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Student Success Stories


See some of the opportunities and awards our undergraduates are earning!


Academic Year 2021-2022

Clayton Dalton graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Political Science in May 2022. In his senior year, he was awarded the Julester Shrady Post Memorial Scholarship, recognizing his achievements as an honors student. After graduation, Clayton began working as a Public Affairs Associate Producer at Kentucky Educational Television where he contributes to daily public television broadcasts.
Deidra White graduated with Departmental Honors in May 2022 with a BA in English-Creative Writing Option. She has received The Farquhar Award for Poetry, The William Hugh Jansen Undergraduate Award for Distinguished Writing, and The Patricia and William Stacy Endowed Fellowship for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She will attend the MFA program at the University of Kentucky and is looking forward to returning to campus as a proud alumna! 
Akhira Umar received her bachelor's degree in journalism and English in December 2020. Along with graduating with honors and earning a spot on the Dean’s list each semester, her achievements include earning the Department of English’s Dantzler-Dantzler Award for Academic Achievement by a Senior, the Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award for the College of Communication and Information, and Semester at Sea’s Global Journalism and Integrated Communications Fellowship. She will be returning to the University of Kentucky for her MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on fiction.
Gracie Elliott (BA '22) received the Maurice A. Clay Outstanding Graduating Senior Award for the College of Arts and Sciences, presented research on "The Literary Imagination and the Supreme Court" at the 2021 Midwest Modern Language Association Conference, was involved in Chi Omega, as well as served as the Vice President for the UK Club Eventing Team and Co-Coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences Ambassador Program. She will be attending the University of Richmond School of Law, aiming to practice Intellectual Property Law or Sports and Entertainment Law upon completing her J.D. 

Academic Year 2020-2021





Haley Powell will be attending the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington for her JD to pursue a career in international law and constitution building.


Hailey Combs, a UK BLUE student, will be attending the UK Law School on scholarship to pursue a career in Criminal Law.

Claire McKinney will earn both a BA and a MA in English within four years under the University Scholars Program.  Claire will graduate with honors and having held a spot on the Dean’s list each semester at UK. She was also named runner-up for the William Hugh Jansen Award for Distinguished Writing, awarded for an original creative writing piece in the 2020-2021 school year.

Academic Year 2019-2020

In fall 2020, Madison Justice will begin graduate studies at St. Andrews in Scotland, a university established in 1413 and renowned for its Medieval Literature program:

"I am very interested in the field of medieval literature. I love how much I get to learn about the development of the English language and literature as well as manuscript cultures, which lead to a whole different way of approaching texts and textual artifacts as their availability and production is so very different than what we're used to. Getting to learn about the way medieval English society functioned ... is both extremely fascinating and challenging, and I cannot wait to learn more at the University of St. Andrews."

Maya Pierce will be attending Georgetown Law School in Washington D.C. to pursue a career in Constitutional Law:

"I feel passionate that the preservation of the Constitution, the document that unites and protects all Americans, plays an essential role in the strength of our nation. After working as the Office Manager for the Kentucky Governor and interning in the White House Office of Political Affairs, I realized my interest in government and politics and hope to find my place defending the Constitution and the civil liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights."

Sophomore Hailey Combs, of Campton, Kentucky, has been awarded an English-Speaking Union (ESU) Scholarship presented by the English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch. The scholarship will cover Combs' expense for summer study at Cambridge University in the Literature Summer Programme.

Congratulations to English, Philosophy, and Sociology major Emily Keaton, who earned 3rd place at the competitive 2nd annual 5-Minute Fast Track Research Competition. Faculty Mentor: Ed Morris, Sociology.

Students competed in two preliminary rounds and were selected as Top 10 finalists to advance to the round of the final competition. Students had five minutes and one static slide to present their research to an audience and panel of judges that included Provost David Blackwell, Dr. Marilyn Campbell, and Carol Street.

Juniors Jacob Reynolds and Nick Volosky recently completed two short documentaries that screened at the Fall 2019 UKY Student Film Festival. Their films, Carts (Reynolds, 3 minutes) and Versailles, KY (Volosky, 12 minutes) were produced in an English independent study where they developed, shot and edited their films. Nick, a Creative Writing Minor, received the Audience Choice Award and 2nd Best Overall.

Academic Year 2018-2019


Eli O’Neal, of Louisville, an English and Political Science Major, and Aileen Tierney, of Louisville, an English Major, were selected for the Gaines Fellowship along with ten other UK students. "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 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 at the University of Kentucky" (UKNow, April 25, 2019).


Senior English major Yohanan Andargachew did an internship with Thompson Law Office in Lexington during his junior year, and has since continued to work there part time.  He plans to apply to law school this fall.  Yohanan is one of roughly fifty students who have done internships and earned English course credit over the past couple of years. This program puts students in a variety of work places, including law firms, the University Press of Kentucky, media outlets, the Carnegie Center, and more.  We hope it will continue to grow and help ore students explore career options for English majors. 

Katie Kirk is the first student who will earn a BA and MA in English in five years under the University Scholars Program.  She also participates in UK Shakes and Sigma Tau Delta.  In March 2019, she won a prize for the work she presented at the Sigma Tau Delta Conference in St. Louis, MO.

English majors Kayla Biddle, Lilly Bramley, Tori Ferguson, and Abigail Heibert are spending their summer studying abroad in Ireland with Prof. Julia Johnson! 

2019 graduate, Andrew Thibaudeau (from Louisville), will be fully-funded as a Ph.D. student in English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Nathaniel Cortas, a 2019 English, music, and Lewis Honors College graduate, received a Fulbright scholarship to teach in Turkey.

Our UK Sigma Tau Delta chapter has a growing membership (30+ on campus, not counting alumni) and is quite active. This year, they organized: Banned Book Week events, lectures (including a recent one on “Native American Literature”), weekly study-sessions in the library, and a roundtable discussion on “Super Heroes.”  The biggest fall event was organized with help from Prof. Michelle Sizemore and inspired by the NEH: a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Shelley’s Frankenstein (with a costume contest and film screening). STD members also mentored incoming freshmen English majors, as they have now for the past 3 years. They also fund-raised and sent seven members to present work (creative and critical) at the national STD conference in St. Louis. There, one member, Katie Kirk, won a prize for her poetry at the conference.

We had our fourth annual, Undergraduate Showcase in the Spring, where undergrads presented their research and creative writing to each other, faculty members, friends and family. See photos here!

UK English major MiKayla Carter did two marketing internships, one at the University Press and another with the UK Library, as an undergraduate. She did an amazing job at the library and was offered a full-time position before she even graduated! She’ll be managing information and promoting the library. She will create and design promotional and marketing materials for library events, services, resources, and philanthropic initiatives. She will help keep the library’s on-line profile vibrant and relevant, and work to develop the UK Library brand. If you’re interested in the Library and Information sciences track, English is a great place to start!

Nate Cortas worked with the Early American Literature editors to record their first podcast!

Juniors Shania Goble, of Inez, Kentucky, and Katie Huffman, of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, have been awarded English-Speaking Union (ESU) Scholarships presented by the English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch. The scholarships will cover Goble and Huffman's expenses for summer study at Oxford University.