Jenny Wells

By

College: Engineering

UK Engineering's Paducah Program Offers Western Kentucky Students an Education Closer to Home

Published: Jan 11, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2013) — The University of Kentucky College of Engineering is renowned for its outstanding faculty, research and students. In the past five years, its freshman enrollment has increased significantly, as students are realizing the value of a career in engineering, and the world-class education they can receive at UK.  Students in far western Kentucky realize this as well, and are taking advantage of an opportunity to pursue a UK education while staying closer to home.

 

UK, in collaboration with Murray State University and West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC), has offered degree programs in mechanical and chemical engineering in Paducah since 1997, satisfying a regional need for professional engineers in this highly industrialized part of the Commonwealth. Located on the WKCTC campus, the program has a full UK faculty and staff and currently has 143 active students enrolled, the majority from McCracken, Marshall and Graves counties.

 

Jim Smart, UK associate professor of chemical engineering, has been with the Paducah program from the very beginning.

 

"Paducah is a wonderful place to live and study," Smart said. "When I heard about the proposal for UK Paducah, I wanted to get in on the ground floor. I thought it was very exciting. As it turned out, I was the first professor they hired."

 

Now in his 15th year with the program, Smart appreciates the opportunities to connect with students made possible by the small class sizes.

 

"Every class we offer has an experimental component. Students taking my fluid mechanics class will do fluid mechanics experiments during the semester — not two years later when they’ve forgotten most of the material. It enhances learning, and we wouldn’t be able to do that in classes of 40 or 50 students," he said.

 

Students in the Paducah program also have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty and make a difference on a global scale.  Last year, seven students from the program traveled with Jeffrey Seay, assistant professor of chemical and materials engineering, to West Africa, where they helped design a project to develop low-cost, environmentally friendly technologies to produce biodiesel for rural villagers in Cameroon.  They worked with the African Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (ACREST) to design the process using resources and materials readily available in Cameroon. The 10-day trip to work with the local villagers in implementing and refining the design was the culmination of the year-long project. Christina Willett, a chemical engineering junior from Gilbertsville, said she did not realize the impact her career choice could make.

 

"Seeing first-hand what engineering has done — and can do — for our world made a huge impression on me," she said.

 

Matt Byrn, a mechanical engineering senior from Graves County, originally hoped to come to the main campus.

 

"I started thinking about engineering at UK in Lexington; but as I looked at the financial cost, it was clear that wasn’t going to happen," he said.

 

Fortunately, Byrn's father discovered UK's engineering program in Paducah, and they agreed that enrolling there would save money and allow Byrn to get started on his education. Byrn's father even said he could finish his degree in Lexington after two years.

 

But two years later, Byrn no longer wanted to move to Lexington.

 

"I love it here," he said. "I like the small community and small classes. I was a part of a tight group of fellow engineering students, and we would help each other through the tough times and I didn't want to leave them. I was getting the best of both worlds."

 

The program is benefiting non-traditional students as well.  Lisa Drapeau has worked in the nuclear industry in the area for over 15 years, but did not have a mechanical engineering degree.  She decided a few years ago she wanted to pursue one, but wasn't sure where to go. Established in her community, with two adult children attending college, it wasn't practical to travel very far.

 

"I heard there was a UK campus in Paducah, but I didn’t know what they offered," she said. "I was told I could do a whole mechanical engineering degree right there. I said, 'Great! Sign me up.'"

 

Not only is Drapeau excelling in the classroom, she also spent this past summer interning at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville, Tenn., for the Department of Energy. Assigned to the Global Nuclear Security Technology Division, she worked on a project designed to improve the tracking of nuclear materials.  Set to graduate this May, she hopes to focus on advancing new technologies for the energy generation.

 

Amanda Anderson, a sophomore in the program, actually began college at Murray State University. When she decided she wanted to major in engineering, she transferred to the Paducah program, but was apprehensive at first.

 

"I thought I was going to miss traditional campus life because it was fun and exciting to be surrounded by so many people and to have numerous options for activities," she said.  "However, this has really turned out to not be the case!  The Paducah program has provided me with community, something that a larger, traditional campus usually can't quite achieve.  Here, we build relationships with our professors and advisers.  They know our names, our strengths and weaknesses, and are always more than willing to provide help."

 

She also didn't have any problem finding involvement at UK Paducah.

 

"I am, ironically, more involved now than I had been my freshman year!  I am part of the Society of Women Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and American Chemical Society.  I am also a Student Ambassador for the Paducah Campus."

 

Anderson plans to finish her degree at UK Paducah, and hopes to work at a chemical plant or continue her education following graduation. She feels the Paducah program satisfies not only her degree, but her personal growth as well.

 

"We attend college to learn and to earn a degree, as well as to grow as a person and to help others grow.  Attending the Paducah campus has fulfilled each of those categories and I can only expect it to get better as I continue to attend college here."

