March 2021

Follow us on social media!

Stay updated on all things KAS:


How to Join the KAS Listserv

KAS has set up a listserv so our members can talk to each other, to share science-related news & announcements, offers, requests, questions and answers. We are excited about fostering more conversations within our scientific community!

 Opt In to the listserv:
Log In at the KAS website (
In the Member Menu, go to Communication / Message Boards
Click to Opt In to the KAS Member Listserv (and choose the Daily Digest option if  you prefer)
To post to the listserv, send a message to

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.

Vaccine rollout continues!

Vaccine rollout continues in the state and as of the end of February, about 570,000 Kentuckians have been vaccinated. We should soon transition to Phase 1C, which includes several essential workers and high-risk individuals. Please remain vigilant and to practice social distancing, when possible, and to #MASKUP.

A third vaccine has been approved by the FDA for emergency use in the US! Find out more about vaccines under development and keep updated by visiting this Corona Virus Vaccine Tracker from the New York Times

For more information about  services and updates in our state, visit the official Team Kentucky COVID-19 source

Dismantling Racism in Science Forum series


On February 24, 2021, the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) convened more than 30 representatives from Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), Kentucky State University (KSU), and KAS to have an open dialogue on how to dismantle racism in science. Invited panelists provided thematic remarks on “Building Equity in STEM” and “HBCUs, STEM, and Systemic Racism.” Panelists' remarks highlighted: a need for broader participation and inputs from key stakeholders, develop policies that will impact behavior and attitude changes for a more inclusive science enterprise, integrate cultural competency requirements within institutional ecosystems, need to increase the production of the Black scientists in our communities, and importance of indigenous knowledge in the production of science.

Participants recommended the following action items as a result of this dialogue series:
1) Institutions need to require mandatory cultural competency, implicit bias, and indigenous knowledge professional developments;
2) Develop continuous professional development courses through a comprehensive curriculum on cultural competencies and implicit biases;
3) Coordinate efforts to include cultural competency, implicit bias, and indigenous knowledge in strategic planning, implementation, and impact evaluation; and,
4) Connect to business, industry and other employers as part of efforts to recruit and retain a diverse STEM workforce.

Information will be disseminated regarding the next session on dismantling racism in science, and session three agenda is HERE. 

We are deeply grateful to our special guest speakers, Dr. Aaron Thompson, President of the Ky Council on Postsecondary Education, and Dr. M. Christopher Brown, Eighteenth President, Kentucky State University. We are also deeply grateful to Dr. Wanda Gonsalves and Dr. Pernella Deams from Kentucky State University for facilitating, and to Dr. Scott Wicker for leadership in organizing this fantastic program.

KAS is looking forward to working with partners to advance these recommendations and we invite our members' continuing involvement and input as the process continues.

Stand Up for Science - Legislation to Follow

Trent Garrison
KAS President and co-chair of Education & Advocacy

Several bills are moving as we send this. The Legislative message line is 800-372-7181.
Find other updates on our Advocacy page.

SB 8, an anti-vaccination bill which we oppose, has passed the Senate and has had a first reading in the house. Read KAS + KSE statement on Vaccination.
HB 207
(anti-renewable energy) and HB 386 (rolling back water quality regulations) have passed the house and are scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor.  Read our statement here with about HB207 and HB386.

I want to thank everyone who has worked hard over the last several weeks compiling Kentucky science legislation. Many of you have put in countless volunteers hours, and it is appreciated. 
Thanks to this effort, and our collaboration with Kentuckians for Science Education, we were able to publish this work and even have our first Facebook-live episode featuring local science legislation experts (more to come!). 
We are down to our last five weeks of the Kentucky general assembly. Bills are moving fast. If you are interested in helping us keep track of bills, please let us know! We would love to have your help on the Education and Advocacy committee; it is certainly a learning experience.

For more information do not hesitate to contact us.

Bench Talk Live @ March

Join is this March for another Bench Talk Live! This time, we venture into space and hear from local experts about, perhaps, one of the most enigmatic objectives in the known Universe - black holes. 
When A Black Hole Went on a Holiday
Dr. Maryam Dehghanian

Astrophysics, University of Kentucky

Black Holes and How We Can Find and Measure Them
Dr. Dirk Grupe

Space Science Center, Morehead State University


To learn more about the speakers, visit the Bench Talk Live homepage. In this page, you will also find the recordings of our past BTLs. Feel free to invite your friends and colleages. Attendance is free but requires registration. Please register here

KAS Science Communication Symposium March 26

Join us on March 26th at 11 am to 2 pm EDT for the Science Communication, Education, and Symposium! Follow the link below or click here to register.

