Research

8 Students Selected as Sustainability Summer Research Fellows

Eight UK students were selected as Sustainability Summer Fellows.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 25, 2021)  Eight University of Kentucky students have been selected for the Sustainability Summer Research Fellowship program, a high-impact learning experience that contributes to the students’ academic growth as well as sustainability-focused research initiatives at UK and within the community at large.

The Sustainability Research Fellowship is a collaborative program coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research and sponsored by the UK Student Sustainability Council (SSC) and UK Sustainability. The fellowship’s goal is to support and promote sustainability-related undergraduate research endeavors. The program, which launched in 2014, has supported 48 undergraduate sustainability summer projects.

“Sustainability Research Fellowships have been instrumental in helping undergraduate students, including those from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering, to become involved in research projects related to sustainability,” said Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor in the UK Center for Applied Energy Research. “This not only allows a diverse group of individuals to learn about sustainability, but also helps them contribute their creativity and effort to the development of novel technologies such as those needed to produce energy that is both renewable and carbon-neutral.”

The Sustainability Research Fellowship offers two program options with stipends ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 to support research during the Summer 2022 term. Students can choose to continue their mentored research with UK faculty or they can opt to spend the summer engaging in mentored research with our partner faculty and UK alum at Auburn University, Louisiana State University or University of California, Riverside, as part of the Sustainability Intercollegiate Summer Research Experiences (ISRE) program. 

“Environmental sociology is a passion of mine, and its work is deeply intertwined with health and justice outcomes, as where and how we live is often both health and environment,” said Emily Keaton, a Lewis Honors College senior majoring in sociology, philosophy, neuroscience and English, participating in the ISRE program at Louisiana State University with UK alum Jerrod Penn, Ph.D. “Being able to participate in experimentation, coding and writing will give me much-needed field experience for further programs, and it is incredibly fulfilling to be part of research that can positively impact the lives and health of both pollinators and people. When we make sustainable outcomes a focus of our research, we are actively improving our society, which is in keeping with what research itself often seeks.”

Students will present their research at the Summer Research Symposium on Aug. 31, 2022, and Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars in April 2023.

UK’s 2022 recipients of the Sustainability Research Fellowship are:

●     Asahel Aguilar Ortiz, junior chemical engineering major; Mentor: Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Ph.D., Center for Applied Energy Research

●     Alina Goodman, junior public health major; Mentor: Courtney Lueking, Ph.D., College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Dietetics and Human Nutrition

●     Dawson Lancaster, junior neuroscience major; Mentor: Tammy Stephenson, Ph.D., College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Dietetics and Human Nutrition

●     Henri Neblina, junior public policy major; Mentor: Rajeev Darolia, Ph.D., Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

●     Rachael Snyder, junior agricultural and medical biotechnology major; Mentor: Nicholas Teets, Ph.D., College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Entomology

●     Annabelle Wilson, junior agricultural and medical biotechnology major; Mentor: Nicholas Teets, Ph.D., College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Entomology

UK's 2022 recipients of the Sustainability Intercollegiate Summer Research Experiences (ISRE) Fellowship are:

●     Emily Keaton, Lewis Honors College senior majoring in sociology, philosophy, neuroscience and English; Mentor: Jerrod Penn, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, College of Agriculture, Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

●     Stephen Morkel, junior political science and economics major; Mentor: Mehdi Nemati, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, School of Public Policy.

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.