by Robin Roenker
photos by Lee Thomas

Sometimes what a speaker means to emphasize and what a listener hears are two very different things. Subtle cues—like a rise in pitch—can be missed. That’s especially true when either the speaker or listener is using a language other than his or her native one.

Those language miscues are what most intrigue new UK professor Mingzhen Bao.

In just her first semester at UK on a joint appointment with the Linguistics Program and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, where she teaches Chinese, Bao is poised to begin cutting-edge research on production and perceptions of speech prosody in Chinese.

By next semester, Bao will have her new phonetics lab at UK up and running, ready to perform experiments to analyze how American


by Jason Lee Miller
photos by Mark Cornelison

Academic roads can lead to some interesting places. Rusty Barrett, an expert in sociolinguistics and professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts and Sciences, perhaps never dreamed when he began studying Russian and Soviet culture in the 1980s that he would one day wander covered in mud through the Guatemalan wilderness in search of a Maya village.

He probably couldn’t have fathomed that he would rent an adobe house for six dollars per month, that he would knock out the village’s power every time he took a shower, that he would find "Kentucky" brand basketballs sold at the local market. 

Along an earlier road far from Guatemala, Barrett worked for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, where he


Patrick Sgueglia Undergraduate Student

Wherever he may Rome: Student embraces Italian heritage By Laura Sutton International Studies senior Patrick Sgueglia (pronounced Skwail-ya) has a way with Italian words. He can take a common one like spaghetti and pronounce it in such a way that the listener’s mind is immediately transported to a gondola or an outdoor café near the Pantheon. Sgueglia’s talent for speaking Italian is not surprising – his father’s side of the family is from Caserta, a provincial capital near Naples in southern Italy, and he claims dual citizenship. Growing up, he visited his Italian cousins frequently, thanks to his father, James (Biology, ‘80), an airline pilot. But he also has Kentucky roots. His mother, Michelle (HES, ‘80), is a Lexington native, and his parents met as students at UK. Sgueglia arrived at UK in 2005 as a Legacy Scholar with an

Sallie Powell

Ph.D. Student

Crossing Lines: Girls’ High School Basketball, Gender, and Race in Kentucky

by Andrew Battista
photos by Mark Cornelison

Sallie Powell knows how painful it is to have a passion and a dream denied. Powell is one of many women who grew up in Kentucky during the early 1970s and never enjoyed the experience of playing basketball.

“The equivalent of two generations of women in Kentucky did not get the chance to participate in high school basketball,” said Powell. “I see that as an injustice.”

It is not hyperbole to say that Powell’s identity as a woman and a Kentuckian is molded by her love for basketball and the athleticism that runs deep in her family. Although gender discrimination kept Powell from pursuing her high school basketball dreams, she did eventually compete at the collegiate

Jeff Keith

Ph.D. Student

by Saraya Brewer

“Whenever history surprises me, I follow it.”

For University of Kentucky history Ph.D. student Jeffrey A. Keith, this statement has meant following history in a number of different directions, including Appalachian Studies, race relations in the American South, and –– his current dissertation work –– the cultural transformation of Saigon as a result of the Vietnam War.

Where Keith’s academic interests have traveled across the world, his academic career has boomeranged across the country: he has studied at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.; Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.; University of Wisconsin in Madison; and finally, at the University of Kentucky, where he has spent the last six years studying Southern history, as well as various facets of United States foreign

Josh Roberts Ph.D. Student

by Robin Roenker

Josh Roberts didn’t always aspire to become a mathematician. "I took the time to find out what I really wanted to do," Roberts said. Between finishing high school and beginning college he was employed in jobs as varied as census taker to marina attendant. Roberts finally settled on sign language and enjoyed a seven-year career as a sign language interpreter before returning to college to receive his undergraduate math degree.

In college he initially planned to major in philosophy. But after taking his first college calculus class as a freshman, he was hooked.

“There’s a beauty and aesthetic quality to math that people tend to miss,” said Roberts, now in his fifth year in UK’s mathematics PhD program.

