raiseRED drums up $226,613 for pediatric cancer research & support

raiseRED broke not one, but two of its previous records at the group’s Feb. 27 dance marathon. About 800 dancers raised $226,613.12 — almost 200 dancers and $100,000 more than the previous year.

raiseRED supports the UofL Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation in its efforts to help families and children facing cancer.

“raiseRED is a high-energy, exciting and enthralling event, so it has natural appeal to college students,” said Taylor Wilson, executive director of raiseRED. “I remember standing with two board members, Courtney Puckett (event management director) and Tra Taylor (event entertainment director), looking around the Student Activities Center in awe of the event that was going on around us, and beaming with pride to be a part of such a phenomenal organization.”

raiseRED has set an even higher goal for 2016: $300,000. Learn more about raiseRED Dance Marathon at

Career Center aims to connect students with future jobs

Trey Lewis has hit the ground running since being named director of the Career Development Center in January. Lewis is working to get more students interested in career planning earlier in their college careers, as well as to develop more partnerships with businesses to create employment opportunities for students seeking internships and jobs.

“We see alumni playing a critical role in strengthening the work force development pipeline for current UofL students as they transition from college to career,” Lewis said. “The Career Development Center at UofL is eager for the opportunity to connect with alumni who wish to pay it forward through offering internships and promoting full-time opportunities to current students.”

Previously the director of the Career Development Center at Indiana University Southeast, Lewis holds a Master of Science in Human Resource Development and a Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management, both from James Madison University.


Big gift = big impact

Many K-12 school systems struggle to give teachers specialized training to help students with learning disabilities.

A recent gift to the College of Education and Human Development provides $1.2 million in federal funding to encourage more CEHD graduates to become certified to teach students with disabilities. The grant will pay two years of tuition for students who earn dual certification in elementary education and moderate/severe intellectual disabilities. Up to 30 students per year can take part in the program, which is expected to greatly boost the pipeline of teachers trained to teach at-risk students.


Speed School institute adds training center, student micro-factory

The J.B. Speed School of Engineering’s Institute for Product Realization (IPR) continues to grow with plans for an additive manufacturing training center and the addition of a “learning micro-factory” for student use.

Plans call for the training center — a partnership with UL, the Northbrook, Illinois-based global science safety company — to open this fall on the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus. The UL Additive Manufacturing Competency Center (UL AMCC) will train engineers and other professionals from around the world on sophisticated 3-D printing and advanced manufacturing machinery.

The UL AMCC will offer hands-on training in additive manufacturing, focusing on metals. Curriculum will cover design set-up and corrections, machine assembly, parts production, inspection, testing and validation.

The center will be located on Arthur Street in the IPR complex. Its neighbors will be the FirstBuild micro-factory, a partnership among UofL, General Electric and Arizona-based Local Motors, and another new venture — the Engineering Education Garage, EEG, which houses space for student projects.

The 15,000-square-foot EEG has offices, two classrooms and four “cages” where student groups, such as UofL’s student rocket launch team, work on their projects.

The student micro-factory functions as a learning laboratory where university faculty and students, as well as younger children in kindergarten through high school, can work on assignments and further their studies of engineering and manufacturing.

The EEG also has state-of-the-art equipment and amenities that FirstBuild doesn’t have, such as welding and paint shops. And it has 3-D printing machines to complement those the university has at the Speed School’s Rapid Prototyping Center.


International Honor Quilt finds home at UofL

Across the quilt, familiar names such as Mother Teresa, Agatha Christie and Anne Frank appear. Beside them, women who may not be as recognizable but were influential in their own right take their places, women such as Stella Martel, Amy DeCou and Jeannette Rainville.

Artists worldwide immortalized these women and their stories in the International Honor Quilt (IHQ), a collaborative feminist art project recently gifted to the Hite Art Institute by Through the Flower. Initiated by artist Judy Chicago after a 1980 “The Dinner Party” exhibit in Houston, the IHQ traveled the world and became a personal yet universal celebration of womankind throughout history.

Through the Flower, the 501c3 organization founded by Chicago, archived the IHQ with Marilee Schmit Nason. In 2013, after the quilt spent almost 25 years in storage, Louisville resident Shelly Zegart, an international quilt expert and executive director and host of Why Quilts Matter: History, Art and Politics, served as the catalyst for placing the project with the university. The quilt will take up permanent residence at the Hite Art Institute where it will be available for research and study.

An online database of individual pieces and the stories of the women behind them is now available at

The IHQ will go on display at UofL later this academic year. For more information on the opening, visit

Rallying students to ‘interconnect’ ideas

Stacey Reason does not fear a challenge. “I have a knack for getting myself into these huge projects,” she confessed.

The Louisville woman, who graduated in May with master’s degrees in critical and curatorial studies and in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management, wound up leading a student-organized TEDxUofL conference.

The TEDxUofL 2015: Interconnected event Feb. 28 attracted 290 people to campus for brief, powerful “TED-style” talks about sustainability, discovery and dynamism. The popular format of sharing “ideas worth spreading” began with a 1984 talk that tied in technology, entertainment and design (TED).

After attending the first UofL talk in 2012, Reason sought out volunteers (10 directors and 50 others) who made it happen a second time. “I was really impressed with the response we had from the students,” she said.

Biology doctoral student Matt Hasenjager and engineering student Caleb Sheehan joined other UofL and community representatives whose talks were livestreamed so more attendees could listen and interact.

Reason also helps catalog the International Honor Quilt that will go on public display at UofL’s Hite Art Institute this year. As an independent curator, she recently was elected to Louisville’s Commission on Public Art.

Students help public history come alive for youngsters, adults

Louisville riots in 1968 may seem like ancient history to youngsters today, but a UofL public history project shed light on their long-lasting impact on the Parkland neighborhood. And some lessons forged from those eyewitness accounts and memories are inspiring schoolchildren, too.

Lara Kelland’s oral history class documented the uprising and its effects by interviewing former and current Parkland residents. Those 39 interviews will be archived at the Ekstrom Library after work by her digital history methods class; a UofL community engagement grant helped support the research of the three-year project.

The students shared their perspectives from the project with fifth grade junior historians from Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School, who visited them last fall and toured the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research and Freedom Park as part of their civic engagement education.

“This is a part of history that didn’t get recorded,” UofL staff member and oral history student Tracy Heightchew told the children. “This is kind of like a time capsule — but out loud.”

Kelland was delighted by her students’ experiences. “As much as we are training public historians, this is a fascinating opportunity for them to talk about what they’re doing and deliver that to new audiences.”

Former teacher Michele Hemenway, who works with the younger students on civic engagement, said they benefit from learning local history in this way. “When you’re talking about real people, it’s really different.”

All Stars series showcases expertise in the field(s)

UofL will demonstrate its prowess in places beyond the gridiron on Saturdays this fall. The College of Arts and Sciences invites fans to enjoy game-day educational programs featuring the academic expertise of its own “A&S All Stars.”

Organizers hope football fans and others will kick off their home-game Saturdays at the 10 a.m. events in Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium, which co-sponsors the series.

The talks are free, but registration is required at The second annual fall lineup of speakers and topics includes:

Sept. 12 – “Ancient Louisville: 10,000 Years of Forgotten History at the Falls of the Ohio,” John Hale, archaeologist and UofL Liberal Studies Project director (UofL vs. Houston)

Sept. 26 – “Screaming Fans and YouTube Sensations: Tween Girls and Popular Music,” Diane Pecknold, women’s and gender studies associate professor (UofL vs. Samford)

Oct. 24 – Special Homecoming presentation by an A&S alumnus (UofL vs. Boston College)

Nov. 7 – “Glaciers, Ice Sheets and Climate Change: Implications for the Global Warming Debate,” Keith Mountain, geography and geosciences chair (UofL vs. Syracuse)

Nov. 14 – “#FlawlessFeminism: Black Feminisms and the Beyhive,” Kaila Story, Pan-African studies and women’s and gender studies associate professor (UofL vs. Virginia).


Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky to address health issues and disparities

As Kentucky struggles to overcome health risks such as obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco and drug use, as well as social factors like unemployment, poverty and violence, the School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) has established the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky to address health disparities.

Through a three-year, $4 million investment from KentuckyOne Health, the institute serves as a collaborative for population health improvement, policy and analytics.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is redefining health and health care. Addressing Kentucky’s health issues in this climate requires a multi-level approach, and that is what we plan to accomplish,” said Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH, dean, SPHIS.

