As a 6th grade student in his hometown of Greencastle, Indiana, Jack Steele realized that his life ambition was to be a chemist and, when time came to go to college, he pursued a BA in chemistry at DePauw University. Jack worked on electrochemistry with Prof. Eugene Schwartz at DePauw the summer of 1964 after getting his BA. Following his work at DePauw, Jack opted to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky. He had a great appreciation for Prof. Donald H. Williams who directed his graduate research at UK. While he considers himself a coordination chemist, his coursework and research reflected broad interests – from electrochemistry to biochemistry. Dr. Steele has said that Professors Don Sands and Joe Wilson of UK Chemistry were “without a doubt” the best teachers he ever had. 

After receiving his doctoral degree in 1968, Dr. Steele accepted a postdoctoral position at the


By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Disparities in Appalachian property tax assessments – and the inability of counties to raise them because of a Kentucky law – has drawn the ire of Michelle Starkey, who delved into the subject with all the passion an undergraduate history major could muster.

The resulting essay, “Bleeding Eastern Kentucky,” received the first Ireland Paper Prize in History at the University of Kentucky. The award, from the Department of History in the College of Arts & Sciences, carries a $10,000 prize.

The prize honors Robert M. Ireland, a retired UK history faculty member who taught at UK for 41 years. Wm. Joseph Foran, a UK alumnus who was a student of Ireland’s, established the award to encourage and reward outstanding historical research and writing by history students.

Although Starkey, who graduated as a history major in


By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 10, 2021) — It’s 3 p.m. in Lexington, and class is in session for the 19 students enrolled in the ANT 536: Global Appalachia course taught by Professor Ann Kingsolver.

Meanwhile, it’s 8:30 p.m. across the Atlantic in County Kildare, Ireland, where Chandana Mathur, a professor at Maynooth University, began her own course. A few moments — and a few clicks later — students in Lexington and in Ireland are connected.

Through the innovation of Zoom, a rich exchange ensued around the politics of water.

Kingsolver, a professor in the Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences, regularly intertwines her own courses with various classrooms across



By Jenny Wells-Hosley and Brad Nally

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2021) — If you ask Matthew Farmer what inspired him to pursue a degree in chemistry, his answer is simple:

“My childhood.”

Farmer, from Harlan, Kentucky, would often play outside as a child, exploring his surroundings and observing how things worked in nature. For him, it wasn’t enough to be told that something “just happens” — he had to know the mechanisms behind why it happened.

“I became interested in chemistry because it deals with the minutia of how things interact with other things, and also themselves,” Farmer said. “Chemistry is the best way to explain how things happen at the ground level, and then work your way up.”

Farmer grew up


By Whitney Hale

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 10, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that 10 students and recent graduates have been selected to receive government-funded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. In addition, a UK doctoral student and four alumni received honorable mention recognition from the NSF. Among them were several College of Arts & Sciences students.

As part of the five-year fellowship, NSF Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees for a research-based master's or doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering or


By Alicia Gregory

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees at a May 4 meeting announced that two College of Arts & Sciences faculty members have received University Research Professorship Awards.  These awards recognize excellence in research and creative work that addresses scientific, social, cultural, economic and health challenges in our region and around the world.

The faculty members are Anne-Frances Miller, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Carol Mason, professor of Gender and Women's Studies and English.

The University Research Professorships were established by the UK Board of Trustees in 1976 to recognize outstanding research achievements. The


By Susan West and Danielle Donham

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2021) ­— The University of Kentucky Beta Iota Chapter of the national leadership honor society Order of Omega inducted its largest class with 59 new members Sunday, April 18. Order of Omega recognizes juniors and seniors who have attained a high standard of leadership within the fraternity and sorority community.

Membership selection is usually conducted each semester, but no more than 3% of the total number of enrolled full-time fraternity and sorority undergraduates may be initiated into membership in any one year. The Beta Iota Chapter was established at the University of Kentucky March 28, 1978.

“This year, Order of Omega has expanded as an organization on campus, and I am so excited we


By Richard LeComte 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Usually one part of a semester is sure to bring happiness to students: the end. But in one University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences class, students are learning tools – backed by real science -- that will help them cultivate happiness throughout their academic year and even beyond. In fact, the class’s professor, Shannon Sauer-Zavala, wants her students to use the course material to find their own happy places.  

“I feel like every single thing that we learned about in my class, I have been trying to attempt in my own life,” said Sohayla Elhusseini, a senior psychology major from Lexington who’s taking the class this spring. “That’s definitely encouraged by Shannon as well.” 

The class where Elhusseini and her peers find all that encouragement is PSY 375:


By Stephanie Penn | Office of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2021) — University of Kentucky alumna Tiffany Ge was promoted to legislative director of the personal office of U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in Washington, D.C. Ge, from Louisville, Kentucky, joined the senator’s office in 2017 as legal counsel and manages an extensive legislative portfolio. 

As legislative director, Ge will oversee all Kentucky-focused legislative matters for the senator and manage the policy staff. She will continue to serve as legal counsel and handle the Judiciary and Law Enforcement policy portfolios. She will be a key link with the senator’s leadership office and communicate daily with Kentuckians.

“Tiffany is a key member of my


By Emily Sallee

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that two Wildcats have been awarded Critical Language Scholarships, which provide funding to participate in intensive language and cultural immersion programs for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities.

Mihir Kale, a political science major, Chellgren Fellow and member of the Lewis Honors College, will study Swahili virtually through the MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation in Arusha,


By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2021) — In an effort to foster productive dialogue about antisemitism, the University of Kentucky’s Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Kentucky Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Kentucky Hillel hosted an educational event on Tuesday.

The presentation titled, “Antisemitism Past and Present,” was led by led by Jason Horowitz, director of Heritage Education and Partnership at Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) — a historically Jewish fraternity.

ZBT was founded in 1898 at the City College of New York. During that time, Jewish people were excluded from joining fraternities and sororities.


By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2021) — Luke Glaser was once a struggling math student. Academically, he often excelled. But learning polynomials, as well as quadratic equations and functions, just didn’t seem applicable to his life as a high school teenager.

“I hated math, and I took AP classes to simply not have to take math in college.”

But 10 years later, in one of life’s little ironies, Glaser finds himself at the head of the classroom teaching AP Calculus.

“The biggest challenge wasn’t going to be re-learning integrals or derivatives but convincing students that taking the hard classes are worth it.”

As the AP instructor at Hazard High School, Glaser understands his seniors are facing an exhilarating but daunting decision — where to go to college.

The choice is


By Danielle Donham and University Press of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2021) — Kentucky restaurateur and University of Kentucky alumna Ouita Michel has released her first cookbook, “Just a Few Miles South: Timeless Recipes from Our Favorite Places,” stuffed with recipes celebrating the Bluegrass, just in time for the Kentucky Derby.

Witten by Michel, Sara Gibbs and Genie Graf with a foreword by Silas House, the collection features  recipes from the cuisine that Michel is known for. For 20 years, diners have satisfied their cravings for Michel's sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine at her restaurants. 

At each of her many restaurants — from Wallace


By Whitney Hale

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2021) —The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced Madeline Williams has received a Fulbright Canada-MITACS Globalink Research Internship. Through this highly competitive opportunity, she will undertake advanced research projects virtually for 10 to 12 weeks.

Williams, a sociology and political science junior in UK College


By Interim Dean Christian Brady

A Brief, Brilliant Life
Susan Anne Odom, PhD November 16, 1980 - April 18, 2021

This week brought news of a tragic accident that took from the University of Kentucky family a brilliant young scholar. Dr. Susan Odom, Associate Professor of Chemistry, died April 18, 2021 in her home. A native of Paducah, Kentucky, Susan had a passion for science from an early age. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Chemistry in 2003, earned her PhD from Georgia Tech, having been a visiting graduate student at the University of Oxford, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Susan joined our faculty in 2011, becoming an associate professor in 2017. She quickly became a favorite among students, winning the “Teacher Who Made a Difference” award in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017.


By Whitney Hale

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2021) — Two University of Kentucky students, Jacob Concolino and Benjamin Cortas, have been selected to receive Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) from the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD).

DAAD's RISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. The internships give each student an opportunity to do research with one of Germany's top universities or research institutions. Around 300 students participate each summer.

Benjamin Cortas is the son of Edward and


By C. Lynn Hiler and Savina Williams

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Nu Circle of national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) inducted 71 new members at a virtual ceremony Tuesday, April 13, 2021. ODK recognizes superior leadership and exemplary character and encourages collaboration among members across the five phases celebrated by the society: scholarship, athletics, service, communications and arts.

The Circle was established  May 2, 1925, and was recognized with a Superior Circle award from the national organization in 2018.

“Being able to serve as the president of the Nu Circle of ODK has been a privilege and a blessing,”


By Richard LeComte 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Laws originally designed to protect family farm owners from frivolous lawsuits have, in some states, grown in scope to protect the practices of industrial agriculture – a phenomenon that’s drawn the interest of UK researcher Loka Ashwood. 

"Originally these laws were a way to get agricultural exemptions to nuisance suits,” said Ashwood, assistant professor of environmental sociology in UK’s College of Arts & Sciences. “These nuisance suits are fundamentally about, OK, if somebody infringes upon my right to enjoy or use my property, technically I or my local government can file a nuisance suit. But right


By Richard LeComte 

Shui-yin Sharon Yam, associate professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies and Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences, has received the Outstanding Book Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication.  

Her book, "Inconvenient Strangers: Transnational Subjects and the Politics of


By Julie Wrinn

Graduate students in political science are well aware of the importance of fieldwork for their dissertation research, but for Helen Kras (Ph.D. 2021, M.A. 2020), fieldwork also became a deciding factor in her academic job search.

“Every university I had interviews with asked about fieldwork and stated they would be interested in having me teach about fieldwork in methods classes,” she said.

Kras is completing her dissertation on public opinion and gender-based violence in Latin America. In fall 2021, she will join Regis University in Denver as a tenure-track assistant professor of political science. To relieve the financial burden of research travel, private support made all the difference for Kras.

“Through the Ken and Mary Sue Coleman Award and the Research and Travel Award, I was able to conduct fieldwork in Brazil and El Salvador,” she


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