John Yozwiak


Was it destiny or some predisposition that led John Yozwiak to the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences? Or maybe it simply was a matter of finding a great opportunity.

Yozwiak, whose grandfather was the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Youngstown State University, was born in Binghamton, N.Y., but found himself relocated with his family to Lexington, Ky., when he was six.

Upon graduating from Lexington Catholic High School in 1990, Yozwiak, who comes from a long line of college graduates, knew that college was certainly the next step. He used his experiences from visiting friends at UK as well as his desire to stay close to home in choosing his collegiate destination.

“My family has always valued education. Therefore, attending college was very important to me,” Yozwiak said. “In part, I decided to attend the University of


Department of Pyschology Ph.D. Student

by Joy Gonsalves

The Department of Psychology has taught Ben Freer a thing or two about learners. Though this third-year Ph.D. student from the Cognitive Development Program has “always been philosophical about why people behave the way they do,” his academic experience has challenged his perspective on the cognitive differences among us. 

“It’s important to understand people from every walk of life, not as victims, but as different, and as I’ve grown, this is the direction my studies have taken me.” 

In the middle of the summer, Freer is hard at work on several research projects, each one related to that philosophy. One uses an EEG to measure brain activity in children with ADHD to further break down current research and


by Robin Roenker

Five years from now, the University of Kentucky will be regarded as one of the centers for cutting-edge research on children at risk.

That’s the hope of husband and wife psychology professors Robert and Elizabeth Lorch, who have spearheaded the effort to create a new Children at Risk Research Cluster at UK.

With funds awarded through the university’s College of Arts & Sciences, the Lorches have helped oversee the hiring of five new faculty members - three in psychology and two in sociology - whose expertise and broad-ranging scope of


By Kami L. Rice
May 2009

Whatever stereotypes you have of Russian Studies graduates, Phillip Stosberg probably doesn’t fit them. He arrived at UK while a drummer for a Louisville-based chaotic punk band, The National Acrobat, that was sometimes touring nationally. Because he had to find practice space somewhere outside his dorm, living in the UK dormitories for two years was “like living in oblivion as far as drumming goes.”

“Actually, I didn’t really want to be in school all that much,” Stosberg admits. But fortunately, courtesy of parents who had always messaged the importance of it, he figured it was good to go to college. He had visited his older siblings at UK. It seemed like a good place, and they liked it, so he enrolled. And, he says, “I fell in love with it when I got there.”

He found his way to Russian Studies, pointing to seeds planted by his

Dustin Zerrer

Undergraduate Student

A Whole New Ballgame

Like countless other youngsters, Dustin Zerrer wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up. He even earned a scholarship to play in college, but after injuries derailed his career, he found himself at Eastern Kentucky University as a turf management/sports management major. He eventually worked for minor league organizations like the Lexington Legends and Dayton Dragons as an assistant groundskeeper.

Then he called for a timeout, stepped out of the batter’s box and reassessed his life. He wanted to take a different direction.

He knew education was the key. His first go around in college he admitted to being a below-average student that had poor work habits. So, he enrolled at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (Lexington Community College at the time) to rededicate himself to academics.

Brian Cole/Matt Feinberg/Michelle Dumais

Ph.D. Students

Three is the magic number

by Joy Gonsalves

When graduate faculty from the Hispanic Studies Department announce this year’s scholarly grant recipients, they’ll deliver a triple-whammy. Matthew Feinberg, Michelle Dumais, and Brian Cole were each awarded a grant of some $3,000 sponsored by the University of Minnesota to study their love of loves—Spanish culture— in Madrid. 

Titled the “Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States’ Universities,” this joint US-Spanish initiative is designed to promote scholarly representations of Hispanicism abroad. Given to published professors and film societies alike, Cole, Feinberg and Dumais will apply their awards toward each one’s dissertation focus. With qualifying exams now behind them, it’s time for these third-year Ph


Ph.D. Student

Whether it has been in the fields of Guatemala, the rural landscape of Kentucky, or as a government official in Japan, Kiyo Sakamoto’s interest in the social aspects of agriculture has been the one constant that has propelled his work over the past 15 years.

After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Chiba University in his homeland of Japan, Sakamoto then worked with the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers – a group “which is similar to the U.S. Peace Corps,” he said.

That landed him in Guatemala where he worked on agricultural recommendations and management issues for fruit cultivation in the developing Central American economy.

When he returned home two and a half years later, he took a position in the Japanese government  as a technical officer in



A wave of current research at the University of Kentucky deals with the "Kentucky Uglies.”  That's the term UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. designated to the state's long-entrenched problems that include poverty, poor health care and illiteracy. 

Sociology professor Carrie Oser has been awarded a five year, $2.6 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for her research project entitled “African American Female Drug Users: HIV, Health Disparities, and Criminality,” – a study that she fully acknowledges will be taking on several “Kentucky Uglies” at once.

“There is this triple stigma,” Oser began. “We are talking about drug users, we’re



There is nothing pretentious or “prude” about UK Alumni Julie Sweet and Tom Riley. This husband and wife team – now history professors at Baylor University in Waco, Texas – say their formative years as Ph.D. candidates in the University of Kentucky’s Department of History, were crucial to their future success.



Andrew Bozio first got hooked on British literature as a junior at Louisville’s St. Xavier High School. He knew then and there he’d found his calling.

Having just finished his first year of studies in the English PhD program at the University of Michigan, Bozio credits his undergraduate experiences at UK with helping establish a foundation for his intended career in early modern literature.

