to consider when getting their research published.


"Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session" will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the Alumni Gallery, Young Library. The information session will assist graduate students with the process of submitting a thesis or dissertation. Graduate School and UK Libraries representatives will be available to answer questions at this session.


Open Access Week is an annual global event that provides an opportunity for academic and research communities to gain greater knowledge about the benefits of open access. These communities share what they have learned with colleagues and aim to inspire more extensive participation to make open access a norm in scholarship and research.


All UK Open Access events are free and open to the public. For more information about Open Access Week events happening at UK visit For more information regarding open access, visit UK Libraries' website For more information about research available online via UKnowledge, visit this

UK Researcher Awarded $100K Grant To Study Protein Associated with Alzheimer’s

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 09:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2014)The Alzheimer’s Association has awarded a $100,000 New Investigator Research Grant to Jose Abisambra, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA), to study a brain protein that becomes abnormally modified in the course of developing Alzheimer's disease.


The New Investigator Research Grant program is part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s effort to increase the number of scientists conducting Alzheimer’s research by supporting early-career development that will lay the groundwork for future research grants. Only investigators with fewer than 10 years of research experience are eligible for these particular grants.


"This is a particularly great honor for Jose, since his lab is not yet two years old," said Linda Van Eldik, SBCoA director. "His work will most likely inform how we look at the disease process and find ways to prevent or cure Alzheimer's and other diseases of the aging brain."


“It is an honor to receive this recognition and support, which will propel our research. This is a very competitive award, and we are thrilled that the scientific community is as excited as we are to see the project through.” said Abisambra. “Support from Sanders-Brown has been instrumental in helping us develop our data, and the continued support by the Sanders-Brown team will be critical for our success."


Abisambra’s research focuses on tau, a brain protein that stabilizes microtubules, which, in turn, help maintain cell structure. Abnormal tau modification leads to the cell death that is prevalent in brains affected by Alzheimer’s, but the mechanisms that lead to tau abnormalities and the reasons why a change in tau’s structure becomes toxic are not known.


According to Abisambra, compelling evidence indicates that abnormal and toxic tau associates very strongly with ribosomes, which are the hub of new protein production.


“Our research will lead to a better understanding of the process by which tau mediates ribosomal damage and how this phenomenon impairs memory in Alzheimer’s disease," said Abisambra. "This understanding is an instrumental next step toward developing new therapeutic strategies, which are urgently needed."


Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death, and the most expensive disease, in the United States.  Alzheimer’s kills more Americans than diabetes, and more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.  More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including more than 167,000 residents of Kentucky and Indiana.


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



Tommy Jarrell's Sound Makes 'A Kindly Visitation' at UK

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 15:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2014) — As part of a residency with artist James Leva, the life of traditional folk musician Thomas Jefferson Jarrell will come to life in two performances from the play "A Kindly Visitation." Bluegrass audiences can take in the play 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, at University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. Later the same week, Leva and his fellow musicians from the play will present music from the work as part of the "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concert series. The concert performance will be presented noon Friday, Oct. 17, in the Niles Gallery, located in the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center. Both events are free and open to the public.


"A Kindly Visitation," a play by Leva, is based on the stories and music of the legendary North Carolina musician Thomas Jefferson Jarrell (1901-1985). Two narrators, both musicians, recall their own youthful visits with Tommy Jarrell in the 1970s and early 80s. Two other musician/actors use simple props (a fedora, a pair of glasses, for example) to enact flashbacks of Jarrell's stories.


Jarrell learned most of his music before recordings and radio became available. He was of that last generation of musicians who learned from other musicians. Every tune or song he played had a story to go with it, usually including the musicians from whom he’d heard the piece.


The actors recall this cast of characters whose lives reach back into the early 19th century and the frontier culture in early 20th century Appalachia. The play features flashbacks of Jarrell’s telling of these tales and playing the tunes with which they are forever linked for the narrators, who are representative of the large number of visitors who were welcomed into the musician’s home. The music and storytelling is enhanced by over 100 photographs which are projected on a screen behind the four actor/musicians. The play also features several dance numbers.


"A Kindly Visitation" is performed by Leva, Riley Baugus, Danny Knicely and Ira Bernstein. Leva, a native of Rockbridge County, Virginia, is a fiddler, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who began playing traditional Appalachian music as a teen. His visits to, and friendships with such great traditional musicians as Jarrell and Doug Wallin, informed his music with a great appreciation and respect for the deep roots of the music and culture of the mountains.


Leva has used this foundation to explore the Celtic and African roots of the music in projects with Irish guitarist John Doyle and Mande musicians such as Cheick Hamala Diabate and Bassekou Kouyate. He has also experimented with the role traditionally based music can play in contemporary music with bands such as The Free Will Savages, The Renegades, Plank Road, The Hellbenders and his current band, Purgatory Mountain. His CDs with Carol Elizabeth Jones, as Jones & Leva on the Rounder label, consisted of all original material and the recordings won wide praise and rave reviews. 


