by Keith Hautala

(June 3, 2014) The University of Kentucky has been awarded a $1.9 million grant to improve retention of students in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics, through a collection of initiatives dubbed "STEMCats."

UK is one of 37 research institutions selected by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to receive an award, from among 170 institutions competing for a share of $60 million in total funding. The five-year awards, ranging from $1.2 to $2.4 million, are intended to enable schools to focus on "significant and sustained improvement in retaining students" in the STEM disciplines.

Although the need for STEM graduates is growing nationally, fewer than half of all students who enter college with the intention of majoring in

Distinguished Lecture Series


by Keith Hautala

(April 22, 2014) — To save the United States from the effects of global warming, the U.S. government must literally “save the world,” University of Kentucky sedimentary geologist and paleontologist Frank Ettensohn said.

Ettensohn, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, will deliver the UK College of Arts and Sciences 2014 Distinguished Professor Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24, in the auditorium of the William T. Young Library. The title of his talk is "Saving the World: Reflections on the U.S. Government and Energy Security."

Ettensohn, whose career at UK spans more than 30 years, is a leading

Earth Days in the Bluegrass 2014


by Keith Hautala, Shane Tedder

(April 8, 2014) — The University of Kentucky this month is hosting the ninth annual Earth Days in the Bluegrass (EDBG), a month-long series of events promoting sustainability.  

The Office of Sustainability coordinates EDBG and partners with other campus and community organizations to provide a full calendar of workshops, presentations, films screenings and more. This year the schedule of events includes several unique sustainability-focused volunteer opportunities.

The Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment is hosting a rain garden “Planting Party” at 1 p.m. Friday, April 11, at the newly constructed rain garden on Farm Road


by Whitney Hale

(April 8, 2014) — "Reel to Real: Special Collections at the Movies," the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library's film series, will close this year with a screening of "Our Day," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center. The film series explores celebrated movies through a historically accurate perspective based on primary source materials found in Special Collections. The screening is free and open to the public.

“Our Day” is a short 1938 documentary about the Kelly family of Lebanon, Ky. Filmed by Wallace Kelly, the home movie looks at a day in the life of the family.

Movie topics


by Mike Lynch

(March 27, 2014) — Kentucky geologists say Saturday morning's landslide in rural Snohomish County, Wa., should serve as a reminder that other parts of the country, including the Commonwealth, face similar threats.

The incident in Washington state, reported to cover about a square mile, occurred as a result of recent heavy rains that saturated the ground. Kentucky has also been affected by landslides, though most of them are not as large or devastating as the Washington state slide.

The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kentucky is compiling a landslide inventory database to better document the distribution and geologic context of Kentucky’s landslides.

“The purpose of the database is to provide users easy access to landslide information, raise awareness of landslide causes, and avoid property damage or injury,”

"Homecoming" is from his work "War is Personal."

by Whitney Harder, Whitney Hale

(March 11, 2014) — Eugene Richards, a photographer, writer and filmmaker known for capturing moments of political activism and social issues in his work, will give the final presentation in the 2013-14 Robert C. May Endowment Photography Lecture Series with a lecture at 4 p.m. Friday, March 14, in Worsham Theater at the University of Kentucky Student Center. In conjunction with the talk, an exhibition of Richards' work will be on display March 14 through April 27, in the Art Museum at UK. The lecture and exhibition are free and open to the public.

Richards launched

Woodland Glen 2


by Carl Nathe

(March 12, 2014) — Encouraging sustainability practices and awareness of environmental issues is at the heart of a new Living Learning Program (LLP), which will make its debut this fall at the University of Kentucky.

Greenhouse is a partnership between the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) and the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S).  The co-directors from CAFE are  faculty members Carmen Agouridis, Department of 

Student Sustainability Council



by Keith Hautala

(March 5, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Student Sustainability Council is seeking applications for up to 11 at-large members for the 2014-2015 school year. 

The council is a registered student organization, composed of representatives from other student organizations and at-large members, created in 2009 to oversee the distribution of the Environmental Stewardship Fee. Each full-time student pays a mandatory student fee of $3 per semester into the Environmental Stewardship Fund. In 2014-2015, this will increase to $3.25.

At-large members have voice and vote on the council, working with their peers to ensure that the Environmental Stewardship Fee supports programs that represent the will of the student body in promoting sustainability on UK’s campus. A full list of projects funded in the

Reel to Reel Film Series by Special Collections

by Whitney Harder, Whitney Hale

(March 3, 2014) — "Reel to Real: Special Collections at the Movies," the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library's film series, will continue with "Coal Miner's Daughter," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, at Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center. The film series explores celebrated movies through a historically accurate perspective based on primary source materials found in Special Collections. The screening is free and open to the public.

"Coal Miner's Daughter," is based on the life of country singer and Kentucky native Loretta


By Guy Spriggs

For most Americans, levees are man-made engineering projects, rarely mentioned outside of the flooding that follows disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

However, recent research conducted by Earth and Environmental Science (EES) Assistant Professor Derek Sawyer published in the journal “Geology” sheds new light on levees most of us never see – those built naturally by underwater rivers deep below the ocean’s surface.

“On the ocean floor there are rivers gouging their way to deeper parts of the ocean,” Sawyer explained. “As a river moves along the bottom it makes its own channel, and it can run for hundreds of miles.”

These underwater rivers typically form outboard of


by Keith Hautala

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2014) — The University of Kentucky's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) formally opened the Pioneer Natural Resources Stratigraphy and Paleo-environments Laboratory at a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, Feb. 14.

The laboratory is situated on the completely renovated ground floor of the Slone Building. The project was undertaken with $900,000 in support from Pioneer Natural Resources, a large, independent oil and natural gas company based in Irving, Texas. The company provided an initial grant of $600,000 and an additional $300,000 in operating funds.

