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By Jenny Wells-Hosley 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center is honoring 11 students with its annual research awards.

Eight graduate students received the James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia, and one graduate student and two undergraduate students received the center's Eller and Billings Student Research Award.

"The Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program are thrilled to support these students and their summer work,” said Kathryn Engle, director of the center. “This group of students represents a range of disciplines and research interests. Thank you to the research mentors and advisers from across the university that are helping train the next generation


Not only was Dr. Kenton Sena recognized as a 2023 Great Teacher by The University of Kentucky Alumni Association but he also was selected to receive the 2023 American Society of Reclamation Sciences Richard I. and Lela M. Barnhisel Reclamation Researcher of the Year Award. This award reflects Sena's achievements in the field of reclamation research.

Sena's research involves reclamation of degraded spaces in both coal-mining and urban situations. “In mine sites in Appalachia, I’ve done work seeking to improve reforestation success; in Lexington, I’m collaborating with the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government to better understand how/whether tree planting projects develop into forests over time,” he said.

Sena involves students whenever possible by hiring them as research assistants or including them during class field trips of Honors classes such as “Appalachian


By Lindsay Travis Tuesday

Jeremy Blackburn | Research Communications.

Jeremy Blackburn | Research Communications.

From left: Brian Murtha, Crystal Wilkinson, YuMing Zhang, Melinda Ickes, Bill Stoops, Matthew Hoch, Feng Li, Ron Zimmer, Allison Gordon, Luciana Shaddox, Ann Morris, Björn Bauer, Christopher Norris and Erin Haynes. Not pictured: Dieter Hennings Yeomans and Michael McKay.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2023) — On Friday, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved 16 University Research Professors for the 2023-24 academic year. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the professorships program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of


By Jenny Wells-Hosley  Wednesday

Shaunna Scott (left) with UK Appalachian Center Director Kathryn Engle, at the 2023 Appalachian Studies Association conference. Photo by Kopana Terry

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2023) — The Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) has named Shaunna Scott, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky, winner of its Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching.

This award honors individuals dedicated to intellectual rigor and pedagogical integrity in constructing and delivering inclusive knowledge about Appalachia and its people. The awards are sponsored by East Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services. The ASA presents two Fisher awards each year — one to a K-12 teacher and one to


Karida L. Brown to discuss book as part of Martin School program | UKNow (

By The Martin School March 24, 2023

Karida L. Brown, Ph.D., will lead a discussion of her book, “Gone Home: Race and Roots Through Appalachia.”

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 24, 2023) — The public is invited to a conversation with Karida L. BrownPh.D., professor of sociology at Emory University, to discuss her book, “Gone Home: Race and Roots Through Appalachia.” The lecture and 


By Beth Bowling 

 Appalachian Research Day, known as "Come Sit on the Porch," is an annual conference hosted by the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH) to share results of health research conducted with communities in Appalachia. This year's event will be held in person April 5, 2023, at the Ramada by Wyndham Hotel and Conference Center in Paintsville, Kentucky.

Poster abstracts can be submitted through March 13. The deadline to register to attend the conference is March 24.

This year’s


The 2023 SPARK cohort is pictured alphabetically from left to right. 

The University of Kentucky SPARK (Students Participating as Ambassadors for Research in Kentucky) Program has named its 2023 cohort.

Now in its fourth year, The SPARK program allows undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and communities to get a jumpstart in health equity research early in their college experience. The program has grown to include undergraduates from Kentucky State


By Adrienne Clarke 

Kimmerer is a State University of New York Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Science and Forestry.

The University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College and the Student Sustainability Council will present a campus keynote from Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of “Gathering Moss” and “Braiding Sweetgrass,” and 2022 MacArthur Fellow, to be held at noon Thursday, April 6, at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

Kimmerer will present on "Indigenous Wisdom and Scientific Knowledge" from the perspective of a mother, plant ecologist, decorated professor and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Kimmerer is a State University of New York Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Science and Forestry. She also serves as the founder and director of the Center for


By C.E. Huffman 

Frank X Walker pictured with his new book "A Is For Affilachia." Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 21, 2023) — Appalachia has a rich history and culture. According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the region spans north from New York, down the expansive mountain range as far south and west to Mississippi with Kentucky in the middle. Many times, lost in the overall conversation of Appalachia are Black Americans contributions to the region.

Frank X Walker, University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences English professor, wanted to make sure the region’s Black


By Elizabeth Chapin 

High school students participating in the ACTION Program, a year-round program that teaches them basics of cancer science. Photo taken on June 28, 2021. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky has the highest rate of cancer incidence and mortality in the country, with the Eastern Appalachian region bearing the highest burden due to health, socioeconomic and education disparities.

