2017 Gaines Fellowship Awarded to 12 UK Scholars

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By Connie Sapienza
 
Front row (l to r): Alyssa Mertka, Meg Coppala, Hadeel Abdallah and Susie Smith. Middle row (l to r): Meghana Kudrimoti and Michael Regard. Back row (l to r); Beau Revlett, Ben Jones, Eric Poore and Nate Cortas. Not pictured: Sophia Decker and Amaris Wade
 
The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has selected 12 exceptional undergraduates as new scholars for the university's Gaines Fellowship Program for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 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:
 
  • Hadeel Abdallah, of Lexington, majoring in political science and Arabic and Islamic studies;
  • Margaret "Meg" Coppala, of Scott Depot, West Virginia, majoring in English and gender and women's studies;
  • Nathaniel Cortas, of Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in English and music;
  • Sophia Decker, of Los Angeles, California, majoring in classics and linguistics;
  • Benjamin Jones, of Harlan, Kentucky, majoring in history;
  • Meghana Kudrimoti, of Lexington, majoring in biology and political science;
  • Alyssa Mertka, of Geneva, Illinois, majoring in English;
  • Eric Poore, of Williamsburg, Kentucky, majoring in political science;
  • Michael Regard, of Lexington, majoring in public health;
  • Beau Revlett, of Georgetown, Kentucky, majoring in philosophy;
  • Stephanie Smith, of Lexington, majoring in political science and sociology; and
  • Amaris Wade, of Lexington, majoring in foreign language and international economics - Chinese.
All Gaines Fellows are required to take a specially designed, four-credit hour 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 to a community, whether it be our campus, Lexington, the fellow's hometown, or a community further afield. 
 
In the senior year, each fellow must complete a major independent study project of six 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.
 
The Gaines Fellowship is highly regarded on campus because of the new opportunities and experiences in humanities it offers scholars. "I am excited to gain new perspectives that will challenge my current view of the world, and I hope to gain a close community of peers and professors I can share my personal growth with," sophomore Meghana Kudrimoti 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. The Gaines Center is designed to enrich the study of the humanities as an intellectual activity and as a means to self-betterment. The center offers courses and sponsors activities that appeal to faculty and students in all disciplinary fields.
 
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue
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