Alumni Success Stories

Michael Dorff

Growing up in Los Angeles and studying as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, Michael Dorff hadn’t heard a lot about Kentucky, let alone the University of Kentucky.
But while he was getting his masters in mathematics at the University of New Hampshire and trying to look for a doctoral program, one of his professors mentioned UK.

Anjan Gupta

Physics & Astronomy alum Dr. Anjan K. Gupta came to the University of Kentucky after earning bachelors and masters degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1995 in Kanpur, India.
Anjan is from a small city called Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state in India.
“I wanted to go to the United States because I knew there would be many opportunities for research as a graduate student,” Anjan said. “I applied many places but I was interested in UK because they had a good condensed matter...

Paul Brewer

The recent presidential election not only captivated the nation, but also opened up a whole new dialogue on politics.The sense of excitement surrounding the election mobilized the younger generations, who in turn supported their candidate by using social networking and video sharing sites and in some cases hitting the campaign trail.
This increase in participation was also noted by UK political science alum Paul Brewer. Currently an associate professor and chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at...

Zeljko Ivezic

Not many people get to spend their careers involved with something they’ve loved since they were 10 years old.
University of Kentucky alum Zeljko Ivezic is one of those lucky few. The Croatia native became fascinated with what he could see in the sky and beyond as a child and now Ivezic is a leading astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Betsy Dahms

Betsy Dahms has known since her childhood that masculinity can mean a variety of things. Growing up with eight brothers and one sister, Dahms developed an acute awareness that a person’s masculinity can never be reduced to a single form or expression. It is this aspect of her family upbringing that has most significantly influenced Dahms’ budding scholarly and pedagogical career.
“My father died when I was young, so I didn’t grow up with a father-figure in my life,” said Dahms.“In my house I was able to see how my...

Janet Neiswennder Janet Neisewander

Janet Neisewander spends a lot of her time with rodents and cocaine.
As strange as that may sound, the research the Arizona State University professor is doing with those two things may someday help people struggling with addiction.

Taki Petrou Panayotis “Taki” Petrou

Growing up in Athens, Greece, Panayotis “Taki” Petrou knew he wanted to study in the United States when he was older.
Three of his uncles lived in America and his older sister had already left Greece for school in Chicago.
“I was finishing high school and thinking about college, and it had always been my dream to go to the U.S.,” Petrou said.

Benny G. Johnson

One-on-one teaching assistance is hard to come by in math and science courses, where many students struggle to understand balancing equations, solving for variables, and applying formulas. To address the problem, Benny G. Johnson, Sr., and Dale Holder joined forces, merging chemistry, computer programming and teaching philosophy to create Quantum Tutors, the first artificial intelligence tutoring program for the sciences.

Steven Murdock

“The mentoring I received from UK sociology faculty such as Drs. James Brown, Clyde McCoy, and Tom Ford was instrumental in my professional development," Murdock said. "They not only provided me with a rigorous education in demography but also provided examples that served as role models for me as I developed professionally. I will forever be indebted to them, the department, and the University of Kentucky for their help and guidance.”

Kevin Harrelson

Kevin Harrelson discovered the works of 17th century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and early-19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel while an undergraduate philosophy major at Villanova University.
Their writing—and their questions—captivated him. His readings of Hegel led to an interest in German Idealism in general, and led him to pursue his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Kentucky. 

Sonja Petrovic

At the end of every big chapter of our lives, we are faced with tough choices. As I was applying for graduate schools, I was overwhelmed by the opportunities that awaited... somehow in the jungle of choices, everyone finds one that seems most appropriate at the moment, chooses it, and hopes that it proves to be a good one for the future. These choices define us in some way. In case of graduate school, this choice defines us as mathematicians. In this sense, I have chosen the perfect department.

Alumna Story: Caroline Light

“I started looking at southern Jewish race identity,” Caroline Light said. “It was the perfect way to merge my interests in race and gender. There is a real gap in the historiography of the United States as it relates to southern Jewish identity.”

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