Welcome to the Spring 2017 issue of Ampersand. It is a privilege to share with you examples of excellence within the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky—from cutting-edge research that is taking on some of the more challenging health and behavioral problems of the day, to our star undergraduate and graduate students whose creativity, work ethic and commitment to making the world a better place give me hope for the future. As dean, my job is to ensure that everything we do strengthens teaching and research at Kentucky’s flagship institution of higher learning, and this issue offers snapshots of how we fulfill that promise.
In this issue, you will meet two stellar science students who are poised to take on the world. First, math and chemistry senior Corrine Elliott has received numerous academic awards, including a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. As the daughter of Kathleen Elliott and UK political science professor Stephen Voss, Corinne came by her appreciation of the liberal arts and sciences early. Next, biology freshman Paige Poffenberger came to UK from Morgantown, W. Va., as a National Merit Scholar. When she isn’t busy preparing for medical school, Paige is a walk-on for Matthew Mitchell’s UK Hoops women’s basketball team.
Ampersand also highlights two Department of Psychology labs engaged in research on one of society’s most intractable problems: drug and alcohol addiction. One mystery of substance abuse is that many individuals are exposed to drugs and alcohol, but only a few develop an addiction to them. Professor Mark Fillmore’s research uses techniques from psychology, behavioral neuroscience, and pharmacology to look at the differing ways individuals react to drugs of abuse. Assistant Professor Josh Beckmann’s research stems from his background in philosophy and focuses on choice behavior and decision-making processes in substance abuse. Read about their work and discover why our Psychology Department is consistently a Top 20 graduate and research program.
Finally, a new era of science education at UK arrived last fall with the opening of the Don & Cathy Jacobs Science Building. This 240,000 square foot building was made possible by a $10 million naming gift from the Don Jacobs Sr. Charitable Foundation, together with a $65 million gift from UK Athletics, an unprecedented commitment from a collegiate athletic department. The Jacobs Science Building is changing lives and has dramatically transformed undergraduate science education at the University of Kentucky. The building harnesses the power of technology in the classroom and makes science visible and exciting for our students. I invite each of you to tour this new facility the next time you are on campus. I promise that you will be impressed.
Our faculty and staff are deeply committed to our students, to the research mission of the University and to making the Commonwealth of Kentucky a better place. None of this work is possible without the generous support of you, our alumni, donors, and friends.
Thank you for your continued interest in and enthusiasm for the UK College of Arts & Sciences.
Mark Lawrence Kornbluh
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences