Campus News

UK Arts Administration Students Help At-Risk Kids Capture 'A Beautiful Life'

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 15:12


Video from Studio Walz website,  


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2015) — As adults, many of us look back fondly on childhood and the world of wonder that surrounded us. Nothing seemed impossible until the daily routine of life dampened our sense of optimism with age and responsibility.


Unfortunately, bleak realities can come all too early for some children, who witness domestic violence or struggle with illness at an early age. In an attempt to help bring light to these sometimes dark times, a class of University of Kentucky arts administration students developed real life arts workshops for children working with two Lexington organizations. The resulting artwork is the focus of a book published by the class that will raise money for the organizations and future community art programs from the class.


The enterprising UK arts administration students presenting these art workshops are part of a spring course first presented in 2014 that created an initiative called Art in Unlikely Places. The class is led by Mark Rabideau, adjunct assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Arts Administration Program. The goal of Art in Unlikely Places is driven by a belief that creativity is the seed of hope. The initiative connects inspiring artists to those most in need of the transformative powers of the arts.


The students' vision is that this organization will deliver the work of inspiring artists to the ailing, the impoverished and the distraught, sharing beauty with those whose life-circumstances might otherwise prevent them from discovering the hope that is found in the artistic moment. 


Students participating in Art in Unlikely Places, now in its second year, developed a project titled "A Beautiful Life: Through the Eyes of a Child." The project introduced children in need to the arts by providing them an opportunity to express themselves in creative ways. At the suggestion of some members of the class, the group partnered with Greenhouse 17, a refuge for children who have been witness to domestic violence, and The Kidz Club, where children with medical needs are provided special attention with academic and social interaction.


"As a child, the arts were so strongly encouraged to me at an early age. The same goes with my classmates. We wanted to share our love with these children, so that they could have an opportunity like we did to experience the power the arts have," said art studio senior Janie Kegley, of Louisa, Kentucky, who serves as director of marketing for the arts administration course.


Art in Unlikely Places held workshops with 30 local children from the organizations, prompting the kids to create artwork that expressed their inner feelings, hopes and dreams. All were asked to draw what made life beautiful to them.


In addition to using visual arts to help the children give voice to their feelings, the class also invited music therapists from Evolve to partner with them and lead the children in songs and games.


Lending his talents to "A Beautiful Life” is renowned fiber artist, UK Professor Arturo Alonzo Sandoval. The internationally celebrated artist was pleased to participate when approached by one of his students, noting that service is one of the three elements of being a UK professor.


The class was honored Sandoval took them up on their request. "Arturo is an artist who has touched the lives of myself and another student inside our class. When we were discussing artists there really wasn't any competition. His heart is so big and he achieved a product even better than we imagined. He did all of this for free and we are so grateful," Kegley said.


Sandoval, with the assistance of photographer Scott Walz, incorporated images of the artworks the children created into four quilts. Two of the art quilts will be donated to the respected organizations and the remaining two have been sold to benefit the program.


"The four art quilts are digital compositions of the original drawings the participating children accomplished," Sandoval said. "Scott Walz, my IT designer/expert, used his skills and our collaborative design sense to layer the children’s drawings into four lovely images with lots of energy, color and texture."


Sandoval and Walz believe helping bring the artwork from the coloring page to a book and art quilt form was a great fit for their talents. "The goal of art is to communicate beauty," Sandoval said.


For only $30, arts patrons can purchase the book of original artworks by children at Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club and receive an invitation to Art in Unlikely Places finale this week. All Art in Unlikely places supporters will be invited to the unveiling celebration of the final artworks Thursday, May 7, at Lexington Art League. Light refreshments will be served accompanied by a musical guest appearance from the popular UK a cappella group, the acoUstiKats.


Proceeds from the event will allow Art in Unlikely Places to continue to send art workshops back to Greenhouse 17 and The Kidz Club.


Additional funds will also insure that the Art in Unlikely Places will continue to thrive and benefit the future students of the program. "This class is groundbreaking in education. We want to make sure the students after us can have the same experience. It has truly been life changing," Kegley said.


In addition to the dedicated students in Art in Unlikely Places, who created and executed "A Beautiful Life," the project also was made possible with support of local organizations and businesses like the UK College of Fine Arts, WRFL, Red Mango, T.G.I. Fridays and Bourbon n' Toulouse, who helped the class and UK student organization achieve their fundraising and marketing goals for the semester.


For further information on this student project, visit Arts in Unlikely Places at their GoFundMe website: You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at:;; and



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

Alumni Drive Reconstruction, Realignment Project Promises Safer, Better Transportation Artery

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 08:41

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray — joined by key state legislators — announced Monday the start of work on the realignment of Alumni Drive between Tates Creek and Nicholasville Roads.


The $5 million project is slated for completion by Sept. 1, in time for the start of the UK football season. Beshear, Gray and Capilouto were joined at the announcement and ceremonial groundbreaking Monday by Sen. Reginald Thomas and Rep. Kelly Flood, both instrumental in the project.


