By Ellee Sidebottom
Ke’La Porter is the only student in the College of Health Sciences to be awarded the Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2021. She received the award for her outstanding research in the Rehabilitation and Health Sciences PhD Program.
Porter, originally from North Carolina, earned her undergraduate degree at Western Carolina University in Athletic Training. After getting her undergraduate degree, she was passionate about continuing her education and felt that the University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Athletic Training was the right fit for her.
As a student in the master’s program, Porter was required to partake in a research study. This requirement sparked an interest and passion that she didn’t realize she had. After her continued involvement and interest in research, her mentors encouraged her to pursue a PhD.
Porter is currently in the Rehabilitation and Health Sciences PhD Program. Porter’s research focuses on looking at the impact that neurocognitive function has on dynamic postural stability.
Through Porter’s educational journey, she has been involved in many things. During her master’s program, she was able to assist the women and men’s tennis teams and the women’s soccer team.
“I love AT because I can be right on the field and in the action,” she said.
Porter has also been involved in the CHS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee during her time here.
“I love giving back to CHS and doing what I can to support and diversify the college,” Porter said.
The University of Kentucky’s Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellowship supports postdoctoral fellows in graduate and professional areas. The fellowships are named in honor of UK’s first African-American graduate student, Lyman T. Johnson.
“The Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship supports me in my research, as well as my schooling,” Porter said. “This fellowship pays a large portion of my stipend and as a result, I am able to focus more on my academics and active research rather than the grant requirements and paperwork. I am very grateful that I have support while continue to do what I am passionate about.”
Porter said she had to thank her family, as well as her mentors.
“I would like to thank my dad and stepmom for everything they have done to get me here and the never-ending support they provide,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here without them. I would also like to thank professor Matt Hoch (PhD, ATC), my research mentor, and (former graduate research assistant) Carolina Quintana for their support. They saw that I had potential to get a PhD even when I couldn’t see it. I also appreciate that they always answered my never-ending questions.”
The Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship ceremony, originally scheduled for Friday, Oct. 8, was postponed and a new date will be announced soon.
“It is a huge honor to be accepted as one of the LTJ fellows and I am so excited to meet the other fellowships winners,” Porter said.