Current photo editor receives Jonathan Krueger memorial scholarship


Kentucky Kernel photo editor Jordan Prather taking portraits of UK’s basketball players during media day on Thursday, September 20th, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Bailey Vandiver

At a college newspaper, staffers naturally come and go every few years, but for many, the Kernel becomes a part of them forever. 

In some cases, those staffers become part of the Kernel forever, too. 

Jonathan Krueger, who was shot and killed in April 2015, is one of those. He was Kernel photo editor at the time. 

More than three years later, Jonathan’s legacy lives on in many ways, including through the Jonathan Krueger Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship was created by Kernel Press Inc., and most of the funds come from a GoFundMe account created by former Kernel photographer Jonathan Palmer and his wife, Danielle, according to a past Kernel article. 

Current Kernel photo editor Jordan Prather is this year’s recipient. Prather, a sophomore studying information communication technology, said he is thankful to receive this scholarship. 

“I wish I could’ve met him [Jonathan] ‘cause the way everybody talks about him, he seems like a great guy,” Prather said. “I’m honored to receive the scholarship that’s named in his honor.” 

Jonathan’s mother Mary Krueger said she is thrilled to hear that Prather has been awarded the scholarship.

Mary, who said she is “probably the number one reader on the Kernel,” said she has been keeping up with Prather’s work. 

She said she saw his photos of the UK men’s basketball team in the most recent printed issue of the Kernel. 

“Looks like he’s having a good time and living the dream if he can photograph the basketball team,” she said.

The original goal of the scholarship GoFundMe was $10,000, but the fund reached $30,201, and Mary said she still receives donations. Most recently, one of Jonathan’s fraternity brothers donated because he was about to get married and wanted to remember Jonathan. 

“I wrote two [thank you] notes this week,” Mary said. “It’s a very alive scholarship, at Christmas time and out of the blue… It’s nice to see that people still think about him and that the gifts keep coming.” 

This is the fourth year that the scholarship has been awarded, and Mary said she is really proud of all the winners so far. She mentioned former Kernel photographer Michael Reaves, who is now freelancing in Miami, and current Kernel art director Arden Barnes, who received the scholarship last year. Both Reaves and Barnes have won college photography awards.

Mary said it seems like Prather fits in well with that group. 

“I am really happy for him, and it means a lot to see Jonathan’s legacy continue, and it seems like he’s [Prather] bringing some of that intensity to it as the other winners,” she said. 

Kernel photo adviser and professor David Stephenson said he is “not at all surprised” that Prather won this scholarship. 

“It was clear early on when Jordan started at the Kernel last year that he was going to be a great photographer and a great leader,” Stephenson said. 

Stephenson was also Jonathan’s adviser when he worked for the Kernel. 

“The scholarship allows us to really represent Krueger’s spirit year after year, and it ensures that a piece of him will always be here,” he said.

Though Prather still has goals of getting a job in the IT field, he said he doesn’t think he can ever completely leave photojournalism after working for the Kernel. He said he hopes to always have at least a part-time job in the photography field. 

Prather said his job as photo editor gives him a lot of access to what’s happening on campus. 

“I know more about the university now than I ever would’ve if I wasn’t photo editor,” he said. “I think photo editor— if you’re going into photojournalism, it gives you a great head start. The experience you gain can’t be gained anywhere else.”

The scholarship is worth $1,000 each semester, and Prather said he plans to use it to finish paying his college expenses. 

Mary continues to visit the newsroom to visit with Jonathan’s advisers and get to know new Kernel editors.

“I know he [Jonathan] would be proud of his Kernel family, he’d be very proud,” she said. 

Mary plans to visit the Kernel newsroom in November and said she looks forward to meeting Prather.