Students discover research and internship opportunities at UK’s undergraduate research fair


Emily Girard

UK’s Undergraduate Research + Creative Experience Expo took place on Monday, Sept. 12, in the Gatton Student Center. Photo by Emily Girard | Kentucky Kernel

Emily Girard, Features Editor

UK’s Undergraduate Research + Creative Experience Expo took place Monday, Sept. 12, in the Gatton Student Center. The expo aimed to connect students with research and internship opportunities across a variety of disciplines.

The expo took place both in Ballroom A & B and the Social Stairs. The ballroom was mainly devoted to promoting STEM research in various colleges. One of these was the College of Pharmacy, promoted by Catina Rossoll, the college’s graduate program operations director.

“We have a wide breadth of research in the College of Pharmacy, from pharmacology to delivery in pharmaceutics, substance use disorder, you name it, we have it,” Rossoll said. “I hope that [students are] made aware that there’s opportunities at the College of Pharmacy for research for undergrads as well as a Ph.D. program.”

Student research ambassadors, such as junior biology major Christine Haddad, also staffed the fair. Haddad said many of the ambassadors have been involved in research themselves, and they serve as liaisons between students and the Office of Undergraduate Research, connecting students to the same opportunities they had.

Haddad herself has worked in biology professor Robin Cooper’s lab since her freshman year.

“I like making connections throughout the university, since we’re such a big college,” Haddad said. “I’m from a small hometown, so I didn’t really know what research was to begin with and, coming in here, I was kind of nervous, but being able to learn how to explore the unknown is what I’m really thankful for.”

In addition to scientific research, the fair also promoted programs in creative writing, history and other humanities-based fields.

“Humanities has been taking L’s out here in the streets, and we just want to show folks that we’re actually doing some amazing, cutting-edge, innovative kinds of things,” said Kishonna Gray, an associate professor in writing, rhetoric and digital studies who also promoted African American and Africana Studies at the fair. “The focus, a lot of times, is not on the humanities. It’s not on the creative arts. And we want to show folks that there are still pathways into industry and majors in jobs from these degrees and from these major programs.”

Jessica Perry, the department manager for UK’s Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies program, also attended the fair, promoting the AppalachiaCorps internship program.

“[The program] offers paid internships for students to work in Eastern Kentucky and nonprofit organizations over the summer, and then we offer different funding opportunities and research opportunities throughout the year,” Perry said. “We really just wanted to support students in the research that they’re interested in, especially related to the region where we’re focused.”

Some students simply attended the fair while passing through the student center, while others were required to attend and visit tables for class credit.

“You have to … grab this paper; we have to get three stamps,” Megan Miller, a senior sports communication major, said. “[I plan on talking to] probably just the College of Communication and Information just because that’s my major. That’s just interesting.”