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UK Appalachian Center to Host Student Research Presentation Series

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center will showcase the work of student researchers through its Sharing Work on Appalachia in Progress series starting next week. The series will run through the Spring 2022 semester.

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.

The presenting researchers represent four colleges and seven departments from across UK’s campus.

“We look forward to learning from these researchers and continuing to support the important interdisciplinary work students are doing throughout the region,” said Kathryn Engle, director of the center. “This year's series will showcase the research conducted by recipients of the 2021 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Research on Appalachia and the UK Appalachian Center Eller & Billings Student Research Award. The series will also feature special presentations from other UK graduate students and graduate students from other institutions.”

The presentations are scheduled from noon-1:30 p.m. on the dates listed below. They will take place at the Appalachian Center at 624 Maxwelton Court, and will also be accessible online via Zoom.

The dates and student presenters and topics are:

Wednesday, Dec. 8

  • Courtney Martin, biology (undergraduate): "Assessing Cancer Literacy and Risk Behaviors among Appalachian Kentuckians through an Oral History Approach" (Eller/Billings award recipient).
  • K.C. Vick, sociology: "Meaningful Methods: Learning Through Community-Based Participatory Action in a South Appalachian Cancer Cluster Study" (James Brown award recipient).

Wednesday, Feb. 16

  • Madeline Dunfee, epidemiology and biostatistics: "The Influence of Social Networks on Appalachian Adults’ Type Two Diabetes Self-Management" (James Brown award recipient).
  • Sarah Tomk, forestry and natural resources: "Determining the Distribution of Eastern Hellbenders in Kentucky using Environmental DNA (eDNA) Methods" (Eller/Billings award recipient).

Wednesday, March 2  

  • Emma Kiser, history; "Protecting Old-Growth Forests in the Mountain South” (James Brown award recipient)  
  • Benjamin Rhodes, forestry and natural resources; “An Evaluation of Red Spruce Reforestation on Mined Lands and Old Field Sites in the West Virginia Highlands” (Eller/Billings award recipient).

Wednesday, March 30

  • Magenta Palo, curatorial studies: "Women's Work: Redefining Appalachian Tradition.s"
  • Forrest Yerman (Howard University): "The Affrilachian Poets and An Affrilachian Renaissance."   

Wednesday, April 13 

  • Zachary Hackworth, forestry and natural resources: "A Five-Year Evaluation of Mammalian Herbivory Impacts on Surface Mine Reforestation Plantings in Southeastern Kentucky" (Eller/Billings award  recipient).
  • Briana Snyder, forestry and natural resources: "Bat Foraging on West Virginia Mined Land Restored via the Forestry Reclamation Approach" (Eller/Billings award  recipient).

Wednesday, April 20

  • Jeri K. Howell, community and leadership development: "Significant Life Experiences of Kentucky Youth Climate Activists."
  • Junyi Lv (USC Annenberg School for Communication): "How Places Argue: Coal Towns’ Multimodal Argumentation in Energy Transition."

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

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

Download a poster of the full schedule here.

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