"Alumni Drive serves as one of the gateways to our campus,” Capilouto said. "We look forward to the project’s completion in September, at which point we will have a safer, more functional route for the UK family and the many who visit our campus and the Arboretum every day." 


The project, which is funded through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and was approved during the 2014 legislative session, was a priority for Sen. Thomas and Rep. Flood as well as Gov. Beshear, who authorized the project.


“Once this project is complete, all travelers along Alumni Drive — whether on foot, on bicycles, or in vehicles — will enjoy a friendlier, safer trip,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Like many of our road improvements, this project will improve access and safety but will also encourage citizens to enjoy nearby recreational spaces.”


Key features of the realignment project include:

  • The reconstruction and realignment project is designed to help calm traffic on Alumni Drive, a major connector road that serves 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day. The realigned road also is expected to slow vehicular speeds, and the new design features will include enhanced bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
  • At the intersections of College Way and University Drive, roundabouts – also known as traffic circles – will replace existing stop signs.
  • The road changes will also include moving College Way to the west, along with creating new entrances to the Commonwealth Stadium Blue Lot and to athletics facilities.
  • The improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities along the corridor will provide safe connections to existing facilities, as well as opportunities for recreational use.
  • Additionally, the improvements will include an ADA-accessible route from main campus to the Arboretum.


"It was a great pleasure to work with Governor Beshear, Mayor Gray and the University of Kentucky on behalf of this project, which will improve traffic flow and the safety of our community,” said Sen. Reginald Thomas. "This project has been a high priority, and I look forward to seeing its completion in September in time for the start of the home football season.


"The Alumni Drive redirection and realignment project will provide enormous benefits for our community, most notably by increasing the safety of a major connector road. I'm proud to have worked with Governor Beshear, other members of the Fayette legislative delegation, Mayor Gray and UK in obtaining the funding for this important initiative,” said Rep. Flood, whose district includes Alumni Drive and the campus.


Alumni Drive will be closed beginning Sunday, May 10, with traffic being re-routed through the immediate area. Access to the Arboretum will be maintained at all times via Tates Creek Road. The Lexington Senior Center will be accessible from Nicholasville Road. Additionally, the other occupied buildings on Alumni Drive – a child care center and UK graduate housing – will be accessible throughout the project.


“Alumni Drive is a significant corridor for Lexington, connecting neighborhoods, businesses, the Arboretum and the UK campus,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “For many citizens, this project will require a major adjustment to travel routes for the next several months.”


Maps and more detailed information on the project can be found at and a fact sheet is available at: Those traveling in the area should plan accordingly and allow extra time.


For more information on the project visit:



MEDIA CONTACTS:  Blair Hoover,; Rebecca Stratton,, 859-323-2395; Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155

Student Summer Parking Permits Now Available

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 08:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015)  Student summer parking permits became available for purchase Friday, May 1, at the University of Kentucky.


These permits are $7 per week and may only be purchased in person at the Parking and Transportation Services office, located in the Press Avenue Garage (PS #6), at the corner of Press and Virginia Avenues. The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer permits may be purchased for any number of weeks between May 11 and August 7, 2015.


All University parking lots will be controlled for permits during the summer months.  For more information on summer parking policies, visit



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

Fowlkes Returns to UK to Lead Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center

Sun, 05/03/2015 - 16:17

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) -- Dr. John Fowlkes took the helm as new director of the University of Kentucky's Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center earlier this year with a vision to build upon the center's past work and develop a robust and comprehensive adult and pediatric center providing research, education and patient care for the thousands of Kentuckians diagnosed with diabetes. But the Texas native who has spent the last decade at the University of Arkansas Children's Hospital, has found himself in familiar territory.


Fowlkes, who succeeds Dr. Philip Kern who served as the Center's inaugural director and who had been performing a dual role as director of the UK's Center for Clinical and Translation Science, previously held the Barnstable Brown Gala Professorship in Diabetes Research at UK in 2000-2001 and was part of the UK Department of Pediatrics from 1996 until 2001.


"Having that prior life here and knowing the expertise that already exists at UK, provided the excitement and impetus for me to return to UK to develop a comprehensive diabetes center," said Fowlkes. "I think there is a potential to organize research, education and patient care in a way that we can see some real accomplishments and do some things that are very innovative."


However, Fowlkes, a nationally recognized clinician scientist funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who is intimately involved in patient care, realizes some challenges lie ahead.

Fowlkes' primary goal is to begin the work of "rethinking the clinical care model" and developing a new way of delivering state-of-the-art patient care.


"Right now we are looking at how to get the team in a collaborative environment and to develop operational clinic space that is much more than just seeing patients and prescribing drugs," he said. "We want to be able to see a patient, educate them and most importantly, serve as a medical home that addresses all of their needs in a one-stop shop."