As a musician, Leva has performed at most of the major festivals in North America and Europe, including Telluride, Merlefest, RockyGrass, Strawberry, Wheatlands, Grey Fox, Tonder, Nyon and many others. More recently he has performed at Aulnay All Blues, outside of Paris, and in Tunisia and Morocco on a tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Leva has a doctoral degree in French literature from the University of Virginia and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Paris after receiving his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University.


Riley Baugus, who was born and raised near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, started playing banjo at the age of 10. He was inspired by the traditional Appalachian music that he heard in his family’s community in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina and on the records played and cherished by his family. He also learned as a young man from such greats as Jarrell, Dix Freeman and Robert Sykes. Baugus has played with numerous old time string bands, including The Red Hots and the Old Hollow Stringband, and currently plays with Dirk Powell, Old Buck and with Ira Bernstein.


Baugus built the banjos that appear in the Academy Award-winning film "Cold Mountain," and his singing features on the soundtrack. He has toured throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and more recently, in Australia. Baugus can also be heard on the Grammy Award-winning recording by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “Raising Sand,” and the Willie Nelson release called, “Country Music.”


Danny Knicely comes from a musical family steeped in a mountain music tradition for generations. He first learned music from his grandfather, A.O. Knicely, who has been playing dances and social events in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia since the 1930s. Knicely has used his roots in old time and bluegrass to explore various types of music in the U.S. and from around the world. He has shared his music and collaborated with musicians in nearly a dozen countries spanning four continents, including U.S. State Department tours in Tunisia and Morocco.


As a multi-instrumentalist, Knicely has won many awards for his mandolin, guitar, fiddle and flatfooting expertise, including first place in the mandolin contest at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival.


Born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, Ira Bernstein began dancing traditional Appalachian clogging and flatfooting and playing the fiddle as a college student in 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where there was a vibrant old time music and dance community. Bernstein's education in these old time traditions was at weekly community-style square dances and numerous weekend and holiday social gatherings that were centered on the music and dance. His earliest group experiences were as a member of the Mill Creek Cloggers, and the Marlboro Morris and Sword team. He later went on to perform with the highly influential, professional companies the Fiddle Puppets, and the American Tap Dance Orchestra.


Bernstein was also the lead soloist in "Rhythms of the Celts," which ran for six weeks at the prestigious Waterfront Theatre in Belfast, Ireland, as well as a guest soloist with Rhythm in Shoes and the Vanaver Caravan. He has performed in concerts and at festivals all across the U.S. and Canada, as well as in 16 other countries around Europe and Asia. Bernstein has shared the stage with many of the world's greatest tap and step dancers, including Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Honi Coles, Jimmy Slyde and Chuck Green, and has appeared numerous times on television and in theatrical productions. He was also one of the artistic creators and featured soloists in "Mountain Legacy," and is the director of the Ten Toe Percussion Ensemble. Bernstein has repeatedly won first place in the Mount Airy Fiddler's Convention old time flatfooting competition. He lives in Asheville, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.


Leva's residence is presented as part of the “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series. The series celebrates the old time roots of American folk music by featuring a diverse range of traditional musical expression. The concert series will showcase 13 different artists, duos and groups from southern Appalachia ranging from artists straight off their front porch to those who have earned international acclaim. The concert series is generously presented by the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, a collaborative research and performance center maintained by the UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Music and UK Libraries.


For more information on the “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series or the James Leva events, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center, by email to or visit the website at




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


UK to Host Graduate and Professional School Showcase Oct. 22

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 14:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 14, 2014) — The University of Kentucky will host the Graduate and Professional School Showcase from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the Student Center Grand Ballroom.


Undergraduates interested in learning more about graduate and professional schools are encouraged to attend. UK graduate programs will be represented, as will programs from other schools both in Kentucky and out of state. Information about graduate placement exams and preparation courses will also be available.


Free long sleeve T-shirts will be distributed to the first 200 students to attend, and door prizes, including three ipads will be given away throughout the afternoon. Students who attend will also have the chance to win a discounted or free exam prep course.


The event is presented by the UK Alumni Association, the Graduate School, the James W. Stuckert Career Center, the Office for Institutional Diversity, First Generation Initiatives, AMSTEMM Program, and UK Athletics.


For more information, contact the UK Center for Academic Resources and Enrichment Services (CARES) at 859-323-6347.


View the list of participating programs at the Stuckert Career Center's website at  




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 


College of Dentistry's Annual Fundraiser to Restore Smiles of Abuse Victims Set for Oct. 18

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 13:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2014) − Smiling is one of life's simplest pleasures and has been scientifically linked with many health benefits, such as, lower blood pressure, a boost in the immune system, and an increase in happiness and self-confidence. However, victims of abuse are often robbed of this powerful human gesture which can potentially negatively impact every area of their lives.


