December 2021

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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.


EPSCoR&Idea Funding, Training, & News

Check out news this month from Established Program for Stimulating Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Institutional Development Award (IDeA), including federal funding opportunities and more!
EPSCoR & IDeA Newsletter

Message from the President

It has been a great honor serving as your 2021 president. What a year we have had!

    When I got involved in KAS several years ago, I didn’t realize how much work went on behind the scenes. It is an amazing team of devoted professionals who make this organization function on a day-to-day basis, and for that, I want to thank each of you, no matter how large or small is your contribution!
    I’m very excited about the direction KAS is going; we have really stepped it up in the last couple of years. This year in particular, in addition to our regular activities, we were able to hire a Communications and Policy Director to help us with science legislation and communication. Not many science organizations follow science policy, so it’s very important that we have someone keeping an eye on the bills that impact us in Frankfort. Rob Weber is a top expert in this field and we are lucky to have him help us sift through the hundreds of bills that may impact you.

    We have also increased our social media following from just a few hundred members to over 1,000 in the last couple of years! I know that is not important to everyone, but to be seen as a relevant organization, and one that shows up in algorithms, it matters. I ask each of you to invite your science-minded friends to like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also, please share our posts! If everyone took a few minutes to invite some friends, we would be up to 4,000 (our actual membership) in no time.

    We have strengthened our connections to other local science and education organizations, national and state academies of science, science and policy organizations, and more. We will continue to do so, and would appreciate any help.

    Other than a few technical glitches, I think we had a successful annual meeting. I’m very pleased with our Keynotes, student presentations, and everything in-between. We made the decision early to go virtual early. I know that is not ideal, but with COVID numbers and variants on the rise, we felt it best to do that for your safety. Thanks to everyone who helped with this.

    To continue all of these initiatives, and to continue growing, we need your help! I ask each one of you to please consider donating to KAS. Some of you may able to afford $100 or more, and that’s great, but we would appreciate even if it’s $5. We just ask that you donate what you can afford, and consider making it a recurring donation.
As for me, I will continue to be involved (as Past President and the Education and Advocacy Committee), and look forward to continuing working with this great group of scientists, educators, and advocates. I welcome our new board members, and very much look forward to serving with you.
Have a great holiday break and see you in 2022!
Dr. Trent Garrison 
2021 KAS President 

COVID and Vaccine Update

As of today, about 52% of Kentuckians are fully vaccinated, and 60% have received at least one shot. We, however, need to remain vigilant and continue observing safe practices including social distancing and mask-wearing when in crowds. Most of the Commonwealth remain in the "Red Zone" with an incidence rate of 32 cases per 100k. We got this, Team Kentucky!

Meanwhile, booster shots are now available for anyone 18 y.o. and older. Learn more about the importance of booster shots here. Find out where you can get your booster shots, along with other guidelines by visiting this official Team Kentucky resource.

Several variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been identified including the delta variant, a variant of concern in the US, and more recently, the omicron variant (comaprison of mutations above). Learn more about the variants in this CDC primer and specifically about omicron in this statement. Viruses are expected to change through mutations and mutations do not necessarily translate to worse disease. Vaccines currently available to us remain effective and can reduce severity of the illness. 

Kroger Community Rewards Program

The Kentucky Academy of Science is now enrolled into the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger shoppers can now help raise funds for KAS by simply shopping and using their Kroger Shopper's card.

To select KAS as your charity, simply log into your Kroger account and search for Kentucky Academy of Science or using our non-profit organization number, IG494. For more details on how to set this up, click here.

Catch up on our keynotes and student presentations!

Recordings of our keynote speakers from the past annual meeting are still available on our KAS YouTube ChannelThese would be an excellent way to spend some down-time during the upcoming winter break!

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. 

More Annual Meeting Thank yous!

THANK YOU to our KAS Section Leaders and Judges for student competitions for keeping things running smoothly during the meeting!  Section leaders chair sessions at the Annual Meeting, coordinate judging for student competitions, and serve as a liaison to the Governing Board on behalf of their Sections.

