Marvel Comics’ Bill Rosemann Brings Insight Into Comic Industry

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 11:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2014) ― What happens behind the comics at one of the industry’s most iconic companies? How can you be the hero of your own story? Bill Rosemann, Marvel Comics’ creative director, will share insight and inspiration tonight at “Superheroes On and Off the Page” at 8 p.m. in Worsham Theater of the University of Kentucky Student Center. The event, sponsored by the UK Student Activities Board Pop Culture Committee, is free and non-ticketed.


Rosemann, who has written comics featuring superheroes including Spiderman, Captain America, Iron Man, Superman, Batman and the Avengers, seeks to help audiences realize their own abilities. His work attempts to inspire and entertain. Rosemann has experience in numerous roles within the comic industry, including project manager, marketing director, blogger and editor. “Superheroes On and Off the Page” will cover what Rosemann has learned in his 20-year career working with comics ― and how audiences can unleash the hero inside them.


“Superheroes are an integral part of pop culture, and comic books are just as important,” said Zach Johnson, SAB director of pop culture. “This is an event that we feel will empower students while giving an inside look at the comic industry.”


Students can win a Marvel prize package by describing or drawing their personal hero and explaining why in 500 words or less. Winners will be selected by Rosemann, who will announce them at the event. Entries should be sent to by noon Tuesday.


SAB brings more than 100 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff, and the greater Lexington community.


Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.



MEDIA CONTACT:  Katy Bennett,


UK Alum’s Lifelong Curiosity Fosters Unique Career at Area Zoo

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 08:35


Video Produced by 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 the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2014) — While the animals understandably take center stage at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the environment where they live is always on the mind of UK alum Steve Foltz.


As director of horticulture for the zoo, it’s his job to create habitats for hundreds of animals every day. 


“It's so hard to get the right plants to grow in exhibits,” said Foltz.  “Trying to put shade in a giraffe exhibit when they can reach 20-25 feet is very difficult.  We also have to make sure we have the right plants in some of the exhibits but then also use some plants to actually feed them, and we have to make sure there's nothing toxic in the exhibit.”


Part of the Covington native’s job involves research, as he discovers what plants grow best in particular locations within the zoo exhibits.


“What excites me everyday is we get to plant plants, and not only just plant them but test them out, keep records on them and figure out which plants are doing better than other plants and then we provide that information back to the community,” Foltz said.  “That obviously came from my training at the University of Kentucky.”


Foltz was an ornamental horticulture major in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

“The University of Kentucky taught everything from trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, to soils, to the chemistry of turf. It's not just about the plants, it’s about being able to grow plants successfully and all of those courses were tailor-made for my job right now.”


Foltz says his outside-the-classroom experience also helped propel his career through internships. 


“I did two internships at the Cincinnati Zoo and botanical gardens, and that’s when I realized this was more than just a zoo,” Foltz said. “Then I was hired as assistant director, and I just basically worked my way up.” 


He also earned valuable experience helping to build The Arboretum near UK's campus, what is today a favorite spot for students.


“Just as I was leaving, they were building The Arboretum, so I was one of the ones that helped with the first planting. It’s nice to see that grow and see how well it’s doing now,” Foltz said. 


The Northern Kentucky resident enjoys making the short drive to Lexington to visit not only The Arboretum but also to cheer on the Wildcats and reminisce about life on campus.


“It was just really a great place to be ― it felt like home,” Foltz said. “UK offers a wide variety of learning experiences.  It was just so well rounded for me, and I really enjoyed that type of environment.” 


Foltz says the professors helped to foster an atmosphere of learning. 


“The professors were so welcoming and knowledgeable,” Foltz said.  “They were and still are the best in their field."


Some 25 years later, Foltz is thankful his professors shared that expertise with him as he gears up for another summer season doing the job he loves.


“We have 1.3 million people coming through the door, so to create a landscape that’s enjoyable to that many people is just phenomenal,” Foltz said.  “Seeing the people come in and go, ‘wow it’s so beautiful here,’ I never get tired of hearing that. It is really a nice way to make a living.”


Watch more UK Alumni “see success.” stories by clicking on the playlist below.




Alliance of Nine Universities Seeks to Improve Diversity in STEM Fields

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 00:08
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, as the principal investigator, will lead a multi-million-dollar initiative with Kentucky and West Virginia universities to increase underrepresented undergraduates studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


The five-year, $2.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant establishes the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KY-WV LSAMP) in the STEM disciplines. Coordinated by the UK Office for Institutional Diversity and UK’s co-PI and engineering Associate Professor Johné Parker, the alliance of nine institutions of higher learning includes UK, University of Louisville, West Virginia University, Western Kentucky University, Centre College, Marshall University, Kentucky State University, West Virginia State University and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.


