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By Jenny Wells-Hosley 

Laurel Riggs

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 2, 2024) — At the University of Kentucky, Laurel Riggs, from Bardstown, Kentucky, wears many hats. The pre-law senior and Lewis Honors College member is majoring in political science with a minor in writing, rhetoric and digital studies, while also serving as a coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences’ Ambassador program, member of Chi Omega sorority, vice president of membership Standards for UK Panhellenic, and assistant attorney general for the Student Government Association.

Riggs is also the

In early 2021, the Nunn Center and Dr. Janice Fernheimer partnered to launch the Women in Bourbon Oral History Project. This oral history project, built in collaboration with students, documents women who have played important roles in Kentucky’s bourbon industry. Doug Boyd and Janice Fernheimer reflect on this phase of the oral history project and some key themes expressed in the interviews.  

By Jennifer T. Allen 

JWells looks for the gaps. The places where others aren’t looking; aren’t researching; aren’t writing. When she was volunteering at a county jail as an assistant GED instructor, JWells began to learn the extent of bias toward people of color, especially men of color, in the carceral system. Then she began to realize that the voices of one of the fastest growing populations in prison – women – were missing.  

“I started to quickly find out there wasn’t really, at that time, any research on women in prison,” she said. “I read all these memoirs written by men when they were incarcerated. I read all these statistics about men, but attention to women was just starting to develop.” 

As JWells followed the gap, she noticed there was also a gap in information about incarcerated

Brandon M. Erby

Brandon M. Erby, assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, has won the 2024 CCCC Richard Braddock Awards for “Imagining Freedom: Cultural Rhetorics, Digital Literacies and Podcasting in Prison,” published in the September 2023 issue of College Composition and Communication. The Conference on College Composition and Communication is an association within the National Council of Teachers of English. 

This award is presented to the author of the outstanding article on writing or the teaching of writing in the journal during the year before the conference's annual convention. The award was created to honor the memory of Richard Braddock from the University of Iowa, an extraordinary person and


By Erin Wickey 

Brandon M. Erby

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 11, 2024) — In the summer of 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till traveled to rural Mississippi to visit extended family. Just a few days after his arrival, the teenager was abducted, beaten and lynched after being accused of offending a white woman in a grocery store. 

Following his murder, his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, decided to hold an open-casket funeral in their hometown of Chicago. The photo of her son’s corpse was first published in Jet magazine, bringing nationwide attention to the brutality and racial violence.  

Brandon M. Erby, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies in the

By Lindsey Piercy 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 9, 2023)  How important is word of mouth when understanding climate change?

A new project, led by the Kentucky Climate Consortium research team at the University of Kentucky, is proving that oral histories can provide an intimate view of our shifting world.

The consoritium acts as a catalyst for climate research and education across the Commonwealth by providing networking opportunities for Kentucky-based climate scholars.

Through her work with the consortium, Lauren Cagle, associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies

By Richard LeComte 

Karrieann Soto Vega

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The portmanteau “DiaspoRicans” describes a demographic to which Karrieann Soto Vega belongs: people who come from or who trace their roots to Puerto Rico and don’t reside there. As part of her scholarship at the University of Kentucky, Soto Vega explores what it means to be part of Puerto Rico, especially in how artists and activists express their views on their relationship to the rest of the United States. 

 "I'm interested in part in popular culture and how activist rhetoric seeps into the work of reggaetón artists like Bad Bunny,” said Soto Vega, assistant professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies in UK’

By Tatum Armstrong

The Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative (KBWC) and the University of Kentucky's 91.3 WUKY will host "SAY IT LOUD: STAND UP," featuring prominent and emerging Black writers. The event will take place 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, located at 251 West 2nd St.

Readings by Jude “JC” McPherson, Frank X Walker, Dwayne Parker and Shawn Pryor will take place throughout the event, and recordings of the presentations will be published here. Admission is free to the public and set to encourage attendees to nurture their development while removing financial obstacles for as long as needed.

"SAY IT LOUD: STAND UP" is sponsored by

By A Fish 

High school students participate in Camp Kiki Academy. 

LEXINGTON; Ky. — Gaming and esports have grown in popularity over the past few years, but gaming also is being used as an educational tool. Kishonna L. Gray, a professor of Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky, has been working with under-resourced students to teach them team building, communication structures, peer mediation, conflict resolution and other skills through the art of game development. 

“What Camp Kiki Academy does is it provides a curriculum.” she said, “The class is a gaming class, but they learn different skills inside those gaming classes. We wanted them to build the capacities that may have gotten a lot of them in trouble before. The decision-making part, confidence, self-esteem, so we've integrated a lot of the things that

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2023) — Are you looking to get lost in your next summer read but don’t know where to start?

We asked the University of Kentucky community to recommend books they feel would make good additions to anyone’s reading list.