2021 Section Leaders and Judges
Agricultural Sciences
Chair: Maheteme Gebremedhin, Kentucky State University
Secretary: Shreya Patel, Kentucky State University
Judges: Saeb Omar, Sashi Papu John
Anthropology and Sociology
Chair: Ann Kingsolver, University of Kentucky
Judges: Ann Kingsolver, Matthew Shake
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Chair: Melissa Mefford, Morehead State University
Secretary: Noel Novelo, Kentucky State University
Judges: Melissa Mefford, Indra Sahu, Jeffrey Warner, Dharma Khatiwada, Rodney King
Chemistry: Analytical/ Physical
Chair: Donghui Quan, Eastern Kentucky University
Secretary: Emmalou Schmittzehe, Morehead State University
Judges: Emmalou Schmittzehe, Donghui Quan, Thomas Hess, Karim Abdelhay, Zachary Lee, Jonathan Lyon, Gloria Pimienta, Ian Pimienta
Chemistry: Organic / Inorganic
Chair: Margaret Ndinguri, Eastern Kentucky University
Secretary: Elizabeth Thomas, University of Pikeville
Judges: Elizabeth Thomas, Margaret Ndinguri, Pei Gao, Scott Wicker
Computer and Information Sciences
Chair: Jerzy Jaromczyk, University of Kentucky
Secretary: Muzaffar Ali, Bellarmine University
Judges: Jerzy Jaromczyk, Neil Moore, Robert Chirwa
Chair: Cy Mott, Eastern Kentucky University
Secretary: John Starnes, KCTCS
Judges: John Starnes, Cy Mott, David Brown
Chair: Aaron Daley, Professional
Judges: Aaron Daley, Dae Wook (Wooky) Kim, Seyed Allameh
Environmental Sciences
Chair: Marvin Ruffner, Asbury University
Secretary: Jennifer Adler, KCTCS
Judges: Marvin Ruffner, Jennifer Adler, Ben Brammell, John Starmes
Chair: Christopher Day, University of Louisville
Secretary: Charlie Zhang, University of Louisville
Judges: Christopher Day, Buddhi Gyawali
Chair: Ann Harris, University of Kentucky
Secretary: Sarah Arpin, University of Kentucky
Health Sciences
Chair: Avinash Tope, Kentucky State University
Secretary: Bradley Kraemer, Eastern Kentucky University
Judges: Bradley Kraemer, Avinash Tope, Robin Cooper
Chair: Justin Trulen, Kentucky Wesleyan College
Secretary: Axel Brandt, Northern Kentucky University
Judges: Axel Brandt, Doug Chatham
Chair: Bill Staddon, Eastern Kentucky University
Judges: Bill Staddon, Md Jahurul Karim
Physics and Astronomy
Chair: Marilyn Akins, KCTCS
Secretary: Kevin Adkins, Morehead State University
Judges: Kevin Adkins, Marilyn Akins, Garrison Turner
Physiology and Biochemistry
Chair: Amanda Hughes, Georgetown College
Secretary: Michael Guy, Northern Kentucky University
Judges: Michael Guy, Catie Shelton, Meredith Eckstein, Cindy Wolfe
Chair: Richard Osbaldiston, Eastern Kentucky University
Secretary: Matthew Shake, Western Kentucky University
Judges: Ann Kingsolver, Matthew Shake
Science Education
Chair: Melody Danley, University of Kentucky
Secretary: Kathryn Broadbent, KCTCS
Judges: Melody Danley, Kathryn Broadbent, Shreya Patel, Darla French, Shira Rabin
Zoology / Botany
Chair: Jeremy Gibson, Kentucky Wesleyan College
Secretary: Sherry Harrel, Eastern Kentucky University
Judges: Jeremy Gibson, Sherry Harrel, David Hayes

Thank you, everyone!

Call for Applications: National STEM Scholar Program

Applications are now open for middle school science teachers wishing to apply for a spot in the 2022 class of the National STEM Scholar Program, a unique professional development program providing advanced STEM training, national network building, and “big idea” project support for the teachers of aspiring scientists nationwide. Created in partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University (WKU), the National STEM Scholar Program selects 10 teachers each year from a national pool of applicants to participate in a week of advanced STEM training, national network building, and individual project development on the campus of WKU. STEM Scholars also spend a day with a nationally or internationally recognized STEM speaker. 

Scholars are selected based solely on the merit of questions answered in the application. Applications are now open! Click here to learn more about the program or to applyApplication closes on February 1st, 2022.

Kentucky Science Teaching Summit 2022

The Kentucky Science Teachers Association invites interested science instructors, scientists, and professionals to the 2022 Kentucky Science Teaching Summit. Registration is currently open through this link. Discounted Early Bird registration ($25) is available until January 31, 2022. 

The goal for the Summit is to have representation from each higher education institution across Kentucky to allow faculty who work to prepare pre-service teachers and science educators to learn about the latest regulations that impact science teaching and learning in our state. Learn more about the summit here.

Congratulations to the lucky winner!

Thank you to everyone who filled out your Annual Meeting Evaluations. We drew Renee Bonzani's name as the lucky winner of our $25 gift card. We appreciate all of you sharing your experiences with us so we can plan an even better meeting next year!

We hope to see everyone again next year, November 11th and 12th at Morehead State University.

Thinking about Undergraduate Research this summer?

KAS is assembling a listing of research opportunities for undergraduates at our website. Click here to view the list and watch out for more opportunities! Most of the deadlines are in February, but check the specific opportunities for more details.

If you know of any summer research opportunities that you would like to add to our list, please get in touch.

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.

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. Click here to view current listings.
KAS Newsletter - December 2021