A Gaines Fellow and member of the UK Honors Program, Bozio graduated from UK in December 2006 with a degree in English and minors in French and philosophy. His classes in Arts & Sciences, the Honors Program, and the Gaines Center for the Humanities program “absolutely” prepared him for his graduate level coursework, he says.

It was the combination of those three things, the skills that one program offered, another program was able to supplement and help develop,” he says


For over 100 years, the College of Arts & Sciences has been fertile ground for aspiring political leaders, from former Kentucky governors Edward T. Breathitt and Martha Layne Collins to current U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, and even Lexington’s own mayor Jim Newberry.

In 1978, as a senior political science major, Newberry might not have known that he would lead Lexington, but seeing that he served as Student Government President and received a diverse Arts & Sciences education, he was certainly well-prepared for just such an endeavor.

Jami Bartek

Ph.D. Student

by Robin Roenker

Jami Bartek’s historical curiosity isn’t limited to one country or even one continent, and he’s loved that his time as a PhD student in UK’s History Department has allowed him to pursue interests in an array of settings and eras.

When Bartek enters the job market next fall, he’ll go armed with a focus in the 19th-century U.S. South, but also with experience in his two teaching fields: 20th-century European history and East Asian studies.

His varied coursework provided him “a much broader background” and a richer, more comprehensive historical sensibility, said Bartek, a native of Elsworth, Ohio, and graduate of Youngstown State University. “I enjoyed it. Instead of having just this narrow focus on the U.S. South, it allows you a broader focus, and you see more trends. You begin to see that



In the United States and across the globe the color of a person’s skin can lead to power or discrimination, privilege or depravity, rights granted or rights oppressed. It can affect every part of the societal landscape, and in the year of a presidential election in the U.S., the political weight that exists with race is pushed further into view for everyone to analyze.

Four faculty members in UK’s Department of Political Science study race and politics. Collectively, their research examines a common theme across widely different areas of the political world: How does race influence contemporary politics?

“It’s impossible to understand American politics without taking race into account,” said Professor Mark Peffley. “Fortunately, our department can do that in diverse ways that illuminate how deeply race

John Crowell

Undergraduate Student

by Robin Roenker

Undergraduate senior John Crowell stumbled into pursuing a minor though UK’s Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) Program as a junior, when he read a few books from his fiancée’s GWS coursework and was intrigued.

He decided to sign up for a GWS class of his own, a course on violence in culture led by Janice Oaks. And he was hooked.

“The classes, to me, give me a lot of insight into people’s points of view that I had never even thought of, or never had been able even to conceptualize before reading some of the texts,” said Crowell, a native of Knoxville, Tenn.

Crowell has consciously chosen a broad array of GWS coursework, from classes on Latina women to queer theorizing to an inspection of femme fatales in detective films.

While some friends and relatives sometimes ask Crowell

Cynthia Kline Isenhour

Anthropology Doctorate Student

Cynthia Kline Isenhour grew up in Germantown, Ohio, where she graduated from Valley View High School. She was raised one of two daughters primarily by her mother, who, though earning a modest salary, did everything in her power to provide more than just life’s necessities for her children.

“I suspect that my mother’s occasional conflation of love and material goods influenced my decision to study marketing in college (at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio),” Isenhour said.

Isenhour’s education at Miami U. and from her mother gave Isenhour an understanding of how buying and giving could be productive, “helping to create and foster social relations of love and mutual support.”

As a result of this newfound realization, Isenhour studied anthropology at the graduate level at Colorado State University.

Patrick Murphy Conlon

Linguistics and Political Science Senior

A native of Cincinnati and a graduate of Tates Creek High School, Patrick Conlon liked the idea of going to college, but he and his family were unsure of his prospects.

Conlon wasn’t concerned about grades or entrance exams. He needed to find a school that had the appropriate accommodations and services for disabled students. And he found that in the University of Kentucky.

“I was not the first in my family to attend college, but there was a worry before I started at UK that college would not be possible for me personally because of debilitating illness,” Conlon said. “As this is my fourth year at the university, it is pretty safe to say that I have survived.”

What also attracted Conlon to UK and helped him survive was the wide range of course offerings available. His interest in a


Department of Psychology Ph.D. Student

Melissa Cyders has a supervisor who always says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Well, in Cyders’ case, the student and the teacher are both blossoming.

Since her arrival at the University of Kentucky to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology, Cyders’ skills as a teacher, clinician and researcher have grown by leaps and bounds.

“I think that, for me, those skills all work hand-in-hand,” Cyders said. “The goal in each of these positions is to learn, to teach and to help. I need to learn about psychological phenomena in order to teach others so that they can help themselves. I’ve had to learn to see the big picture while still paying attention to details.”

Currently, Cyders is a part-time behavorial health resident at the orofacial pain center at the College of Dentistry, which



O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.
Othello, 3.3

Social psychologist and University of Kentucky Psychology Professor Richard Smith loves Shakespeare. So, it’s only fitting that the Bard was a master of Smith’s area of expertise — jealousy and envy.

“Shakespeare was wonderful at illustrating exactly what social psychology is, the study of how the everyday behavior of the individual is affected by the presence of others. ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Othello’ are perfect case studies on the impact of jealousy and envy,” Smith said.

Of course, as a professor and a researcher Smith can't rely solely on centuries-old plays. Instead, he observes students who participate in experiments as part of their Introductory


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