‘That’s not how any of this works’ — UK experts on Hollywood portrayals of their professions

By Lindsey PiercyAllison Perry and Danielle Donham

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 19, 2022) — In a myth-busting WVLK segment, “That’s Not How Any of This Works,” experts from various disciplines at the University of Kentucky discuss how their career paths and fields of study aren’t as they always appear on screen.

Stephen Voss, associate professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, guest hosted the show, which aired live on Aug. 19. The segment is also available to stream in podcast form.

The faculty members below talked about their jobs, what’s real and fake when it comes to Hollywood portrayals, and how it impacts their field.

Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Ph.D., Rosenberg College of Law associate dean of academic affairs and Judge William T. Lafferty Professor of Law

Having practiced federal tax law and corporate transactional law — and currently teaching it to law students — Jennifer Bird-Pollan is happy to discuss how television and movie depictions of lawyers in courtrooms illustrate just a small piece of the actual picture.

A member of the boards of Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and the Lexington Public Library, as well as a Kentucky Colonel, Bird-Pollan assists with the Rosenberg College of Law VITA program and serves as the faculty advisor to the Tax Law Society and the Women’s Law Caucus. 

Greg Davis, M.D., director of the UK Forensic Pathology Consultation Service

Raised in Eastern Tennessee, Greg Davis came to UK to earn his bachelor’s degree and fell in love with the university — later joining the faculty. A forensic pathologist, he helped start the UK Forensic Pathology Consultation Service in 2005, which provides expert opinion on criminal and civil cases around the world. The service consults on more than 250 cases annually.

Jonathan Golding, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences

Jonathan Golding’s primary research interests include psychology and law, specifically juror decision-making in victimization cases. He is passionate about investigating the impact of witness memory in the courtroom.

Golding has conducted numerous studies that include various court contexts and type of evidence: repressed memory, DNA evidence, hearsay testimony, demeanor of witnesses, type of crime disclosure, type of crime and the impact of courtroom experts.

Reema Patel, M.D., UK Markey Cancer Center medical oncologist

Looking back at photos from her childhood, Reema Patel notes she was often pictured with her Playskool stethoscope playing “doctor.” Her lifelong passion for medicine led to a career in medical oncology — where she fell in love with not just the science behind cancer care, but the closer personal interactions oncologists have with their patients. 

At Markey, Patel specializes in the treatment of bone and soft-tissue sarcomas, as well as colorectal, pancreatic and hepatobiliary cancers. 

Even the one guest from outside UK’s faculty, appeals attorney John Friend, has ties to the university. He is an alumnus of the Department of Anthropology.

You can listen to the full WVLK interviews here

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.