The team he refers to includes Dr. Kathryn M. Thrailkill, professor of  pediatrics and the newly named Barnstable Brown Chair in Pediatric Diabetes Research; Dr. Alba E. Morales Pozzo, an associate professor of pediatrics; and Clay Bunn, Ph.D., who will direct pediatric research laboratories. All three joined Fowlkes in coming to UK from the University of Arkansas.


In Kentucky and in the U.S., diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability. Besides leading to premature death, both types 1 and 2 Diabetes are associated with complications that threaten quality of life. It is also the leading cause of adult blindness, end-stage kidney disease and nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations.


Already UK has a sizable diabetes patient population in both pediatrics and adults, but Fowlkes wants to better coordinate care throughout the various ambulatory clinics where those patients are treated and wants to provide educational opportunities. Additionally, the clinical care will be complemented with intellectual questions looking at outcomes, quality and providing fertile material for research. Increasing the number of clinical trials available for both pediatric and adult patients is also a big focus for the future, he said.


"Diabetes is perhaps the greatest scourge assaulting Kentuckians. It kills indirectly through heart attack, strokes, kidney failure, nerve damage and blindness but there is an explosion of new therapeutic treatment modalities," said UK College of Medicine Dean Frederick de Beer "The Barnstable Brown Center under Dr. Fowlkes' leadership has the potential to be developed to lead and integrate our assault on diabetes."


Currently, the Center has approximately $24 million per year in research funding focusing on prevention and treatment of the disease and various complications of diabetes. Funding comes from the NIH, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and other funding agencies, as well as the Barnstable-Brown family.


Patricia "Tricia" Brown and Priscilla "Cyb" Barnstable, together with their mother Wilma Barnstable, have been hosting a Derby eve gala to raise money for diabetes research in Kentucky for nearly 25 years with celebrities coming from around the globe to attend the famous Barnstable Brown Gala in Louisville -- with the most recent event being held this past Derby weekend.


Tricia Brown's late husband, Dr. David Brown, was diagnosed and later died of diabetes was the inspiration for the establishment of the Barnstable Brown. Since 2008, all proceeds from the gala go to the center at UK. 


"The Barnstable-Brown family made not only the essential initial investment but provides continuous support and a consistent presence that is an incredible and immeasurable asset to our center," said Fowlkes. "Their enduring commitment is something that makes a true impact and we are very appreciative."


Media Contact:  Kristi Lopez, 859-806-0445

KIPRC Urges Construction Workers to Stand Down for Safety

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 17:24

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center based at the University of Kentucky has joined the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's National Safety Stand-Down initiative from May 4 to 15.


The public safety campaign calls for all construction site managers to suspend work for a short period to review safety standards, including fall prevention, rescue plans, job-specific hazards and other protective measures. To participate, construction companies of all sizes can hold a Safety Stand-Down, or voluntary event for employers to speak directly with workers about safety. Employers are encouraged to focus on fall hazards and fall prevention during the Stand-Down. Falls from elevated heights continue to cause preventable deaths in the U.S. In 2013, 291 of 828 reported construction worker fatalities were caused by falls.


"In 2014, Kentucky saw 14 fatalities from falls from elevation — 14 deaths that could have been prevented," De Anna McIntosh, a safety specialist for the Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation at KIPRC. "We are hoping that in raising awareness about falls and how to prevent them, we can eliminate this type of workplace fatality."


According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, employers should prohibit work when weather conditions are wet, windy or icy. Workers should be required to wear a personal protective fall system during all phases of a roofing job. Also, employers should have a fall protection plan in place and a written document outlining the fall protection plan before a job begins. 


The OSHA Safety Stand-Down initiative coincides with North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. Last year, more than one million construction workers participated in a Safety Stand-Down. Employers can obtain resources to conduct a Safety Stand-Down as well as a certificate of participation by clicking here.


MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams,

Markey, LLS Host Fourth Annual 'Meet the Researchers Day'

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 15:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fourth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last Thursday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.


This year, students from Bondurant Middle School (BMS) in Frankfort, Ky., and Shelby County West Middle School (SCWMS) in Shelbyville, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.


After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a a tour of cancer research lab space in the BBSRB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured presentations by BMS student  and cancer survivor Tyler Calhoun, the LLS Honored Hero, and UK pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio.


Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the School & Youth division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.


For this year's campaign, more than 340 schools across the region participated. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. BMS and SCWMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $5,027.12 for LLS. 


To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit

Wildcat Wheels Now Accepting Bicycle Donations

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 14:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — Are you moving out of your residence hall and no longer have a need for you bicylce? Instead of leaving it behind, donate it! The University of Kentucky encourages students to donate their unwanted bicycles instead of leaving them at the bike racks on campus.


Bicycle donation helps expedite the abandoned bike process and frees up space on campus bike racks. Bikes donated through this process will go to a foster care program, become a part of the Wildcat Wheels program or go to UK Surplus, depending on their condition.


