By Whitney Hale, Breanna Shelton
The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has chosen 12 outstanding undergraduates as new scholars for the university's Gaines Fellowship Program for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 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:
- Noora Aljabi, of Henderson, Ky., majoring in computer science;
- Katie Cross, of Science Hill, Ky., majoring in English;
- Sarah Daley, of Louisville, Ky., majoring in architecture;
- Mary Kate Elliot, of Elizabethtown, Ky., majoring in English and French;
- Emily Furnish, of Louisville, majoring in chemistry and music with a specialty in voice;
- Rekha Gupta, of Hopkinsville, Ky., majoring in psychology and biology;
- Stefanie Muller, of Louisville, majoring in history and international studies;
- Autumn Murphy, of Mooresville, Ind., majoring in English and history;
- Benjamin Neal, of Richmond, Ky., majoring in architecture;
- Sanjana Pampati, of Paducah, Ky., majoring in political science;
- Kendra Sanders, of Paducah, majoring in English and philosophy; and
- Ryan Winstead, of Madisonville, Ky., majoring in English and gender and women's studies.
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 for a local community. In the senior year, each fellow must complete a major independent study project of six to 15 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.
In addition to the course requirements, Gaines Fellows enjoy a rich program of field trips, lectures, and other activities designed to widen and deepen their educational experience.
For the students, being chosen as a Gaines Fellow is a tremendous honor and recognizes their dedication to academics. "I feel honored to be selected with some of my most intelligent peers and excited for the academic challenges ahead," said Stefanie Muller.
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. Part of the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK, the center is devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty. The center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.