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Travel, Research, and Service Awards

Travel Awards Winners—Cycle 2 (January-April 2019)

Rachel Davis—Arts & Sciences

Bio: Rachel Davis is a second-year PhD student in the sociology department studying gendered violence, sexuality, and digital media.

Davis Englund—Health Sciences

Bio: I am a second-year doctoral student in the Peterson lab (College of Health Sciences).  My research interests are focused on determining the role of muscle stem cells during periods of skeletal muscle growth and skeletal muscle maintenance with aging.


Myung In Ji—Arts &Sciences

Bio: Myung In Ji is a PhD Candidate of the Department of Geography at the University of Kentucky. Her academic interests lie broadly in the intersections of cultural politics and urban transformations. Specifically, her dissertation project is about retail gentrification in Seoul, South Korea. By drawing upon the concepts of authenticity, consumption, taste, and practice, she explores the ways in which cultural landscapes represent, mediate, and negotiate gentrification dynamics.


Tyler Kibbey—Arts & Sciences

Bio: Tyler Kibbey is a graduate student in the UK Linguistics Department, conducting research on conceptual metaphor structures in religious rhetorics and ideologies. His work specifically looks at how cognition and language work together to shape religious experience and, in turn, how religious experience contributes to systems of religious violence. Tyler's work has also focused on the moral obligations of linguists regarding language-related social issues in society, and in line with this, his work seeks to mitigate religious violence as it occurs linguistically.


Kaylee Lukacen-Buzzetta—Communication & Information

Bio: Kaylee M. Lukacena-Buzzetta is a third-year doctoral student and teaching assistant in the College of Communication and Information. Kaylee is invested in researching the intersection of health campaigns and interpersonal communication. Her current research explores the perceptions survivors of intimate partner violence hold regarding the supportive messages they receive from friends and family.  She is currently teaching Introduction to Organizational Communication and Interpersonal Communication and Social Media. Kaylee also serves as the Event Coordinator for the Communication Graduate Student Association. Kaylee enjoys hiking with her husband and two dogs, Stormy and Yuengling.


Johnathan Matthews—Agriculture, Food,  & Environment

Bio: Jonathan Matthews is a 2nd year Master’s candidate in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Kentucky. He studies the effects of white-tailed deer in agricultural systems. Jonathan is President of the Forestry and Natural Resources Graduate Student Association. 



Carina Mazariegos Zelaya—Communication & Information

Bio: Carina Zelaya is a first-year doctoral student. Her primary research interest is in health communication. Her current and past research projects focus on health campaigns, message design, and interpersonal communication.

Michaelia Skleres—Medicine

Bio: My name is Michealia Skleres and I am a graduate research assistant working for Dr. Thomas’ lab. I am pursuing my MS in Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis in Sport Nutrition. I have a double bachelors' degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.

Wei Zhang—Agriculture, Food, & Environment

Bio:  Wei Zhang is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky. Prior to arriving at UK, he received his MS from Virginia Tech and MA from Northeastern University with a focus on U.S.-China agricultural trade. His current research involves price analysis of agricultural products and international agricultural trade. Wei Zhang plans to continue his work on dynamics of price transmission in Chinese agricultural market, and is interested in assessing the correlations and causal links among global and Chinese agricultural commodity prices.



Travel Awards are monetary awards of $300 and are offered in three cycles per academic year. Apply for the travel award in the cycle in which your conference falls. There will be 3 cycles for the entire 2018-2019 academic year, listed below. Travel Award applications are read and reviewed by graduate students from many different backgrounds, so it is strongly recommended that the abstract be written for a lay audience.

Research Awards are monetary awards for research travel (i.e. access to data from a library, a specific population of individuals, or a particular piece of equipment) or procurement of supplies related to research.  These awards are for $500 each.  Purchases or travel must be conducted within six (6) months of the award.  Note that we will ask for proof of travel or purchase. See the application for additional information specific to this award.


Yearly Application Deadlines:

Award Cycle One (For Travel or Research between September and December) – October 15
Award Cycle Two (For Travel or Research between January and April) – February 15
Award Cycle Three (For Travel or Research between May and August) – April 15

To be eligible for these awards, students must meet the criteria specified by your department (the Graduate School recently switched to a block funding system where your department receives the money and decides of its allocation). This excludes those criteria allowing for funding to be awarded for research as well as those criteria disqualifying degree-seeking Master’s students. Travel funding is not provided for 


, or presentation at professional workshops or tuition for coursework. Applicants MUST be associated with a department which is officially represented at GSC meetings. Department representatives are voting members who are elected by their departmental/organizational peers each August to be representatives at GSC meetings. Attendance at GSC meetings and participation on a GSC committee is required of departmental representatives. For more information, please refer to the GSC representatives webpage.

Research and Travel Award recipients must be prepared to provide receipts for all expenses upon request by the GSC. Applicants must submit proof from the conference that you are presenting, such as a conference agenda or email stating that your abstract/poster was accepted for presentation, as well as an abstract. Students may only win a Travel Award or a Research Award once per fiscal year.



Application and criteria:
To apply for the University of Kentucky Graduate Student Congress Award Funding