Simply fill out the Bicycle Donation Waiver and bring your bike to the Bike Donation Station at Wildcat Wheels Bicycle Library, in the basement of Blazer Hall, during the following windows:

·         Monday, May 4, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

·         Tuesday, May 5, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

·         Wednesday, May 6, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

·         Thursday, May 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


If you choose not to participate in the Bike Donation Station and are leaving campus for the summer, remember to take your bicycle with you. Abandoned bicycles are subject to impoundment, even if they are parked in a legal bicycle space.


If a bicycle is impounded, the owner will have 90 days to claim it at UK Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) and pay all citation and impoundment fees. Bicycles unclaimed after 90 days will be disposed of in accordance with university regulations.


PTS identifies abondoned bicycles before impounding them, and will wait a minimum of five days before removing bicycles that have been tagged. If a student or employee who is on campus during the summer months discovers a tag on their bicycle, simply removing it will notify PTS staff that the bicycle is actively being used.



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

Earthquake Prompts UK Students From Nepal to Mobilize

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 11:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015)  A group of University of Kentucky students from Nepal is helping to relieve the suffering in their home country caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took place Saturday, April 25.


The students have started a fundraising initiative, “Nepal, I am with you,” to obtain food, medical supplies, and rebuild broken communities. To learn more about their initiative, visit their fundraising website.


“We are far from home and are suffering from not being there,” said Suraj Upadhaya. “We are not there in physical support, but we can send emotional support while we are in Kentucky.”


More than 7,000 people have died in the earthquake, injuries top 14,000 and according to the “Nepal, I am with you” website, more than 450,000 people were reportedly displaced from their homes. Many homes were destroyed, and people are living in tents without relief. 


“We must assure these families that they do not stand alone,” Upadhaya said.


The funds raised by this initiative will be used to help a small village of 20-40 families outside of Kathmandu to provide direct support at the community level.


“All foreign aid now is solely focused on the capital, Kathmandu. Small villages outside the capital are not getting enough aid and relief materials,” said Upadhaya. "Please, help us help our families and friends. Let us assure them by saying from around the world, 'Nepal, I am with you.'  Stand with us. Stand with Nepal.”

Artificial Sweeteners: Zero Doesn't Really Mean Zero

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 10:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) -- The next time you add Splenda (sucralose), Sweet and Low (saccharin) or Equal (aspartame) to your tea or coffee, beware  --  all three of these artificial sweeteners also contain dextrose, a simple sugar with about 3.6 calories per serving packet.


A violation of truth in advertising?  Not necessarily. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows a product to be labeled "zero calories" if the food contains “less than 5 calories per reference amount customarily consumed per labeled serving." Although these artificial sweeteners do provide fewer calories, they are not calorie free, and people trying to watch their waistlines should keep this in mind.


Although artificial sweeteners are generally considered safe but there is still debate about whether they help with weight loss. There is conflicting research about the role diet sodas play in weight loss, with some research demonstrating that consuming diet sodas without decreasing overall calorie intake doesn’t appear to promote weight loss, while other studies show some weight reduction when switching from regular soda to diet.


The bacteria in your intestines, known as the gut microbiome, may hold the key to these controversies. A study last year showed that mice fed artificial sweeteners actually developed higher blood glucose levels than mice fed the simple sugar glucose. When the gut microbiome in these animals was eliminated by antibiotics, the mice fed artificial sweetener did not develop higher blood glucose levels, implying that gut microorganisms play some role in regulating blood glucose levels resulting from artificial sweetener use.


Furthermore, a small study in humans showed that four out of seven lean individuals developed higher blood glucose levels after consuming artificial sweeteners for a week. These data suggest that we are not identical in our gut microbiome and artificial sweeteners may affect us differently.


Until further study more clearly defines how artificial sweeteners alter the gut microbiome and ultimately affect blood glucose levels, it's entirely possible that smaller amounts of table sugar is better for you, since higher blood glucose is a risk factor for obesity and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends less than 9 teaspoons a day for men and less than 6 teaspoons of table sugar  per day for women.   


Geza Bruckner is professor Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the UK College of Health Sciences


This column appeared in the May 3, 2015 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

STEMCats End Spring Semester Strong with Research

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 09:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2015) — In the fall of 2014, a group of 235 incoming students became the first class of STEMCats at the University of Kentucky. This week, they are not only wrapping up their first year at UK, but also a semester of original research; an unusual experience for many college freshmen.


The STEMCats living learning program, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and directed by UK Department of Biology Chair Vincent Cassone, was launched to increase retention of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors at UK.


A key component of the program is an authentic research experience for the freshmen, in addition to pre-fall "FastTrack" courses, a living learning community and STEM exploration courses.


With 16 departments and 62 faculty members involved in the program, a range of original research opportunities were available for STEMCats this semester. From "Analysis of Gene Expression During Salamander Tail Regeneration" to "Clean Water through Chemistry," the projects engaged faculty members and students across many departments and majors.


