By Guy Spriggs

As he enters the second semester of his senior year, Jeremy Puckett finds himself at the end of his undergraduate study with plans to continue his education by pursuing a master’s degree in library science.

But Puckett also finds himself undertaking a task normally reserved for advanced graduate students and professors: publishing a book.

“It’s funny…I’ve been writing since I was in middle school and I never thought of it as a career,” Puckett said.

Puckett was compelled to write his novel after a trip home to Green County, Kentucky.

“I spent a lot of my life trying to get away from my home county,” Puckett explained. “You spend your whole life running away from something and you look back and it’s always over your shoulder because you’re taking it with you as you go.”

“I realized that the act of running away defines that place



by Rebekah Tilley
photos by Shaun Ring and Richie Wireman

In a certain main academic office on campus is a picture of a half-undressed young woman, breast exposed, smoking, with cigarette butts littered around her enticingly draped bed. It is the cover of a pamphlet dated 1905 that loudly asks the loaded question, “Is College Bad for Girls?” and insinuates that a college education leads young women to such deadly sins as “flirting” and “speaking to male students without Proper Introduction or Chaperone.” The pamphlet cover, now a relic in the newly created Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, is a visual reminder of how far women in the academy have come in the last 100 years.

Women’s Studies as an academic discipline was born in the 1970s and came to the University of Kentucky in the 1980s, thanks largely to the efforts of Nancy



by Brian Connors Manke
photo by Tim Collins

Having volunteered at and done research in conjunction with domestic violence shelters, Gender and Women’s Studies professor Cristina Alcalde has witnessed the journey of many women who have faced violence in their lives.

But, as she continued to intensively study domestic violence both in her homeland of Peru and in Texas where she was an assistant professor of anthropology at Southwestern University, Alcalde realized she needed to try and understand the complex issue as a whole.

“Women have told me that a man has done this or that and I’ve seen the marks on a women’s body, but I hadn’t talked to men. Ethically I couldn’t focus on men who were abusive and women who were battered at the same time,” Alcalde said.

Which has led her to her current research project - Violent and Non-Violent



story by Brian Connors Manke
photos by Shaun Ring

“For me, to stand at the confluence of two streams of flowing water, no matter how small, is a moment of feeling integrated. To be in one of those sweet spots in nature silences you – standing there in awe, there is nothing to say.”

Gurney Norman understands the delicate beauty of awe – but as Kentucky’s new Poet Laureate, the longtime teacher, outdoorsman and, of course, writer, has always been drawn to sharing his lifelong meditations of nature into words.

Norman’s relationship with the Kentucky landscape, and in particular, the flowing waters that dance, carve, rush or just mosey



Roxanne Mountford Treats Students As Researchers

By Robin Roenker
photos by Lee Thomas

Roxanne Mountford didn’t know the study of rhetoric and composition existed as a field when she decided to pursue a graduate degree in English at The Ohio State University in the mid-1980s. But the moment she began to teach her first composition class as a graduate assistant, she knew she’d found her calling.

“I fell in love with the teaching of writing. I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to spend my whole life doing,” said Mountford, who received her doctorate in 1991 focusing on the history, theory and practice of rhetoric and composition.

Mountford joined UK’s faculty as Associate Professor in Rhetoric and Composition in 2008 after 12 years on the faculty with the University of Arizona’s rhetoric and composition program. Next year, she will take



Jane Gentry Vance Combines the Roles of Poet Laureate and College Professor

By Allison L. Elliott

Jane Gentry Vance, the new Poet Laureate of Kentucky, wrote her first poem in second grade. It began with the words "[t]he very first Christmas long, long ago? Took place in a manger where the cattle did low."

"Hardly great verse," she says, "but I was surprised at how it seemed to come to me with the beginnings of its form already in place. I knew that I'd discovered a new pleasure. I guess I first thought of myself as a decent poet when I took the beginning writing workshop my first semester at Hollins College in Virginia."

