By Kody Kiser and Jenny Wells-Hosley
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2023) — This spring, the University of Kentucky is celebrating nearly 6,000 degrees conferred by the Board of Trustees*, with more than 4,000 of those expected to cross the stage of Rupp Arena during the UK Commencement Ceremonies this Friday and Saturday.
On this episode of "Behind the Blue," we once again spotlight a few of those graduates to talk about their time here at UK, the memories they’ll take with them and how they’re prepared to move ahead and make the most of what they’ve learned.
Sarah Holmes, from Louisville, is an international studies major with a Spanish minor, graduating from the UK College of Arts and Sciences. During her time at UK, she served as president of the Model United Nations Club, after she and her classmates, with support of faculty in UK International Studies, worked to re-establish the organization after it shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Model UN is an educational experience in which students represent delegates from member states of the United Nations in a simulation of the UN General Assembly. Students work with other delegations to debate and collaborate on solutions for pressing and complex global issues surrounding topics such as conflict, poverty, climate action, gender inequality, global health and more.
In addition to this, Holmes has also utilized her Spanish-speaking skills through Education Abroad and an internship with the nonprofit Community Response Coalition of Kentucky (CRCKY), serving vulnerable populations in the Lexington community. She plans to attend the UK Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce in the fall.
A.J. Miller, from Jackson, Kentucky, is graduating with a degree in Russian studies and minors in criminology and international studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. During his time at UK, he was very active in international studies, residing in UK’s International Village, a living learning program that supports international students, and had aspirations to study abroad in Russia, until the Russian invasion of Ukraine made that goal no longer possible.
Adding to his challenges, Miller and his family were impacted by the flooding in Eastern Kentucky last year. The International Center at UK supported Miller during this difficult time, helping him navigate the hurdles set before him. He went on to eventually study abroad in Latvia and is grateful for the support he received at UK to still achieve his goal of studying abroad.
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As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.