Additional support for the project came from the UK College of Arts and Sciences, UK Facilities Management, and the Herman Lee and Nell Stuart Donovan

Andrew H. Knoll

by Keith Hautala

(Feb. 10, 2014) — A Harvard professor will deliver a special lecture at the University of Kentucky about the earliest forms of life on Earth.  

"The Deep History of Life: What Kinds of Life Characterized Earth During the Precambrian?" will be presented by Andrew H. Knoll, of the Harvard University Departments of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Earth and Planetary Sciences. Knoll's talk is free and open to the public and will take place starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Memorial Hall. Free parking will be available at Parking Structure No. 2, on Hilltop Avenue. 

The Precambrian period refers to the time when only primitive life forms existed on Earth, before about 545 million years ago.

"Fossils of shells, bones, tracks, and trails record a history of animal evolution more than 600 million years in duration," Knoll

Recording of seismic data from the Central U.S. Seismic Observatory.

by Kieth Hautala, Mike Lynch

(Jan. 31, 2014) — The New Madrid Seismic Zone is in the news again, following the Jan. 23 publication of a paper by the journal Science, titled "The New Madrid Seismic Zone: Not Dead Yet."

The study has been widely reported, drawing attention to the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), a fault system which extends into five states, including the western part of Kentucky. The Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) and the University of Kentucky Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences have studied the NMSZ for decades.

KGS operates a network of seismographs in this zone, including the Central U.S. Seismic Observatory, just a few miles from the town of New Madrid, Mo. UK has been monitoring seismic activity on the NMSZ for more than 30 years. Dozens of small earthquakes are recorded by the Kentucky Seismic and Strong Motion


by Derrick Meads

(Jan. 29, 2014) — The University of Kentucky ranked in the top 10 for Fulbright Scholar Awards received by its faculty in 2013-14.  Many of the applicants were advised by David Adams, the former director of the East Asia/Pacific region for the Fulbright Program, whom the UK International Center (UKIC) brought to campus in 2012. 

To continue this success, UKIC will bring two Fulbright consultants to UK this spring.

On Monday, Feb. 10, Dom Caristi, professor of telecommunications at Ball State University, will lead two workshops and meet privately with interested faculty to select an award and prepare an effective application.  The workshop will take place in Study Room 1 of the Fine Arts Library. The itinerary is:

UK's flowery front gate

by Kathy Johnson

(Dec. 17, 2013) ― The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today accepted nearly $6.5 million in gifts and pledges to UK.

The pledges include:

$535,000 from the Davis and Beverly Marksbury Foundation of Nicholasville, Ky., to fund capital projects within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics; and $2 million from Terry Woodward of Owensboro, Ky., to support the Gatton College of Business and Economics Capital Campaign and will be used for the Gatton building expansion now underway.

   Gifts include:

More than $1.7 million from the estate of Judith M. Janssen, formerly of Evanston, Ill., to add to the existing Guy M. Davenport Endowed Professorship in English; $735,000 from the estate of Maywin S. Lauderdale, formerly of Lexington, to create and endow the Robert. A. and Maywin S.
Dr. Khaled A. Shaaban

by Allison Perry

(Nov. 11, 2013) — In their ongoing quest to develop the latest and most effective drugs for disease treatment, researchers in the University of Kentucky's Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation (CPRI) are looking deep — as in, deep underground.

It's all part of a new UK-based bioprospecting initiative, which involves a collaboration between CPRI, the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), and the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS). The idea behind the program is to collect samples from unusual environments throughout the Commonwealth, with the goal of finding new, unique organisms that produce natural products that could potentially be used to develop new drugs with an initial focus on treatments for cancer, infectious disease and inflammation.

Many of our existing effective drugs are made by microbes. For example,


By Guy Spriggs

Since 1948, UK’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) has operated a geology field camp in the Rocky Mountains, giving students the opportunity to apply classroom learning in the real world. This summer, EES offered alumni the chance to return to the Rockies for a special reunion over the Fourth of July weekend.

Participants in the field camp talk about the trip as a life-changing and formative experience, and not surprisingly, alumni were interested and motivated by the prospect of revisiting memories and experiences in Colorado.

“More than anything else, it’s something students can look back on. It’s a thing that can bind different groups,” said EES professor Frank Ettensohn. “Whether they’re from the 1950s or the



video courtesy of UK Public Relations & Marketing

article by Jenny Wells

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 7, 2013) — In addition to research presentations, the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will offer numerous volunteer opportunities for the entire campus community when the University of Kentucky hosts the conference April 3-5, 2014. From helping direct traffic, to managing technology, to just helping students find where they need to go, there will be a variety of positions available to students, faculty and staff.

Students will have even more flexibility to get involved, as the University Senate has given permission for faculty to redirect their classes April 3 and 4 so students can attend conference events and presentations. 

"This is a bit unusual; it's a new


by Kathy Johnson & Sarah Geegan

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2013) ― The University of Kentucky is one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in the country.  In a recently released ranking in the Chronicle of Higher Education, UK is ranked sixth among research institutions for its number of professors earning the prestigious Fulbright grants for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Sponsored by the United States Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program, which provides funding for professionals, teachers,


By Victoria Dekle

“The moment I realized I could make a career by playing outside,” Olivia Woodruff exclaimed, “I was hooked.”

Thanks to the growth of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields over the past few years, this dream career is possible for Woodruff and millions of other women across the United States.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences is one example of this positive demographic change at the University of Kentucky.

“Earth science,” said Department Chair, David Moecher, “like all other STEM disciplines, was once considered to be defined as an underrepresented field with regard to the proportion of women and minorities


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