By Madison Dyment

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A prominent goal of any institution is rewarding and enhancing student success – and the new Tomasky Leaders Scholarship Fund will help the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies achieve this goal. 

Named for Susan Tomasky, a College of Arts & Sciences alumna (BA, Topical Studies, ’74) who established the fund, the Tomasky Leaders Scholarship program serves to encourage students to become involved in politics, pursue higher office and live a life of activism. The fund covers all fees for recipients to attend events such as activism training, conferences and seminars, and participating in internships. 

“My undergraduate education at UK was shaped by several influential professors who helped me understand the relationship between intellectual growth as a student and personal


By Ryan Girves

Before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 50 outstanding University of Kentucky undergraduate research students learned they were selected to present their faculty-mentored research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The event was canceled, but UK's Office of Undergraduate Research is noting the achievement. Among them are more than a dozen students in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

The student conference, which would have been held this past weekend at Montana State University, is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity in all fields of study. It provides models of exemplary research and scholarship and strives to improve the state of undergraduate

Alumna and professor in the Department of Sociology, associate director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Drug and Alcohol Research

Carrie Oser, professor and associate chair in the Department of Sociology, is a ’ 98 UK graduate, the associate director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET) and a faculty affiliate of the Center on Drug & Alcohol Research (CDAR). Her research interests include addiction health services, health disparities/equity, HIV risk behaviors/interventions, social networks, implementation science and substance use among rural, African American or criminal justice populations. 

In 2015, Oser received the Senior Scholar

Amy Murrell Taylor’s award-winning book “Embattled Freedom” chronicles the camps where formerly enslaved people congregated in the Civil War

By Richard LeComte

Camp Nelson, a Civil War-era historic site south of Lexington, helps to fill a gap in the epic story of the end of slavery in the United States. At this site, along with about 300 others in the South, the camp offered refuge to people emancipated from plantations and a place where men could enlist in the Union Army.

Here at Camp Nelson and many other places, African Americans began or continued a serpentine journey to freedom—one that American history has, until now, failed to map.

“The story of freedom in the United States is a story of long, drawn-out battles, fights and struggles,” said Amy Murrell Taylor, author of the acclaimed book “Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s

Statistics Department named for alumnus, generous donor

By Jay Blanton

University of Kentucky faculty member Connie Wood accepted a collect call in 1989 from a student a world away who was in need of a connection and a path forward.

For Bing Zhang, the willingness of a director of graduate studies to accept that phone call and offer help in a time of need has made all the difference in a life’s work and, now, what has been a lifetime of giving back.

Flash forward more than 30 years.

This February, President Eli Capilouto recommended and the UK Board of Trustees accepted a $6.35 million pledge Zhang is making to the University’s Department of Statistics, where he received his doctorate 26 years ago. The board also approved naming the Department the Dr. Bing Zhang Department of Statistics at the University of Kentucky. UK’s

College’s new Latinx professors reach out to students of similar heritage

By Richard LeComte

Teaching his first classes at UK in fall 2019, Eladio Bobadilla fresh from his doctoral studies at Duke—saw a lot of eager students waiting for him to share his perspectives on Latinx history. For many students in the class, Bobadilla was teaching something essential: their own histories. 

“It was pretty amazing because a couple of the classes were largely Latino students who were really excited to have someone who looked like them teach them about their histories,” Bobadilla said. “So that was a lot of fun for me. And it was exciting for them to find someone who cares about their history.”

As part of a cluster hire program to bring new Latinx faculty to campus, the College of Arts and Sciences brought aboard two assistant professors: Bobadilla, in

This Living Learning Program gives freshmen a mentored head start on the way to majoring in the sciences and mathematics

By Richard LeComte

Started in 2015, the STEMCats Living Learning Program has helped students majoring within the many and varied areas of the sciences or mathematics find their way to success at UK. And STEMCats peer mentors are a big part of that effort. 

“I have a group chat with my mentees about how things are going,” said Keanu Exum, a STEMCats peer mentor majoring in biology and neuroscience. “I want to make myself known to my mentees — that I am a resource for them.” 

Getting students situated in STEMCats is having a positive effect on the academic careers of the participants, says a study conducted by Carol D. Hanley of International Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. STEMCats is a program


Anne C. Deaton, English '67, has focused her career on the socio-economic, health and public policy issues related to seniors. In Columbia, Missouri, Deaton co-founded the Children’s Grove, an organization devoted to promoting a culture of kindness and supporting the health of young people through community education, the arts and the environment.

Gerald L. Smith, History ’81, ’83, ’88, served from 1997 to 2005 as director of the UK African American Studies and Research Program. He is a full professor of history and former Theodore A. Hallam Professor and Martin Luther King Center Scholar-in-Residence. His awards include induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars of Morehouse College and the Evelyn Black Award from the UK Black Student Union.

Steve Sullivan, Geology ’79, worked


Dean's Letter

News & Notes

20th Anniversary Hall of Fame

Energizing a Career
Robert Stokes’ physics degree took his career from space science to energy technology

By Julie Wrinn

Robert Stokes (Physics BS '64) came of age in the 1960s as part of a generation of American astrophysicists who were energized by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite. He grew up in Ravenna, Kentucky, a tiny city in Estill County built up by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1915.  