Today Vance, a professor of English, helps University of Kentucky students discover the pleasures of thinking and writing about the world around them. She credits her own teachers at Hollins and at Henry Clay High School in Lexington



by Robin Roenker
photos by Mark Cornelison

For associate professor Mark Watson, as exciting as creating new materials is, one end-product is even more fundamental.

“When you think about research and teaching, of all our products, the most important ones are our students,” he began.

“In the end, whether they go on to be chemists in any professional sector (private, public, government, or academic), or executives, patent agents, technical sales reps, or whatever their career, we’ve empowered them for that future by providing an environment for their continued growth as independent researchers and problem solvers,” said Watson, who was awarded this year’s Young Investigator Award by the Kentucky Academy of Science.



John Anthony has a list of projects that are all striving to improve the environment.

By Alicia P. Gregory
photo by Lee Thomas

You know the chorus from that old Irving Berlin song: “Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” It pretty much sums up UK chemist John Anthony’s challenge to silicon-based technology. His goal is to take anything you can make with silicon (think ceramics) and make it cheaper and greener with carbon (plastics).

Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs are the hot HDTV sets) and radio-frequency identification (RFIDs are tiny white tags that already appear on some products and will one day replace barcodes) are made from pricey and brittle silicon. But Anthony is tweaking carbon-based molecules to do these things and more. Anthony, an effusive teacher who says his goal is to get his students to



UK researcher is working to make the Earth’s water supply safer to drink.

By Jennifer T. Allen

Most people don’t worry about their drinking water causing cancer, brittle bones or neurological diseases. Not many suspect that it could contain arsenic, mercury or lead. Even fewer know that efforts are underway on the third floor of the Chemistry-Physics building to remove these and other contaminants from water.

Since 2000, chemistry professor David Atwood and his student researchers have been working to remove elemental contaminants from water — and they have been successful.  

“Most people don’t realize their direct effect on the quality of our water and our air,” said Lisa Blue, a chemistry graduate student working in Atwood’s lab. “We have certain things we can’t live without, such as water and air, and I want to be part of the solution in taking care



by Kami Rice
photos by Richie Wireman

Hsain Ilahiane originally came to Lexington because of the quality of UK’s anthropology department, but in his two short months of living here he’s already come to love the Farmers Market, which he and his wife, Ann Becker, have been taking advantage of to the fullest.

“It’s very enjoyable for me to go and talk to the famers,” Ilahiane said, in addition to having access to fresh produce. His current research interests are largely centered in studying information and communications technologies, but prior to that he was studying small scale farming.

Farming was also involved in leading him into the field of anthropology. While working on his master’s degree in international development at



by Rebekah Tilley

Ever since the night American colonists tossed tea into Boston Harbor, we have been a nation of coffee consumers. The rich, dark smell of coffee is part of our morning ritual and its caffeine has fueled many late night projects. Sarah Lyon, assistant professor of anthropology, follows coffee back to the source by studying coffee farmers and the impact of fair trade practices in the Central American region.

The fair trade movement is a fairly recent phenomenon that seeks to give local producers a fair price for their commodity. Lyon focuses her research on coffee-producing communities in Guatemala, and her work sheds light on the ways sustainable



By Keith Hautala

Two faculty members and 12 students from the University of Kentucky were inducted into the Nu Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the national leadership honor society, at a banquet and ceremony held on Dec. 4.

Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, director of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and professor of diplomacy and conflict resolution, was recognized for service and leadership at the university, worldwide service as a U.S. ambassador and advisor, professional accomplishments, and devotion to developing international leaders.

Buck Ryan, director of the Citizen Kentucky Project at the UK Scripps Howard First Amendment Center and associate professor of journalism, was recognized for service and leadership at the university, worldwide service to professional journalism, dedication to the education of youth

graduate high five


By Katy Bennett

On Friday, Dec. 16, UK students will trade their winter coats and gloves for caps and gowns as the University holds its December Commencement to honor students who earned their degrees in August or December. Graduate and professional degrees will be conferred at 1:30 p.m. Undergraduate degrees will be conferred at 6 p.m.; both ceremonies will take place in Memorial Coliseum.

More than 500 undergraduates and 100 graduate and professional students are expected to participate in this Friday’s exercises.

UK President Eli Capilouto will deliver his first Commencement address at both ceremonies. In addition to his remarks, and keeping with university tradition, a student will address the crowd at the undergraduate ceremony. Kristina Betsworth, a graduating senior from Frankfort, Ky., is the


Cynthia Ruder is a professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. She teaches Russian language classes and has a particular research interest in the Moscow Canal. Built in the 1930s during Stalin’s regime, the canal has a rich history.


By Whitney Hale, Photo by Matt Barton, UK College of Agriculture

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) has selected University of Kentucky senior Taylor Lloyd, of Union, Ky., as one of this year's 26 recipients of the prestigious $10,000 scholarship. The ASF Scholarship is presented to outstanding college students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math.

"Taylor is an extraordinary student who shows incredible success in


By Jessica Powers

The recipe for success may be as simple as combining your favorite recreational activity and your field of study, at least in the case of Matthew Massey; avid rock climber, doctoral graduate in Earth and Environmental Sciences and winner of the Journal of Structural Geology’s Student Author of the Year Award for 2011.

Initially, Massey’s research on “Microstructure and crystallographic preferred orientation of polycrystalline microgarnet aggregates developed during progressive creep, recovery and grain boundary sliding” had everyone interested, and slightly confused because his research was so new and innovative. No one had seen those types of garnets in rocks or had thought to analyze them in the manner

taylor lloyd in lab


By Whitney Hale, Photo by Matt Barton, UK College of Agriculture

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) has selected University of Kentucky senior Taylor Lloyd, of Union, Ky., as one of this year's 26 recipients of the prestigious $10,000 scholarship. The ASF Scholarship is presented to outstanding college students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math.

"Taylor is an extraordinary student who shows incredible success in her studies and undergraduate research," says UK President Eli Capilouto. "We are thrilled to see her hard work recognized by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. We believe she will be a major contributor to her field in the future, and this scholarship will help make that possible."

Astronaut Scholars



By Katy Bennett

The University of Kentucky is honoring its August and December graduates with December Commencement this Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, and friends and family of our graduates who cannot make it to Lexington do not have to miss out on this special event. UK is utilizing social media and other technology to bring Commencement to your computer or mobile device.

Both the Graduate and Professional Students and Undergraduate Commencement ceremonies will be live-streamed online at, the University’s daily news website. Fifteen minutes prior to each ceremony's start, “Live from the Big Blue Carpet” will air and features students, faculty and special guests as they prepare for Commencement and is hosted by students from the 

turcotte presents poster

By: Katie Pratt

University of Kentucky faculty and students recently participated in the university’s second annual Environmental and Sustainability Research Showcase, which highlighted research related to environmental and sustainability science and policy.

The event was hosted by UK’s Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment and the College of Agriculture’s Environmental and Natural Resources Initiative. The goal was to encourage collaborations across disciplines and colleges to enhance environmental and sustainability research.

As part of the event, UK students submitted posters highlighting their research. A panel of judges chose the best posters based on criteria that included scientific thought, skill level and thoroughness of data collection and assessment.

“The posters covered a very diverse range of topics in



By Kathy Johnson

The University of Kentucky Appalachian CenterAppalachian Studies and the Graduate Appalachian Research Community are making a call for papers for the 2012 UK Appalachian Research Symposium and Arts Showcase. The topic of the work must be related to Appalachia, original, and produced in the last three years. 

The deadline for submitting an abstract of work online is midnight Dec. 15. The submission can be made by going to the GARC tab on and clicking on the "Abstract


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