UK PIMSER to Host K-12 Standards and Assessment Conference

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 17:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2014) — This week, the University of Kentucky's Partnership Institute for Math and Science Education Reform (PIMSER) is hosting a conference for educators and leaders across Kentucky on implementing standards in K-12 classrooms.


The fourth annual "Meeting the Challenge" Conference will take place July 22-24 at the Embassy Suites in Lexington, bringing in world-class presenters from across the U.S. and Australia. The program focuses on helping teachers and leaders implement standards in their classrooms, schools or districts, and for higher education faculty, helping them understand the needs of K-12 education and adapt curriculum and programs accordingly.


Presenters include Greg Yates, a cognitive psychologist and author; Laurie Henry of the UK College of Education; Gene Wilhoit of the National Center for Innovation in Education; and authors Page Keeley and Ted Hull. The keynote speaker presentation featuring Wilhoit will take place Wednesday, July 23 at 8:30 a.m.


Specific topics they will address include:

  • "Why don’t students like learning at school?"
  • "The importance of the classroom environment"
  • "Expertise in classroom teaching"
  • "Acquiring basic academic and complex skills"
  • "Feedback, effort and valuing"
  • "Math, science assessment, literacy and social studies"

The conference sessions are hand-selected and intentionally planned to meet the needs of teachers and leaders working to implement standards and effective assessment practices. Sessions are designed around the implementation challenges that districts are experiencing with distinctive features such as smaller, intimate sessions and time for personal interaction with presenters.


The invitation is open to any educator in the U.S., but this year all participants are from Kentucky with about 130 educators registered. For more information and ways to get involved, visit



MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;


Mary Vosevich Named VP for Facilities Management at UK

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 16:52

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2014) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto Monday announced that Mary S. Vosevich will be UK’s new vice president for facilities management.


She will start Sept. 1. She replaces Bob Wiseman, who retired from the university in June.


Vosevich has nearly 30 years of experience in facilities management at two universities. She is currently director of the physical plant department and vice president for Lobo Energy Inc. at the University of New Mexico, a flagship institution with more than 27,000 students on its main campus and more than 21,000 employees throughout the state. At UK, Vosevich will oversee gross building assets of $2.2 billion. Currently, UK is underway — or about to begin — $1 billion in capital construction projects.


“In Mary Vosevich, we have found someone with the right blend of extensive facilities management experience and a deep understanding of public higher education,” Capilouto said. “We are in a period of tremendous renewal and revitalization at UK. Mary is precisely the right person to serve as a steward of our critically important infrastructure while helping us continue and expand upon that momentum.”


“We conducted an extensive national search to find the right person to help us continue our campus transformation,” said Eric N. Monday, executive vice president for finance and administration at UK. "While visiting UK a few weeks ago, she met with a number of university officials and staff, all of whom were impressed with her experience, knowledge and vision for facilities management — a critical part of the ongoing revitalization of our campus underway right now. I’m confident that Mary will join an already outstanding team at UK and will build upon the important work we are doing together."


In her current position, Vosevich manages all the physical facilities at the University of New Mexico as well as a department of 500 staff with an annual budget of $70 million. Among many responsibilities, Mary manages and leads UNM’s capital renewal and infrastructure projects, including Lobo Energy Inc., a $63 million business plan to upgrade campus utilities and infrastructure. She also leads UNM’s sustainability and conservation efforts, which have reduced energy consumption by 20 percent since 2008.  The University of New Mexico has been selected to receive the Award for Excellence, APPA's most prestigious institutional award, recognizing outstanding achievement in facilities management.


She also has been a leader in a variety of professional and civic organizations, including serving as president of the APPA, the international association for educational facilities management.


Throughout her career in higher education, at both UNM and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Vosevich has worked in virtually every facet of facilities management, including environmental, grounds and transportation services. Vosevich has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and an MBA from the University of New Mexico.


“The University of Kentucky is an institution with tremendous momentum and a deep connection to students and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. You can see it everywhere on the campus. Nearly $1 billion of capital construction is underway or about to begin and nearly all of it is self-financed,” Vosevich said. “I’m excited to join a team so committed to utilizing infrastructure as a way to maximize student success as well as the research and service missions of an institution so important to the state’s future.”

UK Dining to Hold Hiring Fair July 24

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 16:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2014) UK Dining will conduct a hiring fair to fill full-time positions in locations across campus from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Thursday, July 24, in the University of Kentucky Student Center Food Court.


UK Dining operates 26 locations across campus and will offer opportunities for advancement as the company grows. All full-time employees are eligible for benefits including health insurance options, paid vacation, and more.


Parking will be available for a fee in the South Limestone Garage (Parking Structure #5) near Kennedy Bookstore. Parking meters are also available in the UK Student Center parking lot.


“UK Dining is growing and we’re looking for individuals who are engaging and have experience or are willing to be trained in the food service industry,” said Matthew Johnson, Human Resources representative. “Our commitment is hire people who want to help make our locations grow in population throughout the campus community.”




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

Sanders-Brown Research Presentation Garners Hirano Prize

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 12:45
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2014) — Dr. Peter T. Nelson of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) at the University of Kentucky, and David Fardo of UK's Department of Biostatistics, have been awarded the 2014 Asao Hirano Prize from the American Association of Neuropathologists (AANP) for the best paper presented on neurodegenerative diseases at its annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, last month.