Members of the American Association of Women Dentists at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry are preparing to host their largest fundraiser of the year which will fund their commitment of restoring lost smiles to victims of domestic violence.


'Strut Your Smile' will be held from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 at the UK Student Center Ballroom. The master of ceremonies will be Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter, who will also be performing at the event. The fun begins with a brunch followed by a fashion show and silent auction.


The fundraiser was founded eight years ago by Dr. Erin Langfels to raise funds for victims of domestic violence so that they would be able to receive dental care for no cost to them at the UK College of Dentistry.


“I am extremely proud of our students for not only raising a significant amount of money to help victims of domestic violence, but also for helping to shine a bright light on a very ugly problem," said Dr. Sharon Turner, dean of the College of Dentistry. "The more awareness we can raise about domestic violence, the more impact we can have in helping its victims and preventing countless unnecessary injuries and deaths.”


Whitney Deitz, president of the AAWD said that treating a patient from Greenhouse 17, a local domestic violence shelter, is one of the best experiences of her dental school career.


"It is an amazing privilege to be part of an organization of women helping women and an even more personally rewarding privilege to be the student dentist who gets to give a fellow woman back her smile after years in a domestic abuse situation," Deitz said. "It's moments like this and opportunities like these that remind me why I have chosen dentistry."


"I think we all want to make a difference in our corner of the world," Deitz said. "Every woman deserves a smile that inspires self-confidence; we want to help give that to other women."


All proceeds from the event go directly to Greenhouse 17, formerly named the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Center, where the money is earmarked for individuals and families entering the center to be able to receive much needed dental care due to oral trauma and neglect. Since its inception eight years ago, the event has raised over $80,000 which has gone to pay for much needed extractions, tooth replacement and even cancer treatment for some victims.


"The fundraiser is a fun way to bring the community together and raise awareness and money to help make a difference in people's lives," said Darlene Thomas, executive director of Greenhouse 17.  "Over the years, this program has helped many, many survivors by bringing back smiles and providing the confidence to explore new opportunities in their lives."


The full brunch buffet will be served by UK Catering Service during the silent auction.  Auction items include autographed photography from the Bengals, sporting event tickets, customized jewelry, and over 100 gift baskets.


Eleven local stores will participate in the fashion show which include the latest looks from Bella Rose, The Loft, Ruby Ribbon, lululemon, White House Black Market, Lexington Angler, Lily Pulitzer, Gap, Francesca's Collections, Calypso, and Alumni Hall. All the models in the fashion show will be styled by Cha Cha's.  Additionally, there are many door prizes available, and each guest will receive a bag full of coupons and samples at the fashion show portion of the event.


A domestic abuse survivor who received dental care made possible through funds raised by past events will speak. The guest speaker has lobbied on the state and national level for legislation supporting lives harmed by domestic violence.


"Strut Your Smile provides a unique opportunity to help women in the Lexington community," said Brooke Faulkner, president-elect of the AAWD for 2015-2016. "It brings a sense of joy seeing the impact this charity has on the lives of these amazing women and how in many cases it helps them begin a new chapter in their lives."


Tickets for the event are $20 in advance and may be purchased at the Medical Center Library during the lunch hour Monday - Friday. Tickets are $25 at the door the day of the event. Student tickets are $10 for all students who present a current UK Wildcat ID Card or any other current student ID at the door. T-shirts are available for $12.


Parking is available in the E lot directly across the street next to Memorial Coliseum. The Parking Structure on Limestone beside Kennedy Book Store will be reserved for this event from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at no cost. Take the elevator to the third level and the ped-way across to the Student Center. Please remove all vehicles before 3:30 p.m., as the gates will lock at this time.


Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 

Social Media and 'Arab Spring' Topic of Presentation

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 11:56

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2014) — University of Kentucky Libraries, along with the UK College of Arts and Sciences, will host “The ‘Arab Spring’ and Social Media: Possibilities and Perils in a Networked Age,” 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the UK Athletics Auditorium in William T. Young Library.


The presentation will be conducted by Todd Presner, chair of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Digital Humanities Program and the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. His research focuses on European intellectual history, the history of media, visual culture, digital humanities, and cultural geography. He is the author or co-author of three books: the first, "Mobile Modernity: Germans, Jews, Trains" (Columbia University Press, 2007), maps German-Jewish intellectual history onto the development of the railway system; the second, "Muscular Judaism: The Jewish Body and the Politics of Regeneration" (Routledge, 2007), analyzes the aesthetic dimensions of the strong Jewish body; and the third, "Digital_Humanities" (MIT Press, 2012), co-authored with Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld and Jeffrey Schnapp, is a critical-theoretical exploration of this emerging field. 


