Student and Academic Life

Gaines Center Names 12 New Scholars for 2019

photo of 2019 Gaines Fellows
Top, l to r: Eli O’Neal, Chase Carleton, Melynda Price (director). Middle: Claire Hilbrecht, Josh Ehl, Carson Hardee. Front: Aileen Tierney, Hannah Thomas, Bria Northington, Daniela Gamez. Not pictured: Will Kueshner, Nicole Blackstone, Megan Yadav.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2019) The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has selected 12 undergraduate students as new scholars for the Gaines Fellowship Program.

The Gaines Fellowship is presented in recognition of outstanding academic performance, demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities. Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK’s campus. The Gaines Center is designed to enrich the study of the humanities at the University of Kentucky.

This year’s cohort of scholars represent six different colleges on campus including: the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gatton College of Business and Economics, the Lewis Honors College, the College of Public Health and the College of Social Work.

UK’s 12 new Gaines Fellows are:

Carson Hardee says of being chosen for the fellowship, “I applied for the Gaines Fellowship because throughout the course of my academic career, I have found that I grow best as a student and as a person by asking questions about the world. There is no better place in which to do this than the humanities. This field of study encompasses a wide range of subjects, which offer unique perspectives to serve a common goal: understanding the human condition. The Gaines Fellowship is dedicated to this process by creating a space wherein students of various backgrounds can tackle big questions about humanity while learning from each other and gaining insight into themselves.”

As Gaines Fellows, these scholars will be required to take an intensive seminar in the humanities during both semesters of their junior year. In addition, each junior fellow will participate in a service project that benefits a community, whether it be campus, Lexington, a fellow’s hometown or a community further afield.

In the senior year, each fellow completes a major independent study project. At conclusion of this project, fellows submit and defend their thesis before a committee of three university faculty members and the director of the Gaines Center.

“The entering class of Gaines Fellows were chosen through a highly competitive process. They represent all the best qualities of university students at the University of Kentucky,” says Melynda Price, the new director of the Gaines Center. “They are curious, hardworking and committed to being of service in the world. Their immersion in the humanities study over the next two years will only amplify these qualities in the students and one day the community.”   

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 two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," 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 three 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.