With an undergraduate focus, the grant will fund programs and initiatives at the alliance members’ institutions to increase diversity in the STEM fields. The alliance has the potential of significantly impacting the lives of up to 5,000 underrepresented undergraduate students in the two Appalachian states. Programs will be developed at the member institutions to attract greater numbers of diverse students to the STEM fields, increase retention and graduate up to 500 students over the next five years. 


“The University of Kentucky is proud to lead an alliance of exceptional public and private colleges and universities in our region,” Capilouto said. “The LSAMP initiative provides rich opportunities that we hope will excite more underrepresented students to explore, delve into, and thrive in academic and research programs in STEM fields. Their increased participation will stimulate and improve the alliance institutions' outcomes in disciplines critical to the future of our state, our region and the nation.”


Projected goals are:

·       To increase minority student enrollment in the STEM fields alliance-wide by 15 percent by 2016 with a 10 percent to 20 percent increase yearly thereafter.

·       To increase the 4-5 year graduation rate for minority STEM majors alliance-wide by 50 percent or above and maintaining or increasing this rate thereafter.


Reaching the LSAMP goals by 2018 will translate into 260 or more STEM baccalaureate graduates among the nine universities each year.


"This partnership — one that brings together strong, though different institutions — creates wonderful opportunities for young people who might otherwise miss such a chance to do research and learn about first-rate higher education.  Centre College — with its shared commitment to high quality and high opportunity — is honored to play a role in the lives of these young men and women," said Centre College President John A. Roush.


"Forming alliances is crucial in today's world, and it is an honor for West Virginia University to be part of this innovative and collaborative partnership with various institutions in West Virginia and Kentucky," said WVU President E. Gordon Gee. "LSAMP is a project that mirrors our university's commitment to diversity and research. We stand firmly in line with LSAMP's goals to increase minority enrollment in the STEM fields, in addition to improving retention and graduation rates for underrepresented students."


While each campus will be evaluating and improving its own programs, they will be collaborating, sharing information and ideas, as an alliance. The first KY-WV LSAMP alliance-wide conference “along with others involved as appropriate” will be held at UK in the 2014-15 academic year, said UK Vice President for Institutional Diversity Judy “JJ” Jackson. Jackson is also an associate professor of educational policy studies and evaluation.


Jackson recently completed site visits to all alliance member campuses to learn how each is structured and to gain valuable insight and feedback. The alliance will seek out cross-institutional opportunities for students in undergraduate research and internships.


“We can only imagine what we can achieve with $2.5 million to mine the talents of the promising young people across the alliance. This investment will have a multi-generational impact on the future of this region,” Jackson said.


“The impact on students will help to define the future of these institutions and this geographical area. The people of this region are coming increasingly to believe in their potential for greatness,” said Jackson. “We will be constructing our future success without the bias of economic status, skin color, gender, religion...”


The goals are ambitious, but the KY-WV LSAMP universities plan to reach them with strategic recruiting and intentional focus on senior year attrition. National studies show that underrepresented minority students enroll as STEM majors at the same rate as their counterparts, but graduate at significantly lower rates. The project abstract asserts that the key to retention will be the provision of timely and effective individual support as needed, based on real-time tracking and both faculty- and peer-mentoring.


The NSF Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program’s aim is to grow a greater number of diverse students to successfully compete in the nation’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and to increase the number of students interested in, and academically prepared to matriculate into graduate study programs. LSAMP supports sustained and comprehensive efforts that facilitate achievement of the long-term goal of increasing the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from populations underrepresented in STEM fields. The program defines under-represented groups as African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.




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


Sullivan Award Winners Announced for 2014

Sun, 04/13/2014 - 23:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) ― A local business owner with 30 years of public service focusing on social justice issues and homelessness, the founder of a service-dog training program to assist people with disabilities, and a student leader who expanded alternative spring break service trips globally are the recipients of the University of Kentucky's 2014 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Medallions for outstanding humanitarian service.


They will receive their medallions this evening at UK's annual Honors and Recognition  Awards Program in the Student Center Grand Ballroom. A 6 p.m. reception will be followed by the formal program beginning at 7 p.m.