In the descriptions below, faculty members across various colleges and disciplines share the novels they can’t put down. Pulling from the worlds of history and fiction — their picks explore timely themes while providing intriguing insights.


The recommendations below range from short stories to dystopian, historical and horror fiction.

“Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver

Recommended by Diane Loeffler, senior lecturer in the 

By Lindsey Piercy 

Elizabeth Williams

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 8, 2023)  Elizabeth Williams, an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, is one of 10 winners to receive the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 Outstanding Teaching Awards.

These awards identify and recognize individuals who demonstrate special dedication to student achievement and who are successful in their teaching. Recipients were selected via nomination and reviewed by a selection committee based in the UK Provost’s Office for Faculty Advancement

"Few people are working harder to make gaming and tech more equitable than Dr. Gray herself. Her deep study of issues around race and gender in gaming has led to the publication of several books including Race, Gender, and Deviance in Xbox Live and Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming."

"'Her writing and academic work in this space is invaluable, and as an intellectual, she can hang with the best of them.' Intersectional Tech, for instance, dense with stimulating ideas, begins

By Susan CantrellCamille Harmon and Trey Conatser 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2023) — Transdisciplinary Educational approaches to advance Kentucky, or TEK, challenges faculty and students to engage with complex, multidimensional and context-specific issues. Some have described these issues as “wicked problems” that exceed the capacity of any one framework, approach or perspective to provide an adequate or lasting solution. Moreover, TEK leverages these issues for students to develop essential employability skills, including the highly valued abilities to engage multiple points of

By Meg Mills

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 11, 2023)  Katie Kohls, a graduate instructor in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, is one of 10 winners to receive the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 Outstanding Teaching Award.

Katie Kohls is one of 10 winners to receive the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 Outstanding Teaching Award. Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

These awards identify and recognize individuals who demonstrate special dedication to student achievement and who are successful in their teaching. Recipients were selected via nomination and reviewed by a selection committee based in the UK Provost’s Office for

By A Fish 

LEXINGTON;, Ky. — Oswald Research and Creativity Competition is a staple at the University of Kentucky. The competition is intended to promote creativity in all fields of study and accepts many varied forms of media as part of the competition. Colton Barton, a College of Arts & Sciences junior from Scottsville, Kentucky, received second place in the Social Sciences category for the paper “Gaymer Avatars: Analyzing the Relationship Between Gay Men and their Created Video Game Avatars” and an honorable mention in the Humanities: Critical Research categories for “A Potential for a Queer Utopia: Queer Futurity and Potentiality in Octavia Butler's Dawn” in the 2022-23 competition. He is also a UK (University of Kentucky) peer tutor.  

Q: What are the papers? Why did you write them and what has writing them and submitting them done for you?

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Women’s Executive Leadership Development (WELD) program has announced its 2023 cohort of faculty and staff participants. The eight-month WELD program seeks to develop a new generation of leaders of higher education who can adeptly navigate our complex environment and successfully chart the future of the university through retreats, monthly meetings, conversations with upper-level administrators, and other group interactions. 

WELD is supported and organized through the Office of Faculty Advancement and is currently in its ninth year. Current Faculty Trustee Hollie Swanson was the initial director of the program, followed by Professor Chana

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Rainbow, a Round Table of the American Library Association, has recognized author-illustrator Rachel Elliott, lecturer in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies Department of the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts & Sciences, for her debut graphic novel, “The Real Riley Mayes.” 

The novel, published in May 2022 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins, was named a Stonewall Honor Book for 2023. The Stonewall Book Awards recognize English-language books that relate to the LGBTQIA+ experience.  

“I’m very grateful to all the librarians supporting books for LGBTQ youth," said Elliott, who received an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.  

In addition, the New York Public Library named “Riley Mayes” as a Best Book of 2022, and the Junior Library

LEXINGTON, Ky. —  A new initiative led by the Interdisciplinary Program in Jewish Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky features a collaboration with educators from across the Commonwealth to enhance K-12 Holocaust education and provide professional learning and teaching tools to meet the requirements of the 2018 Ann Klein and Fred Gross Holocaust Education Act.   Funded by a grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, the UK Holocaust Education Initiative will create a network of teachers who will include Holocaust curricula in their classrooms. The initiative will create opportunities for interdisciplinary content sharing, pedagogical training and collaborative planning.   Through an extremely competitive process, the steering committee chose 20 teachers to lead this initiative:   Jill Armstrong,



LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Researchers at the University of Kentucky have released a 10-minute film titled “Becoming Myself: Positive Trans & Nonbinary Identities.” It features narratives from the lives of seven transgender and nonbinary identified young adults, reflecting on their experiences navigating gender identity.  

The film’s executive producers, based in the colleges of Arts & Sciences and Education, are Zak Clements, Ph.D. candidate in counseling psychology; Ellen Riggle, professor and chair in