Campus News

UK Names Intern and Employer of the Year


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 12, 2022) — Recipients of the University of Kentucky Undergraduate and Graduate Intern of the Year Awards and the Employer of the Year Award were recognized in a ceremony coordinated by the Stuckert Career Center, housed in the Office for Student Success, and the Graham Office of Career Management on Thursday, April 21, 2022. The annual event serves to recognize the extraordinary efforts and outstanding accomplishments of the year’s most exceptional student interns, as well as to honor the investment employers have made in UK students through career opportunities, events and collaborations.

This year’s undergraduate Intern of the Year is UK senior Alyssa Hargis, a double-major in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Public Health. Hargis was honored for her work at the Kentucky Environmental Public Health Tracking Network in the Kentucky Department of Public Health, where she led Kentucky’s participation in a nationwide Centers for Disease Control (CDC) pilot study to examine patterns in cold-related illness mortality. Hargis also took the lead on an exploratory analysis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cancer rates and potential clusters across Kentucky. She is in the process of completing a manuscript describing her findings for publication in the Journal of Appalachian Health.

“Having Alyssa as part of our team at Kentucky Tracking and the Kentucky Department for Public Health has been a blessing, and she sets the bar high for all future interns,” said John Egbo from the Kentucky Department for Public Health.  “We are so proud of her for achieving this honor!” 

The 2022 Graduate Intern of the Year is Brionna Taylor, a master’s student in the College of Social Work. Taylor was recognized for her time at the Hodgenville Police Department and the Erlanger Police Department, where she interned as a police social worker. Taylor was responsible for responding to calls with officers and following up to provide resources and assistance and worked to build a new program by networking with other police social workers. 

“I cannot begin to convey how much of an asset she has become not only to the department but to our small community as a whole,” said James Richardson, Chief of Police at the Hodgenville Police Department. “I feel that Brionna will succeed at anything she sets her mind to.” 

Coastal Cloud, a software consultation firm for businesses and nonprofits, was recognized as the 2022 Employer of the Year. Coastal Cloud was nominated by undergraduate student McKensie Millay who interned with the organization this year. In her nomination letter, Millay noted that her supervisors “have taken us under their wings, guided us along this fast but valuable journey, provided feedback and life lessons (and) have embraced being our mentors.”  Coastal Cloud’s Talent Development Consultant, Sarah Madison, accepted the award on behalf of Coastal Cloud and credited their student interns for the award.

UK also honored its undergraduate student intern runners-up, including:

  • Chloe Kellom, College of Nursing, Martin Luther King Center
  • Juliet Pagan, College of Communications and Information, The Kentucky Center for Grieving Children

Graduate student intern runners-up included:

  • Haneen Abu Zaghrit, College of Social Work, Rosa Parks Elementary School - Fayette County Public Schools
  • Josie Heyano, College of Social Work, Prevention Now

Employer of the Year finalists included:

  • Clark Material Handling Company
  • Godolphin Farm
  • Kentucky Equal Justice Center
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance 
  • Operation Making a Change (OMAC)
  • UK Oral Health Scholars Program
  • Valvoline 

Congratulations to all nominees, runners-up and award recipients.

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.