Campus News

Spark Your Curiosity: Proposals Now Being Accepted for the 3rd Annual UK Curiosity Fair

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Student holding violin (right) with assistance from expert (left)
Student seated in front of computer
Group of staff members performing in ballroom

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 10, 2021)  The University of Kentucky LibrariesCenter for the Enhancement of Learning and TeachingChellgren CenterLewis Honors CollegeOffice for Student Success and Office of Undergraduate Research are inviting students, staff and faculty to engage with the campus and Lexington community by submitting a proposal to host a “curiosity station” at the 2021 UK Curiosity Fair

Founded to promote the role of curiosity in higher education, the UK Curiosity Fair enables participants to engage in interactive demos, also known as “curiosity stations,” designed to highlight a presenter’s area of interest and research. 

“Hosting a ‘Curiosity Station’ at the fair is an opportunity to showcase your work in a new and engaging way and to make connections with different students and faculty, as well as the Lexington community,” said Beth Kraemer, a UK librarian and co-founder of the fair. “We had a student last year comment that the Philosophy Department demo caused him to consider philosophy as a minor, which had never occurred to him before.” 

Each year, the Curiosity Fair planning committee invites presenters from a wide variety of disciplines, from molecular genetics to virtual reality to beekeeping to magic, to participate in the event, ensuring that the fair offers stations from the humanities, arts, sciences and a host of cross-disciplinary topics. 

In addition to building connections, hosting a curiosity station give presenters a chance to explain their topic of interest in a way that makes the information more accessible to a general audience. In doing so, both presenters and participants are able to return to their classroom or workplace with a fresh perspective and a renewed curiosity in the topic. 

“The goal of the Curiosity Fair is to help restore students’ passion and curiosity,” said Roger Brown, an associate professor of agricultural economics in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, who has also been involved with this initiative since the first fair. “I tell my students that a curious tortoise always beats a gifted hare. Many students may be more gifted than you right now, but the secret is to maintain and cultivate your curiosity; if you let your curiosity drive you, you will go very far.”

Students, staff and faculty are invited to submit their curiosity station proposals through the Curiosity Fair’s presenter signup. Through the form, presenters will be asked to briefly describe their proposed demo. Demos should be able to be completed or observed within an approximately five-minute window. 

Originally conceptualized as part of UK Libraries’ “Curiosity is Key” initiative, the UK Curiosity Fair has since expanded to include six sponsors and a wide range of contributors. The 2019 fair boasted 40 curiosity stations and welcomed over 400 participants from across the university and the surrounding community.

“At UK Libraries, we strive to help our communities discover, create and connect,” said Doug Way, dean of UK Libraries. “We serve to both inspire and satisfy the curiosity of our users, so it is a natural fit for us to be a sponsor of the Curiosity Fair.” 

The 2021 UK Curiosity Fair is open to students, staff, faculty and members of the Lexington community. The event will take place 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the Gatton Student Center Ballroom. For more information or to explore photos from the 2019 fair, click here

As the premier research library in the Commonwealth, UK Libraries empowers lifelong learners to discover, create and connect by providing ever-expanding access to quality information and collaborating with academic and creative communities worldwide to advance knowledge, enhance scholarship and preserve the history and culture of the Commonwealth. More information about UK Libraries can be found on its website.

Visit the fair’s website to learn more about additional sponsors for the 2021 University of Kentucky Curiosity Fair.

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 four 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" three 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 five 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.