Professional News

UK Geography Instructor Wins Education Award

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2010) - Amanda Fickey knows the value of a role model. Fickey, a strategic planning committee member for the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center and a steering committee member for the UK Appalachian Research Community, also realizes that the relationship goes both ways. Networking with younger students is just as valuable for those within higher academic circles.

But this time around, the UK geography graduate student will be the example her peers look to; Fickey has been awarded the National Council for Geographic Education's (NCGE) 2010 Women in Geographic Education Award.

The Letcher High School graduate believes that working with less experienced students is an important service endeavor for more veteran academics. "We can (and should) serve as role models and sources of support for younger students, inspiring them to follow in our footsteps as the next generation of geographers," she said.

Fickey is thankful for her own network of academic, professional and personal relationships. She has expressed thanks, "to all the individuals throughout the state of Kentucky that have assisted me with my research - serving as participants, providing emotional support, or helping me locate funding - as well as those who have provided guest lectures for the courses I have taught in an effort to enhance the learning of students at UK."

Fickey's research interests include alternative economic practices and regional economic development; she has authored papers in these areas for the Journal of Appalachian Studies and disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory.

Before coming to UK, Fickey served as the arts and cultural outreach coordinator for The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Ky. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from UK and a master's in folk studies from Western Kentucky University where she received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology as well as the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Potter College of Arts and Sciences.

Fickey's current research examines conventional economic development strategies and alternative economic practices in the context of Eastern Kentucky’s handicraft industry. She has received the James Brown Research Award for Graduate Research in Appalachia from UK, the Edith Schwab Memorial Scholarship, a UK Student Government Association Graduate Student Scholarship and a Kentucky Oral History Commission Project Grant from the State of Kentucky.

"How can professional or informal networks encourage and support girls and women to learn geography and/or pursue geography-related careers?" the NCGE asked its members earlier this year. Just ask the award-winning Fickey and her mentors in the state of Kentucky.

"Many of the winners of this award have gone on to be leaders in geographic education, in both national and international contexts," said Fickey. "I plan to follow in their footsteps."

Fickey will receive the education award at the NCGE's annual conference Sept. 30- Oct. 3 in Savannah, Ga.

For more information about the UK Appalachian Center, please visit, or call (859)-257-4851.