UK Happenings

Appalachian Center to host student, faculty research presentation series

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2024) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center is showcasing the work of student and faculty researchers through its Sharing Work on Appalachia in Progress (SWAP) series this spring.

The presenting researchers represent five colleges and eight departments from across UK’s campus, as well as the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History in UK Libraries. Many of the presenting students are supported through the center’s James S. Brown Graduate Student Awards for Research on Appalachia and the UK Appalachian Center Eller & Billings Student Research Awards.

"This spring semester we are excited to continue to highlight the path-breaking work our students, faculty and colleagues are doing relating to Appalachia,” said UK Appalachian Center Director Kathryn Engle. “This series highlights the transdisciplinary work of Appalachian studies — from medicine to education to oral history to agriculture — UK students and faculty are leading the way in research and collaboration in the region."

The presentations will take place 12 – 1:30 p.m. ET at the Appalachian Center at 624 Maxwelton Court and will also be accessible online via Zoom.

The final SWAP presentations are this week and presenters/topics include:

Wednesday, April 10

London Orzolek, Anthropology, “Reflections on Transdisciplinary Research Collaboration on the Solar Disinfection of Water in the African and Indian Contexts.”

Ryley Butler Modaff, Social Work, “The Impact of Stigma in Community Implementation of Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT).”

Friday, April 12

Arshiya Jeelani, History, “Mary Jane in the Mountains: The Social, Political, and Environmental Effects of Marijuana Growth in Eastern Kentucky.”

Courtney Martin, Kinesiology and Health Promotion, “Examining Appalachian Patient Experience among those with and/or Post Critical Illness.”

Rachel Sneed *virtual, Plant Pathology, “Assessing Endophyte Frequency Distributions and the Effect of Epichloe and the Chemotypic Diversity of Brachyelytrum erectum.”

The full schedule with links can be found on the Appalachian Center calendar at

Nine previous 2023-2024 SWAP presentations have already taken place and will soon be available to be viewed online. They include:

Oct. 27, 2023

Willie Dodson, Appalachian Voices, “For Mountains and Miners: Confronting Black Lung and Environmental Injustice in Appalachian Coal Country”

Nov. 29, 2023

Bradley Furchow, Rural Physician Leadership, “Quality Improvement: Local Health Department Community Healthy Assessment and Improvement Planning in Kentucky”

Allen Fletcher, History, “I Don’t Need Those Dirty Books: Parental Rights, Christian Values, and Culture Wars in Late-Twentieth Century Appalachia”

March 20, 2024:

Trey Coburn, 2023 Eller and Billings Student Research Award, "The Future of Personalized Medicine: Improving Care in Appalachia and Beyond!"

Maddie Duff, 2023 Eller and Billings Student Research Award, "Chronic Conditions with Heart and Ears in Appalachia Research Study (cchears)"

March 27, 2024:

Jimmy Robinson, 2023 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia, "Taking the Rural with You: Rural Artists in the City"

Edward Lo, Appalachian Center Postdoctoral Fellow, "Supporting Indigenous Peoples and Their Role in a Sustainable Kentucky"

April 3, 2024:

Kopana Terry, 2023 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia, "Place, Identity, and Natural Disaster: The Storm That Changed a Town and Its People"

Mack Thompson, 2024 Symposium on Dis/Ability & Debility in Appalachia Coordinator, "Disabled, People, Disabled Places: Dialoguing toward Critical Appalachian Disability Studies"

For more information about the UK Appalachian Center and the Appalachian Studies program, visit

The Appalachian Center contributes to the land grant mission of the University of Kentucky by fostering community-university partnerships in research, learning, and engagement in Appalachia. The Center is a space for students, faculty, staff, and community members to join forces in learning about and educating others about the beautiful region that faces unique opportunities and challenges toward sustainable development in a globalized context.

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.   

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