April 2024

Donate to KAS

KAS has been standing up for Science in Kentucky since 1914! We encourage aspiring scientists, promote science literacy, give science a voice in policymaking, and recognize those who make the future brighter through scientific discovery.


Science Job Postings

We have some terrific opportunities this month that you can view at our jobs page. Please send any job announcements to executivedirector@kyscience.org and include contact information and closing date. 

Share your news with KAS members

If you have something to share in the monthly KAS newsletter, get in touch with our Newsletter editor, Mark dela Cerna.

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Publish in the KAS Journal

The Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science publishes work in the Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Life Sciences.
Digital issues are published as Issues-in-Progress which expedites publication for authors.


Looking for Research Funding or Scholarships

Check out  KAS' Listing of Research funding leads and scholarship opportunities:

News from Partners

EPSCoR & IDeA News Established Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Institutional Development Award (IDeA), including federal funding opportunities and more! EPSCoR is a program serving states such as Kentucky, to build capacity for federally funded scientific research.

Ky- INBRE Recent News  KY IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence supports biomedical researchers and educators within the Commonwealth. The purpose of the network is to develop infrastructure and capacity for biomedical research and training in the state. Their newsletter  has training events, funding leads, and job opportunities.  You can also subscribe at the above link.

Throw us a few peanuts on your next shopping trip

If you link your Kroger rewards card to the Kentucky Academy of Science we get a small quarterly donation as part of the Community Rewards program. Log in to your Kroger account, or ask at the store how to link your card. The more peanuts you buy, the more peanuts we will earn!


Welcome KAS' new Science Communication Specialist

The Kentucky Academy of Science welcomes Melissa Dougherty as our new Science Communication Specialist. Melissa will be helping us share out all the great work our members are doing, and keeping us abreast of important news and events. Melissa will be keeping our social media accounts full of timely updates, so make sure you like and follow the Kentucky Academy of Science (see left side of the newsletter for our social media accounts). Reach out to Melissa at scicomm@kyscience.org.

KAS Science Policy Team Legislative Update

Madison Flory

The General Assembly is in recess until April 12, when they will have two final days to pass any final bills of the 2024 legislative session and override any vetoes from the governor they deem necessary. Here is an update on some of the issues the KAS Science Policy Committee has been following this legislative session. Click on the link below to get more details.
  • University Research: SB1, establishment of a fund to support research consortia.
  • Math Education: HB162, supporting KY students in math education
  • PFAS: HB116 and SJR 149
  • Nuclear Energy: SB198 and SJR140
  • Maternal Health: HB10, improving access to prenatal, postnatal, and maternal mental health care
  • Water Fluoridation: HB141
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Budget

Click here for more details

KAS offering scholarships to STEM summer camps

Summer is coming, but we know summer camp is out of reach for some families. KAS doesn't want cost to be an obstacle for young scientists. The Kentucky Academy of Science is now accepting applications for our 2024 Summer STEM Camp Scholarship Program!

KAS Summer STEM Camp scholarships are open to elementary, middle, and high school students who demonstrate a keen interest and potential in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Our scholarships provide a unique opportunity for youth to immerse themselves in hands-on STEM camps throughout the summer, fostering their curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills. 

KAS has published a STEM Summer Camp Directory. Scholarships can be applied to any STEM-themed camp listed in this Directory. Applicants may also apply for funds for another camp not listed. Scholarships are available up to $350 per student, age 5-17. Participants are responsible for registering for their camp, and are responsible for transportation.

KAS is distributing a total of $3,500 in scholarship funds. The application deadline is April 30. Click here to apply.

April Fools’ fun: UofL researchers turn Halloween props into cardiac test subjects

Rob Weber

Science should be fun! Dr. Gretel Monreal knows this. That’s why, when she spotted some amusing Halloween décor in stores last fall, she got an idea. What if, she wondered, an assortment of animatronic “beating heart” Halloween props became test subjects in the lab where she and her colleagues develop and test cardiac devices in their Advanced Heart Failure Research Program at the University of Louisville.
“I had the hairbrained idea to buy them, integrate them into our lab’s testing apparatuses that we use to test real artificial hearts and cardiac devices, and instrument them to see how terrible their function was,” Monreal, an Associate Professor in Uof L’s Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, explained. "I wrote up the results, infusing the silliness with a serious review of existing total artificial hearts in pre-clinical development.”

To the amusement of many, the results of this unconventional experiment on the “Frankenstein” heart and other gadgets were published this week as an April Fools’ Day special in ASAIO Journal, a publication of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs. 
The report showcases creative April Fools’ Day fun for scientists. But it also seems to imply something bigger: That innovation and scientific discovery often flourish in places where imagination and humor complement technical expertise. "It was a lot of fun to put together and execute," Monreal added.

Embark on adventure: KAS developing online Kentucky Science Trail

Rob Weber

Get ready to explore the Kentucky Science Trail!
The Kentucky Science Trail is being developed by the KAS Science Education and Engagement Committee to give Kentuckians an online guide of science attractions across the state. Stops suggested by the guide will include science museums, planetariums, arboretums, geological sights, and more!

The main criteria for a sight to be added to the trail is to offer the public an enjoyable experience that deepens understanding and appreciation of science. KAS will unveil the Kentucky Science Trail for KAS members, our social media audience, science teachers, and the media later this month.
Since the trail is still being developed, we’re eager for input! Are your favorite sights on the trail? Do you have questions about the places we’ve added, or our categories? Some of the decisions about what’s on the trail and what isn’t are subjective. A nature preserve with a good interpretive center may be on the trail while another spectacular preserve that lacks the educational component may not make the cut. That leads to tough decisions that makes your input extra valuable! Please look through the following list of sights then send your feedback to policy@kyscience.org.

Click for a list of proposed sights!

KAS launching "Lights Out, Kentucky" campaign

Rob Weber

In recognition of International Dark Sky Week, a worldwide celebration of the dark and natural night, the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) is raising awareness about light pollution and urging people and communities statewide to cut down on unnecessary outdoor lighting after dark. KAS’s "Lights Out, Kentucky" campaign highlights the detrimental effects of excessive or misdirected artificial light, which disrupt the natural darkness of the night sky.

Taking part in “Lights Out, Kentucky,” is easy. If you have outdoor lights that don’t need to be on, turn them off. Participating in the initiative will help mitigate light pollution, preserve the natural nighttime environment, and support the well-being of nocturnal animals and migrating birds.
KAS will share “Lights Out, Kentucky” messages on Facebook and Twitter throughout International Dark Sky Week, which runs from April 2-8. In addition to outlining steps individuals can take, the messages will highlight actions communities and companies can take regarding light pollution to foster a more sustainable approach.
Emphasis will also be placed on the five principles of responsible outdoor lighting, which call for nighttime lighting to be useful, targeted, no brighter than necessary, controlled, and warm-colored.

A new state rock?

Rob Weber

Coal is currently Kentucky’s state mineral, though it isn’t really a mineral in scientific terms. There’s also debate about whether agate, the state rock, has received the accurate designation. Those questions are being laid to rest, thanks to the work of state lawmakers and scientists who are prioritizing scientific accuracy in state symbols.

A bill that received final approval in the Kentucky General Assembly on March 27 makes changes to several state symbol designations so that they become geologically accurate. Under House Bill 378:
  • Coal will become the state rock.
  • Agate will become the state gemstone.
  • Calcite will become the state mineral.

Click here to read full story.

KSNH Student Grants Call for Applications

The Kentucky Society of Natural History is pleased to announce funding to support undergraduate and graduate student research that expands natural history knowledge in Kentucky. We encourage research in both the field and laboratory, with information disseminated through presentations, journals, monographs, books, and other literature. The KSNH includes all of the field sciences of natural history— geography, geology, biology, environmental chemistry, and others, so please pass this on to your colleagues. Click here to view application details.


Grants of up to $1000 for graduate students and $500 for undergraduate students will be awarded. Funds may be used to pay for travel and consumable supplies associated with research but may not be used to pay stipends or hourly wages. The deadline for submission of applications is 19 April 2024.
KAS Newsletter - April 2024