The citizen recipient of the Sullivan Award this year is Debra Hensley, owner of the Hensley Agency of State Farm Insurance Companies in Lexington. She has worked in insurance and financial services since 1974.


When she was a council member for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government from 1986 to 1992, she focused on social justice issues and homelessness. As chair of a task force on homelessness in Lexington, Hensely emerged as a leading force behind creation of the Hope Center to assist homeless and at-risk people.


Hensley is a past recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice, and she is the founder of Debra Hensley’s Social Stimulus, which hosts events featuring local “do good” businesses and nonprofits. She is past chairwoman of The Plantory, which covers administrative needs of nonprofit tenants focused on social innovation, bringing together artists, activists and entrepreneurs who share the goal of improving the well-being of people and the planet.


As a co-founder of JustFundKY, Hensley helped create an endowment to fund efforts to eradicate discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. She worked with public officials and community advocates for passage of the Fairness Ordinance to protect LGBT individuals against discrimination.


She was honored in 2012 by the Girls Scouts of Kentucky as one of 100 Women of Distinction, and in 2013 she was recognized by the Lexington Herald-Leader as one of Lexington's Most Influential Leaders.


Katharine E. Skarvan was selected to receive the Sullivan Award for the graduating senior woman. An animal science major, Skarvan was the founder as a freshman and the inaugural president of Wildcat Service Dogs (WSD) at the University of Kentucky. WSD is a student-run organization that trains service dogs for the benefit of disabled individuals.


With its goal to "help students to help dogs help people," WSD trains dogs to turn on lights, fetch phones, open refrigerators and perform other basic tasks that challenge their disabled owners.


Skarvan recruited and trained an 11-member officer team and negotiated with the UK legal office to allow the organization’s dogs to live in the dormitories and attend classes with their handlers.


She secured a State Farm community service grant to ensure the program's future success after she graduates, and her work has been featured on local television and in area newspaper coverage. WSD received the 2014 Outstanding Leadership Award from the UK chapter of ODK, the National Leadership Honor Society.


Currently training a dog for the Louisville nonprofit Paws with Purpose, Skarvan keeps the dog in Lexington every other week and on the off week drives him to the Kentucky Correctional Institution in Pee Wee Valley, where an inmate handler also trains him.


The Sullivan Award for the graduating senior man goes to Andrew Ritzel, a double major in biology and Spanish who, beginning as a freshman, became involved in the Alternative Service Break (ASB) program at UK. Under his leadership, the program's opportunities doubled from 2010 to 2014 and the first service trips to Nicaragua and Ghana were launched.


He initiated ASB’s first formal partnership at UK with Shoulder-to-Shoulder Global, resulting in a medical brigade being sent to Ecuador for the first time over a Spring Break. In 2012-2013, Ritzel developed a need-based scholarship program to address increasing concerns about access for all UK students to be able to participate in the program.


Under Ritzel's leadership, ASB was named 2014 Program of the Year, a national recognition by College Educators International.


UK has been recognizing Sullivan Award winners since 1927 and is one of several Southern universities that present Sullivan Awards, sponsored by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. The award recognizes individuals whose commitment to community service evokes a spirit of love for and helpfulness to other men and women.


The criteria for selection, which puts a premium on character, integrity and humanitarian service, are written in the spirit of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, a Southerner who became a prominent lawyer, businessman and philanthropist in New York in the late 19th century.





Employee Band to Perform at UK Chandler Hospital Atrium

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 17:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) - A couple of times a week during the lunch hour, the tapping of drums, strumming of guitars and harmonizing of voices trails into the hallways of the Kentucky Clinic and the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.


Faculty and staff stop to listen at the doorway of an office used as a rehearsal room for The CatsEclectic, a band comprised of UK HealthCare employees. The six-member band plays a variety of pop music and classic hits from artists including Neil Young, The Everly Brothers, The Chiffons and Marvin Gaye, as well as a couple original songs. As part of UK HealthCare's Arts in HealthCare program, the band will perform in the Pavilion A Atrium from noon to 1 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month beginning April 15.


True to their name, the band is made up of a diverse mix of UK HealthCare staff members. Carolyn "Chef Cat" Burnette, who works in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, recruited members of the band when she was organizing a flash mob around Christmas. The band started out with Burnette on guitar and two of her department co-workers, Kim “Sugar Cat” Pugh and Teresa “Sweet-T” Harmon, on vocals. After sending out a call for band members through a UK HealthCare listserv, Mike “Riff Daddy” Bratcher, an information technology trainer, joined as a bassist, and Glen “Tigger” White, a customer relations specialist, came on board as a percussionist. The band recently added Jimmy “J Flow” Thomas, medical technician and assistant manager in Women's Health/Rheumatology, on vocals and piano.


