May 2022

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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

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.

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

Donate to KAS #KYGives22

Giving Day is an opportunity for Kentuckians (near and far) to come together to make donations to Kentucky charities in an effort to raise as much money as possible in 24 hours. This year marks the 10th year for the event!

The Kentucky Academy of Science has set a $5,000 goal this year and we hope you help us reach this goal! Your donation supports KAS science policy work and public programs and initiatives to improve science literacy across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Please donate what you can and encourage fellow scientists and advocates to donate by sharing on social media with the hashtag: #KYGives22.

Pro Tip : The Donation page is already open, so you can DONATE RIGHT NOW!


Countering disinformation starts with respectful dialogue

Rob Weber

A recent webinar about overcoming disinformation throughout our public discourse reminded me of a particular moment during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2022 session. At a committee meeting focused on legislation that would have prohibited schools from having face mask requirements to fight the spread of COVID-19, a legislator asked the bill sponsor why school officials shouldn’t be able to make their own decisions about measures to protect students.
“Because masks don’t work,” he replied.
While there was little doubt a number of citizens and lawmakers had grown tired of mandates, it was still jarring to hear someone responsible for creating laws make such a bold declaration that ran counter the best evidence on an issue.
Fortunately, after I testified during the meeting on behalf of the KAS Education and Advocacy Committee about the safety and efficacy of face masks, a lawmaker asked for more information. I followed up by sending legislators information about studies that showed that face masks were an effective tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
In the end, the bill did not become law, and school districts across the state phased out mask policies on their own timetables as COVID-19 cases dropped and vaccination rates increased.

Still, the science community continues to be confronted with situations where disinformation threatens to outpace efforts to provide accurate information. Handling these situations was the topic of a two-day “Defense Against Disinformation” webinar offered in April by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
A main point during the seminar is that there’s usually no quick or simple way to change the mind of someone who makes a statement like “Climate change isn’t real” or “Vaccines don’t work.” Avoid the temptation to respond with a quick declaration of fact and consider the argument won. Rather, the best approach is to ask about the underlying concerns behind a faulty statement, then listen carefully to the answer to lay the foundation for a respectful two-way conversation. A key point of the webinar was that “No one cares what you know till they know you care.
For example, if someone tells you they don’t think the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect their health, don’t simply argue that the effectiveness of vaccination has been proven. Rather, ask about the person’s underlying concerns or fears about the vaccine. Once you’ve listened, acknowledge that doubts are normal and continue the conversation by asking what could help build confidence in vaccines. By showing respect for people’s concerns, you may have a better opportunity to offer helpful and persuasive information. People become more open minded when they know their concerns haven’t been quickly dismissed.


Many other useful tips in are provided in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ “Countering Disinformation in Your Community” resource guide. The online publication can be viewed here:

BenchTalkLive: COVID and Wastewater, May 9th

Surveilling COVID-19: From pop-up testing sites to wastewater tests
May 9th, 7 PM EST


COVID-19 has made many researchers, scientists and health officials more adaptive than ever. Changes in practices and procedures have occurred throughout the pandemic to fight the disease and protect the population. Dr. Rachel Keith spent most of her career in preventive cardiology, but much of her focus in recent years has been on protecting people from COVID-19. She’ll share what she has learned from her experiences in pop-up testing sites and on the front lines of the pandemic. She’ll be joined by her Envirome Institute colleague, Lauren Anderson, who will discuss how wastewater testing serves as an early warning system when COVID-19 is spreading in a community. Wastewater testing is what tipped off Louisville officials when the BA.2 variant of omicron coronavirus arrived in the area and helped prompt a quick reaction.


Bench Talk Live is always free for everyone. Click here to register for the Zoom meeting.


Learn more about the speakers.

Lawmakers complete General Assembly’s 2022 session

Rob Weber

The State Capitol is quiet now that lawmakers have completed the 2022 session of the General Assembly. Looking back on this year’s session, it’s been proven true once again that each session has its own characteristics and twists and turns. The KAS Education and Advocacy Committee has been actively following it all, tracking bills and speaking up for science.