"This is fundamentally different from a traditional lab class; the students are doing something that has never been done before to address questions to which we don’t yet know the answers," said Douglas Harrison, associate professor in the Department of Biology who advised the "Sex, Flies, and Good Gene Hunting" project with Associate Professor Peter Mirabito.


Another project, "Drug Interactions in Breast Cancer," could help scientists understand why the drug tamoxifen may not work as a therapy for breast cancer in some patients. Hollie Swanson, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, and Ok-Kyong Park-Sarge, associate professor in the Department of Physiology, worked with 10 STEMCats students on the project. The group focused on the question, "If breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen are also taking drugs to treat epilepsy or heart failure, would those drugs interfere with tamoxifen and inhibit their breast cancer treatment?" 


In addition to addressing a real-world issue through research, it was also a learning experience for students on what goes into a research project and how a lab works.


"I think it is important for the students to understand how scientists ask questions and how scientists' work improves our ability to treat diseases like cancer," Swanson said.


In the "Sex, Flies, and Good Gene Hunting" project, STEMCats students searched for genes that contribute to reproductive lifespan, or how long an individual will be fertile. Because of its short lifespan, the fruit fly was used to conduct the research. Specifically, students performed crosses to determine the effects of bacterial infection and antibiotic treatments on the reproductive lifespan.


"The process of aging has many similarities across most animal species," Harrison said. "We anticipate that the findings from this research are likely to point to many genetic and environmental influences that will have similar effects on other animals, including humans."


The team is completing the last of their fly crosses and beginning to analyze the data. The data collected by students this semester will be added to a larger analysis of research by previous undergraduates, and the aggregate data will be used for a genome-wide association study that seeks to identify the genes affecting reproductive lifespan.


On Wednesday, April 29, STEMCats students presented these and other research projects at the UK Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars and the STEMCats Research Forum, held in conjunction with the showcase.


Shane D'Souza, a freshman biology major, and Alyssa Allen, a freshman medical laboratory science pre-major, helped present their group's project researching the regenerative abilities of axolotls (Mexican salamanders), led by Randal Voss, professor of biology.


"After coming to UK and studying in Dr. Voss' lab, I found myself very interested in research and genetics," D'Souza said. "I feel it really opened a new field of study to me."


Allen, who said she was at first very nervous to present at the showcase, enjoyed speaking to others one-on-one about the project.


"This interested me so much…I thought it was awesome," she said.  


Another key component of the STEMCats program, closely related to the success of the research component, is the STEM-focused professional development for faculty. On Saturday, April 25, the STEM Teaching Enhancement Workshop and Scholarly Forum was held on campus.


Lectures were given on implementing high-impact STEM teaching practices; using technology to engage students and enhance learning; web-based homework; diversity in STEM fields; research integration and interaction in class; and more.


Stephen Testa, associate professor of chemistry, presented his STEMCats research project at the forum as a "teaching tip" talk titled, "Using a Freshman Chemistry Laboratory Experiment as a Springboard for Original Research." And that's exactly what Testa did this semester.


The STEMCats research project, called the Student Centered Original Research Experience, or SCORE, tasked STEMCats students with improving a current lab project taught in CHE 111 (the general chemistry lab).


"The whole experience was really a win-win situation for everyone involved," Testa said. "It was amazing to see these students in action, and to see how their abilities and knowledge evolved over the semester."


For CHE 111, the project is presented as a murder mystery, where students have to solve a simulated crime involving simulated DNA samples.


STEMCats students found multiple strategies for reducing material consumption (which will save money for the CHE 111 lab); found how to increase the rate of the reaction (which saves time); and figured out how to broaden the reactivity of DNA nucleobases (which will allow for more discrimination between the murder mystery samples that students test).


"For faculty involved in the program, it’s the curiosity to find new answers that drove us and got us excited about science and research when we first started out," Harrison said. "We hope that the freshman STEMCats research experience will generate that same enthusiasm in these students. At the same time, they’re learning to think critically, a skill that can be applied to anything they do afterward."




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

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Features UK's VP for Institutional Diversity

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:37

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Today's guest is J.J. Jackson, UK’s first vice president for institutional diversity. As she approaches retirement following the end of the semester, Jackson reflects on her tenure at the university and her efforts to increase diversity and inclusion on campus. 


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


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

Portion of University Court Closed May 4-6

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 18:25

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — A portion of University Court, near the intersection with Alumni Drive on the University of Kentucky campus, will be closed from 7 a.m. Monday, May 4, through 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 6. The closure is related to the installation of storm drain pipes for the FEMA Flood Mitigation Project in the south campus area.


According to UK Parking and Transportation Services, bus service will be affected. The CATS Night Route and the Lextran Stadium-Greg Page Route will both be impacted by the closure. During this time, riders who typically use the Shawneetown bus stop should board at the Greg Page Laundry.