Roberts, a native of Wise County, Virginia, and graduate of the University of

Wes Stoner

Ph.D. Student

by Jessica Fisher

For many of us, when we think of an anthropologist we envision a lovesick hero retrieving artifacts from pillagers while simultaneously running from federal agents, all the while dodging villains in exotic places, and of course the inevitable tumble into a deadly snake pit. Though we may have Spielberg to thank for such stereotypes and the inclusion of anthropology into mainstream (however misleading Indiana Jones is as an archeologist), what he always leaves out is the immeasurable amount of hours anthropologists spend studying, teaching and in many cases trying to secure money for their research.

Perhaps, the latter is less romantic than Hollywood’s spin, but for Wes Stoner, an Anthropology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kentucky, it has been those grueling hours spent behind a computer that enabled his

Tamika Zapolski

Ph.D. Student

by Saraya Brewer
photos by Tim Collins

When Tamika Zapolski was searching for a doctoral program, University of Kentucky clinical psychology professor Gregory Smith was one of her first interviews. “I had several interviews after that, but I didn’t care about any of them,” she said. “I knew I wanted to study with Dr. Smith.”

When Zapolski arrived at UK in 2005, she was able to put her undergraduate career to use immediately. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in black studies & human development and family studies from University of Missouri-Columbia, she was particularly interested in how cultural factors play into the development of eating disorders – as she put it, “what factors were more important for beauty to women and how that then led to dysfunction.”

For example, she explained,


Kevin Harrelson discovered the works of 17th century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and early-19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel while an undergraduate philosophy major at Villanova University. 

Their writing—and their questions—captivated him. His readings of Hegel led to an interest in German Idealism in general, and led him to pursue his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Kentucky. 

“There were a lot of people at UK studying German Idealism, and it was a good place to pursue that,” said Harrelson, who completed his Ph.D. at UK in 2004.

Harrelson is now in his first year as visiting assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Ball State University. 

His first book, “


by Rebekah Tilley

photos by Lee Thomas

“Welcome to Mathland” reads the white board in the seventh floor hallway of Patterson Office Tower, home to the UK Department of Mathematics. Above it is the mathematical equivalent of a joke; the punch line accessible only to those who know the difference between a function and a formula.

Katharine Ott came to this particular “Mathland” by way of a National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. The fellowship is highly competitive, both for its prestige, and because the applicants are able to choose at which university they want to conduct research.

“Given the kind of research I do, the University of Kentucky was far and away the first choice of where I wanted to come,” Ott said. “Russell Brown, department chair Zhongwei Shen and John Lewis are just a few of the


At the end of every big chapter of our lives, we are faced with tough choices. As I was applying for graduate schools, I was overwhelmed by the opportunities that awaited... somehow in the jungle of choices, everyone finds one that seems most appropriate at the moment, chooses it, and hopes that it proves to be a good one for the future. These choices define us in some way. In case of graduate school, this choice defines us as mathematicians. In this sense, I have chosen the perfect department.

First of all, I came to graduate school torn between a few areas of mathematics and wasn't quite sure how to choose one. So I took classes in all of these areas during the first two years, and have had a chance to meet faculty that were happy to discuss research problems in each area. I was very happy with the choices I had! Also, during these first years I had a chance to read recent


Alumna Caroline Light says she feels like ending up at the University of Kentucky for her graduate studies “was the luckiest break.”

Light is now the Director of Studies in the Women, Gender and Sexuality program at Harvard University. The research and teaching skills she gained while at UK have helped her get to where she is now, she said.


By all accounts, Allen Turner is a long way from home.

A University of Kentucky alumnus twice over, Turner is in Guadalajara, Mexico and about to complete a program that will allow him to teach English as a foreign language. When he is finished, Turner, 69, and his wife plan to move to Ecuador where they own a small sugar cane farm.

Once in Ecuador, Turner hopes to teach and to research how birds relate to culture.

Meanwhile, he is still serving as a legal consultant to the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians who are fighting to be recognized as a tribe by the U.S. government.

The anthropologist, lawyer and teacher has certainly kept busy since he left the College of Arts & Sciences in 1981.

“They’re all dimensions of what I’ve been able to do in my life so far,” Turner said. “You couldn’t put me in a box if you tried.”

Turner is


Earth & Environmental Sciences Undergraduate Trevor Strosnider
by Sarah Vos

For work this summer, Trevor Strosnider, a junior majoring in geology, donned a hard hat and descended into a Nevada gold mine. He identified rocks and fault lines, measured how far mining tunnels had been extended and used that information to help the Newmont Mining Corporation find gold.