Outside of the classroom, Prenser is the founder and director of HyperCities, a collaborative, digital mapping platform that explores the layered histories of city spaces. Awarded one of the first “digital media and learning” prizes by the MacArthur Foundation/HASTAC in 2008, HyperCities is an interactive, web-based research and teaching environment for authoring and analyzing the cultural, architectural and urban history of cities.


As part of his talk, Presner will discuss a series of projects that analyze the role of social media in the Middle East, starting with the 2009 Tehran election protests and going up to the 2011 "Arab Spring." He will include Twitter projects such as the "Voices of January 25th" (Egypt),  "Voices of February 17th" (Libya), and HyperCities as examples.


“The ‘Arab Spring’ and Social Media” presentation is intended to address library concerns as well as scholarly use of social media


This talk is presented in conjunction with Year of the Middle East, part of the Passport to the World initiative based in the UK College of Arts and Sciences. The initiative is sponsored by the A&S Advisory Board.




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

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Previews Upcoming Event at UK on Family Finance

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 22:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 10, 2014) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Today's guest host is WUKY's Josh James who talks to Robert Smith with NPR's "Planet Money."  They preview the upcoming "Family Matters: Your Financial Lifetime," co-hosted by Smith, at UK's Singletary Center for the Arts Oct. 16. 


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


"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.


From Airplanes to Stethoscopes, UK Medical Student's Career Turnabout Follows Family Tradition

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 17:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2014) — After obtaining an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, landing a graduate research position at Georgia Tech, and designing jet engine acoustics as a consultant for the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA, Ben Havrilesko decided to plot a new career course.


Wearing light blue scrubs and toting medical science texts across campus, the first-year medical student is today immersed in the mechanics of the human body. When asked about life before medical school, Havrilesko clarifies some misconceptions about his former role as an aeronautical engineer.


"It's an over-romanticized profession," Havrilesko said of aerospace engineering. "It's not rocket science — I could do rocket science, I guess. Airplanes are more difficult."


Originally from Winchester, Kentucky, Havrilesko finds a new purpose in health care — a calling that lured his grandfather into the nursing profession after a long career serving as a chemist and professor. Havrilesko left a secure job and years of training in a highly specialized field to pursue a medical degree at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. His decision was largely inspired by his grandfather Harry Smiley and mother Cheryl Havrilesko, who were both models of service and compassion as he was growing up.


While working as an aeronautical engineer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Havrilesko logged long hours indoors with little contact with people. He programmed the acoustics of jet engines, with the goal of mitigating noise, working with government agencies as well as private firms including Boeing and Airbus. With many hours sitting in front of a computer desk, he started searching outside the office environment for human-to-human contact. He volunteered with the Children's Hospital of Atlanta where he found some fulfillment. Around that time in 2011, his grandfather passed away, which prompted Havrilesko to rethink his career's direction.


"He was a big inspiration in that," Havrilesko said of his grandfather. "His influence on his community and the fact that he pursued this after having another job really hit home with me — that I could pursue what I was passionate about as well."


A professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Eastern Kentucky University, Harry Smiley also grew tired of the nine to five job. While he was a beloved teacher by his students, he wanted to do more to serve sick people, with a special interest in children. Having already acquired a master's degree and doctorate in chemistry from the University of Kentucky, Smiley graduated from the EKU School of Nursing in 1998. He founded a health clinic for children in Haiti through a missionary group and cared for elderly patients in his community of Richmond, Kentucky.  


"Seeing how he interacted with people and just being friendly all the time — it was just the way he lived," Havrilesko said. "He instilled that in my mom, and she instilled that in me."


Calling his career turnabout a "deep dive," Havrilesko took a couple years of undergraduate courses to meet the prerequisites to apply for medical school.  At first, the decision wasn't welcomed by his wife Danielle, who has since warmed up to the idea of Havrilesko becoming a doctor. Havrilesko finds some common ground in the science of airplanes and the science of medicine. His engineering background allows him to think critically about a disease or disorder in the human body.


"In the area of analytical thinking there is lots of crossover," Havrilesko said. "While in engineering, you are diagnosing a problem, just like diagnosing a patient as a physician. I think that was the best thing I got from engineering."


Havrilesko isn't the only student who has transitioned from a career in engineering to medicine. In fact, his former co-worker at Georgia Tech is currently a medical student at the University of North Carolina. He likes that the medical school allows opportunities through rotations for students to try out different areas before deciding their specialty. While Havrilesko said it's too early to pinpoint his specific path in medicine, he has an interest in surgery and pediatric care, like his grandfather.


"Some people are on a set path, they know exactly what they want to do and they know what they have wanted to do since they were born," Havrilesko said. "I just wasn't like that."




MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,