The primary operations of the institute include data warehousing and analytics, community-based research, health policy support and education. The initiative brings together the resources of the Kentucky State Data Center, along with their UofL staff and the Office of Health Policy in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Three initial projects are supported through this investment:

  • Develop and pilot new neighborhood-focused health literacy interventions
  • Examine and improve ACA rollout in Jefferson County
  • Address enormous cost of neighborhood violence through grassroots efforts with youth

Johnson leads Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences

Christopher E. Johnson, PhD, is the new chair of the Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences, joining UofL from the University of Washington. “Chris brings incredible energy to the table,” said Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH, dean of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences. “His expertise in health policy and health services research on cost and access will be an excellent addition to the school. Under his leadership, we will be building both the policy and management sides of the department.” Johnson is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. He received his PhD in Health Services Research, Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota.


Prestigious Chronicle of Higher Education praises PLAN model

The Chronicle of Higher Education heaped praise on the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) in March for its innovative, five-year-old program that helps graduate students prepare for their professional lives.

Calling SIGS “farsighted,” the Chronicle described the PLAN (professional development, life skills, academic development and networking) program, launched in 2009, as a model for the kind of comprehensive professionalization program all graduate students need. Beth Boehm and Ghanashyam (Shyam) Sharma, PLAN’s architects, feature prominently in the article.

“Programs like Louisville’s point the way forward for graduate schools. Broadly conceived professionalism can no longer be the sole province of ‘applied’ fields like business or engineering,” the Chronicle said.

PLAN serves more students with more workshops, academies and classes than ever, according to Michelle Rodems, the program manager. In addition to a grant-writing academy and a graduate teaching assistant academy, PLAN this year added an entrepreneurship academy.


Lost no more

One of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Mawut Mach (right) spent most of his childhood in refugee camps. His journey to Louisville led to a UofL bachelor’s degree in justice administration and, in May, a master’s degree in social work. He received the university’s Alice Eaves Barns Award for outstanding achievement through tenacity in the face of adversity. Besides his Kent School of Social Work mentors, he credits much of his success to Martha Clark (left) of Oldham County, a retired English teacher who met with him weekly and offered extensive online help to improve his written communication skills. “He’s a walking miracle,” said Clark, who received an appreciation plaque at the Kent awards ceremony. “I’m grateful to have walked with him through this journey.”


Providing new smiles for Kentucky’s children

Dental students and faculty, along with other community dental health providers, offered free, comprehensive dental treatment to more than 100 children from Bullitt, Meade, Nelson, Shelby and Spencer Counties in February through the Smile Kentucky! program.

Alumni Robert McDade, DMD, and Darren Greenwell, DMD, opened their practices, with about a dozen kids treated at each office.

For the second consecutive year, Greenwell’s associate, Kayla Albright, DMD, participated in Smile Kentucky! In 2014, she provided treatment at the dental school as a fourth-year student.

“I received an excellent education at the School of Dentistry, with a strong, diverse clinical background, and it’s a privilege to now give back to the community as a dentist,” Albright said.

Louisville Dental Society President Randy Ransdell, DMD, also an alum, joined Albright in providing a variety of dental care, including x-rays, exams, cleanings, fluoride treatment, extractions and fillings.

Babbage named Louisville Metro Board of Health chair

Sherry Babbage, DMD, has been elected chair of the Louisville Metro Board of Health. Among its most recent activities, the 12-member Board of Health has overseen the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Louisville.

Babbage is a dentist in private practice at the West Louisville Dental Center and is a part-time faculty member at the School of Dentistry, serving as the coordinator of diversity and inclusion. She earned both a bachelor of science and doctor of dental medicine degree from UofL.


UofL economic studies draw national attention

Why are meth labs more common in dry counties? How are supercenters like Walmart and Costco making us fatter?

College of Business faculty members Jose Fernandez, Stephan Gohmann and Joshua Pinkston sought answers to both questions in separate research projects. Their studies, released this winter, drew coverage in top-tier national media.

The trio analyzed Kentucky data from 2004 to 2010, learning that dry counties had two more meth lab seizures per 100,000 residents a year than dry counties. Bans on selling liquor encourage people who are willing to obtain alcohol illegally to also obtain illicit drugs, they found.

Local alcohol bans increase the costs of obtaining alcohol, which drives down the relative price of illicit drugs, they said in their study, “Breaking Bad: Are Meth Labs Justified in Dry Counties?” The Wall Street Journal blog “Real Time Economics” did an article on their paper after they unveiled it at the American Economic Association annual meeting in Boston.

In another project, Pinkston co-wrote a paper with colleagues at Georgia State University, University of Iowa and University of Virginia concluding that the cheap food sold in bulk at supercenters has made Americans fatter.

