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 the 



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2022) — This spring, the University of Kentucky is celebrating more than 5,300 degrees conferred by the Board of Trustees, with around 3,900 expected to cross the stage of Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center during the UK Commencement Ceremonies.

On this episode of "Behind the Blue," we spotlight three of those graduates to talk about their time at UK, the memories they’ll take with them and how they’re prepared to move ahead and make the most of what they’ve learned.

Growing up, Emily Lucke’s father spent time in Iraq as a member of the U.S. military, and sent home newspapers and other material written in Arabic that fascinated the Clarksville, Tennessee native. Upon arrival at UK, Lucke was able to turn that fascination into a career path, majoring in both political science and international studies, and becoming a member of the


By Olaoluwapo Onitiri 

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- We often hear about rags to riches stories: how some people come from a tough background and push their way to a better situation down the line. Juan Montilla Pabòn has embarked on a similar path. He will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in May from the University of Kentucky with a major in political science and a minor in history. UK’s Employee Education Program has given him a big boost toward reaching his dream.  

“Since I moved to Kentucky after leaving Louisiana, I knew that UK was the best option for me,” said Montilla Pabòn, who works as a patient clerical assistant with UK HealthCare. “UK has a


By Kody Kiser and Jay Blanton


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2022) — Primary elections in Kentucky and across the country are only weeks away and this fall promises hotly contested midterm contests, with control of the Congress in play for Democrats and Republicans. At the same time, states across the country — including Kentucky — are engaged in redistricting of federal and state legislative districts as required every 10 years following the national census.

Stephen Voss, professor of political science in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has a distinct and deep perspective on all of these issues. Recently, he provided expert testimony as part of litigation over Kentucky’s legislative redistricting. He also has provided his insights on the effectiveness of


By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2022) — Two University of Kentucky students and one local citizen have received UK’s highest honor for humanitarian efforts — the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award.

Established by the New York Southern Society in 1925 and named for its first president, Algernon Sydney Sullivan, the award recognizes those "who exhibit Sullivan's ideals of heart, mind and conduct as evince a spirit of love for and helpfulness to other men and women." After the society closed, the award has lived on through the Sullivan Foundation and is given at several universities in the South.

At UK, the Sullivan Award is bestowed each year on two graduating seniors and one citizen who has a connection to the university. This year’s


By Kate Maddox

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 20, 2022) — University of Kentucky junior Rayleigh Deaton, a communication and political science major from Charleston, South Carolina, has been awarded an English-Speaking Union (ESU) Scholarship presented by the English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch. The scholarship will cover Deaton’s expenses for summer study at the University of Oxford, where she will study English literature.

ESU scholarships are awarded for studies in English literature, history and social sciences at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge or Edinburgh. Scholarship winners, selected through an essay


By Ryan Girves

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 13, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has selected undergraduate students as new scholars for the Gaines Fellowship Program

Fellowships are awarded in recognition of outstanding academic performance, a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities.

Founded in 1984 by a 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. 

UK’s 12 new Gaines Fellows are:

Ellie Browning, community and

By Richard LeComte  

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With the war in Ukraine raging, human rights, international law and the courts that seek justice for the victims are hot topics. That is where Jillienne Haglund’s scholarly interests lie: The associate professor of political science in the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts & Sciences has found a passion for studying human rights, and her interest has led to a book that examines international courts of justice.   

“When I was an undergrad, I took a class with a professor that really piqued my interest


Tiffany D. Barnes, professor of political science in the University of Kentucky's College of Arts & Sciences, and UK postdoctoral scholar Bomi K. Lee have written an essay for the Washington Post titled  "Even after Albright, foreign policy leaders are still mostly men." Their coauthor is Diana Z. O’Brien of Rice University. 

"Trailblazing diplomat Madeleine Albright died last week. Albright is well known as the first woman to serve as the U.S. secretary of state. She shattered that glass ceiling in 1997, and in the past 25 years, many more countries have appointed women to serve in


Ph.D. candidate Peter S. K. Lynch studies American Politics, and his research focuses on judicial politics and behavior.  His dissertation examines the Federalist Society (FS), a network of conservative and libertarian judges, attorneys, legal scholars, and law students. This network has come to play a central role in US judicial politics over the last 40 years. Currently, it plays a dominant role in Supreme Court decision-making: six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Federalist Society members! But the network’s influence extends well beyond the Supreme Court; it permeates almost every aspect of American political life through its influence on the law.

Surprisingly, there is very little quantitative or systematic research on the Federalist Society’s influence on judicial behavior, which Pete’s dissertation is rectifying. Moreover, Lynch’s research is particularly timely


Chris Gorman and Department Manager Eva Hicks had a conversation recently about the Political Science Outstanding Alumni Award, his involvement with the University of Kentucky, and his hopes for our students and the nation. Read their conversation below.

Mrs. Hicks:  Chris, you were awarded the first ever Political Science Outstanding Alumni Award in October 2021. Congratulations! We were so pleased to present the award to someone with such a heart for the department, the College, and the University of Kentucky. When we developed the award, we wanted to give it to someone who had been a successful businessperson, had given back both with their time and funds to the department and college where they learned and grew, and had a heart for the development of our students. You have certainly met the criteria. You have been a successful businessman for many years, serving as


By Ryan Girves

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2021) — Firsts can be scary. The first time riding a bike or learning how to drive, or a first job — all scary. Being the first in your family to do something — even scarier. 

