Topical studies alum Susan Tomasky was drawn to the University of Kentucky because of its honors program but she also became deeply rooted in the College of Arts & Sciences political science department.

Tomasky began her studies at UK in 1970 after she moved from her hometown of Morgantown, W. Va.


As a broad section of our world is experiencing economic and political upheaval, its peoples are migrating in search of security, stability and a shot at the good life. At the University of Kentucky, scholars are studying this massive immigration and its effects on various countries and cultures, and in the process have become part of an interdisciplinary migration of their own. The effects of this dual political and academic migration will be highlighted at the March 10-11 conference “Immigration Policy in an Anti-Immigrant Era” organized by the UK Quantitative Initiative for Policy and Social Research (QIPSR).
QIPSR is based in the College of Arts and Sciences, but was launched this year to


When her lifelong goal of becoming a zoologist began to fall apart early in her college career at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, Seung-yeon Yi felt academically directionless. “I basically failed. I tried really hard but I couldn’t get good grades and I thought I had to take a break and just look at myself and just try to find my purpose.” During that period of searching, Yi persuaded her family to allow her to travel to the United States, where she planned on doing service work with the Christian organization Youth With A Mission (YWAM) learning English and traveling to different countries. 


When Sam Powers travels, he buys a one-way ticket. He prefers it that way - as he searches for “Goat man” in Guatemala or participates in Buenos Aires’s annual pillow fight or motorbikes through Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, he wants the people he meets, not a return ticket, to determine his schedule.

In the past year, Powers has purchased quite a few one-way tickets, tickets that have taken him to 15 countries outside of the United States and introduced him to four new languages, including Khmer, Vietnamese, Thai, and Icelandic.

Powers documented his year long journey through his website. Filled with videos, daily travel commentaries, and stunning photography, this website is so recognized internationally, it won 


Strangely enough, Jennifer Cramer was a math major at the University of Kentucky when she first became infatuated with the art of language. Following this infatuation, which was ignited in her undergraduate French classes, she quickly shifted her major to French, but once she was there, found there was still something missing in her academic focus.

“Someone suggested I take a linguistics class,” recalls Cramer, who is now in her second semester as a lecturer in the 

Burt Davis profile

by Jenny Wells

Burt Davis, longtime associate director for the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's Clean Fuels and Chemicals Group, has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from NASA – and has been named to the 2011 American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Fellows Program.


by Erin Holady Ziegler

When rising University of Kentucky senior Joseph Mann arrived in Cape Town, South Africa in mid-May, he was ready to make a difference and ready for a challenge. Little did he know that his travel abroad experience would change the course of his life.

"You just need to come here," Mann laughed. "That's what I've told my friends and family. In the face of such adversity, there's hope. South Africans know that they have a bright future. Despite issues with service availability and government


Physics & Astronomy alum Dr. Anjan K. Gupta came to the University of Kentucky after earning bachelors and masters degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1995 in Kanpur, India.

Anjan is from a small city called Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state in India.

“I wanted to go to the United States because I knew there would be many opportunities for research as a graduate student,” Anjan said. “I applied many places but I was interested in UK because they had a good condensed matter experimental department. I knew that’s what I wanted to pursue.”



A University of Kentucky biology professor known for his creativity in the classroom has recently been awarded for his storytelling.


UK biology professor 

Nicole Lally

University of Kentucky alumna Nicole Lally says her interest in sociology was sparked at an early age.

When she was seven years old, Lally’s family moved from Cleveland to Elizabethtown. The change in environment was shocking, Lally said.

“On the street we lived on in Cleveland, there was so much diversity,” she said. “Elizabethtown just didn’t have those same demographics and even though I was a kid, I noticed. Some of my new friends at school would make comments about other groups of people and it just didn’t make any sense to me.”

In a high school English class, Lally was assigned an argument paper and began researching gay rights.

“I was immediately interested in anything to do with human rights,” she said. “All of the papers I was using for my research were written by sociologists and I just knew that’s what I wanted to study then.”


by Rebekah Tilley
photos by Mark Cornelison Erin Pullen drove into Lexington for the first time in the middle of a midnight thunderstorm.Yet by the time Pullen left town she knew UK is where she wanted to go to graduate school. “I loved the feel of UK,” said Pullen, now a third-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology. “Sociology is a growing department and it’s exciting to be a part of something that’s fresh. People are trying to make things happen here and that’s exciting as a student.” In addition to discovering the Kentucky hot brown to be “a revelation,” the Michigan native found that as a graduate student she had a number of opportunities to work closely with faculty, and enjoyed the productive environment it fosters. “The department is competitive but it’s more

