By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences has received its first Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This highly competitive program will help provide research opportunities for students from regional colleges.

“This REU award is an exciting milestone for our department and for UK,” said Al Shapere, chair of the department. “Just 60 other universities have REU programs in physics, none of them in Kentucky, so this is a distinction that raises our department’s status as a regional leader and sets us apart on a national scale. We are looking forward to partnering with

  By Guy Ramsey

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2020) — Among the 76 Wildcat student-athletes who graduated last week, 35 did so with honors. Graduates this spring won three team national championships, seven conference championships and a pair of bowl championships. Among the 76 are seven All-Americans and 18 All-Southeastern Conference performers.

It’s an accomplished group by any measure, but one member of UK Athletics’ Class of 2020 stands out from the rest.

That’s Wilbur Hackett, who earned his degree last week — five decades after finishing his Kentucky football career.

“Since I left UK in 1971, it’s always been my dream,” Hackett said. “My goal was to graduate from UK. For the last 50 years, I’ve thought about it more than once.”

Hackett’s playing career was certainly notable — he was


By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2020) — As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, we — as a society — search for answers. COVID-19, first and foremost, is a public health crisis. But it also leaves us with pressing questions beyond health care.

The University of Kentucky is home to some of the world’s most renowned thought leaders, and they stand ready to answer those questions.

On Thursday, May 14, the College of Arts and Sciences will launch the “A&S From Anywhere” virtual speaker series to keep the campus community — and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge — apprised of the latest ideas on COVID-19 and its effects.

“We in the college recognize our responsibility in these stressful times to fulfill our mission of sharing our research


By Richard LeComte

Israel’s drift among the young toward right-wing, anti-Arab politics worries Mark Peffley. Peffley, a UK political scientist, is studying the drift through survey research with colleagues in Israel, and he sees the trend as troubling. Peffley has devoted his career to exploring the extent that intolerance influences political psychology and behavior.  

“We’re looking at the politics of tolerance and the political aspects of tolerance,” Peffley said. “More Israeli Jews are identifying with the right wing. As terrorism escalated, Jews were less likely to see Israeli Arabs as true Israelis, and instead view them as the enemy.”

Peffley, one of the 400 most highly cited political scientists in the United States, was selected as a 2019-2020 University of Kentucky Research Professor. For several years, Peffley and his co-authors have documented how

Congratulations to Dr. Sean Parkin, named Section Editor of Acta Crystallographica E! Read the full story here.


By Guy RamseyAmy Jones-Timoney, and Brad Nally

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2020) — Twenty-five years ago, Nazr Mohammed left Chicago to enroll at the University of Kentucky. Mohammed chased his dreams as a basketball player and a student. First came a pair of national championships and All-Southeastern Conference honors during three years as a Wildcat.

Next, Mohammed left UK to become a first-round pick to begin an 18-year professional career that included an NBA championship run with San Antonio. And after his retirement in 2016, Mohammed moved into a front-office career with the Oklahoma City Thunder that has him on track to one day become an NBA general manager. Along the way,


By Catherine Brereton

Students in GEO 365 Race, Food and Environment found themselves sitting at a “kitchen table” rather than in a traditional classroom for their final exam at the end of the fall 2019 semester.

The setting was part of Priscilla McCutcheon’s work to break down barriers, foster conversation and empower her students to engage in a low-pressure but sometimes uncomfortable discourse.

 “The kitchen table became a place where we could let our hair down and become critical of ourselves and our place in our communities,” said McCutcheon, assistant professor of geography.

McCutcheon’s innovative approach to such topics as Black geographies, race and racism and food and sustainable agriculture has earned her the first Rickie Sanders Junior Faculty Award by the Feminist Geographies Specialty


By Lindsey Piercy 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2020) — Five University of Kentucky alumni are putting their degrees to work by showing support for front-line workers and local restaurants. With backgrounds in business and medicine, Michael Zhu, Jodi Llanora, Kyle Luo, Logan Jones and John Stein refused to feel helpless in the fight against COVID-19. Llanora and Luo are alumni of the College of Arts & Sciences. 

“The original idea for Feed the Front Line originated in Houston and started to make its way to other cities,” Zhu said. “When our team heard about the mission of the organization, it immediately resonated. We love the double-sided impact.”

Feed the Front Line  began as a simple idea: raise money, buy local food and deliver it to health care workers.


By Danielle Donham

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2020) — The University of Kentucky has honored two senior students with the Otis A. Singletary Outstanding Senior Award at the virtual Lead Blue: Student Organizations Celebration and Award Ceremony on April 28. This year’s recipients were Michael Hamilton and Joe Walden.

The Otis A. Singletary Outstanding Senior Award was established in 1978 as the first award recognizing overall student leadership at UK. The award is named after former University of Kentucky President Otis A. Singletary.

Students nominated for this award have displayed outstanding leadership while attending the University of Kentucky, made significant contributions to academics and are


By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2020) — Sydney Sayre appreciates the history she’s making in May as she graduates as the University of Kentucky's first African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) major in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“The first black studies course took place at UK in 1969, and in 2020 I’ll be the first person to graduate as a major in African American and Africana studies,” said Sayre, who grew up on a horse farm and considers Lexington her hometown. “I think history is all about new beginnings and change and that is what this program is doing at UK — making history.”

African American and Africana studies was available as a minor until 2019, when it became a major. Sayre, who is double majoring in history, accumulated enough credits to be the first student to earn the full major.


By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Thirteen University of Kentucky students were on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as they pursued political science classes and internships with legislators this spring. Then, the pandemic hit.

“The 13 students were all living together in a row house rental for interns on Capitol Hill, which is super,” said Tiffany Barnes, associate professor of political science in the College of Arts & Sciences, who runs the program. “But then we realized we needed to act when the pandemic broke out.”

Over UK’s spring break, a cadre of UK faculty teamed up to get the WilDCats at the Capitol program students out of D.C. and back home. The process of getting UK students home took some maneuvering – both the students themselves and their belongings needed to go home.

“With all the difficult decisions being made by government, we


By Madison Dyment

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky takes pride in providing a space for all students to succeed and feel at home. Sahana Holla, a junior biology major and College of Arts & Sciences ambassador, has contributed to providing such an environment by starting an organization that benefits a specific set of students – the Candid Colon group.

The group, partners with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, was a dream of Holla’s that arose from her own experience at UK. Coming from a small high school in Richmond, Kentucky, Holla was anxious about moving to a large school. Living with Crohn’s disease added more anxiety. 

“There were only 46 people in my graduating class so I was super nervous,” Holla said. “Especially living with Crohn’s disease, I didn’t know how many people had it like me and wasn’t sure if I would meet other people like me


By Danielle Donham and Lindsey Piercy

While the 2020 general election is still more than six months away, the COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined much of the presidential campaign. Meanwhile, state and county officials across the U.S. are already preparing ways to allow voters to cast their ballots safely. 

University of Kentucky faculty members with expertise in politics have been closely monitoring the evolving situation.

Michael Zilis, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences, teaches courses in American


By Richard LeComte

The College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding TA Awards recognize excellence in undergraduate instruction by teaching assistants. Fifteen teaching assistants were recognized for the 2019-2020  academic year .

Eligible students are current A&S graduate student teaching assistants in at least their second year of graduate work and must be responsible for instruction in some or all of a course offered by the College. The TAs recognized this year taught in courses offered through A & S departments and interdisciplinary programs. 

“Graduate Teaching Assistants are fundamental to the high-quality education that the College of Arts & Sciences provides to undergraduate students,” said Sarah M. Lyon, A&S associate dean for graduate studies. “I am routinely impressed with their hard work and the contributions they make to pedagogical


By Richard LeComte

The University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research and The Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence are offering the first Virtual Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars. This event celebrates the scholarly and creative works of undergraduate researchers. The virtual showcase will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 28, and runs through May 1.

Among the 104 participants are 49 undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences. The

A photo of Christine Kindler outdoors.

By Whitney Hale 

The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards announced history alumna Christine Kindler, of Lexington, has received the Berlin Fellowship from Humanity in Action. The fellowship recognizes commitment to social justice and human rights. 

The group's Berlin Fellowship examines contemporary questions around identity formation and societal pluralism and its impacts on democracy and human rights using the city’s own historical lessons from past human rights violations to its current social justice struggles. As a Berlin Fellow during the COVID-19


By Lindsey PiercyKody Kiser and Amy Jones-Timoney


Six of the University of Kentucky's passionate and accomplished educators were surprised earlier this spring by student nominators and the UK Alumni Association as 2020 Great Teacher Award recipients. Anna Voskresensky is one of this year’s Great Teacher recipients.

“It means a lot to me, because I’ve always liked what I do,” she said. “I

A photo of Liang Luo outdoors and wearing sunglasses.

By Katia Davis

Liang Luo, associate professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures (MCLLC), has received a grant from the Korea Foundation to offer Korean courses in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky starting fall 2020.

The $12,000 grant will go toward hiring a contracted part-time instructor to teach two Korean language courses each semester. 

The Korea Foundation was established in 1991 to promote a “better understanding of Korea within the international community and to increase friendship and goodwill between Korea and the rest of the world through exchange programs,” according to the Korea Foundation website

UK’s Korean Language and Culture Club and the UK Korean Student

A photo of Tony Love

By Lindsey Piercy

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the public is being asked to do what we aren’t always well-equipped to do in the face of a crisis — nothing.

By now, you are probably more than familiar with the term “social distancing.”

Humans have basic needs for emotional and social connection. While that connection may be more natural in-person, we — as a society — need to do our part to reduce transmission of the virus and flatten the curve.

Those efforts include washing your hands, sanitizing common surfaces and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others. But as Tony Love, assistant professor of sociology in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, stresses in the Q&A below,

An illustration of the Milky Way galaxy.

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

Austin Hinkel, a doctoral student in the University of Kentucky Department of Physics and Astronomy, is the lead author of a new paper that published today in the Astrophysical Journal.

The study, "Probing Axial Symmetry Breaking in the Galaxy with Gaia Data Release 2," was led by Hinkel along with co-authors Susan Gardner, professor of physics and astronomy in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, and Brian Yanny, a staff scientist and astrophysicist in the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics in Batavia, Illinois.

"Using powerful ideas borrowed from nuclear and particle physics, we explore the axial symmetry, or


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