UK Appalachian Center Honors 9 Student Researchers

2019 UK Appalachian Award recipients
photo of graduating seniors in UK Appalachian Studies
photo from UK Appalachian Center Spring Shindig
photo from UK Appalachian Center Spring Shindig
photo from UK Appalachian Center Spring Shindig

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2019) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center honored nine students last week with its annual research awards. Four graduate students received the James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia, and four graduate students and one undergraduate student received the center's Eller and Billings Student Research Award. 

"This summer, the James S. Brown and Eller/Billings Awards will sponsor students from seven different departments across four colleges," said Kathryn Engle, associate director of the Appalachian Center. "Innovative research across disciplines is thriving in the region, and the Appalachian Center is excited to support the work of these outstanding students."

The James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia is given to honor the memory of James S. Brown, a sociology professor at UK from 1946 to 1982, whose pioneering studies of society, demography and migration in Appalachia (including his ethnography of "Beech Creek") helped to establish the field of Appalachian Studies at UK and beyond.

To be eligible, students must be actively enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program at UK. The award must be used to meet the costs of doing research relevant to social life in Appalachia including travel, lodging, copying, interviewing, ethnography, data collection, archival research, transcribing and other legitimate research expenses. Up to $1,000 is awarded to each recipient.

The recipients will present their research at Sharing Work on Appalachia in Progress (SWAP) with Appalachian Studies faculty and students during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The 2019 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research recipients include:

  • Erfan Saidi Moqadam, anthropology Ph.D. student (advisor Diane E. King) "Reconstituting Religious Identity: Multivocal Religiosity in the Appalachian Iranian Diaspora"
  • Christopher A. Preece, STEM education Ph.D. student (advisor Jennifer Wilhelm) "Chemistry Comic Books: Investigating Mental Models in Appalachian High Schools"
  • Julia Miller, sociology Ph.D. student (advisor Edward Morris) "Let's Not Do Anything Drastic!: Processes of Reproducing Rural Marginalization in Education Policy Decision-making"
  • Madeline N. Dunfee, behavioral science MD-Ph.D. student (advisor Nancy E. Schoenberg) "Tailoring a Successful Health Intervention for Implementation in Appalachian Communities"

In the spirit of collaboration across units, colleges and academic/community boundaries, the Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies program established the UK Appalachian Center Eller and Billings Student Research Award for research by UK students focused in and on the Appalachian region, especially toward furthering the conversation on sustainable futures in the region. Named after longtime UK historian Ronald D. Eller and longtime UK sociologist Dwight B. Billings, the award seeks to encourage and promote cutting-edge research across disciplines.

To be eligible for this award of up to $1,000, students must be actively enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program at UK. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Recipients of this award will also present their findings at SWAP during the 2019-20 academic year. 

The 2019 Eller and Billings Student Research Award recipients include:

  • Carson Benn, history Ph.D. student (advisor Kathy Newfont) "Appalachia on the Airwaves: A History of Public Television in the Southern Mountains"
  • Anna Branduzzi, forest and natural resource sciences master's student (advisor Christopher Barton) "Increasing Diversity of Native Plants on Mineland"
  • Kathryn Greene, biology Ph.D. student (advisor Steven J. Price) "Dispersal and Persistence of Amphibian Populations in an Altered Landscape"
  • Emily Keaton, sociology undergraduate student "The Archetype of the 'Appalachian Strong Woman': The Relative Existence of Matriarchy in Appalachia"
  • Katherine Love, forestry and natural resources master's student (advisor Jian Yang) "Assessing the Climate Water Balance Model's Ability to Predict Soil Moisture Variability and Species Distribution at Fine Scales"