By Meghan Arrell

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 11, 2021) — In June, the University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College held its Spring 2021 Medal Ceremony in two physically distant ceremonies in the Gatton Student Center. As is tradition, all of the Lewis Honors College graduation awards were announced at the ceremony.

The Evans Scholar Award is given to a senior majoring in humanities or a related field. The 2021 finalists were Nicole Blackstone, Michael Di Girolamo, Kristen Karem, Michaela Lansdale, Chelsea Russell, Kayla Stroud and Anna Wagner. The winner was Michael Di Girolamo. 

Di Girolamo double majored in foreign language and international economics with a focus in Chinese and international studies, with a concentration on comparative politics and societies. He also minored in Italian and Spanish.


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 10, 2021) — In theoretical physics, a significant outstanding challenge is the mathematical description of the collective motion of electrons in synthetic materials. Despite nearly a century of research, the subtle laws of quantum mechanics in this regime remain poorly understood.

But a University of Kentucky alumna is leading the field in the right direction.

Nisheeta Desai, a 2020 UK graduate and now postdoctoral fellow at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, in collaboration with her mentor, Ribhu Kaul, in the UK Department of Physics and Astronomy, has developed a theory that sheds new light on these mysteries. Their work, which recently published



LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 7, 2021) — Crystal Wilkinson is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky and an award-winning author. Her novel, "The Birds of Opulence," was the winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. She is also the author of "Water Street" and "Blackberries, Blackberries." She also has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in Oxford American and Southern Cultures. 

Most recently, she was named the state’s poet laureate for 2021-2022, the first time a Black woman has been appointed to the prestigious post.

In this episode of "Behind the Blue," Wilkinson


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 7, 2021) — The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board have named Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) a recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Program award. As part of the program, Santillan-Jimenez will complete a project at the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté in France. The project aims to exchange knowledge and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions and communities both in the U.S. and overseas through a variety of educational and training activities within engineering education.

”While a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship has given UK the chance to develop novel interdisciplinary

By Lindsey Piercy May 24, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 24, 2021) — It's a question that is critical to families and communities across the Commonwealth — how do we tackle the opioid epidemic?

The University of Kentucky is helping to organize and host the second annual Edward Kremers Seminar in the History of Pharmacy & Drugs in hopes of continuing the conversation surrounding addiction and recovery.

The 2021 “Kreminar” will feature virtual seminars about the history and contemporary status of opiates, opioids and addiction.

“The Cooperative for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) is pleased to co-sponsor these events because it is important to understand that

College Commits to Continued Focus on Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives  

By Jennifer T. Allen

M. Cristina Alcalde, who has served as the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences’ Associate Dean of Inclusion and Internationalization, has announced she will be leaving UK on June 30 to become the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Miami University of Ohio. She will also hold a tenured appointment as full professor in the Department of Global and Intercultural Studies.

Alcalde has been instrumental in leading diversity and internationalization efforts as the first associate dean in the role which was created in the College of Arts & Sciences in January 2018. In this role, Alcalde developed a College-wide DEI Strategic Plan; designed and ran initiatives focused on inclusivity and under-represented faculty, staff and students;


By Trey Conatser

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2021) — Of its many effects, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about rapid innovations in teaching. Courses were redesigned for a range of delivery modes to in-person and remote students (often at the same time) and the conversation about active learning, class community and belonging took on new urgency as the challenges of the pandemic amplified the barriers — systemic and discrete — to student engagement, motivation and success.

Cohort members include Ruth Brown, senior lecturer Hispanic Studies; Anushka Karkelanova, lecturer, Statistics; Katherine Paullin, lecturer Mathematics; Elizabeth Williams, assistant professor, Gender and Women’s Studies; and Heather Worne, assistant professor, Anthropology. 

Innovation, of course, is a long-term project whose


By Emily Sallee

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that Kayden Jenson has received a 2021 Boren Fellowship to study Turkish. Jenson is pursuing joint degrees in law and diplomacy and international commerce through the Rosenberg College of Law and the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.

The Boren Awards fund up to $25,000 for undergraduates and graduate students to support language study, research and study abroad in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Jenson’s award is part of


By Richard LeComte 

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Judge Advocate General’s Corp: The name makes people think about the film “A Few Good Men” or the long-running CBS procedural series. 

But it’s a real service, and one that presents a terrific career opportunity for Daniel Mullen, plans to graduate  with a degree from the University of Kentucky’s J. David Rosenberg College of Law in 2022 and earned his bachelor’s in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Political Science Department.  

He’s entering JAG through the U.S. Marine Corps:  He’ll be going to officer training in


By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Carrigan Wasilchenko was adopted from China through Holt International and grew up as an Asian American in Powell County, Kentucky. Thanks to the opportunity to pursue a liberal arts education at the University of Kentucky – and to take part in a new class that looks at the history of Asian Americans – she was able to see how her story fit into the mosaic that is the United States.  

“Growing up, I always tried to fade into the whiteness of my community, and I was just kind of afraid because I didn't know, first of all, what it meant to be Asian,” said Wasilchenko, who recently graduated from the College of Health Sciences and will enter UK Medical School in the fall. “In your teen years, everyone has an identity crisis: ‘Who am I? What do I stand


By Facundo Luque and Andrea Gils

Leandro Domingos Luz is an international doctoral geology student from Brazil who lives in Lexington. Devoted to education and research, he decided

to pursue his second doctorate at University of Kentucky. Before moving to the United States, he had completed a doctoral program in geography at Universidade Estadual de Maringá in Brazil. At the same time, he also taught geography for eight years in his home country.