His father, a dispatcher for the railroad, passed away when Stokes was 16. Although his parents did not have much formal education, they had always hoped he would be able to go to college, and thanks to his mother’s dedication and a lot of help and encouragement from the close-knit community, Stokes managed to stay on track for college. 

“I had a lot of people who really cared about me,” Stokes said. “I had ‘extra’ parents, scoutmasters, and teachers who had an enormously positive impact on my life. During my junior and senior years in high school, I used to get


By Ryan Girves 

This week marked the start of online learning for University of Kentucky students across campus following the announcement from President Eli Capilouto suspending all in-person instruction through the end of the spring semester in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

UK is one of many universities to move its classes online using channels such as Zoom — a video conferencing platform — as part of an effort to de-densify campus. 

“Overall, both faculty and students indicate that the transition to online is going better than expected,” said Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning and Academic Innovation Kathi Kern. “Faculty have devoted themselves tirelessly over the last week to rethink their courses and prepare them in a new way.”

In the week leading up to the launch of


By Sarah Mardon

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded funding to the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky to lead a team of collaborative researchers from UK, the University of Arizona and the University of Iowa in an innovative project to study groundwater flow in karst aquifers. Karst aquifers are characterized by rapid, turbulent flow of groundwater through complex underground networks of fractures and solution conduits (caves).

These aquifers are present in many parts of the world underlain by soluble rocks and provide drinking water for millions of people. In Kentucky, where such carbonate rocks as limestone


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

The Appalachian Studies Association conference, which was scheduled to take place this week at the University of Kentucky, has been canceled due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19. The following message was sent from the ASA to its members and registrants yesterday:

"We are writing to tell you that after much consideration and discussion we have determined that cancelling the ASA conference is the right thing to do in light of the circumstances with coronavirus. The Steering Committee has a lot of work to do to evaluate the consequences of this decision and we will be discussing this in the days ahead. We are grateful to the UK administration and especially the planning committee who have organized an amazing conference.

We are sorry that this had to happen,


When Isabella Morales’ older sister Maria was a high school student in Lexington, she noticed a lack of mentors who looked like her or who had lived her experience – that of a Latina student in a majority-white school. As a student at UK, she decided to do something about it by founding Leading Latinas, a student organization that mentors Latina high school students and encourages them to apply to UK.

Leading Latinas is now three years old, and the group is active in three Fayette County high schools – Tates Creek, Bryan Station and newly-added Dunbar. Maria Morales is in graduate school at Baylor and her sister Isabella Morales, a UK senior, is continuing the mission. Isabella, a psychology major with a minor in Spanish, hopes to become an occupational therapist. She says she had her sister as a mentor and wants

Claire Renzetti sits at a desk.

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

A new book by researchers in the University of Kentucky's Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW) explores adjudication options on sexual misconduct on college campuses.

Published in January by Cognella, "Adjudicating Campus Sexual Misconduct and Assault" was edited by CRVAW Director Diane Follingstad and Judi Conway Patton Endowed Chair Claire Renzetti.

"There is considerable confusion around policies and procedures for addressing campus sexual misconduct and assault and a good deal of diversity across campuses," said Renzetti, who is also professor and chair of the UK Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. "One of our goals has been to provide some clarity


By University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky will feature its “Place Matters: New Directions in Appalachian Studies” series of books at the upcoming Appalachian Studies Association Conference hosted on the University of Kentucky campus March 12-15.

Literacy in the Mountains: Community, Newspapers, and Writing in Appalachia” by Samantha NeCamp is the newest title in the series. By looking at five Kentucky newspapers printed between 1885 and 1920, it explores the

Doctoral student Samantha Malone and undergrad Emily Punzal showcase their work at Substance Use Research Day.

By Allison Perry

Growing up in an area heavily impacted by the opioid epidemic, University of Kentucky grad student Samantha Malone knew she wanted to pursue a career that involved research on substance use.

“I’m from East Tennessee, and substance use is huge there,” said Malone, a second-year Ph.D. student in the UK Department of Psychology’s Cognitive Neuroscience program. “So I really wanted to go into neuroscience research involving substance use disorder just because of where I’m from, and I know how big of an impact research like this has on our community.”

Malone was one of the dozens of researchers from UK and beyond presenting a poster at the second


By Gail HairstonKody KiserAmy Jones-Timoney, and Steve Shaffer


What makes a good teacher a great one? University of Kentucky students were eager to share their opinions about the best teacher in their lives, nominating them for one of the most esteemed awards on campus. 

The UK Alumni Association 2020 Great Teacher Award was recently bestowed upon six University of Kentucky educators. Initiated in 1961, UK’s Great Teacher Award is the longest-running UK award recognizing teaching. In order to receive the award, educators must first be nominated by a student. The UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award Committee, in cooperation


By Nate Harling and Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2020) — Bertin Louis Jr. has received a prestigious position that is giving him national exposure. The director of undergraduate studies for African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) and associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky has been named editor of “Conditionally Accepted.”

The Inside Higher Education column serves as an online space for scholars

A photo of Ed Woolery in a desert landscape behind a large white piece of equipment.

By Victor Allison and Jenny Wells-Hosley

This Thursday, the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) will host its annual open house, giving UK students and the public opportunities to learn about, and even experience, some of the geological research happening on campus. Ed Woolery is one of the participating researchers and plans to showcase his work with seismic sensors and monitoring systems used to predict earthquakes.  

After being named chair of EES last year, Woolery sat down with the 


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