The team's research, titled "Hippocampal Sclerosis of Aging (HS-A): Connecting Genomics and Other Risk Factor Data," compared 363 persons with autopsy-proven HS-A to a control group of 2,303 other individuals in an attempt to identify genetic predisposition to HS-A in what's called a genome-wide association study (GWAS).


GWA studies are a relatively new way to explore the linkage between any disease and the genetic factors that may contribute to them. Using the DNA of similar people with the target disease and without, millions of genetic variants are read and analyzed in an attempt to mark a region of the human genome that influences the risk of the target disease. In contrast to methods that specifically test one or a few genetic regions, the GWA studies investigate the entire genome.


Nelson and Fardo found that small changes in the ABCC9 gene — also known as Sulfonylurea Receptor 2 — strongly paralleled the incidence of HS-A.  Further statistical analysis indicated a link between the use of sulfonylurea, a medication commonly used to treat diabetes, and an increased risk for HS-A.  


"GWA studies require a lot of statistical firepower to tease out subtle relationships between gene mutations and disease, and Dave's expertise was essential to the project," Nelson said.

"While certainly there's a lot more work to be done to confirm the drug-disease interaction, this study nonetheless describes a novel dementia risk factor."


Hippocampal Sclerosis of Aging (HS-A) is a condition that affects up to 15 percent of individuals over age 85.  Its symptoms are so similar to those of Alzheimer's disease that patients are often misdiagnosed with the latter.  Currently, the only way to confirm a diagnosis of HS-A is by autopsy.


The Hirano Prize is a fitting acknowledgement of Sanders-Brown's research expertise in all areas of neurodegenerative disease, according to Dr. Linda Van Eldik, SBCoA director.


"When people think of Sanders-Brown, they think of Alzheimer's disease," Van Eldik said. "But we have people like Pete whose research is making a tangible impact on many other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's, HS-A, stroke and other dementias. We're delighted that Pete and Dave have been recognized for what is some statistically powerful work."


The Hirano prize is named for famed neuropathologist Asao Hirano, who first described the tell-tale structures in nerve cells that indicate the presence of certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. 


Nelson wasn't the only one from UK participating at the meeting. Dr. Craig Horbinski delivered a talk and chaired a session on brain cancer and also gave input at the association's journal editorial board. Dr. Vanessa Smith, a pathology resident and future neuropathology fellow, gave a presentation about a patient at the University of Kentucky with a rare neurodegenerative disease. 


"These teams and individuals exemplify the world-beating standard that can be achieved in our clinical and research endeavors at SBCoA," Dr. Nelson said.  


The American Association of Neuropathologists (AANP) is a professional and educational organization representing more than 800 American neuropathologists. The AANP's purpose is to advance the science, teaching and training of the diseases of the nervous system and the practice of neuropathology.


The University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging was established in 1979 and is one of the original 10 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. 

UK Opera Theatre Presents a 'Tale' of a Season

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 12:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2014) — For 2014-15, University of Kentucky Opera Theatre continues its streak of presenting blockbuster musical theatre in addition to its classical opera programming.


UK Opera Theatre presents Stephen Sondheim’s maniacal masterpiece "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Directing "Sweeney Todd" will be one of the country’s most in-demand young directors, Richard Gammon. Gammon is a graduate of the New England Conservatory and currently is the stage director for Ash Lawn Opera’s Young Artist Program. He previously worked in Kentucky when he directed the 2010 production of "Much Ado About Nothing" for the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, in Louisville. Attend "Sweeney Todd” Oct. 4-12, at the Lexington Opera House.


A first in UK Opera Theatre history, Jacques Offenbach’s French fantasy "The Tales of Hoffmann" will be presented to the Central Kentucky community in March 2015. Stage Director David Lefkowich, director of Kentucky Opera’s November 2013 production of "Simon Boccanegra," comes to Lexington to bring to life the opera featuring tenors, Gregory Turay and Jonathan Parham. Lefkowich and Turay last worked together in the 2004 premiere of Julie Taymor’s "The Magic Flute" at the Metropolitan Opera. Lefkowich was Taymor’s assistant director, and Turay performed the role of Tamino. Lefkowich was also an assistant director for Angela Brown’s "Aida" debut at the Met. "The Tales of Hoffmann" plays March 5-8, at the Lexington Opera House.


Audiences will be wowed with the 23rd annual production of "It’s a Grand Night for Singing!" next summer. Six performances of the annual revue of Broadway, cinema and Billboard hits will be center stage June 12-21, 2015, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.


In addition to the main-stage season, the UK Opera Theatre Undergraduate Studio will present the holiday classic "Amahl and the Night Visitors." "Amahl," directed by Gregory Turay, will be a collaborative production with the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras under Maestro Daniel Chetel, and the historic Lyric Theatre. "Amahl" will play for three performances Dec. 12-13, at the Lyric Theatre.


Season tickets ("Sweeney Todd," "The Tales of Hoffmann" and "Grand Night") are available now through the Lexington Center Box Office at 859-233-3535. Tier I tickets are $157 and tier II tickets are $140. Single tickets will go on sale Tuesday, Sept. 2.


