8 Students Selected as Sustainability Summer Research Fellows

Eight University of Kentucky students have been selected for the Sustainability Summer Research Fellowship program, a high-impact learning experience that contributes to the students’ academic growth as well as sustainability-focused research initiatives at UK and within the community at large.

The Sustainability Research Fellowship is a collaborative program coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research and sponsored by the UK Student Sustainability Council (SSC) and UK Sustainability. The fellowship’s goal is to support and promote sustainability-related undergraduate research endeavors. The program, which launched in 2014, has supported 48 undergraduate sustainability summer projects.

“Sustainability Research Fellowships have been instrumental in helping undergraduate students, including those from groups traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering, to become involved in research projects related to sustainability,” said Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor in the UK Center for Applied Energy Research. “This not only allows a diverse group of individuals to learn about sustainability, but also helps them contribute their creativity and effort to the development of novel technologies such as those needed to produce energy that is both renewable and carbon-neutral.”

The Sustainability Research Fellowship offers two program options with stipends ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 to support research during the Summer 2022 term. Students can choose to continue their mentored research with UK faculty or they can opt to spend the summer engaging in mentored research with our partner faculty and UK alum at Auburn University, Louisiana State University or University of California, Riverside, as part of the Sustainability Intercollegiate Summer Research Experiences (ISRE) program. 

“Environmental sociology is a passion of mine, and its work is deeply intertwined with health and justice outcomes, as where and how we live is often both health and environment,” said Emily Keaton, a Lewis Honors College senior majoring in sociology, philosophy, neuroscience and English, participating in the ISRE program at Louisiana State University with UK alum Jerrod Penn, Ph.D. “Being able to participate in experimentation, coding and writing will give me much-needed field experience for further programs, and it is incredibly fulfilling to be part of research that can positively impact the lives and health of both pollinators and people. When we make sustainable outcomes a focus of our research, we are actively improving our society, which is in keeping with what research itself often seeks.”

Students will present their research at the Summer Research Symposium on Aug. 31, 2022, and Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars in April 2023.

Chelsea Colley

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