UK Happenings

UK Graduate Student Congress to Host Conversation With W.Va. Councilwoman Rosemary Ketchum

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 23, 2021)  The Graduate Student Congress (GSC) at the University of Kentucky invites all undergraduate students, graduate students, professional students and postdoctoral scholars to attend the next “Civic Engagement Saturdays” conversation with West Virginia councilwoman Rosemary Ketchum.

The fifth “Civic Engagement Saturdays” conversation will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, via Zoom webinar, and feature moderator and graduate student leader Ryan Kuesel.

“I am excited to chat with Councilwoman Rosemary Ketchum because I am incredibly geeked that trans folks of my age (and LGBTQ+ folks as a whole) are making waves into the political sphere,” Kuesel said. “I hope our dialogue can provide UK students with a greater sense that America's government can and will continue to be made more representative of all identities and empower UK students to pursue positive change through participation in politics.” 

Councilwoman Ketchum is from Wheeling, West Virginia, and was elected to represent the city’s third ward just last year. Notably, Ketchum is the first openly transgender elected official in West Virginia, and one of only 27 openly transgender elected officials in the United States. Councilwoman Ketchum, a first-generation college student, earned her bachelor;s degree in psychology from Wheeling Jesuit University in 2019 and now, in addition to her elected position, she works as associate director of the local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) center in Wheeling.

The purpose of “Civic Engagement Saturdays” is to provide an opportunity for diverse politicians and activists to speak with members of the UK community about recognizing yourself in politics, how to get involved in politics, and effecting change in your community. In an effort to amplify the voices of diverse students on campus, these interview conversations are moderated by diverse student and postdoc leaders at UK.

Ryan Kuesel is a Ph.D. candidate in the entomology department in UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment conducting research on pest management with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. Kuesel serves as the GSC’s LGBTQ+ advocate, is a leader in the H. Garman Club for Entomology and an undergraduate student mentor. 

Any UK student or postdoc interested in attending this virtual event should fill out the registration form. The GSC asks that all interested students and postdocs fill out this form so that they can get an idea of who the organization is reaching on campus, and to make sure the GSC has a large enough Zoom license to ensure everyone who wants to attend, can attend. The GSC will also be livestreaming this event on Facebook (@ukygsc), so those interested can still watch it later at their convenience. 

The Graduate Student Congress is a governing body for graduate and professional students and postdoctoral scholars at the University of Kentucky. The mission of the GSC is to unify and represent graduate and professional students and postdoctoral scholars at UK in matters affecting their quality of life, and to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and professional development through seminars, forums, outreach programming, advocacy and community enhancement. 

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.