2021 Kentucky Junior Academy Meeting: April 17

Kentucky Junior Academy Meeting
17 April 2012: 
Registration is open!

Registration for the 2021 Kentucky Junior Academy Meeting is currently open. This is going to be the second virtual meeting of the Junior Academy. Deadline for registration and abstract and research paper submission is March 29th.

Photo from the most recent in-person meeting in 2019.

KJAS is open to ANY middle or high school science student in Kentucky. It offers student scientists an opportunity to present their original research to the community. Presentations are evaluated based on a rubric found here. Students present in the following categories:
  • Behavioral & Social Science
  • Biological Topics
  • Botany
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science & Mathematics
  • Earth & Space Science
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science
  • Microbiology
  • Physics
  • Zoology

Awards are given in each category, and three overall winning projects are chosen from Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.  KAS provides financial support for these students to participate in the American Junior Academy of Science meeting the following February, as follows: Two first place winning projects receive up to $1000.00 per project; Two Second and two third place winning projects receive up to $750 per project.  Funding will also be available for up to 2 chaperones (no more than one per school), up to a limit of $500/person. In the case of team projects the amount is to be shared among team members.

About the Junior Academy:
The Junior Academy begun in the 1930's to foster an interest in science for high school students in Kentucky.  KJAS eventually expanded to include middle school students. The Junior Academy holds its scientific meeting each April. Participating students present their original work and also elect Kentucky Junior Academy officers to promote KJAS.

For more information please contact Junior Academy Director Melony Stambaugh.

2021 KAS Grants Awardees

Congratulations to our 2021 KAS Grants Awardees!

Marcia Athey & Botany Grants
  • Predatory Effects of Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) Tadpoles on Freshwater Invertebrate Communities; Brady Parlato (Eastern Kentucky University)
  • Effects of Fire on Arthropod Communities in a Temperate Deciduous Forest; Kane Lawhorn (University of Louisville)

Athey Science Education & Outreach Grant
  • Eastern Kentucky Light at Night Education Project; James Kevin Adkins (Morehead State University)

Undergraduate Summer Research Grant
  • Studying Structural Dynamic Properties of KCNE3 in Lipid Bilayers: An Undergraduate Summer Research Project;  Indra Sahu (Campbellsville University)

Special Research Grants
  • Variability Associated with Maxillary Infrazygomatic Area in the Subjects with Different Race, Growth Pattern & Gender;  Nandakumar Janakiraman (University of Louisville)
  • Designing Practical Internet of Things (IoTs) - Based Intelligent Air Quality Monitoring Systems for Livestock Producers; Gang Sun (Northern Kentucky University)
  • Urban Dendrochronology and Anthropogenic Influences on Forests Across the Urban-Rural Gradient; Maegen Rochner (University of Louisville)
  • Analyzing Recent Spatio-Temporal Rainfall Erosivity Patterns and Trends Across Kentucky; Christopher Day (University of Louisville)

Learn more about these grants and how you can apply by following this link. Watch the same page for the next application cycle.


Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science

The new Volume 821 (2020) is now complete and available on our website
Members have full access HERE.

Wer'e expanding our team to serve you better!
  • Dr. Frank Ettensohn is serving as our Editor in Chief
  • Dr. Walter Borowski is our Associate Editor for Physical and Life Sciences
  • Dr. Shauna Reilly is our Associate Editor for Social Sciences & Science Education

Articles in this issue:
Range of an Adult Female Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) during the Breeding and Non-breeding Seasons in Kentucky, USA.
Loren Taylor, Kate Slankard, and Andrew Stump

Vascular flora of two wetlands in the Red River Gorge Geological Area and Clifty Wilderness in Menifee and Powell Counties of Kentucky
Calvin Andries and Brad Ruhfel

Evaluation of Psychological Techniques for Coping with Acute Pain.
Kimberly H. Breitenbecher and Jessica Sellers.

Abstracts from the Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Science 6-7 November 2020- Virtual Meeting Summary

Read Journal articles HERE
Also check out the past volumes and consider submitting the our journal. The JKAS accepts submissions throughout the year.  We accept submissions for Research Articles, Review articles, Opinion articles, and Book Reviews.