In 2019, came across the opportunity to come to the United States while on a field trip in the Pantanal, a region in Brazil encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area. There he met Michael McGlue, UK professor of stratigraphy, who presented the opportunity to study in Lexington to him and eventually became his faculty adviser.

“I have always been curious about what is the impacts of climate change in


By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In March 2020, Sarah McCurrach was asleep in Heidelberg, Germany, as messages crammed into her cell phone. When she awoke, she found out that a virus rampaging across the world was about to interrupt her education-abroad studies through the University of Kentucky.

“It was the 11th of March, and I looked at my phone and it  was off for some reason,” said McCurrach, a UK College of Arts & Science student who’s graduating in August because the Heidelberg second semester runs from April to July rather than through May. “I turned it back on, and my phone exploded with messages from the UK Education Abroad & Exchanges office on my Instagram and my Twitter. They were like, ‘Where are you?’ ‘Get on an airplane! Do you know what is happening in the world?

“So I naturally panicked a little bit, and I called my mom, and I was


By Emily Sallee

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2021) — Abigail Edwards, who graduated in May as a Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures & Cultures major from the University of Kentucky's College of Arts & Sciences, will travel to Japan this fall to serve as an assistant language teacher through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

JET, the only teaching exchange program managed by the Japanese government, has placed more than 35,800 American young professionals in schools, boards of education and government offices throughout Japan. Like Edwards, most participants serve as assistant language teachers in public and private schools. The program typically receives up to 5,000 applications each year from U.S.


By Danielle Donham

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2021) — Two University of Kentucky faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences are recipients of The Graduate School’s distinguished annual awards for exemplary research in the last four years and outstanding contributions to graduate student mentoring and graduate education.

Michael D. Bardo, professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology, is the 2021 recipient of the Albert D. Kirwan Memorial Prize. The prize is bestowed each year to a faculty member in recognition of their outstanding contributions to original research or scholarship, with an emphasis on work produced


By Addison Cave

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Two graduates from the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences have been admitted to top political science Ph.D. programs and will be continuing their education in the fall. Both students had mentorship throughout their time at UK that put them in the position to be admitted with full funding to some of the most competitive programs in the country.

Sloan Lansdale

Sloan Lansdale of Mount Sterling, Kentucky, received a dual degree in International Studies and Political Science. In addition, she received a certificate in Peace Studies. She began her venture as solely an International Studies major but quickly realized that she also was drawn to political science and studying events that impacted the world as a whole.

With so much interest in these areas, multiple professors mistook her as a


By Addison Cave

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Second Lt. Ryan Millard knew the University of Kentucky would take him places – just not quite so high. Millard, a recent December 2020 graduate, is the first University of Kentucky student to be commissioned into the U.S. Space Force.

“I want to be on the leading edge of technology, and that is exactly what the U.S. Space Force is allowing me to do,” Millard said.

Millard had always had the thought of joining the military. Both of his uncles served in the U.S. Navy and when his high school graduation neared, he was prompted to make important decision regarding his future. Joining the military was always a thought in the back of his mind, and at UK he got to act on his idea. With scholarship support from the Air Force ROTC program, Millard found doors were opened to a number of opportunities. Millard chose to embark on his journey


Note: Photo is courtesy of Katie Kelley of the Hazard Herald. Photo shows Gurney Norman with Mandi Fugate Sheffel.

By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Gurney Norman received an unusual honor of late when a Kentucky town named an affordable-housing development after him. 

Norman, professor of English in the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts & Sciences, was named Poet Laureate for the Commonwealth of Kentucky 2009 and is known for such works as “Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories” and “Divine Right’s Trip: A Folk-Tale.” His most recent book, “Allegiance: Stories,” is due out in the summer of 2021 in hardcover from Old Cove Press, distributed by Ohio University Press. 


By Akhira Umar

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 20, 2021) — Leaning into his excitement to showcase “America and her people,” one University of Kentucky  alumnus has graduated from the Big Blue Nation to the big screen.

Academy Award and Emmy Award winning filmmaker Paul Wagner, who earned a master’s in communication in 1972 from the College of Communication and Information and a bachelor's in English in 1970 from the College of Arts & Sciences, has produced and directed more than 40 films in his over 40-year career. His affinity for film, however, arose not from a specific passion but from a general interest in communication.

Growing up, Wagner wasn’t always the best student, until he started UK 's master’s program in communication. The atmosphere of respectable faculty and likable peers helped him to “


His father’s terrible workplace injury started Anthony Jones on a path that led him to UK, the Truman Scholarship, the U.S. Department of Labor and now to the drug policy arm of the the White House. Read how Jones got the boost he needed from UK’s Political Science Department.

By Julie Wrinn

When Anthony Jones enrolled at the University of Kentucky at 18, he was already on a mission: He wanted to become a labor lawyer and help people who experienced workplace injustices, because father lost a hand in a workplace incident at a manufacturing plant in Paducah.

“I wouldn’t call it an accident because it was a dangerous condition that his employer knew about but failed to fix,” Jones said. “As a result, my dad’s hand was completely severed at the wrist. Seeing what my dad went through made me want to go to law school so I could be a lawyer and help people


By Todd Stoltzfus

The University of Kentucky has named College of Arts & Sciences junior Lauren Hudson Intern of the Year. Hudson, a neuroscience and biology dual major from Edgewood, Kentucky, was honored for her internship work with Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the Markey Cancer Center and assistant professor in the College of Medicine's Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology.

Hudson’s internship with Vanderford focused on cancer research. Since 2020, Hudson has published seven peer-reviewed journal articles, four as first author. She also co-edited a book, "The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia: Kentucky Students take ACTION" (2020), with Vanderford and has participated in several cancer research presentations. 

“I am not aware of any other undergraduate student that has had


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