Before he left for Nevada, Strosnider had no idea what he would be doing at the mine. He learned of the internship after a representative from Newmont, one of the world’s largest gold producers, made a presentation at UK. A professor encouraged him to apply, even though Strosnider didn’t think he was qualified. He had studied geology at UK, but did not specialize in gold mining and mineral extraction.

But a few weeks later the offer came: $20 an hour, 40 hours a week, to work in the company’s

Sophronia Taylor

Anthropology Senior

For Sophronia Caress Taylor, attending college was never really a dream, it was an expectation.

Descended from a line that includes graduates of Mississippi Valley State University, Mississippi State University and Alcorn State University, Taylor knew college was in her future, but the college she attended was not set in stone. Because she had lived part of her life in Laurel, Miss., Taylor had aspirations of attending a historically black college like Alcorn State or Spelman. However, having graduated from Mason County High School in Northern Kentucky, she was placed in perfect position to study at the University of Kentucky.

Taylor came to UK on a William C. Parker scholarship and has not looked back. In searching for a college home on the UK campus, Taylor found the College of Arts and Sciences to be one of the more

Madison Young

Political Science Senior

by Lisa L. Beeler

Madison Lee Young, a junior in political science, bled blue before she even moved to UK from Ft. Lauderdale, FL her freshman year of college. Her father played football at UK from 1977 - 1981. He shared a dorm with UK’s current assistant football coach, Chuck Smith. Young was bred to love UK. “When I was born, I didn’t have a normal mobile over my crib. Instead, my mobile was made of tiny UK wildcats,” said Young.

Young is currently studying for the law school entrance exam and will be applying to law schools soon. She was recently invited to take part in an internship in Washington, D.C. this summer at The Washington Center. She will be interning at America’s Most Wanted in Washington, D.C..

Young graduated from the Citizens’ Police Academy last year and it sparked her interests in working

Rachel Dunnagan

Graduate student

by Sara Cunningham

Rachel Dunnagan has always been as dedicated to the education of others as she is to her own education.

Teaching comes natural to the math and classics senior.

Her love of education began with creating pretend assignments for her younger sister when they played school as children and continued with Dunnagan’s devotion to helping her classmates with their studies in high school.

The Louisville native was scheduled to graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in math and a second Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics this past spring, and plans to progress to a graduate program to continue preparing herself for a long career in teaching math and Latin to

Amanda Hatton

Psychology Junior

by Sara Cunningham

Amanda Hatton’s honesty and passion shines as she talks about the challenges she’s faced and how those challenges have shaped her goals.

“Five years ago, I had a big setback in my life,” the psychology junior said.

On Aug. 9, 2003, Hatton and her boyfriend were in a serious car accident on their way out to her family’s farm in Woodford County. Hatton’s boyfriend was killed and Hatton was badly injured. She spent two months in a coma, Hatton said.

“I had a closed-head injury and when I did finally wake up, there was so much I didn’t remember and I had to relearn how to do a lot,” she said.

But Hatton said she found strength in her experience and in her family. She is the youngest of seven children.

"When my accident happened, I was a student at LCC and I had to take that fall



Susan (Camenisch) Eriksson started her studies at UK as a music major, with a focus on piano. But when she took an honors section of geology during her junior year, she was hooked.

“After one exam, I went up to the TA and said, I love this, I love, this, I love this!” she recalls. “I was so excited. I said I wished I had found geology as a freshman.”

Eventually, her UK professors—particularly Dr. Bill Blackburn—helped Eriksson make the switch to majoring in geology as a junior, and she was able to graduate with just one extra semester of


Jason Cummins’ employer gave him a three-year, full-tuition college scholarship, sent him to flight school, paid him to attend one of the most prestigious MBA programs in the country, and asked him to teach economics at West Point. In May, the UK Class of 1993 alum returned to take up the leadership of the UK Army ROTC program; the same program from which he himself graduated 16 years ago.

Cummins’ office walls in Barker Hall display a scrapbook of his Army career: the tail rotor blade from an Apache helicopter, the flag of the 101st Airborne, his MBA diploma from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a cavalry sabre, and unit pictures from Iraq


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