Alumni Success Stories

Panayotis “Taki” Petrou

Growing up in Athens, Greece, Panayotis “Taki” Petrou knew he wanted to study in the United States when he was older.
Three of his uncles lived in America and his older sister had already left Greece for school in Chicago.
“I was finishing high school and thinking about college, and it had always been my dream to go to the U.S.,” Petrou said.

Steven Murdock

“The mentoring I received from UK sociology faculty such as Drs. James Brown, Clyde McCoy, and Tom Ford was instrumental in my professional development," Murdock said. "They not only provided me with a rigorous education in demography but also provided examples that served as role models for me as I developed professionally. I will forever be indebted to them, the department, and the University of Kentucky for their help and guidance.”

Benny G. Johnson

One-on-one teaching assistance is hard to come by in math and science courses, where many students struggle to understand balancing equations, solving for variables, and applying formulas. To address the problem, Benny G. Johnson, Sr., and Dale Holder joined forces, merging chemistry, computer programming and teaching philosophy to create Quantum Tutors, the first artificial intelligence tutoring program for the sciences.

Kevin Harrelson

Kevin Harrelson discovered the works of 17th century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and early-19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel while an undergraduate philosophy major at Villanova University.
Their writing—and their questions—captivated him. His readings of Hegel led to an interest in German Idealism in general, and led him to pursue his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Kentucky. 

Sonja Petrovic

At the end of every big chapter of our lives, we are faced with tough choices. As I was applying for graduate schools, I was overwhelmed by the opportunities that awaited... somehow in the jungle of choices, everyone finds one that seems most appropriate at the moment, chooses it, and hopes that it proves to be a good one for the future. These choices define us in some way. In case of graduate school, this choice defines us as mathematicians. In this sense, I have chosen the perfect department.

Alumna Story: Caroline Light

“I started looking at southern Jewish race identity,” Caroline Light said. “It was the perfect way to merge my interests in race and gender. There is a real gap in the historiography of the United States as it relates to southern Jewish identity.”

Allen Turner

The anthropologist, lawyer and teacher has certainly kept busy since he left the College of Arts & Sciences in 1981.

Rachel Dunnagan

Rachel Dunnagan has always been as dedicated to the education of others as she is to her own education.
Teaching comes natural to the math and classics senior.
Her love of education began with creating pretend assignments for her younger sister when they played school as children and continued with Dunnagan’s devotion to helping her classmates with their studies in high school.

Susan Eriksson

Susan (Camenisch) Eriksson started her studies at UK as a music major, with a focus on piano. But when she took an honors section of geology during her junior year, she was hooked.
“After one exam, I went up to the TA and said, I love this, I love, this, I love this!” she recalls. “I was so excited. I said I wished I had found geology as a freshman.”

Bill Bass

There is one 12 or 13-year-old female, with great dental work, that he can’t get out of his mind. This is a case that haunts him.
“I can’t ID her,” said Bill Bass, one of the world’s leading forensic anthropologists and alumnus of UK’s College of Arts and Sciences. “There are cold cases, but they are never really that cold. We are constantly talking about them and there are new techniques that are coming out all the time that may break the case.”

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