Kentucky students at American Junior Academy of Science

In February, delegates from the Kentucky Junior Academy of Science participated in the American Junior Academy of Science's virtual meeting. You can check out their interactive electronic posters by following this link: Kentucky AJAS Virtual Posters.

Following are the KY delegations and their respective projects:
  • Shirlin Kingston: Electrospinning Lignin into Nanofibers for Use as Efficient Anode Material in Lithium-Ion Batteries
  • Varun Chandrashekhar: Automatic Portable Phoropter and Auto Focus Glasses using an Integrated Variable Focal Liquid Lens
  • Romith Paily: Testing Accuracy of Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dosimeter Under a Linac Machine
  • Brian Schwartz: Removing ladder fuels (debris that acts as a fire conduit) can decrease the spread of forest fires.
  • Shreyas Kar: Machine Learning Algorithms for Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease
Also check out the posters of other participating academies. This link will take you to a directory of participating states or you can visit the AJAS Virtual Poster Session homepage for projects by category.

Seeking judges for Kentucky Junior Academy of Science April 17

Melony Stambaugh, KJAS Director

Many of us look forward to the changing of seasons from winter into spring. Another thing to anticipate is the annual Kentucky Junior Academy of Science (KJAS) meeting. In keeping with the model we used last year, we will again hold our meeting in a virtual setting. The virtual platform allows more students from across the state to participate which in turn creates the need for more of our members to help as judges. If you are able to help our students this year, the meeting will be held on Saturday, April 17th. We are seeking judges for morning (9am-12 noon ET) and afternoon (2 - 3:30pm).

Help us spread the word to high school and middle school students to register for this exciting opportunity. The top six high school projects are invited to represent KJAS by attending the national meeting. At that time, they will not only present their projects to students, faculty, and professionals, but they are also inducted as Fellows in the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS).

Additional details on judging, registration, and awards are available on our website
Please contact  Kentucky Junior Academy Director Melony Stambaugh or KAS Executive Director Amanda Fuller  for more information.

KAS Participating in review of Kentucky Academic Science Standards

The Kentucky Department of Education is undertaking a review of the Kentucky Academic Science Standards, per KRS 158.6453. The review process involves a team of teachers, higher education leaders, business and community leaders.

KAS been invited to have a representative on the Review Committee and we are pleased that Dr. Les Pesterfield will serve this role representing KAS. Les is a professor of Chemistry at Western Kentucky University and is the SKyTeach Science Co-Director at WKU, training middle and high school science and math teachers. Thank you, Les!

We are looking forward to following this process and hope to share updates with our members as the process continues.

Find out more about the Next Generation Science Standards, which Kentucky adopted in 2014 as our K-12 science standards.


Kentucky Society for Natural History

The Kentucky Society for Natural History promotes the study of nature and natural sciences. Members enjoy nature, and seek to expand and share knowledge of our state’s natural history with others. Become a member of KSNH and support research grants for students.

KSNH provides funds for students engaged in natural history and biodiversity research in Kentucky. Request for proposals for student research grants is currently active and deadline for submissions is 15 March 2021. For more information about the application, click here.

March 22 is World Water Day

Join KAS is Celebrating #WorldWaterDay - Valuing Water

March 22nd is World Water Day! On this day, the United Nations World Water Development Report will be released as part of a full day of sessions celebrating water. Registration is free and starts at 8am (EST). 

A panel discussion entitled, "Water Source Security: Is Desalination The Way To Go?" is also hosted by the Friend-In-Need India Trust (FIN) and Site4Society tackling global water scarcity. This forum will be broadcast on zoom and begins 3:30am (EST).

If you are planning something special let us know and we'll help you promote it! Get the message out and participate using these World Water Day resources.

Jobs Corner

Send us your job announcements and we will share them! We also maintain a list of job postings on our website.

Featured this month:

Floracliff Nature Sanctuary is hiring a seasonal part-time Land Stewardship Technician to work on stewardship and restoration projects, community science, and education and outreach. The position will start in May and end in late July/early August. A full job description and announcement are here. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 2nd. Resumes and cover letters should be emailed to

Join the Kentuckians for Science Education

Kentuckians for Science Education
KSE is a non-profit organization made up of Kentuckians dedicated to ensuring that the Commonwealth maintains high standards for science education.  Learn more about the organization or join the efforts to improve science education in the state by visiting their website: Members are welcome to participate in meetings- see our calendar in this newsletter for details
KAS Newsletter - March 2021