November 2021

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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.

Thank you to everyone!

We would like to thank everyone who made our 2021 Annual Meeting a success! Thank you to all who attended and of course, our virtual host, Eastern Kentucky University!

We are also very grateful too all of our meeting sponsors!

Again, it has been an amazing virtual meeting, thanks to our host, EKU, and of course, all of you! We hope to see everyone again next year (editor's note: hopefully, in person!) at Morehead State University!

Catch up on our keynotes and student presentations!

It was an honor to host two terrific keynote speakers in this year's annual meeting! Missed their presentations? Catch up by watching the recordings on our KAS YouTube Channel.

You can also still view the full program including abstracts and presentations from all our meeting participants by clicking here. We had an excellent panel of undergraduate and high school student presenters in this year competition. Congratulations to all of our winners! You can view the list of winners in each category from this years competition here.

Make a Donation to support Science in Kentucky

Do you want more science to reach more people? We do too! KAS has a number of programs that fulfill our mission of fostering scientific discovery and understanding in Kentucky!  In addition to the Annual Meeting for our members & colleagues, we run the Kentucky Junior Academy of Science for middle & high school scientists, we publish our own Journal, and bring you the Bench Talk Live series of public programs.

We just hired on a new Communications & Policy Director who will be raising our profile and supporting the work you do to make science more visible & impactful here in Kentucky. We have a goal of raising $10,000 this year to amplify our Science Education & Advocacy work. Are you in?

Academy boosts statewide outreach with new hire

The Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) has taken a step to strengthen its voice across the state and anywhere that policy decisions are made affecting Kentuckians’ lives. KAS expanded its reach this month with the addition of a Communications and Policy Director to its staff. The creation of the new position reflects KAS members’ ambitions to strengthen lines of communication across the state and ensure that public officials hear the viewpoints of scientists as policy decisions are made.

KAS hired Rob Weber, longtime spokesman for the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. He reports to KAS Executive Director Amanda Fuller and will work closely with the KAS Education and Advocacy Committee. “We are very excited to welcome Rob to this new position,” said KAS President Trent Garrison. “His experience will supplement our recent efforts to expand our knowledge and influence in the policy and communications realm. I have no doubt that we are moving in the right direction, and appreciate everyone who has worked so hard on the Education and Advocacy Committee!”
Weber said he’s eager to support the group’s mission. “Those who follow government know it’s critical for the science community to be heard on public policy matters. We all benefit when scientists are involved in efforts to improve the lives of Kentuckians,” he said. “Our state is fortunate to have a group like the Academy of Science with a long history of bringing together the innovators and experts across the state to share knowledge and promote science.”
A graduate of Western Kentucky University who began his career as a newspaper journalist, Weber worked for the Legislative Research Commission for 24 years before coming aboard KAS. He is a graduate of Leadership Frankfort and the national Legislative Staff Management Institute. Weber also served as president of the Kentucky Association of Government Communicators. He lives in Frankfort with his wife, Anya, and their two teenage children.

KAS Research Grants due Nov 15

The 2022 Cycle for the KAS Research Grants is currently open and will accept submissions from members until November 15th. 

There are KAS awards and grants in several categories:
  • Marcia Athey and Botany Funds
  • Special Research Program
  • Undergraduate Research Program
  • Athey Science Education & Outreach Grant

For further details about these individual awards/grants, visit the KAS Grants webpage. We encourage those interested to apply! 