Riders can view real-time location of all CATS buses at or with the free Transloc app. Riders can view the actual location of Lextran buses with the MyStop Mobile iPhone app or at

UK, Ziliak Working to Battle Kentucky's Poverty, Improve Nutrition

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 16:14




LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) University of Kentucky Gatton Endowed Chair in Microeconomics James Ziliak, who also is director of UK's Center for Poverty Research, is playing a leading role in trying to figure out some of the challenges of poverty in this nation, including Kentucky, and how best to address those challenges.


Just in the last week results were released from a national study on food insecurity and senior citizens that Ziliak and a colleague conducted based on 2013 statistics.  It shows that nationwide "seniors in 2013 continued to face increasing challenges meeting food need."  The study showed the greatest threat of senior hunger is in Arkansas at 26.1 percent of the over-60 population and the lowest in Minnesota at 8.3 percent. Kentucky ranked 16th at 15.82 percent.


Ziliak and co-author Craig Gundersen of the University of Illinois were quoted in a Washington Post article about the study ranking the District of Columbia, fourth highest for  a threat.


"The State of Senior Hunger in America 2013: An Annual Report," conducted for the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, says that since the onset of the recession in 2007 until 2013, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger in the U.S. has increased by 56 percent. 


This study is one example of Ziliak's vast research that focuses on poverty, economic growth, taxes, health, education, and food security, but centers on translating those research results into recommendations that impact policy decisions.


"For me, it's a real passion," said Ziliak. "Poverty in America is a significant problem and one that requires a lot of attention by scholars to provide rigorous analysis of what we're doing and what we're not doing, what works and what doesn't work."


As a nationally recognized expert on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, Ziliak has testified before Congressional committees in Washington, D.C. on several occasions.


Ziliak recently utilized that expertise on SNAP to assist the state on a pro-bono basis to successfully win two multi-million dollar grants from the USDA for research in Eastern Kentucky. One pilot project, which was designed with the assistance of UK faculty Nancy Schoenberg, Mark Swanson and Alison Gustafson, will test whether allowing families to deduct a portion of excessive transportation costs in determining SNAP benefits improves the food security of children.


Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said this is the first project of its kind to address transportation challenges to food access.


“For a typical family, transportation is the second largest portion of the budget,” she said. “This innovative project addresses the challenges faced by low-income families where geography also plays a part in making ends meet.”

In the second pilot project, selected SNAP recipients will be offered employment and training services in order to improve their employment skills and ultimately improve their path to self-sufficiency.


This effort by Ziliak and others at UK has been recently recognized by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.


"Dr. Ziliak provided countless hours of work and research to help our state make a successful application for a $19.9 million federal grant to fund a pilot project in southeastern Kentucky aimed at helping SNAP participants find jobs and ultimately work toward self-sufficiency," said Beshear. "Kentucky is one of 10 states chosen to share in the competitive awards from the USDA to support this broad initiative."


Recently, Reveal, part of UK's Research Communications office, produced two videos (one above and one below) with Ziliak, focusing on efforts being carried out in Eastern Kentucky.







MEDIA CONTACTS:  Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200/; Alicia Gregory, 859-257-2980/


CAFE Bowl on May 3 Caps Unique Experience for Faculty, Staff

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 14:29

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — The public is invited to watch a football game on the University of Kentucky campus this Sunday afternoon, May 3. No, it will not be the actual UK Wildcats in action, but rather faculty and staff from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) playing in the CAFE Bowl. The flag football event will be the culmination of a unique, three-day experience, the UK CAFE Gridiron Challenge, in which student-athletes will be the 'professors,' with faculty and staff taking on the role of student-athlete.


The Department of Community and Leadership Development, which is part of the college, came up with this idea in an effort to narrow the knowledge gap and curb misperceptions of what it means to be a student-athlete at a major university.


All day Friday and Saturday, participants will have coursework, position meetings, practice, weightlifting, training table, debriefing, and study. UK football players will be teaching and grading the faculty and staff participants as they go through their paces. 


The game on Sunday will kickoff at 1 p.m. at the Pieratt Student Recreation Fields located near the intersection of University Drive and Cooper Drive. There is seating for 250 people and while there is no admission charge, attendees are encouraged to make a $5 donation, which will go to CAFE undergraduate scholarships.




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

Gill Heart Institute's Walk With a Doc is Back

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 14:14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) -- Put on your walking shoes and join the Gill Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Alison Bailey for the 2015 Walk with a Doc season.  From April through August, the program will meet twice a month on Thursdays for a 30 minute walk at the UK Arboretum.


No registration is required, but you can sign up to receive email reminders at:


"There are countless physical activities to choose from, but walking is a simple and inexpensive change you can make to improve your health," Bailey said. "Since the thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking, finding a group to walk with can be enough incentive to maintain an active walking schedule."


Bailey notes that walking for at least 30 minutes a day can help improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, lower your risk for diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and possibly depression.


"Walking is low impact and therefore easier on the joints than running. It is safe – with a doctor’s o.k. – for people with orthopedic ailments, heart conditions, and those who are more than 20 percent overweight," Bailey said.  


In fact, says Bailey, recent research comparing runners and walkers demonstrated that moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which are significant risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke.