An area’s density of supercenters can significantly affect the obesity rate of the people living there, they found. Their working paper “Can Changing Economic Factors Explain the Rise in Obesity?” appeared on the website of the National Bureau of Economic Research, triggering an article on a Washington Post blog.

Fernandez is associate professor and Pinkston is assistant professor of economics at the College of Business. Gohmann is BB&T Professor of Free Enterprise at the school.


Power covers world issues in UofL speech

Stepping up sanctions on Iran could thwart efforts to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told an audience in UofL’s Bigelow Hall this winter.

Power, who gave a wide-ranging speech in January as a guest of the McConnell Center, also touched on U.S.-Cuba relations, the struggle for democracy in Burma, terrorism in Syria, the Ebola threat and the importance of bipartisanship in Congress.

The Associated Press, Reuters News Service, Politico, Voice of America and other news outlets covered her talk.

“To have America’s ambassador to the United Nations with us for two days to talk about critical world events, from negotiations with Iran to new diplomatic openings in Cuba, was a unique privilege for the university community,” said Gary Gregg, McConnell Center director.

Power spoke through the McConnell Center’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which has brought 47 prominent leaders to campus since 1993 to give public talks on current events.

While visiting Kentucky, she also met with students at Atherton High School and Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Payneville Elementary School in Meade County and Franklin County High School and Elkhorn Middle School in Franklin Country.


Ensemble to perform at international festival

The University of Louisville Wind Ensemble will appear front and center at the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles International (WASBE) Conference this July.

For the third time, the group, directed by Professor Frederick Speck, received an invitation to play a feature concert performance at the international level. They previously performed at the WASBE conference in 2007 in Killarney, Ireland, and the 2013 Jungfrau Music Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland. This year’s WASBE concert takes place at the historic California Theater in San Jose, the home of Opera San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley.

Along with the concert, UofL will perform as the ensemble-in-residence for the International Conducting Masterclass with Portuguese conductor Maestro Alberto Roque.

A sound legacy

Distinguished UofL professor and local trumpet legend Michael Tunnell passed away Dec. 19, 2014 after a long battle with cancer.

A professor at the School of Music since 1988, Tunnell contributed to the education of hundreds of students. An accomplished musician, he performed with Louisville Brass and the Louisville Bach Society, and he was a founding member of Sonus Brass. He played with the Kentucky Baroque Trumpets and President Lincoln’s Own Band, performing with that group in the 2012 movie, “Lincoln.” He recorded several albums with local musicians and composers and frequently appeared as a guest on WUOL.

Tunnell relished his role as a teacher and his interactions with students, as he previously explained on the website for the Mike Tunnell Trumpet Studio at UofL.

“Part of the joy in teaching trumpet and music is that one can often see a transformation and development with students that perhaps do not exist in every discipline. Music contains an intensely personal and humanistic quality that goes beyond cerebral learning.”

Beer and an opera

The School of Music tried a new take on traditional opera in March and April when it presented “Four on Tap” at The Bard’s Town, a “pub theatre” in the Highlands.

Students in the School of Music performed the “Four on Tap” series of four one-act operas in English. All four shows sold out, with close to 300 visitors taking in the shows.

“We wanted to make opera accessible,” said Michael Ramach, co-director of opera theatre at UofL. “Guests were able to grab a beer and a snack and experience music theatre in an unconventional way.”


Postel providing clinical care leadership

Gregory Postel, MD, who had been serving as interim CEO of University of Louisville Physicians since November 2013, has been named CEO on a permanent basis.

“I’ve been involved with UofL Physicians since long before it formally existed,” Postel said. “I’ve been at the UofL School of Medicine for 20 years, and I care a lot about the school and the clinical practices. It’s exciting to see how far we’ve come, and what is on the horizon. I’m honored my colleagues have placed their trust in me to lead this effort.”

Along with his appointment as CEO, Postel was named vice dean of clinical affairs at the School of Medicine, a decision approved by the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees. In that position, Postel is responsible for the clinical faculty at the school.

All UofL faculty perform their clinical duties through UofL Physicians. Research and teaching are conducted through the school, and the chairs of the school’s clinical departments serve on the UofL Physicians board, which manages the clinical practice mission of the faculty. The vice dean of clinical affairs position had remained vacant as UofL Physicians developed.

“With Greg in both positions, it will provide continuity as we see more and more crossover between the school and the clinical practices,” said Toni Ganzel, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “He is exceptionally skilled and talented and the right person to lead us in this new era. He has been instrumental in integrating the practice groups into this new company and in helping to promote a more cohesive strategy and culture.”