Austin Huff, a first-generation University of Kentucky senior from Topmost, a small town in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, knows this all too well.  

With a dream of making a change in his small town, Huff came to UK to make his dreams reality, despite his hesitations.

“My hometown has some of the highest poverty rates in the nation, and some of the worst health conditions in the nation,” Huff said. “My inspiration for coming to college was making a change for the place I call home. After graduation, I want to attend law school and I want to return to my community and


By Adrian Ho

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 23, 2021) — More than 11,800 students have gained free online access to essential course materials and saved more than $1.48 million in textbook spending from 2017 through 2021, thanks to the University of Kentucky Libraries’ Alternative Textbook Grant Program. The program supports UK faculty to switch from commercial textbooks to openly licensed textbooks, library-licensed information resources or free course content created by grant recipients.

“It is exhilarating to hear that the Alternative Textbook Grant Program has enabled equitable access to learning materials for so many students,” said Deirdre Scaggs, UK Libraries associate dean of services. “UK Libraries


By Jesi Jones-Bowman

UK undergraduate researchers Bridget Bolt and Gretchen Ruschman. Students are encouraged to explore undergraduate research opportunities at the Research + Creative Experience Expo.

At the University of Kentucky, undergraduates have access to outstanding research and creative work activities led by world-class faculty and staff that promote self-discovery, experiential learning and lifelong achievement.

Explore exciting undergraduate opportunities at the first annual UK Research + Creative Experience Expo 3-5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, around the Gatton Student Center’s Social Staircase.

“The goal of the Research + Creative Experience Expo is to introduce undergraduates to the diversity of research and creative work conducted at UK,” said Chad Risko, faculty director of the


Doctoral student Abbie Saulsbury became fascinated with the sheer power the U.S. Supreme Court holds and its ability to shape the law and history when she was an undergraduate in political science at East Tennessee State University. Since joining the program at UK, Saulsbury has continued her focus on the Supreme Court, devoting particular attention to determinants of justice voting.

The summer following her first year of the Ph.D. program, Saulsbury worked as a research assistant for Justin Wedeking and Michael Zilis. In that role, she gathered data on and coded thousands of news sources that cover the Supreme Court. Her work contributed to an ongoing project by Zilis and Wedeking examining new media coverage of the Supreme Court. Working as a research assistant on such an important project proved valuable both in exposure to media coverage of the court and in the opportunity


By Eva Hicks

McKayla Weaver is a rising junior in the Political Science Department and a minor in Music Performance with a 3.9 GPS. She wears many hats and has accomplished much during her college journey. She has been involved in politics since 2018 with numerous leadership roles. All those experiences came to fruition when she won an election for Kentucky’s 88th Legislative District Chair in May 2021. She was also appointed the Co-Chair of the Field & Elections Committee.

I asked McKayla how her course work in Political Science had prepared her for that election. She replied, “Last Spring I took a special topics course with Dr. Barnes on Gender and Politics where I learned that women who run for political office are usually more qualified than their male counterparts, win at the same or greater rates, and don’t run because they think they won’t win.”



By Richard LeComte 

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- This fall, Emily Beaulieu Bacchus is helping the Political Science Department at the University of Kentucky select a graduate to honor with the first Outstanding Alumni Award.  

She welcomes the opportunity to connect with graduates just as she enjoys mentoring students as director of the College’s International Studies Program.  

"Engaging with alumni and students is something I already do for the international studies majors,” said Bacchus, who’s also associate professor of comparative politics and associate chair.  “Also, I,


By Emily Sallee

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that Kayden Jenson has received a 2021 Boren Fellowship to study Turkish. Jenson is pursuing joint degrees in law and diplomacy and international commerce through the Rosenberg College of Law and the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.

The Boren Awards fund up to $25,000 for undergraduates and graduate students to support language study, research and study abroad in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Jenson’s award is part of


By Richard LeComte 

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Judge Advocate General’s Corp: The name makes people think about the film “A Few Good Men” or the long-running CBS procedural series. 

But it’s a real service, and one that presents a terrific career opportunity for Daniel Mullen who plans to graduate with a degree from the University of Kentucky’s J. David Rosenberg College of Law in 2022 and earned his bachelor’s in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Political Science Department.  

He’s entering JAG through the U.S. Marine Corps:  He’ll be going to officer training in


By Addison Cave

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Two graduates from the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences have been admitted to top political science Ph.D. programs and will be continuing their education in the fall. Both students had mentorship throughout their time at UK that put them in the position to be admitted with full funding to some of the most competitive programs in the country.

Sloan Lansdale

Sloan Lansdale of Mount Sterling, Kentucky, received a dual degree in International Studies and Political Science. In addition, she received a certificate in Peace Studies. She began her venture as solely an International Studies major but quickly realized that she also was drawn to political science and studying events that impacted the world as a whole.

With so much interest in these areas, multiple professors mistook her as a