Kentucky Derby Blooms With UK Connections

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 14:13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — Two prominent Kentuckians and University of Kentucky alumni will be featured as part of NBC's coverage of the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.


Tom Hammond, a 1967 graduate of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is the co-host of NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby, a position he's held since 2001.

Tom Hammond


Hammond is synonymous with Thoroughbred racing in the Bluegrass and across the globe. In his 30-year history with NBC, Hammond has covered figure skating, college and professional football and basketball, track and field, swimming and diving and gymnastics in addition to horse racing.


"I never thought I would go into broadcasting," Hammond said in a recent interview with UK Public Relations and Marketing. "It (was) something that happened almost by accident."


In 1984 Hammond was hired by NBC on what was intended to be a one-time-only basis as a reporter for the inaugural Breeders’ Cup. That telecast won the prestigious Eclipse Award, and Hammond has been involved with NBC Sports ever since. Hammond will also host the coverage of the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, rounding out this year's Triple Crown coverage.


In the fall, Hammond expects to return to his "Old Kentucky Home," Keeneland, as the historic track hosts the 2015 Breeders' Cup for the first time.


"I think it belongs here, it's good to come here, the people will appreciate it, they love horse racing in this area, and to have it at Keeneland, which is one of the special racetracks in America, makes it a special day, I think," Hammond said. "It’s a homecoming of sorts."


Joining Hammond as part of NBC's broadcast is actress, philanthropist and UK super fan Ashley Judd. Judd, a 2007 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced on Twitter that she was honored and thankful to NBC for "allowing me the pleasure of narrating the opening of the 141st Kentucky Derby at venerable Churchill Downs."


Judd is an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress famous for her roles in film and television including "Kiss the Girls," "Double Jeopardy" and the "Divergent" series. While at UK, she was a member of the UK Honors Program, Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Phi Beta Kappa. In 2007, she delivered the Paul G. Blazer Lecture at the university.


The University of Kentucky connections at the Kentucky Derby do not end there. For the 28th year, the famous blanket of roses awarded to the Kentucky Derby winning horse is being created by the Kroger Floral Center at the Shelbyville Road Kroger location in Louisville. The Kroger Company's chairman and CEO is W. Rodney McMullen, a 1981 and 1982 graduate of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. McMullen started with the company in 1978 as a part-time stock clerk while attending UK.


Another important aspect of the Derby festivities is the food. For the third year, Chef Jeremy Ashby is a guest chef at the Taste of Derby celebration. Ashby, a 2007 graduate of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a partner in the Azur Food Group and has participated in many James Beard dinner tours, is a winner of the inaugural Lyons Farm International Chef Showdown in 2012 and placed first in the Kentucky Great American Seafood Cook-Off in 2011. 


The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby posts at 6:24 p.m. Saturday, May 2, from Churchill Downs in Louisville. Coverage of the event begins at 4 p.m. on NBC.




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

Sanders-Brown "Mind Matters" Health Fair is May 18

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) - University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) will be holding its seventh annual "Mind Matters" health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 18 at the Fayette County Extension Office, 1140 Red Mile Place, Lexington.


The focus of this year's event is proper nutrition for a healthy brain, providing information on how diet can help promote healthy brain aging and prevent age-related brain disease. There will be free 'brain healthy' food provided by Chef Ouita Michel as well as live cooking demonstrations.


The event will also feature interactive exhibits, health and memory screenings, and presentations about healthy brain aging, Alzheimer's and music therapy.


The event is free of charge and open to the public. For more information contact Sarah Tarrant at (859) 323-1331.


The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is one of the world's leading research centers on age-related diseases. SBCoA improves the health of the elderly through research, education and outreach programs related to understanding the brain's aging process and managing age-related cognitive impairment. 

UK Voices Dominate at NATS Regional

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — Many University of Kentucky School of Music students took home honors, including wins in 10 categories, at the 2015 Mid-South Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Inc. (NATS) competition held April 17-18, at UK. The event featured 261 vocalists from 30 schools, universities and private studios in Kentucky and Tennessee competing.


The 10 UK Opera Theatre students who took first place in their divisions at the NATS competition are:

· vocal performance and music education sophomore Willnard Anderson, from Florissant, Missouri, who won the Sophomore Men Division;

· doctoral candidate Shareese Arnold, from Lexington, who won the Post Advanced Division;

· vocal performance senior Gabrielle Baker, from Lexington, who won the Advanced Women Division;

· vocal performance freshman Clark Davis, from Lexington, who won the Freshman Women Division;

· vocal performance and music education freshman Blake Denson, from Paducah, Kentucky, who won the Freshman Men Division;

· graduate student Brittany Jones, from Louisville, Kentucky, who won the Adult Intermediate Division;

· graduate student Christopher Kenney, from Fargo, North Dakota, who won the Advanced Men Division;

· vocal performance senior Laura Salyer, from Lexington, who won the Senior Women Division;

· vocal performance junior Mary Catherine Wright, from Lexington, who won the Junior Women Division; and

· music education sophomore Joseph Wrightson, from Lexington, who won the Music Theater Underclass Division.