Second protein associated with common cause of kidney failure identified

An international team of researchers, including the University of Louisville’s Jon Klein, MD, PhD, and Michael Merchant, PhD, has identified a protein that turns a person’s immune system against itself in a form of kidney disease called membranous nephropathy (MN). The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This protein becomes the second one associated with MN and the development of an autoimmune response, making it possible for development of a new blood test to diagnose this common form of kidney disease.

Unchecked, MN can lead to kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease. In 2011, more than a million people worldwide suffered from kidney failure annually. Approximately 14 percent of those cases are the result of glomerulonephritis, of which MN is a common cause.

“Five years ago this team initially discovered a protein that led to a blood test identifying 70–80 percent of people with MN,” Klein said. “We now have found another protein that impacts another 5 percent. Once a blood test is available, we will reduce by up to 85 percent the number of kidney biopsies necessary for disease detection and treatment response assessment.”


Program allows college-educated career changers to earn a master’s degree in nursing

Career changers with a baccalaureate degree in another field can make the transition into health care through the School of Nursing’s Master’s Entry into Professional Nursing (MEPN) program.

Upon completion of the two-year program, students will receive both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing. They will be prepared as entry-level professional nurses and eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for registered nursing.

“The MEPN allows for a seamless transition from a bachelor’s to a master’s degree by recognizing the broad-based learning that occurred with the first degree. It permits students to take the next logical step in their educational progression without requiring a completely separate second bachelor’s degree,” said S. Lee Ridner, PhD, FNPBC, associate dean of graduate programs.

“We know that higher levels of education are associated with better patient outcomes. These students will have greater training in evidence-based practice and leadership. Both of these areas are essential for nurses practicing in today’s environments. MEPN nurses routinely move into leadership positions on their units,” he said.

Students who graduate with a MEPN and want to become advanced practice registered nurses must complete a post-master’s certificate program, also offered through the school.


Getting it right

We all have rights.

But we don’t always understand them, especially people who may struggle with English and cultural barriers.

For years, the Brandeis School of Law has helped with immigrant and refugee populations in Kentucky.

Starting in fall 2015, the school will take another leap forward by launching its inaugural Human Rights Fellowship. Geared to law students interested in human rights advocacy, the fellows will receive a stipend of $2,500 their first year and $5,000 in their second and third years, as long as they meet all service requirements.

Law professors Enid Trucios-Haynes and Jamie Abrams will supervise their work.

Abrams and Trucios-Haynes said initial work is already underway thanks to a grant from the Louisville Bar Foundation that funded an assessment of immigrant/refugee services being provided in the Louisville area. The 2015 student fellows will expand on that work.

“Our dream is for this work to be collaborative between our students, faculty, alumni and community,” Abrams said.

UofL hosts law review writers, editors

Hundreds of law students from across the nation headed to Louisville March 11–14 for the 2015 National Conference of Law Reviews, hosted by the Brandeis School of Law. UofL last hosted the event in 1986.

The conference brings together students who write and edit for a law review — a university-based journal that requires scholars to hone their legal research and writing skills. Law review editors and writers often go on to leadership positions in law and politics.

The law school’s bid to host the conference started in 2013. Leah Gravius, managing editor of UofL’s Law Review, said former editor Edward O’Brien, who is now an attorney in Louisville, made the initial pitch.

Gravius said hosting the event provides an opportunity to boost the law school’s profile, generate revenue for the city and give attendees good, useful information.


‘Shelfie’ showcase

For a short time from January through March, UofL student, faculty, staff and community members could find their self-portraits on display next to the portraits of artists like Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh and Norman Rockwell.

The “Selfies in Art History” exhibit bridged the past and the present at the Margaret M. Bridwell Art Library.

The brainchild of UofL art history major and art library student worker Blake Schreiner, the exhibit combined examples of artist self-portraits and social media “shelfies” from guests. For the uninitiated, one takes a “shelfie” by posing for a photo holding your favorite book or standing in front of your favorite library shelf.

Schreiner wanted to show that the modern selfie isn’t a new idea. He helped curate the showcase, which featured images from the library’s rare book room and dozens of other self-portrait examples from well-known artists.

The exhibit linked the phenomenon of contemporary selfies to artist self-portraiture dating back hundreds of years, said Sarah Carter, director of the art library. It closed in March, but the “shelfies” remain on display on the library’s Facebook page