During the height of the women’s movement in the late 1970s, a time when psychologists, sociologists, and others were finally beginning to talk about the problem of violence against women, Professor of Sociology Claire Renzetti was making her way through the academic jungle, earning her bachelor’s and subsequent degrees in sociology from the University of Delaware. Coming of age academically in this epoch shaped her academic interests and led to a career of studying the problem of violence against women, one she sees as everyone’s issue, not just a “women’s issue.”
Renzetti had always been interested in understanding why people do what they do, but it took a few changes in her undergrad major before



Theoretical physicist Michael Eides was recently elected a Fellow in the Institute of Physics. Eides, a professor in the 


by Robin Roenker
photos by Mark Cornelison

As a theoretical physicist, Keh-Fei Liu’s computational simulations in the field of quantum chromodynamics can simultaneously shed light on the innermost workings of the smallest particles in our universe, as well as help better understand how the universe itself came into being.

Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is the study of the strong force between quarks and gluons, which combine to form hadrons, such as protons, neutrons, and pions.

For the past 15 years, Liu has led an international team of QCD collaborators—including faculty at George Washington University, the University of Virginia, the University of Washington, India’s TIFAR Institute, and the Chinese Institute of High Energy Physics—in working to answer a key question about the structure of the proton.


By Keith Hautala

There's just no telling where an education from the University of Kentucky can take you.

For U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Smith, the journey that began at UK has taken him around the world and deep below the ocean's surface, as captain of the USS Kentucky, a nuclear submarine.

"Having been born in Kentucky and growing up there, I can’t imagine any pride greater than serving as commander of the ship that bears my home state's name," says Smith, whose parents and sister still live in Kentucky.

Born in Covington and raised in Independence, Smith graduated from Simon Kenton High School and attended Xavier University for a year before transferring to UK. After graduating in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in physics, Smith was commissioned in the Navy and went to officer candidate school in Pensacola, Fla., where he began nuclear power

Amy Anderson

Graduate Student Spotlight By Saraya Brewer
Photos by Mark Cornelison

Amy Anderson’s academic history has taken a sharp turn since her early undergrad pre-medical path. “We had to kill things in our lab class and that was the end of that,” she laughed. “I always liked to write – I went straight back to the English Department.”

Though she has studied English for close to a decade now, Anderson is quick to admit that her “academic ADD” still stands: “I can’t focus on a time period. I’m interested in anything you put in front of me.” 

Her broad and varied interests make Anderson the perfect candidate for the brand new division of the University of Kentucky English department: Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Media. Anderson says she was excited about rhetoric, which is essentially the study of persuasion, from the first class she


story by Guy Spriggs

English professor and writer-in-residence Erik Reece has expressed his views on the coal industry and energy policy in Kentucky in such works as his 2006 book “Lost Mountain.” He also believes the University of Kentucky has an opportunity to effect positive change and become a more energy-responsible institution.

Reece understands the influence of coal in Kentucky, but feels that the effects coal has on Kentucky’s environment and local economies are largely overlooked.  “It’s a very cheap source of energy because there’s so much of it, but the problem is that people aren’t factoring in the true cost of coal,” Reece said.  “We’re not paying for the externalities in terms of all the dirty water, the

Teaching Students to be Bearers of History

Q&A with New Professor Adam Banks - by Guy Spriggs

You joined UK’s Division of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Media in 2010. What motivated your decision to come to Lexington and join the faculty at UK?

First, I saw the formation of this division as something unique and something that could create some really different approaches to not only the teaching of writing, but to scholarly work as well. Second, in our conversations, both my department chair Roxanne Mountford and Dean Kornbluh showed that they really understood and valued my work and wanted to build from that. I was excited by the work that we’re doing to reinvent composition instruction by fully bringing together print literacy with oral production and digital production


“I didn’t want to rush into the next step after undergrad so I took some time off,” Payne said. “Then, I sort of came to the point where I wanted a plan for the rest of my life.”

Knowing that she wanted to continue to study chemistry but also wanting to foster her other life passions, Payne picked UK and started her graduate work in 2000.

“I was an avid rock climber and I knew I could be close to the Red River Gorge,” she said. “I also rode horses as a kid and had been to Lexington several times, so I had some familiarity with the area


Car assembly lines use thousands of parts to build just one automobile, with each individual piece specifically engineered to perform one function. Could you instead build a car out of LEGO blocks, creating a complex machine out of a far more limited set of parts? This would require that each 'block' be very versatile: able to function in many different roles. However once in place, each block should adopt and retain only the role intended. This is the same strategy as that employed by life to maximize biochemical efficiency while also exploiting a dizzying array of chemical reactions. Nature's protein catalysis (called enzymes) accelerate reaction rates by up to 10,000,000,000,000,000,000-fold, yet do so using only 20 different amino acid building blocks and a dozen vitamin cofactors as additives. In studying enzyme catalysis, University of Kentucky graduate student Dongtao Cui and


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