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By Jesi Jones-Bowman 

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) at the University of Kentucky has selected 26 outstanding undergraduates for the 2023-24 Undergraduate Research Ambassador program.

The program’s mission is to increase awareness and create opportunities for students to actively engage in research. Ambassadors must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership potential and be involved in mentored research. This year's ambassadors represent six colleges, 21 disciplines and 18 research areas.

The student leaders’ goal is to make undergraduate research more accessible. Ambassadors will promote undergraduate research involvement and opportunities through student outreach and program events, such as tabling,


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 College of Social


2022-23 Bachelor’s Degrees with Departmental Honors Awarded. [Pictured Left to right: Chair, Dr. S. Hutson, B. Athie Teruel, C. Gray, D. Record, and J. White]


Congratulations to the following Anthropology students!

Donald P. Cliggett Ph.D. International Travel Research Fund

Emmanuel Asante, Ph.D. candidate
Stephen Fox, Ph.D. candidate    

Established in 2018 by Professor Lisa Cliggett in memory of her father, Dr. Donald P. Cliggett, this fund supports travel and other costs associated with field research for Anthropology undergraduate or graduate students to Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.


By Robby Hardesty 

Seth Garcia

UK Libraries has recognized seniors Seth Garcia and Anna Watrous with the 2023 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship. The annual prize celebrates exceptional and original scholarship in a traditional paper and a media or digital project, and is awarded to students whose research makes substantive and creative use of UK Libraries’ collections, services and resources.

Garcia, a history, anthropology, and secondary social studies education major, was awarded for “A Peculiar Institution: White Supremacy and the Black Guides of Mammoth Cave.”

Analyzing mid- to late-19th century diaries, guidebooks and travelers’ accounts, Garcia examined the white perspective of enslaved and


By Daniel Flener 

Hugo Reyes-Centeno

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2023) — The Office of the Vice President for Research and the University of Kentucky International Center  have announced the first cohort of UKinSPIRE fellows. UKinSPIRE is an internal funding opportunity for UK faculty, jointly funded by the OVPR and UKIC, intended to stimulate high-impact research projects in any discipline linking UK faculty and international collaborators and to establish collaborations with new international partner institutions or add greater depth to existing institutional partnerships.

Among them is Hugo Reyes-Centeno, assistant professor of anthropology in UK's College of Arts & Sciences. His project is “Resolving the Austronesian Problem: Community Archaeology and Heritage Science Education in


Bill Jansen’s Career: A Shining Example of Development Anthropology

Josie Gallegos (anthropology major), Bill Jansen, Kathy Jansen, and Alexis Farmer (anthropology major), after the talk.

By Monica Udvardy

Dr. William Jansen II returned to UK’s anthropology community on January 27, 2023, to give the Department of Anthropology's Annual Alumni Talk. Bill earned his bachelor's degree in anthropology with honors from the department in 1971 and went on to earn his master's and doctorate in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1975, based on fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic.

In 1976, Bill began his long and distinguished career with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He started as a social science analyst for development assistance programs in Southeast Asia.
As his career unfolded, he


Pictured from left to right: Elaine Drew, Britteny Howell, and Travis Hedwig in Anchorage, Alaska; March 2, 2023.

Despite the vast social and geographic distance between Kentucky and Alaska, Elaine Drew (Ph.D. Anthropology ’04), Travis Hedwig (Ph.D. Anthropology ’13), and Britteny Howell (Ph.D. Anthropology ’17) call Alaska their home.

Dr. Drew is an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), where she teaches and mentors undergraduate and graduate


Born and raised in the Netherlands to Surinamese immigrants, Aminata Cairo came to the United States to pursue a college education. She obtained a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Bachelor's in Physical Education from Berea College, a Master's in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University, and a Master's and Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of Kentucky. Her goal is to use her academic skills to positively impact communities.

Dr. Cairo has done extensive community work in the United States, the Netherlands, Suriname, and Ghana. She founded her own multi-cultural dance company called Sabi Diri in Kentucky and performed across the United States and Suriname. As a professor, she committed herself to uplifting students and promoting their sense of


Anthropology post-doc Amber Plemons won the 2023 J. Lawrence Angel Student Paper Award of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Her paper examines the evolutionary significance of population affinity from craniofacial morphological features.

Amber earned her Anthropology at the Michigan State University, an M.A. from the Mississippi State University and her B.S. at the Texas State University before arriving at the University of Kentucky to conduct research in the Human Evolution and Virtual Archaeology (HEVA) Laboratory. HEVA explores the evolutionary and biocultural mechanisms contributing to the emergence, diversification, and adaptation


In fall 2022 and spring 2023, Anthropology Ph.D. candidate Goeun Lee took her students of ANT 225 Culture, Environment, and Global Issues to a sustainable fish farm, a community garden, and UK’s own recycling warehouse. These trips, as well as guest lectures from sustainability experts and advocates, are part of Lee’s Environmental Anthropology: Community-Engaged Learning project, which was funded by the Student Sustainability Council and the Legacy Fund. 