Anderson, Barker, Davis and Wright study voice under Everett McCorvey, director of UK Opera Theatre and the OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies. Kenney studies under Endowed Chair, Professor of Voice Cynthia Lawrence. Arnold studies under Angelique Clay, associate professor of voice. Denson and Wrightson study under Dennis Bender, associate professor of voice. Jones studies under Noemi Lugo, professor of voice.


In addition to the 10 wins, UK opera students took home 14 second place and third place finishes at the NATS Mid-South Region. Those students and honors are:

· Jonathan Adams, third place in the Junior Men Division;

· Jenna Day, third place in the Music Theater Underclass Division; 

· Alyssa Marie Detterich, third place in the Junior Women Division; 

· Liz Frodge, second place in the Junior Women Division; 

· Wesley Hammond, third place in the Music Theater Upperclass Division;

· Caitlyn Howard, second place in the Advanced Women Division;

· Henry Huhtulag, third place in the Freshman Men Division; 

· Thabang Masango, second place in the Adult Intermediate Division;

· Steven  Olson, third place in the Men Sophomore Division;

· Michael Pandolfo, second place in the Freshman Men Division;

· Maria Daniela Ruiz, third place in the Freshman Women Division; 

· Hunter Shaner, second place in the Men Sophomore Division;

· Maggie Smith, second place in the Senior Women Division; and  

· Mary Catherine Wright, second place in the Music Theater Upperclass Division.


Accompanying UK's finalists at the competition were Suna Avci-Gunther, coach at the Academy for Creative Excellence and assistant music director of Schmidt Opera Outreach Program; William Cooper, UK alumna Maris Deddens; Maureen Howell; Cliff Jackson; Tedrin Blair Lindsay, lecturer and vocal coach; doctoral candidate Yuri Kim; doctoral candidate Lucia Marin; Nan McSwain, lecturer and vocal coach; Lynn Vera; and music education sophomore Wurile Wang.


NATS encourages the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing and promotes vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented. Founded in 1944, NATS is the largest association of teachers of singing in the world and boasts more than 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and more than 25 other countries around the world.


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



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


Student Center and Alumni Gym Parking Lots Closing May 17

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 30, 2015) — As part of the upcoming Student Center renovation and expansion project, the Student Center Lot and the Alumni Gym Lot (~220 total spaces) will permanently close on Sunday, May 17.


Employees who currently park in the Student Center or Alumni Gym Lots are advised to park in either the nearby South Limestone Garage (PS #5) or the Coliseum Lot, located behind the Joe Craft Center. Employees with valid E permits may park in any parking lot designated as an E Lot; additional options in the North Campus area include the Taylor-Dickey Lot and Scott Street Lot.  A map of these locations can be found here:


In the near-term, the options outlined above will provide sufficient capacity for those who had previously parked in the Student Center and Alumni Gym Lots, given the reduced campus population during the summer months.


Construction on a new ~230 space parking lot at the northeast end of Scott Street is scheduled to begin this summer, and will provide another option for employee permit holders upon completion.


Parking and Transportation Services will have staff stationed at the entrances to the Student Center and Alumni Gym lots in the days surrounding the closure of the Student Center lots to answer questions and to direct employees to appropriate parking alternatives.


For more information on the Student Center renovation and expansion project, visit; for additional information on campus parking, visit For information on the status of the University Transportation Master Plan, visit

Gaines Center Accepting Proposals for Bingham Seminar, Clark Lectureship

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 13:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities is now taking faculty proposals for the Spring 2016 Mary C. Bingham Seminar and Thomas D. Clark Lectureship in the Humanities.


Every other year, the Gaines Center holds an open competition among UK faculty who wish to offer a special humanities-oriented seminar that includes a travel experience. Ten students are then selected by way of competitive application for participation in this seminar.


The Bingham Seminar provides faculty and students a chance to explore a subject not in the university's regular course offerings and to do so on-site, since the seminar provides funding to offset the cost of course development and two to four weeks of study either in the U.S. or abroad. The winning educator is responsible for documenting the Bingham Seminar experience.


The associated Clark Lectureship provides funding to host a visiting lecturer. The lectureship allows the seminar instructor to invite a distinguished person in the field of study to offer two lectures, one for the public and the other for the seminar in the spring of 2016. The Clark Lectureship provides an honorarium and also covers transportation and hospitality expenses of the speaker.


Faculty should submit their proposals for the Bingham Seminar and the Clark Lectureship no later than Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. More information about the seminar can be found here: The application can be found here:


Proposals may be submitted by email to Phil Harling, director of the Gaines Center, at Faculty may also submit a hard copy of the proposal to: The Gaines Center, 232 E. Maxwell Street, Lexington, KY 40506-0344.


Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK's campus. Part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, the center is devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty. The center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.




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