2016 Gaines Fellowship Awarded to 12 UK Scholars

By Kathryn Macon

(March 8, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for Humanities has selected 12 exceptional undergraduates as new scholars for the university's Gaines Fellowship Program for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years. Gaines Fellowships are given 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.

Gaines Fellowships are awarded for the tenure of a student's junior and senior years, or for the last two years of a five-year program; students in all disciplines and with any intended profession are given equal consideration.

UK's 12 new Gaines Fellows are:

· Ben Childress, of Lexington, majoring in pre-economics and political science;

· Evelyn Hudson, of Benton, Kentucky, majoring in philosophy and writing, rhetoric and digital studies;

· Jacob Kaylor, of Hickory, North Carolina, majoring in philosophy and classics;

· John Paul Larson, of Tinley Park, Illinois, majoring in English;

· Josiah Liew Liq Jong, of Rawang, Malaysia, majoring in agricultural biotechnology and sustainable agriculture;

· Natalie Malone, of Smiths Grove, Kentucky, majoring in psychology;

· Aaron Mueller, of Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in linguistics and computer science;

· Aya Omar, of Crestwood, Kentucky, majoring in biology and animal sciences;

· Damien Phillips, of Lexington, majoring in English;

· Hayla Ragland, of LaGrange, Kentucky majoring in art studio and psychology;

· Katherine Stockham, of Somerset, Kentucky, majoring in biology; and

· Connor VanMeter, of Lexington, majoring in agricultural biotechnology and computer science.  

All Gaines Fellows are required to take a specially designed, four-credit hours per semester seminar in the humanities during both semesters of their junior year. In addition, each junior fellow must complete a jury project, planning and optionally carrying out an improvement for a local community. In the senior year, each fellow must complete a major independent study project of six to 15 credit hours. At the conclusion of this project, a thesis paper must be submitted and defended in front of a thesis committee of three university faculty members and the director of the Gaines Center.

In addition to the course requirements, Gaines Fellows enjoy a rich program of field trips, lectures, and other activities designed to widen and deepen their educational experience.

The students chosen as Gaines Fellows are excited for the incredible experience the fellowship will bring them. "I am incredibly humbled and honored for the opportunity to be a part of this fellowship with some of the brightest students at UK. I can't wait to see how I'll be challenged and grow academically and as a person through this process," Ben Childress said.

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. Part of the Academy for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education, the center is devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty. The center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.

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