At the core of this project are three themes: environmental stewardship, food and environmental justice, and social inclusion. As a result of this active learning, two of Lee’s students were


In 2015, Bill Schweri (B.A. ’69, M.A. ’78) created the Anthropology Legacy Gift Fund to help students develop professional networks through research and other professional opportunities. Through Bill's continued generosity, this fund was converted into an endowment, the Anthropology Legacy Endowment Fund, to provide sustaining support and impact for anthropology students. All contributions made to the fund be matched by Bill.


Fossil Frenzy took place on Saturday, December 17th at the Lexington Children’s Theater in downtown Lexington. It consisted of an interactive display of archeological tools and artifacts from the University of Kentucky’s William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology, followed by a performance of Digging Up Dessa. After the performance, attendees were treated to a Q&A session with the cast and creative team of the Lexington Children’s Theater, Webb Museum Staff, and Dr. Brenna Hassett, a founding member of the Trowel Blazers, which is an organization dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women in the ‘digging’ sciences. Curator Lisa Guerre 


By Ryan Girves 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 30, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for Humanities has selected 12  undergraduates as scholars for the university's Gaines Fellowship Program for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years.

The Gaines Fellowship is presented 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. Founded in 1984 by a gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities is designed to enrich the study of the humanities at UK and functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on


By A Fish 

LEXINGTON; Ky. — When one hears about archaeology, one thinks of Indiana Jones, Egypt, anything — but rarely does one hear about archaeological sites in the rolling hills of Kentucky. Elena Sesma has started two research projects at the University of Kentucky so that anthropology students can get hands-on experience while in undergraduate and graduate programs. 

The first project is a reanalysis of a site in Nicholas County, Kentucky, that was excavated in the mid ’90s by the Kentucky Archaeology Survey. 

“The site today is on the property of the North Central 4H camp” said Sesma, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky. “It was a home site for an African American family in the last 20 years of the 19th century, and what I have been doing in this research is reanalyzing the artifact assemblage to get a better understanding of the family's


By A Fish 

Kristin Monroe

LEXINGTON; Ky. — Internet is available nearly everywhere in the United States, but people in other countries often go to great lengths to obtain this modern necessity. Solar panels are often needed to help people power their phones and connect to the Internet.  

Kristin Monroe, an associate professor in anthropology and director of graduate studies, has been traveling to Lebanon regularly since the early 2000s in the pursuit of her research, but due to global events, namely the COVID-19 pandemic, she had not been able to go to Lebanon for a couple of years. She returned last summer and published an article on about the recent solar panel boom that rich and poor alike have embraced so they can have WiFi, lights, working refrigerators and so on. The article, titled “In Lebanon, Solar Power Is Booming, Why?,” is in the January


HEVA member Bruno Athié Teruel presented his summer research to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees during their recent retreat on October 20th. Bruno, a double major in Anthropology and Computer Science, is currently writing the results of his undergraduate Honors Thesis in the Department of Anthropology and the Lewis Honors College. The work is a collaboration with the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at the University of São Paolo, Brazil.


The UNited In True Racial Equity Research Priority Area (UNITE RPA) welcomed its inaugural cohort of 18 graduate students from 6 colleges to the UNITE Predoctoral Research Enhancement Program. 

UNITE is led by Danelle Stevens-Watkins, Ph.D., and associate vice president for research, diversity and inclusion. She created this program in 2022, with support from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of Institutional Diversity and The Graduate School, to engage and support scholars who enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in Ph.D. programs at UK. The program is aligned with university priorities to create cultures of inclusive excellence while integrating students into the world of research and academia. 

“The UNITE Predoctoral Research Enhancement Program is designed to meet the needs of exceptionally talented graduate students, determined to achieve


By Richard LeComte

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- Gabriela Spears-Rico, assistant professor of Chicano Latino Studies and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, will lead off the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology’s Autumn Colloquium Series with a talk titled “Malinche’s Refusal: New visions for a decolonized Latinidad. “

This first event, at noon Friday, Oct. 14 in the Young Library Auditorium, is free and open to the public. Sponsors are the UK College of Arts & Sciences, Martin Luther King Center and the Gaines Center for the Humanities.

Spears-Rico will discuss the idea of “Dia de la Raza,” or “Day of the Race,” which Spanish-speaking communities often celebrate in place of Columbus Day. She will explore the origins of the term “la raza” and how it relates to gendered


By Whitney Hale

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 23, 2022) — University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences students have received Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to support their education abroad goals.

The Gilman Scholarship supports students who have been traditionally under-represented in study abroad, including but not limited to  students with high financial need, community college students, students in under-represented fields such as the sciences and engineering, students with diverse ethnic backgrounds and students with disabilities. Award recipients are chosen by a competitive selection process and must use the award, ranging from $100 to $5,000, to defray the cost of tuition, room and board, books, local


By Richard LeComte 

Check out this gallery of photos from the dig. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind the older but spiffed-up University of Kentucky buildings along East Maxwell Street, beneath a canopy, UK students methodically dig two orderly, rectangular and deep holes. In said holes, they find what seems to be the foundation of a former outbuilding, some 1960s pull-tabs from old soda cans, pieces of ceramics and shards of china and glass — treasures from a recent past.  

“So far we