When the session began in January, it looked like COVID-19 was going to be the subject of numerous pieces of legislation, particularly in the form of bills that would have prohibited schools or employers from requiring face masks or vaccines. To the surprise of some, most of those bills didn’t advance and were declared dead when the session ended on April 14. But there were some bills on COVID-19 matters that became law: a bill to end Kentucky’s COVID-19 state of emergency earlier than scheduled was approved, as was a bill that says the state will regard as positive COVID-19 antibody test and equivalent to having been vaccinated.
Most activity in the final days of the session focused on lawmakers’ successful efforts to override vetoes cast by Gov. Andy Beshear. The veto of a bill to allow funding for charter schools was among those overridden by lawmakers, meaning that funding for traditional public schools could lessen as charter schools open in Kentucky and receive state funding.
Lawmakers also overrode a veto of legislation that will prohibit student-athletes who are transgender girls or transgender women from playing on girls’ or women’s teams. As a result of the legislation, state law now says that, when it comes to school athletics, a person’s sex is determined solely by what is on an original birth certificate. The law will not allow flexibility to consider whether a person’s sex is within a spectrum rather than constrained to a male-female binary, that some people are intersex, or that a person’s anatomy could have a range of characteristics that don’t correspond with the designation on a birth certificate.
Medical marijuana also returned as a high-profile of the session. For months, people have been guessing whether this would be the year the Senate allows consideration of a bill that has passed the House twice to allow medical marijuana in Kentucky. The Senate’s answer turned out to be “no.” The bill was not given a Senate committee hearing or brought up for a vote.
But that may not be the end of the issue. Since the legislative session adjourned, Gov. Beshear has said he is forming a medical cannabis advisory team. The team will go in a listening tour in a state where polls show majority support for medicinal cannabis. Later this year, the governor says he will consider whether to take executive action on the issue, though opponents say that would overstep constitutional authority.
Now that this year’s session is over, political observers are already looking toward the one that will start in January 2023. So, what can we do in the months to come help ensure science has strong representation the next time the Senate and House convene? Here’s a suggestion: Let’s be proactive. In today’s political environment, those who focus on reacting to what’s happening at the Capitol will mostly be playing defense. The science community will be well-served to identify our top issues and jump-start discussions with lawmakers about them. Let’s help set the agenda!
Lawmakers will restart interim legislative committee meetings on June 1. KAS will be there, following the issues, offering science-based information, and helping ensure that the science community has a voice at the Capitol.

BenchTalkLive: Geology, May 20th

Geology of the Ordovician High Bridge Group
Friday, May 20, 2022, at 7 p.m.


Join us in this special Bench Talk Live presented in collaboration with the Geological Society of Kentucky and learn about the Ordovician High Bridge Group from Dr. Frank Ettensohn, Professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky. Click here for the zoom link to this event.

Facebook fundraisers to feature KAS Sections

Are you willing to help strengthen the KAS base of support across Kentucky?
KAS Facebook fundraisers will be held in the months to come that will count on member participation. Separate fundraisers are planned for each KAS section. If we go alphabetically, that means Agricultural Science is up first!

Here’s how it will work: Members who are on Facebook will receive an invitation to allow a fundraiser on their pages. It will just take a couple clicks to join a ready-made fundraiser that gives your friends and family the option to offer their support.
We hope you’ll join KAS efforts to build support for scientific discovery and understanding in Kentucky. Participants will have opportunities to win prizes. We’re looking forward to a fun and simple way to have a far-reaching impact. Stay tuned and make sure to visit and like our FB Page!

61st KGS Seminar

Kentucky Geological Survey Annual Seminar
May 12, University of Kentucky

The Kentucky Geological Survey's annual meeting is back in person! General topics will include methane emissions, critical minerals, using Google Earth for statewide remote sensing analyses, soil health, and landscape evolution. In addition to oral presentations, we'll also have a poster session featuring KGS research and associated lightning talks.

This in-person meeting is free to attend and will be held at the Jacobs Science Building at the University of Kentucky. For more details and to RSVP, click here! Visit their website to learn more about KGS


UofL's Pre-Healthcare MS in Physiology

  • Do you want to go to medical or dental school but need to improve your background in the basic sciences?
  • Is your GPA not what you’d like for it to be, and you’d like a chance to show that you’re capable of more than your undergraduate GPA shows?
  • Have you been wait-listed by medical or dental school and would like to continue to enhance your academic profile while waiting to re-apply?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have come to the right place! The Master of Science program in Physiology at the University of Louisville will help you realize your professional school goals in just one year! Over 80% of our graduates who apply to professional schools are accepted! Visit our website to learn more about the program and what we can do for you!


If you’d like to speak with someone about the program or have any questions, please contact Jennifer Wells at or (502) 852-6231.

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 several new job postings this month that you can view by clicking here. 
KAS Newsletter - May 2022