A&S Students Receive Appalachian Center Research Awards

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center has honored 12 students with its annual research awards. Nine graduate students received the James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia, and two graduate students and one undergraduate student received the center's Eller and Billings Student Research Award. 

“The Appalachian Center is thrilled to support these student researchers that represent nine departments across four colleges,” said Kathryn Engle, associate director of the Appalachian Center. “We look forward to learning from their work as they continue to produce cutting-edge research in and on the region.”

The James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia is given to honor the memory of James S. Brown, a sociology professor at UK from 1946 to 1982, whose pioneering studies of society, demography and migration in Appalachia (including his ethnography of "Beech Creek") helped to establish the field of Appalachian studies at UK and beyond.

To be eligible, students must be actively enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program at UK. The award must be used to meet the costs of doing research relevant to social life in Appalachia including travel, lodging, copying, interviewing, ethnography, data collection, archival research, transcribing and other legitimate research expenses. Up to $1,000 is awarded to each recipient.

The recipients will present their research at Sharing Work on Appalachia in Progress with Appalachian Studies Program faculty and students during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The 2020 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research recipients are:

  • Sia Beasley, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences “Reproducing Marginalization: Cultural Politics of Obstetric Service Closures in the Rural United States.”
  • Carson Benn, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences “Broadcasting Region: The Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction and the Case for an Appalachian Network.”
  • Rachael Blandau, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences “Substantive Political Representation in Rural Kentucky.”
  • Madeline Dunfee, Department of Epidemiology-Biostatistics, College of Public Health “Conducting Social Network Analysis Among Adults with Cardiometabolic Disease in Appalachia.”
  • Jade Hollan, Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, College of Education “Kentucky Appalachians’ Intentions to Use Telemental Health.”
  • Annie Koempel, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences “Embodied Insecurities: Socio-Economic Status, Eating Patterns, and Metabolic Health.”
  • Alisha Mays, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences “An Appalachian Narrative of Food Justice: What Happens to Locally Produced Foodstuffs in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky.”
  • Dane Ritter, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences “Maybe Mountain: the Devastating Poetry of Mountaintop Removal.”
  • Rebecca Ellen Tucker, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, College of Education “Berea College's Commitment to Appalachia Kentucky.”

In the spirit of collaboration across units, colleges and academic/community boundaries, the Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program established the UK Appalachian Center Eller and Billings Student Research Award for research by UK students focused in and on the Appalachian region, especially toward furthering the conversation on sustainable futures in the region. Named after longtime UK historian Ronald D. Eller and longtime UK sociologist Dwight B. Billings, the award seeks to encourage and promote cutting-edge research across disciplines.

To be eligible for this award of up to $1,000, students must be actively enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program at UK. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Recipients of this award will also present their findings during the 2020-21 academic year. 

The 2020 Eller and Billings Student Research Award recipients are:

  • Lauren Hudson, Neuroscience Program and Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences (undergraduate) “Enhancing Cancer Literacy Among Appalachian Kentucky Middle and High School Students.”
  • Courtney Walker, Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health "Environmental Risk Factors for Gestational Hypertension in Kentucky."
  • Kathleen Williams, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment “Survival and Cause-Specific Mortality of Elk Calves in Kentucky.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.


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