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, (859) 257-5343; Jenny.Wells@uky.edu

uknow_paducah_program.jpgmechanical.jpgbaja_car.jpgcameroon1.jpg
February
1
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Sun
2
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Mon
3
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tue
4
LNFS Presents: Groundhog Day
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Massage on the Go #1
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Internship Info Session
Edward Ayers, "The Incomplete War" - 2015 Bale Boone Symposium
Wed
5
LNFS Presents: Interstellar
LNFS Presents: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Thu
6
LNFS Presents: Songcatcher
LNFS Presents: Wall-E
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Fri
7
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
8
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Family Program: Everyone Collects!
Sun
9
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Mon
10
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Employer Showcase: Day 1 Technical Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: Successful Telephone Interview/Screening Tips and How to Choose & Prep your Professional References
Live Painting Performance
Coleman Hutchison, "Variations on the Word 'Dixie': Civil War Cultural Memory and a Song of the South" - 2015 Bale Boone Symposium
Love Letters for Seniors
Tue
11
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Live Painting Performance
LNFS Presents: Caddyshack
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Employer Showcase: Day 2 Non-Technical Career Fair
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Darwin Lecture Series
Wildcat Wednesday
#TrendingTopics: Space Exploration
Wed
12
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Live Painting Performance
LNFS Presents: Taxi Driver
LNFS Presents: Gone Girl
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Legal Planning
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
"Fix Society" Leelah's Law
David Blight, "When Did the American Civil War End?" - 2015 Bale Boone Symposium
Thu
13
Blitz Week for STAT and TEAM WILDCAT
Live Painting Performance
LNFS Presents: The Great Gatsby
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Candlelight Vigil for Chapel Hill Victims
Placing Modern Moonshine in America: Exploring Appalachia’s Role
ASA Photography Project
Fri
14
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Artist Talk
Sat
15
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
CIFA X CSSA Chinese Basketball Tournament
Film Screening: 2 States
Sun
16
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Awards, Reception, & Mixer
Mon
17
LNFS Presents: Dear White People
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Party Gras
CatWatch Party #2
Tue
18
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: Wreck-It Ralph
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Wed
19
LNFS Presents: Nightcrawler
LNFS Presents: Ip Man
Celebration at UK vs Texas A & M Women’s Basketball Game, Memorial Coliseum
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Depression Screening Day
Celebration at UK vs Texas A & M Women’s Basketball Game
Thu
20
LNFS Presents: The Bang Bang Club
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Curator Tour
Fri
21
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Celebration at UK vs Auburn Men’s Basketball Game
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Cross Cultural Workshop
Cross Cultural Workshop
Life After UK Conference
Spring Comedian: Jim Gaffigan
Sat
22
Cross Cultural Workshop
Cross Cultural Workshop
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
23
Graduate & Professional School Prep
Convocation
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Graduate School & Professional School Prep
Behind the Lens: Beau Willimon
Mon
24
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Job Club: Interview Strategies from the Other Side of the Table
Graduate School & Professional School Prep: Getting into Medical School
Cuba-U.S. Relations: a panel discussion
Pinterest Party #2
CRE and CCO Speaker: Laura Simms
Tue
25
LNFS Presents: Inception
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Fellows Founders Week Luncheon
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Graduate & Professional School Prep: Explaining Graduate School Tests
Graduate & Professional School Prep: Write a Winning Personal Statement
Wed
26
LNFS Presents: The Birds
LNFS Presents: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1
Guest Lecture: President Emeritus Mark Yudof of the University of California – Berkley
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Astronaut Dr Story Musgrave
Graduate & Professional School Prep: Graduate School 101
80's Night
African Dance Night
African Dance Night
Thu
27
LNFS Presents: Superbad
LNFS Presents: Little Shop of Horrors
Cultural Coffee Hour
The Blue Tie Bash
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture: Tanya Habjouqa
Fri
28
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Stay Warm with Swing Dancing
Sat
Feb 26
LNFS Presents: The Birds 02/26/2015

Fri, 02/27/2015

Repeats every day on January, February, March, April every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Apr 12 2015 except Mon Jan 12 2015, Mon Jan 26 2015, Mon Feb 02 2015, Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 16 2015, Mon Feb 23 2015, Mon Mar 02 2015, Mon Mar 09 2015, Mon Mar 16 2015, Mon Mar 23 2015, Mon Mar 30 2015, Mon Apr 06 2015.
Fri, 02/27/2015

Repeats every day until Sun Apr 12 2015 except Mon Feb 02 2015, Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 09 2015, Mon Feb 16 2015, Mon Feb 23 2015, Mon Mar 02 2015, Mon Mar 09 2015, Mon Mar 16 2015, Mon Mar 23 2015, Mon Mar 30 2015, Mon Apr 06 2015.
Fri, 02/27/2015

Reset Page