University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center program is training the next generation of cancer researchers and health care providers to take on the region’s cancer burden.

Since 2016, the Appalachian Career Training In ONcology (


By Justin Williams

ApppalachiaCorps connects students with organizations in Eastern Kentucky and the greater Appalachian region, providing them a summer internship opportunity concentrating on their career goals.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center and the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement's AppalachiaCorps program will continue for Summer 2023.

ApppalachiaCorps connects students with organizations in Eastern Kentucky and the greater Appalachian region, providing them a summer internship opportunity concentrating on their career goals. Participants will acquire valuable leadership and networking skills during this internship,



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LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association celebrated the six recipients of its annual Great Teacher Award  Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Central Bank Center in Lexington. The recipients are:

Dibakar Bhattacharyya, College of Engineering Jennifer Bird-Pollan, J. David Rosenberg College of Law Candice Hargons, College of Education Derek Lane, College of Communication and Information Kenton Sena, Lewis Honors College Martina Vasil,

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center is showcasing the work of student and faculty researchers through its Sharing Work on Appalachia in Progress (SWAP) series this spring.

The presenting researchers represent four colleges and seven departments from across UK’s campus, as well as a faculty guest presentation from Maynooth University in Ireland.

Many of the presenting students are supported through the center’s James S. Brown Graduate Student Awards for Research on Appalachia and the UK Appalachian Center Eller & Billings Student Research Awards.

"This spring semester we


By C.E. Huffman

Sharyn Mitchell pays tribute to unknown contributions of Black Kentuckians. Photo courtesy Berea College Magazine.

The University of Kentucky community and the public are invited to join Sharyn Mitchell for her presentation of “We, Too, Were Here!” The event will be held at the William T. Young Library’s UK Athletics Auditorium 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Mitchell is a former research services specialist at Berea College Special Collections and Archives.

"I got paid to play,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell's presentation will explore the often-hidden contributions that Black Americans have made to Kentucky history. During the conversation, Mitchell


By Ryan Girves 

In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Universities are where new discoveries are made, new understanding is reached and new ideas thrive. With that understanding, it is no surprise that Black History Month first began on a college campus. 

While the first monthlong commemoration began in 1969 at Kent State University, the origins of Black History Month date back to 1915 with the founding of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black


By Micha'la Hood

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Applications are now open for awards and funding opportunities offered by the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies program. These opportunities are open to any student participating in work and research in the Appalachian region. 

Graduate students are eligible to apply for the James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia and both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for the Eller & Billings Student Research Award. These awards support student research in/relating to the Appalachian region. 

Applications for the 2023 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia and the 2023 UK Appalachian Center Eller & Billings Student Research Award must be submitted by Feb.


LEXINGTON, Ky. — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center, Appalachian Studies Program and the UK Appalachian Research Community (UK-ARC) will host the annual UK Appalachian Research Symposium and Arts Showcase Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.

The symposium is open to undergraduate and graduate students of all disciplines from all colleges and universities doing work pertaining to Appalachia. Registration is free for both presenters and registered attendees. The purpose of the event is to promote interdisciplinary dialogue around issues in Appalachia.

Students are invited to submit proposals for the showcase. Students looking to improve presentation experience, as well as students seeking feedback on ongoing research, are strongly encouraged to participate.

"We are looking


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2022) — Three alumni and one faculty member were inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame at a ceremony held on campus Friday, Sept. 30. 

The hall of fame recognizes UK Arts and Sciences alumni and faculty who have made meaningful contributions to the university, the Commonwealth and the nation in their respective fields. 

“We are honored to recognize and celebrate our stellar class of inductees; La Tasha Buckner, Dennis McCarty, Cythnia 'Didi' Rapp and Dwight Billings, who are some of our most distinguished alumni and faculty,” said Ana Franco-Watkins, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our honorees’ life stories reflect the power and


By Tori Santiago 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center, in collaboration with the Housing Development Alliance, is seeking volunteers for a 


By Lindsey Piercy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 5, 2022) — Fruithurst is your quintessential small town. Located in Cleburne County, Alabama — just five miles on the other side of the Georgia state line — only a few hundred people call it home.

Christy Hiett is one of those people.

Born and raised in the tight-knit community, she now serves as principal of Fruithurst Elementary, the same school she attended as a young girl.

“Fruithurst is a very small community where the school is a large part of the community, and the community is a large part of the school.”

That’s why Hiett became concerned when a growing number of people, including her students, were diagnosed with cancer.

“When children started being diagnosed with leukemia, people in the community looked to me for answers,” she said