During their first and only performance so far in Atrium A, Burnette said co-workers, students and patients gathered to groove to the music. She remembers a man sitting with his son in his lap while enjoying the performance. Burnette thinks fun and upbeat music serves to cheer up patients in the hospital.


"It's a chance for us to share some good feelings with the patients and people passing by," Burnette said. "Music is a really powerful thing - words are powerful, but when you combine them with music, it's like medicine."


The Cats Eclectic are looking for experienced instrumental musicians at UK HealthCare as new members. If you are interested in joining the band, contact


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK Student Wins Scholarship to Study at Oxford

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) — University of Kentucky's Ryan Winstead, an English and gender and women's studies junior, has been awarded an English-Speaking Union (ESU) Scholarship presented by the English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch. The scholarship will cover Winstead's expenses for summer study at the University of Oxford.


The Kentucky Branch of the English-Speaking Union awards a limited number of scholarships to qualified Kentucky college students for courses offered at institutions in the United Kingdom. Scholarship awards include tuition, lodging and two meals daily for three-week courses at the institutions chosen by the scholarship winners. Scholarships also include one week’s lodging in London and a cash allowance.


ESU scholarships are awarded for studies in English literature, history and social sciences at Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh University for the summer of 2014. Scholarship winners, selected through an essay and interview process for the program, are expected to become articulate lifelong ambassadors for British/American cultural exchanges. 


Winstead looks forward to pursuing studies in English literature while at Oxford. "The ESU will grant me invaluable insight into English literature that will be essential in my career path, as well as allow me to travel abroad."


The son of Denise and Russel Winstead, of Madisonville, Ky., Winstead is a 2011 Madisonville North Hopkins High School graduate. Besides pursuing majors in English and gender and women's studies, Winstead has also taken on undergraduate research working with Michael Trask, associate professor of English, social theory, and gender and women's studies, rhetorically analyzing the young adult LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) literature genre.


Winstead was attracted to his area of studies in his pursuit of finding a way to lend his voice in the fight for LGBT rights. "My experience as an LGBT individual growing up in a small Western Kentucky home prompted me to use my opportunity in college to explore and fight for rights for social outsiders. I believe writing is an especially effective way to accomplish this."


Outside of the classroom, the Gaines Fellow and former Chellgren Fellow is a member of UK's Speech and Debate Team and Phi Beta Kappa. Winstead also finds time to volunteer coaching local chess clubs and previously interned with the Lexington publication Ace Weekly.


Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Winstead plans to pursue a doctoral degree in English.


The ESU of the United States is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, educational service organization whose mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community. Headquartered in New York City, the organization implements programs through a network of 78 branches throughout the United States. The Kentucky branch of the ESU was chartered in 1923 by local business and civic leaders. Since 1960, more than 450 Kentucky teachers and college students have been awarded scholarships by the Kentucky branch of the ESU.


Students interested in applying for the ESU Award should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of External Scholarships (OES). Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, OES assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with OES well in advance of the scholarship deadline.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale,

Twitter Chat Offers Insight on Organ Donation

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:20
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 14, 2014) — Donna Slone, client services coordinator for Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) at UK HealthCare, and Teresa Schladt, a liver transplant recipient who underwent surgery at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, will give insight on Donate Life Month for UK's April edition of the #AskACat Twitter chat.


Both Slone and Schladt have first-hand experience with the organ donation process.  They will answer questions about this and related topics beginning 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, via the university's official Twitter account, @universityofky.


Those interested in following the conversation or participating in the chat can follow the university's official account or use the hashtag #AskACat for questions and responses from the Twitter chat.


Individuals interested in asking questions about the topics of organ donation, Donate Life Month or other related topics should send their questions to through 3 p.m. April 15, or to the UK Facebook page prior to 2 p.m., April 15.  Responses to questions will be shared with the university's Twitter followers and those following the hashtag #AskACat.


UK's transplant program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and is one of only two transplant programs in the state of Kentucky. Founded in 1987, KODA is dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. KODA was formed to establish a statewide educational and procurement network. For more information on the organization or to learn how to become an organ donor, visit


UK will present its next #AskACat Twitter chat June 17.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale,