Campus News

UK Doctoral Student Earns International Award

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 14:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) — University of Kentucky doctoral student Charlene Harris in the Department of Family Sciences has been selected as one of only three recipients of the American Society of Criminology's (ASC) 2015 Graduate Fellowship for Ethnic Minorities. 


Harris, a native of the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, is the first doctoral student at UK to receive this national award since it was started by the ASC in 1989.


"Charlene is highly deserving of this honor and recognition by the society," said Alexander Vazsonyi, a psychology professor and John I. and Patricia J. Buster Endowed Professor of Family Sciences in the School of Human Environmental Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. "It is a testament to her diligence and dedication to doing high-quality research focused on adolescent problem behaviors, deviance, and violence. She is in excellent company as recipients have historically mostly been selected from the top Ph.D. programs in criminology/criminal justice across the country, which makes this competitive award even more meaningful."


Harris will use the $6,000 fellowship award to help finance the completion of her studies at UK as she prepares to defend her dissertation this summer.


In a letter to Harris notifying her of her selection, ASC President Candace Kruttschnitt said, "This is a great honor and signifies that ASC considers you to be a rising star in our field."


Harris grew up in the warm climate of the southernmost part of the Caribbean, her homeland being just 5 miles from the coast of the South American nation of Venezuela. A high school classmate who had knowledge of Kentucky's Berea College urged Harris to look into the school because of its tradition of work-study and no tuition. Harris gathered more information and was accepted at Berea where she majored in sociology, earning her bachelor's degree in 2008.


Harris knew she wanted to pursue further study and applied to the graduate program in social work at UK, completing her master's degree in 2010. By this time, Harris' interest in how young people develop and why some adolescents fall into deviant behavior was piqued. She was accepted into the doctoral program in UK Department of Family Sciences.


Harris' research is centered on understanding the pathways to youth involvement in the juvenile justice system, in particular investigating what leads poor, inner-city, African-American adolescents to become entrapped in a cycle of despair that too often can seem intractable.


While serving as a graduate assistant at UK, Harris has benefited from mentoring by Vazsonyi, who has chaired numerous Ph.D. students during his career, many of which hold postdocs or tenure-track faculty positions at major universities. Vazsonyi also is the editor of the Journal of Early Adolescence.


Her upcoming doctoral defense is not the only big event on Harris' schedule. She is one of only 26 young scholars from around the world to be invited to participate in the 2015 Summer School which this year takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, an event jointly organized by the European Society for Research on Adolescence (EARA) and the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), and sponsored by the Jacobs Foundation.


This fall, Harris, who enjoys the connectivity of her research to teaching, will begin a 1-year assignment as a visiting assistant professor at the Hamilton, Ohio, campus of Miami University. She will be teaching courses in child and adolescent development while there.




MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200/

Gill Heart Institute Receives $2.85 Million Grant to Study How Diet, Family History Increase Heart Attack Risk

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 13:09

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) -- Researchers at the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute have been awarded a four year, $2.85 million grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to study the mechanisms by which diet and family history increase the risk of heart attacks. 


"Although the risk of heart attacks is clearly increased by lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity, family history is also an important factor, but we don't know exactly how the genes that associate with this risk alter the biological processes that give rise to heart disease" said Andrew Morris, Ph.D., with the Gill Heart Institute. "This new grant will support ongoing studies into the genetic cascade of events that gives rise to increased risk for cardiovascular disease."


A gene called PPAP2B is responsible for a process that confers substantial protection against the development of heart disease.


"Recent advances in analysis of the human genome have revealed a link between subtle variations that determine how the PPAP2B gene is turned on and increased cardiovascular disease risk," said Dr. Susan Smyth, director of the Gill Heart Institute and co-PI for the grant. "The question is, 'what is the process by which this gene either protects -- or fails to protect -- people from cardiovascular disease?'"


"The answer to this question might lead to the development of drugs to prevent cardiovascular disease."


Morris also noted that being overweight or obese increases cardiovascular disease risk and the PPAP2B gene may play a role in the process by which increased levels of certain lipids or fats in obese or overweight people promote heart disease. 


"One implication of this idea is that our studies of the PPAP2B might reveal a connection between diet and inheritable risk factors for heart disease," he said.






Two ISC Students Place in National Logo Design Competition

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 12:55

 LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015)  Two integrated strategic communication (ISC) students have placed in the top five of a national logo design competition.  Kelsey Brousseau’s entry was chosen as the runner-up and Allyson Lough’s design placed fifth.


The competition, held by the Visual Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), was designed to encourage student submissions for the 2016 AEJMC Conference graphic that will be used in all promotional and marketing materials for the August 2016 conference to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The winner also earned $100.


Brousseau and Lough participated as part of their ISC 497, graphic design for ISC, class led by Adriane Grumbein, University of Kentucky assistant professor of integrated strategic communication in the College of Communication and Information.


“I am very excited for my students to have taken two of the top five places in a national, and, to some degree, international, competition,” Grumbein said.  “I think it reflects on the caliber of students we have here at UK, and particularly in ISC,” she added.


ISC sequence coordinator Alyssa Eckman said this recognition is, “a step forward for our ISC program. Visuals are key elements of branding, and it’s awesome that our ISC students have earned national recognition the first time Dr. Grumbein has taught this design course.”


The winning entry was designed by Ethan Irelander from Virginia Commonwealth University and will be featured in all of the 2016 AEJMC conference marketing and promotional materials. Additionally, Marissa Jones of Abilene Christian University placed third and Amber Nunn of Biola University placed fourth.


The AEJMC traces is organizational roots back to 1912 and continues to hold annual conferences, to promote the highest standards for journalism and mass communication education, and to showcase a wide range of communication research. The Visual Communication Division, VisCom, began in 1982 with the merger of the Graphic Arts and Photojournalism Division of the AEJMC.



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

Media Arts & Studies Professor Shares Research and Insight via Popular Global Venues

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 12:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015)  Zixue Tai, an associate professor in the Media Arts and Studies program at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications, has been solicited to share his research and insight on social media and China with the global community of scholars and media practitioners by popular online publications.


In an article titled “Chinese Government Hops on the WeChat Bandwagon” (with contributions from Xiaolong Liu, a visiting scholar from China currently conducting research at UK), published May 6, 2015, by the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute blog, Tai discusses the changing landscape of government propaganda and the latest official efforts to sway public opinion through popular social media platforms.


In another piece titled “Social Media Activism: All the Rage in China,” published April 1, 2015, on the same blog site, Tai shares his perspectives on how social media has reshaped and reinvigorated grassroots collective actions and mass dissent in China. The Nottingham China Policy Institute is an impartial think tank promoting collaborative research and academic dialogues in the European Union (EU), and its blog provides a forum in sharing intellectual conversations among academic researchers, media and policy scholars interested in a broad range of issues in regard to the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.


In December 2014, Tai was interviewed and quoted extensively in a feature story (with a title that translates into “How Internet Memes Help Chinese Netizns Bypass State Censorship") published by the independent Russian media outlet Meduza, which discusses how smart wordplays and user collaboration make it possible for online discussions of sensitive topics and issues banned by state censors. Meduza is a Latvia-based publication run by a team of 20 reporters headed by Galina Timchenko. Timchenko founded Meduza after she was ousted in March 2014 from her post as editor-in-chief of Russia-based, one of the most popular news sites in Russia, by the site owner Alexander Mamut, a billionaire and strong ally of President Vladimir Putin.


Also in 2014, Tai’s research perspectives on social media and grassroots movements and mass contention were the focus of two articles published by the German and Italian editions of the European Journalism Observatory (EJO) respectively. EJO, the EU equivalent of the American Journalism Review in the U.S., is the premier venue to disseminate research on journalism and global media in the EU and publishes in 11 languages/countries.


Additionally, in November 2014, Tai was quoted in a news release by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest general scientific society in the world and the publisher of Science, for his perspectives on the importance of promoting science reporting in China. In the same month, he also talked to China’s Xinhua News Agency in a story on the role of science reporting and the need for improving science reporting in China. 



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

Lexington Venture Club to Host 'Startup to Success'

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 16:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2015) — Innovation and entrepreneurship will be the primary topics of conversation at a special gathering in Lexington Wednesday, June 3, at The Livery in Lexington.


On that date, Commerce Lexington and the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network (KIN), part of the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship in the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, are hosting Startup to Success. The event, being organized in association with the Lexington Venture Club, begins with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by a panel discussion at 6:15.


"The idea is to provide a unique networking experience showcasing startups and established companies in the same room," said Warren Nash, director of the Lexington Office of KIN. "Attendees will have the chance to see the area's newest up-and-coming startups, and hear from some of Lexington's best success stories."


Nash said the number of companies registered to exhibit in the showcase is at 18 and growing.


Cost for admission is $10 per ticket which includes light hors d'oeurves. You can register at:


The Livery is located at 238 East Main Street in Lexington. 




MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;

Hilltop Avenue Reduced to One Lane May 13

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 16:07

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2015) — Wednesday, May 13, Hilltop Avenue near the intersection of Woodland Avenue on the University of Kentucky campus will be reduced to one lane of traffic. This lane closure is necessary for unanticipated utility work associated with “The 90” dining facility.  Work is expected to begin around 7 a.m. and end in early afternoon.


One lane of traffic will remain open at all times. Flagmen will assist with directing traffic during the impact.


Anyone who normally travels in the vicinity should allow extra travel time. The university is working to minimize the impact to rush hour traffic; however, some impact may be unavoidable.


For more information on the project, visit

Barnhart Chosen for Athletics Director of the Year Award

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2015) — University of Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart was named a winner of the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year Award Tuesday, May 12, by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).


Barnhart was one of four selected in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, along with Chris Del Conte of TCU, Warde Manuel of Connecticut and Ian McCaw of Baylor. They will receive their honors June 17 at the annual NACDA awards luncheon in Orlando, Florida.


“Under the steady and successful leadership of Mitch Barnhart, the University of Kentucky athletics program is reaching extraordinary levels of success across its 22 varsity programs,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “For 13 years, his integrity and talent have empowered our staff, coaches and student-athletes to succeed on the field, in the classroom and across the communities they serve. Having recently reached his ambitious set of goals for the department, Mitch continues to inspire our program to reach even higher, while supporting in creative and impactful ways the academic mission of the university.”


The NACDA recognition comes the same year that UK Athletics completed the final goal set as part of Barnhart's ambitious 15 by 15 by 15 Plan.


·         The Southeastern Conference Tournament championship won by the men's basketball team gave UK its 15th conference or national title since the plan was announced in 2008.


·         In the 2013-14 school year, UK finished 11th in NACDA Directors' Cup standings, meeting Barnhart's aim to make Kentucky a top-15 athletics department nationally.


·         UK also has reached the academic prong of 15 by 15 by 15 in five consecutive semesters by achieving a department-wide grade-point average of 3.0 or better.


·         In addition, UK Athletics met the final component by expanding the department's community service in Lexington and beyond.


“I’m thankful for the presidents I’ve worked for, Dr. (Eli) Capilouto and Dr. (Lee) Todd at Kentucky and Dr. (Paul) Risser at Oregon State, and for Coach Dickey (former Tennessee athletics director Doug Dickey), who was an important mentor to me,” Barnhart said. “It is a great honor to be recognized by your peers. Success is driven by a wonderful staff, dynamic coaches and talented young people.”


UK Athletics has enjoyed comprehensive growth since Barnhart’s arrival in 2002. Eighteen of UK's 22 varsity teams contributed to the 2014 school-record Directors' Cup finish, with seven finishing in the top 10 of their respective sports.


Barnhart has helped pave the way for UK's ascendance as an athletics department by innovatively pursuing facility improvements. In September, UK will play the grand-opening game in the new Commonwealth Stadium following a $120 million project made possible by an unprecedented partnership with its university partner. The football program also will have a new $45 million practice facility in 2016, adding to a list of new facilities completed in the last two years that includes new softball and soccer stadiums, a new track and a new golf complex.


Barnhart is steadfast in his commitment to putting student-athletes first, evidenced by their strong academic performances. He is active in community service and encourages student-athletes to follow suit. Putting that into action, UK student-athletes combined to serve 4,319 hours in the community during the 2013-14 school year. Also, over the last four years, UK football players have made educational/service trips to Ethiopia, a program that has been expanded to include athletes from multiple sports.


Even with the department's growth and the increasingly competitive nature of college sports, UK Athletics has remained fully self-sufficient, operating with a balanced budget and with the help of no state or university funds under Barnhart's leadership. As further proof of UK Athletics' financial stewardship, Barnhart directs a $1.7 million annual contribution to the university's scholarship program and UK Athletics is funding nearly two-thirds of the $100 million Academic Science Building under construction on campus. All totaled, UK Athletics has directly and indirectly contributed nearly $200 million to the university's mission since 2002.


Barnhart is also a leader in shaping the future of college sports on a national level. He was appointed to serve on the NCAA Division I Council, a body charged with conducting the day-to-day business of Division I athletics, after becoming the chair of the NCAA Basketball Issues Committee in 2010.


Barnhart’s legacy includes helping develop administrators who have gone on to become athletics directors at nationally prominent universities, including Greg Byrne of Arizona, Mark Coyle at Boise State, Rob Mullens at Oregon and Scott Stricklin at Mississippi State.


Barnhart, Del Conte, Manuel and McCaw are among 28 athletics directors who will be honored at the NACDA event. Four winners in each category are chosen in the NCAA Football Subdivision; NCAA Division I-AAA, Division II and Division III; NAIA; and junior/community colleges.


“Since 1998, NACDA has been highlighting the notable contributions made by athletics directors across all divisions of our membership,” said Bob Vecchione, NACDA Executive Director. “These 28 winners have been recognized by their peers for their outstanding work on campus, in their community and supporting their student-athletes. We look forward to recognizing their significant achievements at our 50th Anniversary Convention this June.”


Among the criteria for selection were service as an AD for a minimum of five years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments. Additionally, each AD’s institution must have passed a compliance check through its appropriate governing body. Selection committees composed of current and former directors of athletics, present and past NCAA and NAIA presidents, current and former commissioners and other key athletics administrators voted on nominees for the awards. 


Barnhart is the second Kentucky AD to be selected, as C.M. Newton was chosen in 1999, the inaugural year for the honor.



MEDIA CONTACT: Tony Neely, 859-257-3838;

Spring Forward Concert Series Features Kentucky Arts Council Performers

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 16:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2015) — Kentucky Arts Council musicians representing the genres of jazz, Bluegrass, classical piano and more will give live performances at the UK Chandler Hospital during the UK Arts in HealthCare program's Spring Forward concert series.


Performances will begin at noon every Wednesday in the Pavilion A atrium lobby. The series runs through June 24. The schedule of performances includes:

·         May 13 – Diane Earl, Pianist

·         May 20 – Joe Earl, Guitarist

·         May 27 – TDH4, Jazz/Regional Band

·         June 3 – Butch Rice, Singer/Songwriter

·         June 10 – Kyle Meadows, Hammered Dulcimer

·         June 17 – No Tools Loaned, Bluegrass Band

·         June 24 – Dale Pyatt, Singer/Songwriter


The Kentucky Arts Council, a state arts agency, supports the UK Arts in HealthCare program’s Spring Forward performance series with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. 



MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

UK HealthCare Nurses, Employees Honored for Care, Courage and Competency

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 16:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2015) ­– UK HealthCare nurses show courage, compassion and clinical competency as they interact with patients, families and fellow staff members every day. Several UK HealthCare employees were recently singled out for their extraordinary work as recipients of the 2015 Nursing Week Awards.


“These leaders have demonstrated not only extraordinary clinical competency and great thinking, but the courage to step up and out to change things for the better, said Colleen Swartz, chief nurse executive for UK HealthCare. “These changes improve the care environment and allow us to take better care of our patients and families.”


The AI/UK HealthCare Quilt of Teamwork Award for Nursing Support was given to respiratory therapist Lisa Wright, who is a member of the Kentucky Children’s Hospital nursing management team. Wright has played an instrumental role in elevating KCH’s level of care in neonatal ventilation and improved nursing efficiency by providing expertise in respiratory illness.


The Diana Weaver Leadership/Management Award honors a dynamic and confident nurse in the position of a manager or administrative leader. Kimberly Blanton, director of enterprise ipac and quality safety at UK HealthCare, received this award for her ability to disseminate important information to the nursing teams, to manage programs that enhance nursing, to promote a spirit of teamwork and charisma in nursing, and to lead during the Ebola crisis with confidence and composure.


The Karen E. Hall Nursing Education Award recognizes a nurse who has demonstrated quality education to his or her colleagues. Donna Woolums, a clinical nurse at the UK Good Samaritan Hospital, received this award for her efforts to fill an instructional need in her unit, and for fostering an environment of learning in her workplace.


The Karen Sexton Firestarter Award, which honors a nurse who exemplifies the values of teambuilding, education and a commitment to excellence, was presented to Linda Clements. Clements is involved with training and mentoring nursing students and new nurses. She has served as a catalyst for improvement by thinking critically about patient issues and training other health care providers to perform life-saving skills.


A nurse part of the Children’s Oncology Group, Diana Holtzhauer is the 2015 recipient of the M.J. Dickson Quality Nursing Care Award. The award recipient is a clinical nurse who reflects a strong commitment to high standards and quality care. Holtzhauer, who serves as a resource in ambulatory and impatients, meets high standards of care by modeling policies, championing positive change and utilizing evidence-based practices.  


The Nightingale Preceptor Lamp Award recognizes a preceptor who has provided exceptional guidance to new nurses. This year’s award was presented to Diana Gregory, a nurse at the UK Good Samaritan Hospital who has served as an enthusiastic mentor, advocate and teacher to many students, new members of the profession and co-workers.


Janice Bugg was named the recipient of the Nursing Professional Advancement Award, which honors an individual who has maintained the “Gold” status of the profession and contributes to the standards of nursing in their unit, hospital and community. Bryan Boling was presented with the Dorothy Brockopp Annual Research Award for a project examining the use of social media as a support system for patients using LVADs. Psychiatric nurse Peggy Scheibel was awarded the Eastern State Hospital Foundation Award for providing exceptional, compassionate care for patients in the mental health community.  


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,



Gill Heart Institute Receives Gold Quality Achievement Award

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 13:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2015) -- UK HealthCare's Gill Heart Institute has received the "Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation Gold Quality Achievement Award" for maintaining specific quality measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer cardiac arrests in the hospital.


This year marks the second year that Gill has received Gold designation.


"We are committed to providing the best possible outcomes for our patients, and it's gratifying to have the quality of our care acknowledged by the American Heart Association," said Dr. Susan Smyth, director of UK HealthCare's Gill Heart Institute.


According to Dr. Melina Aguinaga-Meza, Gill Heart Institute's Resuscitation Committee Chair, patients aren't the only ones who benefit.


"By participating in the Get With The Guidelines program, we are able to share expertise with other member hospitals around the country, including access to the most up-to-date research, clinical tools and resources, and patient education resources," Bailey said.


"What this means for Kentuckians is that the gold standard for heart care is available right here in Lexington."


The Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation program was developed with the goal to save the lives of those who experience cardiac arrests by following the most up-to-date research-based guidelines for treatment. Guidelines include following protocols for patient safety, medical emergency team response, effective and timely resuscitation (CPR) and post-emergency care.


More than 200,000 adults and children have an in-hospital cardiac arrest each year, according to the American Heart Association.