UK Opera Theatre is one of a select group of U.S. opera training programs recommended by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The Tucker Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to the support and advancement of the careers of talented American opera singers by bringing opera into the community and heightening appreciation for opera by supporting music education enrichment programs.


The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.



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

Teens Experience Symptoms of Concussion Differently, Researchers Say

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 09:36

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2014) — Two researchers from the University of Kentucky have demonstrated a connection between sensitivity to light or noise and increased emotional symptoms in teens who have suffered a concussion.


Lisa Koehl, a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky's Department of Psychology, and Dan Han, a University of Kentucky assistant professor of Neurology, presented their findings at the American Academy of Neurology's Sports Concussion Conference in Chicago earlier this month.


The study involved 37 athletes age 12 to 17 who had persisting symptoms for an average of 37 days following a concussion. Han and Koehl examined these teens for post-concussion changes in physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms over time.


Koehl and Han determined that teens who are sensitive to light or noise after a concussion may also be more likely to have emotional symptoms, including irritability, aggression, anxiety, depression, apathy, frequent mood changes or excessive emotional reactions.


“While most people recover from a concussion within a week, a number of factors affect their recovery, and studies have shown that teenage athletes may take up to seven to 10 days longer to recover than older athletes,” Koehl said.


"Identifying factors that affect a teen's experience after concussion may help in planning for the appropriate treatment and in making decisions about when to return to play and what accommodations are needed at school.”


Of the 37 study participants, 22 teens demonstrated post-concussive emotional symptoms. Of those, 23 percent were sensitive to light while 14 percent were sensitive to noise. In comparison, of the 15 teens without emotional symptoms 13 percent were sensitive to light and no teens were sensitive to noise.


There were no differences between the two groups in factors such as what percentage experienced loss of consciousness, amnesia, nausea and/or headaches, indicating that the groups were likely comparable in the level of severity of concussion.


According to Han, having a family history of psychiatric problems did not make teens any more or less likely to have emotional symptoms after a concussion.


"Teens who had anxiety were 55 percent more likely to self-report attention difficulties than those without anxiety, while teens with irritability/aggression were 35 percent more likely to self-report problems with attention than teens without irritability," said Han.  "While these findings are preliminary and require a larger sample size to predict outcomes with more confidence, we are intrigued by the potential these data offer in terms of providing teens with a better treatment plan based on their unique cognitive, physical and emotional response to concussion." 


The American College of Sports Medicine Research Foundation supported the study.



MEDIA CONTACT:  Laura Dawahare, 859-257-5307

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Previews Singletary Center's Signature Series

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 18:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 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 show offers a preview of the 2014-15 Signature Series at the UK Singletary Center for the Arts with Director Michael Grice and Marketing Director Matt Gibson.   


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.

'Water Justice' Workshop Promotes Equal Access

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 17:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2014) A "water justice" workshop organized by the University of Kentucky's Appalachian Center was held July 7-11 in Robinson Forest to promote equal access to water resources and inclusive decision-making concerning these resources on local, regional and global scales.


Participants included Kentucky high school students, public school educators, UK faculty and staff, biology and biosystems engineering majors, natural resources and environmental science majors, a faculty member and three undergraduates from the University of Lampung, Indonesia, visiting scholars from Denver University and Eastern Kentucky University, and representatives from the Kentucky River Watershed Watch, Kentucky Division of Water, Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, the Kentucky Riverkeeper and Green Forests Work.


The group received training in watershed mapping and monitoring, water quality testing, and macroinvertebrate and habitat analysis. Participants discussed the relationship between communities sharing a watershed, problems of pollution and privatization and different models of water distribution, including community water supply and community forestry techniques from Indonesia that could be adapted for use in Appalachia.


At a public summit on water justice, held Saturday, July 12, in Memorial Hall, attendees had the opportunity to "meet a salamander," use the Bluegrass Greensource enviroscape, and learn participatory decision-making techniques used by the Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute, based at UK. Alan Fryar facilitated a Skype conference with young people from Morocco and Turkey, to talk about water issues in their countries.


Zainal Abidin, who attended the workshop with undergraduates from the University of Lampung majoring in agricultural economics and forestry, is a participant in a long-term exchange UK has with agricultural extension and community forestry faculty in Indonesia. In the spring of 2015, these students will be in touch, through Skype, with students in Ann Kingsolver’s Global Appalachia course at UK.


The UK Appalachian Center seeks to connect conversations in Appalachia with conversations in other mountain regions of the world. The center organized a Global Mountain Regions conference in 2012 and has hosted a number of visiting scholars from mountain regions. During the coming academic year, there will be a Fulbright visiting researcher from the Himalayan region and visiting scholars from the Catalan region of Spain and from Sardinia, Italy, who are doing comparative research on mountain environments.


Those interested in free educational resources generated through the water justice workshop and summit may contact Shane Barton, UK Appalachian Center Program Coordinator, at or 859-257-4852.

Scutchfield Appointed to Editorial Board of the American Journal of Public Health

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 14:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 22, 2014) — University of Kentucky College of Public Health faculty member Dr. Douglas Scutchfield has been appointed to the editorial board of the American Journal of Public Health for a three-year term.


The editorial board, chosen by the journal’s executive board, is composed of members with broad knowledge of public health and represents various disciplines across the subject area.


The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) seeks to advance public health research, policy, practice and education, and strives to be the premier source for information of that kind.  The editorial board of AJPH provides advice and direction to the journal’s editorial staff, including the editor-in-chief.  Additionally, the board defines the journal’s long-range vision, establishes policies for the publication, and ensures the journal’s quality and integrity.


Scutchfield is the Bosomworth Professor of Health Services Research and Policy in the College of Public Health. He was founding director of both the School of Public Health at UK and the UK Center for Health Services Research and Management. He has also held the administrative positions of chair of the Health Services Department and Preventive Medicine Department, and is a past associate dean of the UK College of Medicine. Additionally, Scutchfield was the founder of the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University.


MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, 



UK College of Public Health Alumni Take Helm of National Association

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 14:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2014)  University of Kentucky College of Public Health alumna Georgia Heise began her term as president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) at the organization's annual meeting in July.  Another graduate of the college, Swannie Jett, will serve as president-elect for 2014-2015.


Heise, who received her DrPH from the UK College of Public Health, is director of Three Rivers Health District Health Department in Owenton, Kentucky.  She serves Kentuckians in the rural counties of Carroll, Gallatin, Owen and Pendleton. Heise also works closely with the Kentucky Department for Public Health's Center for Performance Management.  She is a Kentucky and National Public Health Leadership Institute Fellow, as well as an adjunct instructor for the University of Kentucky's College of Public Health. Heise is particularly interested in advancing public health in the areas of accreditation and policy development.


Jett, who received both his MSc and DrPH at the University of Kentucky, is a health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County.  In this role, he leads community initiatives to strengthen the Seminole County Health Department infrastructure by improving funding streams and workforce competencies, and creating partnerships to improve population health outcomes. Jett is a captain in the Air Force National Guard and completed the National Public Health Leadership Institute in 2011. He is most interested in addressing the issues of environmental justice, global warming, air pollution, and health equity.


NACCHO is a national organization made up of 2,700 health departments across the United States.  The vision of the organization is to achieve health, equity, and security for all people in the organization’s member communities through public health policies and services.



MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell,

VIDEO: Working to Prevent Crime on UK's Campus - Who Does That?

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:41


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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2014) — With thousands of students, faculty, staff and fans at the University of Kentucky on any given day, staff within the UK Police Department are constantly focused on keeping campus safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


The UK campus has made great progress in recent years utilizing everything from technology upgrades like cameras and identification badges to UK Police Department outreach efforts to help keep everyone secure. 


There has to be someone out there who works to prevent crime and educate campus on how to stay safe.  Watch the video above to discover “who does that?”


This video feature is part of a series produced by UKNow called "Who Does That?"  Click on the playlist below to watch other “Who Does That?” videos from the past two years. 


VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones-Timoney, (859) 257-2940, OR Kody Kiser, (859) 257-5282,


Concours d'Elegance Showcases Classics to Raise Funds for Children's Hospital

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:00

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 18, 2014) — An array of motorized eye candy will be on display for automotive lifestyle enthusiasts this weekend during the 10th anniversary of the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance, an annual fundraiser for Kentucky Children's Hospital. 


Located at Keeneland race course, the event will showcase about 130 immortalized vintage models, flashy foreign racers, rare collector's cars and other legendary motorized vehicles, including trucks, mini cars and motorcycles. In addition to the Concours d'Elegance competition on July 19, the four-day event schedule includes a bourbon tour, a hangar bash, a silent auction and a Tour d'Elegance across the Bluegrass.


On July 19, automobiles will be judged for historical accuracy, presentation and cleanliness during the Concours d'Elegance. To celebrate its 10th year running, this year the Concours will feature the Winners' Circle Reunion, a display of winning vehicles from the past 10 years. Iconic makes like Maserati, Duesenberg, Stutz, Maxwell, Pierce-Arrow, Porsche, Lincoln, and Ferrari will be on exhibit. At a special exhibit, visitors can meet with Margaret Dunning, whose 1930 Packard 740 was the first car to win 100 points in the Classic Car Club of America. 


"We have an exquisite collection of automobiles that span from the earliest years of the motorcar to future classics," Connie Jones, co-chairman of the event, said. "And every aspect of this event raises funds to help the patients at Kentucky Children's Hospital. It's our mission — and our passion — to help improve health care for Kentucky's children." 


Since its debut in 2004, the event has raised $625,000 for Kentucky Children's Hospital. Judging begins and doors open to the public at 9 a.m. July 19. Admission for adults at the gate is $20 and free for children ages 12 and younger. For more information about the event, visit



Full STEAM Ahead

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 17:21

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2014) — Just because school is out for summer doesn't mean every student is taking a break from learning.  Many students from the Fayette County Public School's (FCPS) STEAM Academy have participated in labs and even undergraduate research at the University of Kentucky to further enhance their already innovative educational experience.


The STEAM Academy (which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) opened in Lexington last fall, offering its students a blended learning instructional program, focusing on mastery learning, personalized instruction and opportunities to engage in resources at UK.  The school functions under a partnership between FCPS and UK (led by the College of Education), offering dual/college credit opportunities in UK courses taught by UK faculty and "near peer" instructors (undergraduate and graduate students majoring in education). The program is temporarily housed in the old Johnson Elementary School on East Sixth Street.


Student agency is one of the key elements of STEAM, as students take ownership of their learning by choosing their instructional delivery, schedule and learning style that involves real-world problem solving in topics that are of interest to them.


One of the students, Stephanie Bamfo of Lexington, did just that.  She is interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy one day but wasn't quite sure where to start. At the end of the school year, Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova, associate professor in the UK College of Pharmacy, came to STEAM to work with the students.  Bamfo got her email address, and took the iniative to ask if she could work with Garneau-Tsodikova sometime this summer.  To her delight, Garneau-Tsodikova invited Bamfo to work with her in her lab full-time this summer.


"We get so many more opportunities (in STEAM)," Bamfo said. "And because we are connected to a school like UK, we are more likely to get to do more things than a student that has to wait until they graduate high school before they can get out and do anything. By the time we are in college, we'll have so many tricks up our sleeves that most people don’t learn until their second or third year of college."


The opportunity solidified Bamfo's decision to pursue pharmacy.


"I am set on pharmacy. I am a science geek and I just love the idea of researching and getting further into something. With pharmacy you have to go so deep into it and try to analyze every aspect of whatever the drug is or whatever the chemical is, so just working with that and being more hands on and using my critical thinking is something great."


Bamfo and some of her peers from STEAM also participated in a chemistry lab workshop at UK shortly before the school year ended in May.


"At the beginning of this semester they chose a few of us to come here, because next year we will do chemistry, and now we will have a leg up," she said. "We get to practice being chemistry students as if we were UK students taking chemistry. It has been really helpful even if we aren't taking this for a credit, just having the chance to go out and get comfortable in the lab helps."


For most of the students, it was the first time they had ever been in a chemistry lab and worked with the equipment. Bharath Kumar, a doctoral student in STEM education at UK, helped set up the course for the students along with Christina Munson, part-time clinical faculty in the College of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and April French, from the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts & Sciences.


"We had four months of chemistry classes in W.T. Young Library and toward the end of the year they wanted some hands-on experience, so we gave them the opportunity to be part of a lab," Kumar said. "We helped arrange the experiments, but we didn't give too much information because we want them to explore a few things on their own. We want them to get the exposure and learn how it is being in a university lab this size."


Kumar says that even before they began the lab session, the chemistry classes were never set up like a "traditional classroom."


"If they wanted to have a group discussion about a problem, they were welcome to go to a different part of the library, have a discussion and then come back," he said. "They thoroughly enjoyed that freedom that they were getting. A theme behind doing this chemistry process was not to dump them with chemistry stuff — we wanted them to gradually progress and get a feeling for what to expect. So, it's more of a head start towards chemistry, not just a pure chemistry class."


Transitioning from high school to college can be a struggle for many students, and Kumar believes these types of programs, like the chemistry lab in the STEAM Academy, should be incorporated into all high schools.


"Students need to get this type of exposure," he said. "They can do well in chemistry in high school, but they don’t know what to expect in college. These students in the program benefitted a lot."


"Personally, I can say that STEAM Academy truly is a school to look out for in the future, because even though it is our first year, we have accomplished so much that people wouldn’t believe high school freshmen have already done," Bamfo said. "It's been a great experience to get out there."



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



MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;

Byron Fellowship Supports New Research

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:57


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 17, 2014) — The Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women (OPSVAW) in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences recently announced that two doctoral students in the Department of Psychology have received 2014 Mary Byron Fellowships to support their research. 


Kellie Lynch will receive a Mary Byron Fellowship to support her work on the use of applied psychosocial theory in understanding perceptions of rape and victim blaming. 


Jennifer (Jenna) Jewell will begin her dissertation research, which will address the victimization experiences of adolescents who are gender atypical, that is, they may not meet cultural expectations for what girls and boys are “supposed” to be like. 


The fellowships are part of the Mary Byron Scholars Program established at the university in 2003 with the assistance of Carol E. Jordan, now executive director of the OPSVAW.


“It is an extraordinary opportunity to advance the careers of these young scholars while also teaching them that there are real women behind the work that they do,” said Jordan. “I believe we help give real purpose and inspiration to their academic careers in the course of honoring Mary.”


The program is named after Mary Byron, a 21-year-old woman who lived in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1993, her abusive ex-boyfriend was arrested for kidnapping and raping her. She asked local law enforcement and corrections officials to alert her when he would be released from jail as she knew how dangerous he was to her. At the time, however, no automatic alert system was available, so Byron did not receive an alert. On her 21st birthday as she was leaving work, her ex-boyfriend shot and killed her. Byron’s death led to creation of a statewide automated victim notification system.


"Hearing about the UK students whose work will be supported by fellowships in Mary’s name reminds us of what we have been able to accomplish after our great loss," her father John Byron said. "One of those students just might make a contribution that will save a woman’s life. That is our great hope."


Mary Byron's mother, Pat Byron, agreed, "I find great comfort in knowing that Kellie and Jenna, who are so close to Mary’s age, will be doing their work in her name.”




UK Alum Secures National Art Grant for Louisville's Smoketown Neighborhood

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 15:20

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2014) — University of Kentucky alumnus Theo Edmonds has helped secure a $250,000 national arts grant for the city of Louisville, Kentucky, and its ongoing project to develop a Creative Innovation Zone (CIZ) to fuel citizen engagement in the Smoketown neighborhood.


The CIZ will place artists and innovators in advisory and supporting roles in revitalization efforts in order to find new ways for themselves and the community to work together to create new opportunities in education, environmental design and entrepreneurial activity leading to more jobs. The initiative is a partnership between I.D.E.A.S. 40203, YouthBuild Louisville and other community partners.


The Louisville CIZ was one of only 55 applicants out of a pool of nearly 1,300 who were selected by ArtPlace America to receive one of its creative placemaking grants in 2014. ArtPlace America is an organization aimed at helping communities by advancing the field of creative placemaking, in which art and culture play an explicit role in shaping the communities’ social, physical and economic futures. To date, they have awarded $56.8 million through 189 grants to projects in 122 communities across the country, including this year’s $14.7 million.


The money from ArtPlace America will go to help rebuild the Smoketown community, an area of Louisville's 40203 zip code that has seen homes and buildings be torn down as a $100 million development project was established to create new energy-efficient, mixed income housing for the area. The CIZ was formed to aid in this effort and help fuel citizen engagement in the neighborhood as well as create new job opportunities and revitalize the area.


Theo Edmonds is a 2013 graduate of the UK School of Arts and Visual Studies with a Masters in Fine Arts. He also holds a bachelor's degree from Transylvania University, a law degree from Tulane University School of Law, and a master's degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. After working in administrative roles in hospitals and medical centers across the country, Edmonds decided to leave the medical professional world and focus on his artistic endeavors in New York City. It was there that he came up with the idea for his nonprofit organization, IDEAS 40203, bringing him back to Kentucky.


I.D.E.A.S. 40203 is America's first 501(c)(6) contemporary art chamber of commerce. The organization describes itself as being a community made up of progressive-minded individuals and businesses sharing new ideas, asking different questions and working together to accelerate sustainable, quantifiable economic and social change in Louisville and beyond.


The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, at the UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studies, and art education.




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

Brother's Love, Dedicated Rehabilitation Team Help Child Move Forward After Brain Injury

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 11:22



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


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2014) — Like many big brothers, 6-year-old Ashaar Shaheen knows how to trigger a response from his younger brother Kheejee.


When Kheejee pouts or cries in frustration, Ashaar's words of reassurance calm him down. When Ashaar gives Kheejee pats on the head and kisses on the face, the 4-year-old's face breaks into a smile.  


More than his brother's keeper, Ashaar is his brother's champion and partner in recovering from a severe brain injury. In April, when Kheejee took his first steps at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, Ashaar was holding his hand, urging him forward with encouragement. It was an emotional moment that Dr. Erika Erlandson and members of the Kheejee's rehabilitation team will never forget.


"We all had tears in our eyes and were in awe," Erlandson said. "There was excitement oozing out of the whole team."


Erlandson, assistant professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, said in Kheejee's case, involving Ashaar was one factor that contributed to his quick and unexpected progress after suffering from an anoxic brain injury. After three months of inpatient treatment, Kheejee has exceeded the recovery expectations of Erlandson, who leads interdisciplinary rehabilitation team. She attributes the success of Kheejee's case to a devoted team and a deeply involved family.  


"What's made this case so remarkable is that he broke all the rules," Erlandson said of Kheejee. "He didn't follow the natural progression of his diagnosis or what the medical literature suggested for recovery. He made a significant amount of progress in a short amount of time."


In January, Kheejee underwent a surgery to correct holes in his heart. A post-surgical complication stopped blood flow to his brain for several minutes, resulting in an anoxic brain injury. Kheejee came to Cardinal Hill for inpatient care in a vegetative state - unable to walk, talk, move his head or follow motion with his eyes.


"His recovery was very guarded when he first came in," Erlandson said. "Initially, I told his parents thought a good goal for him would be to have some head control and for him to be able to track them around the room."


An interdisciplinary team worked with Kheejee for three hours daily for three months. Erlandson said because a child's brain is still in its developmental stages, its neuroplasticity allows it the chance to repair from injury. Kheejee engaged in exercises designed to stimulate both sides of his brain and help him control his movements. Ashaar, who was attending school during the daytime in the winter, attended therapy sessions in the evenings or on snow days. Their mother Atiya Shaheen said before Kheejee was interacting with most adults, he was responding to his brother.


"If he got a little bit agitated, my older son told him not to cry and to be brave - 'I am here for you,'" Atiya Shaheen said. "Even when he was not communicating with me, or not in a condition that he could understand me, he started with his brother. Being a mom, I am confident that my older son has really helped him."


At an early July check-up with Erlandson, Kheejee was laughing at his doctor's funny faces, calling for his mom, scanning the room with his eyes and kicking his feet out of his wheelchair footrests. He is now able to walk with the aid of a walker, hold up the trunk of his body, say single words and feed himself baby food. His mother said he expresses excitement when he smells her cooking food and cries "no" in opposition when it's bath time.


Erlandson, whose passion for rehabilitation medicine stems from having a family member with a disability, said Kheejee has given her hope for all her patients. She considers his case a powerful example of what can happen when a family believes in a child.   


"This is a reminder that recovery is possible - and that his support system at home is very remarkable."


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams;

Kentucky, China Collaborate on Large-Scale Carbon Capture Project

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 16:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15. 2014) — The University of Kentucky has entered into an agreement with a major Chinese petrochemical conglomerate to develop technologies to capture, utilize and store 1 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from a coal-fired power plant in Dongying, Shandong, China.


The agreement, between UK's Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and the Sinopec Corporation's Shengli Oilfield Company and Petroleum Engineering Construction Corporation, is a project of the joint U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) as part of its Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage (CCUS) initiative. Preliminary work on the project began in 2012, and work is scheduled to continue through 2017.


The purpose of the project, with an estimated total investment of $320-400 million, is to develop a series of technologies to capture, transport, store and monitor carbon dioxide, along with technologies for by-product stream cleanup and carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery. The project will also provide basic data and operational experience to promote industry application process development.


Carbon dioxide will be captured from coal-derived flue gas at the Shengli power plant's third-stage 600-megawatt generating unit. The project involves chemical absorption, compression and dehydration of carbon dioxide, and its transport over some 50 miles (80 km) of pipeline to the Shengli Oilfield for injection and storage.


The capacity of capture and transportation is targeted at 1 million tons per year. Carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery and storage will be developed over two stages with a targeted injection rate of 350,000 tons per year in the first stage, and 650,000 tons per year in the second.


UK's contribution, led by Kunlei Liu, CAER's associate director for research in power generation and utility fuels, will focus on research in solvent purification technology, wastewater treatment and carbon dioxide capture system development and integration.


"With concerns about global climate change taking an increasingly prominent role in discussions about energy policy, greenhouse gas mitigation has become a topic of concern for the international community," Liu said. "This collaboration between the United States and China will demonstrate a chain of technologies for carbon dioxide capture, usage and storage on a large scale. Such technologies will prove to be critical to both nations, as we work to meet increasing demands for energy while striving to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide."


Other collaborators include Peking University, North China Electric Power University, Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the China University of Petroleum.


Sinopec, a large, state-owned enterprise, has carried out research on carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage since 2008. The corporation has previously realized a whole-chain pilot demonstration of capture, transportation, enhanced oil recovery, and storage of carbon dioxide in Shengli Oilfield, with a capacity of 40,000 tons per year.




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



UK's New MOOC Prepares Students for College Success

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 16:25
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2014) — The University of Kentucky’s newest MOOC (massive open online course) is focused on skills students need to transition into college, wherever they attend. Thousands of individuals have signed up to take the free, open college-preparatory course online.


"How to Succeed in College," beginning Tuesday, July 15, will be the university’s second offering on Coursera, a leading platform for MOOCs. The non-credit course is designed to prepare incoming and current students for college-level classes.


The five-week course is designed to help students think about the differences between high school and college, including class environment, studying techniques, exams structures and social encounters. After completing the online course, students will better understand what to expect upon arriving on campus, which should better position students to succeed in college. Successful completion of the course is expected to take about 1-3 hours of student work per week.


The multimedia course incorporates presentations, videos, discussion boards, and social media for students to interact and review materials. Each week, students will review lecture videos, which are between 8 and 12 minutes long. Students will interact weekly through Facebook and complete peer review assignments. Students may review the material at their own pace, within the weekly deadline.


UK psychology professors Jonathan Golding and Phil Kraemer, who designed the course, say it will benefit students as they transition from high school to college. 


"The course was designed to benefit all incoming students, many of whom are unprepared for the rigors of higher education," Golding said. "This is especially true of students who may not have been in an academically challenging environment in high school or may not have been exposed to issues of college life in the past, such as first-generation students."


In developing the course, Kraemer says he thought carefully about how to help students avoid major mistakes upon entering college, such as assuming college is simply an extension of high school.

Kraemer says he could have benefitted from this type of preparation in his own college experience.


"I did not appreciate the advantage of being informed about what turned out to be a very complex set of challenges," he said. "The differences between college and high school prevent many students from succeeding, and by not understanding the ways colleges and universities are organized and operate, I was at first unable to assume agency for my success in college."

Vince Kellen, UK’s senior vice provost for analytics and technologies, said development of this course was influenced by the university’s strategic plan.


"Helping incoming students succeed in their academic work is very important to UK," Kellen said. "The Coursera eLearning format is a great way to both reach a large number of students across the Commonwealth and support the university’s goal of helping students succeed."


Potential students can view the course overview video & enroll in the “How to Succeed in College” session at


In addition, the second offering of UK’s free online “Advanced Chemistry” course will begin enrollment soon. Last offered in the spring, the five-week course covers key chemistry topics, correlating to the standard topics established by the American Chemical Society: kinetics, equilibrium, acid-base equilibria, aqueous equilibria and thermodynamics.


Successful completion of the course is expected to take about 6-10 hours of student work per week.


Each weekly lesson consists of a lecture video, about 10-15 minutes long, accompanied by corresponding practice problems, supplemental videos and answer sets. Tests are administered at the end of each of the five main course topics. Students may review the material at their own pace, whether they are encountering it for the first time or using it as a refresher course. The “Advanced Chemistry” course is scheduled to launch Aug. 11 and enrollment will open later in July at




New UK Study Helps Scientists Understand Melanoma Development

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 14:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2014) — A new study by University of Kentucky researchers shows how a genetic defect in a specific hormonal pathway may make people more susceptible to developing melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.


