LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 27, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center has honored eight students with its annual research awards. Three 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.
“The Appalachian Center is again excited to support a wide range of student research,” said Kathryn Engle, director of the Appalachian Center. “From history to social science to health to the natural sciences, our students are doing groundbreaking work in the region.”
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 with Appalachian Studies Program faculty and students during the 2021-2022 academic year.
The 2021 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research recipients are:
- Madeline Dunfee, Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Pharmacy: "The Influence of Social Networks on Appalachian Adults’ Type Two Diabetes Self-Management"
- Emma Kiser, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences: "Protecting Old-Growth Forests in the Mountain South”
- K.C. Vick, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences: "Demarginalizing Methods: Engaging Community-Based Participatory Methodology in a South Appalachian Cancer Cluster Study"
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 during the 2021-22 academic year.
The 2021 Eller and Billings Student Research Award recipients are:
- Zachary Hackworth, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment: "A Five-Year Evaluation of Mammalian Herbivory Impacts on Surface Mine Reforestation Plantings in Southeastern Kentucky"
- Courtney Martin (undergraduate), Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences: "Investigating Cancer in Appalachian Kentucky through Content Analysis of Oral History Interviews"
- Benjamin Rhodes, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment: “An evaluation of red spruce reforestation on mined lands and old field sites in the West Virginia highlands”
- Briana Snyder, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment: "Bat Foraging on West Virginia Mined Land Restored via the Forestry Reclamation Approach"
- Sarah Tomke, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment: “Determining the Distribution of Eastern Hellbenders in Kentucky using Environmental DNA (eDNA) Methods”
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.