Not applying for a KAS Research Grant this year? You can help us review grants by logging in and signing up at

Geology and Evolutionary Biology Study Abroad Course

Follow in the footsteps of the first geologists and paleontologists and see the world through their eyes! 
NKU Faculty Julie Reizner is leading a 3-credit hour course to England and Scotland on June 6-20, 2022.  These two weeks will show you how Geology became a modern science and would change how we view our world – and ourselves – forever.  
First, we will learn about the discovery of dinosaurs and other ancient life at the Natural History Museum in London.  After a free day in this amazing city, we will travel south to see the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs and hunt fossils along the Jurassic coast!  Then we head northward and learn how this new field called Geology would power the Industrial Revolution.  Next, we are taking a train into the Scottish Highlands and will discover how they, and other mountains, formed, and learn about the Scottish Enlightenment in Edinburgh!
There are no pre-requisites, and students do not need to be science majors - anyone with an interest in natural history would love this course. Students will receive WKU credit which will transfer to your university.  Scholarships are available and there is a discount if you refer a friend!  Applications for Great Britain: The Birthplace of Modern Geology are being accepted NOW at  Email Julie Reizner at with any questions, and more information, including all planned stops, is in the video below. 

Study Abroad courses deliver an eye-opening, life-changing experience and will look great on your resume! This course is open to all students!

KAS and a Century of Standing up for Evolution

Marilyn Akins and Ann Kingsolver

The year 2022 will mark a century since legislation which would have barred the teaching of evolution in Kentucky’s schools and removed an even broader swath of books from school library shelves was narrowly defeated, and the Kentucky Academy of Science played an active role in defeating that law. As Adam Laats documents, Kentucky was the political stage for the first state-wide antievolution bill in the nation, KY House Bill 191. “The bill banned evolution, but it would also have prohibited teachers in Kentucky’s public schools from teaching any idea that might challenge students’ religious beliefs” (Laats, 2010: 61). The proposed bill mentioned banning “Darwinism, Atheism, Agnosticism, or the Theory of Evolution” (Laats, 2010: 4). Further language was added by the Kentucky state senate to ban “Kentucky’s public libraries from owning any books that `directly or indirectly attack or assail or seek to undermine or weaken or destroy the religious beliefs and convictions of the children of Kentucky’.” The bill lost by one vote. It is difficult to imagine what books would have had to be removed from libraries or how science classrooms would have been censored if the bill had passed.

Click here to read the full article! Dive into the history of KAS and its effort to stand up for evolution by viewing the original resolution, referred to in the article, here and the 1924 KAS Membership list here.

Bench Talk the Week in Science seeking podcast editors & producers

Bench Talk: The Week in Science, a weekly radio show and podcast produced by fellow KAS members, is looking for producing & editing help. If you would like to develop your broadcasting and podcasting skills, this is a great opportunity, especially for those with interest in science communications or media!

Contact Dave Robinson to learn more. You can also check out past episodes by clicking here.

Welcome to our new board members

Welcome to new board members for 2022:
Vice President Noel Novelo, Kentucky State University
Secretary Elizabeth Thomas, Morehead State University
Biological Sciences Representative Melissa Mefford, Morehead State University
At-Large Representative Scott Wicker, Kentucky State University

These people will be transitioning to new roles in 2022:
Past President Trent Garrison
President Jon Dixon
President-Elect Julie Reizner

Many thanks to those rolling off the board this year:
At Large Representative Dirk Grupe
Biological Sciences Representative Melanie Hardin-Pierce
Secretary Rajiv Singh
Past President Frank Ettensohn (now serving as our Journal Editor -in-Chief)

We all look forward to continuing our efforts towards fostering and advancing scientific discovery and understanding in our State! Meet all our board members by click here.

Science Job Postings around KY

If you're looking for a job or if you're hiring, pop over to our jobs page. Please send any job announcements to and include contact information and closing date. We have a couple of job postings this month:
  • Chair of the Department of Physics, Geology & Engineering Technology, NKU
  • ​Geology Adjunct Instructor, JCTC
  • Organic Chemistry Adjunct, Spalding University
  • Executive Director/Co-Executive Director, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
  • Master's Student Position in Cell Biology, Murray State University
  • Research Technician in Cell Biology, Murray State University
  • Environmental Educators, Louisville Nature Center
  • Part Time Instructors and Staff, Tech Corps

There are also several openings for:
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky, Personnel
  • Kentucky Science Center
  • US Geological Survey
Click here for more details
KAS Newsletter - November 2021