Fair-skinned people who tend to burn (rather than tan) from sun exposure have a much higher risk for melanoma than darker-skinned people. On the surface, it appears that the amount of melanin,  the natural substance in the skin that determines pigment and acts as the skin's "natural sunscreen," would be the only determinant of melanoma risk. However, the truth is more complicated.


Published in Molecular Cell, the study looked at the role of the melanocortin1 receptor (MC1R), the receptor on melanocytes in the skin that gets called into action following ultraviolet exposure to help the skin lay down more UV-blocking melanin to protect itself. Fair-skinned people are more likely to inherit a defect in this receptor, and as a result, cannot make enough melanin to fully protect themselves from UV damage. 


Since UV from sunlight or tanning beds is a major cause of melanoma, inherited problems in the MC1R means that the skin lacks natural protection by melanin, which acts as a biologic sunblock. This leads to more UV light chronically getting through to the sensitive layers of the epidermis, where it can contribute to cancer. 


However, the UK study showed that MC1R defects contribute to melanoma development in ways other than melanin production. Besides regulating the amount of melanin that gets made in the skin, MC1R also controls how well melanocytes can repair their DNA from UV damage.  Having defects in MC1R signaling delays the body's ability to clear out existing DNA damage in the skin – leading to an increased potential for cancerous mutations. 


“Knowing whether people have a specific genetic predisposition for melanoma could potentially save many lives”, says Dr. John D'Orazio, Associate Professor and the Drury Pediatric Research Endowed Chair at UK’s Markey Cancer Center. “If you happen to be born with a problem in this MC1R hormonal pathway, then you need to be extra careful with respect to UV safety.” 


A good indication of a person’s MC1R status is what happens to the skin after sun exposure. 


“If you tan well, then your MC1R probably works well,” D'Orazio said. “If you tend to burn, then you may have inherited a problem with your MC1R, and you probably should avoid purposeful UV exposure like tanning bed use or unprotected sun exposure."


D’Orazio and his research team found an important molecular link between MC1R signaling and DNA repair in their study. The team hopes to use this information to develop new melanoma-preventive treatments, like additives that can be included in sunblocks to ramp up the skin’s ability to deal with UV damage. 


Melanoma incidence has increased steadily over the past few decades – in the 1930s, an estimated one in every 1,500 Americans developed the diseases. Today, the odds are about one in every 60. Having a problem with the MC1R pathway raises a person’s lifetime risk of melanoma about four-fold. 


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

Grant Allows Jewish Studies Program to Offer New Scholarships

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 00:11

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 14, 2014) — More scholarship opportunities for students who want to minor in Jewish studies at the University of Kentucky. The  Interdisciplinary Jewish Studies Program in the UK College of Arts and Sciences has received an $85,000 grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE).


The grant will fund five undergraduate scholarships for students who minor in Jewish studies. Some of the scholarships are available for the 2014-2015 academic year, and the remainder are for the 2015-2016 academic year.


Students who want to apply for the scholarships should contact the Jewish Studies Program at 859-257-6973 or visit the website.  To learn more about the program visit


The application deadline is July 31, 2014.


"The program has grown significantly in the last two years — tripling the number of yearly events we organize for the UK and Lexington communities, increasing local partnerships, returning Hebrew to the curriculum, and offering Yiddish language as well," said Janice Fernheimer, director of the Jewish Studies Program.  "We are excited to have this opportunity to broaden our reach among undergraduates, and look forward to this innovative new partnership.  Students selected for scholarships will have the chance to work closely with a mentor in Jewish Studies, gain access to primary materials through a unique undergraduate research experience, and strengthen our knowledge of Kentucky’s Jewish heritage, which is as broad and deep as the Bluegrass itself. We are absolutely thrilled to continue to expand the program’s reach and to embark on this partnership with JHFE."


An interdisciplinary program since 1996 at UK, Jewish Studies offers a varied curriculum including classes in Jewish culture and civilization, history of the Holocaust, Jewish rhetoric,  the Jewish graphic novel,  Israel studies, Jews in America, women in Judaism, and the Jewish musical tradition. It is the only Jewish Studies program in the Commonwealth to offer courses in both Hebrew and Yiddish language. The affiliated faculty are drawn from six UK colleges including Arts and Sciences, Fine Arts, Communication, Medicine, Education, and Engineering. The minor in Jewish Studies familiarizes students with the historical and contemporary diversity of Jewish culture, language, literature, religion, history, and philosophy.


The Jewish Studies Program also offers a guest lecture series, a graduate essay competition and prize, an undergraduate research award, and support for study abroad through the Zolondek Travel Grant. It  also collaborates with the local Jewish community, Hillel, and the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass on annual major events.  For further opportunities, the university has agreements of collaboration with Haifa and Ben Gurion Universities in Israel. 


Based in Louisville, the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence is a grant making organization with a mission to foster innovative medical research and health related programs, form community partnerships in the health care arena, and support and advance the Jewish community in Louisville and the surrounding area.