UK Appalachian Center to host series of student research presentations

LEXINGTON, Ky. (December 1, 2021) – The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center will showcase the work of student researchers through its Ongoing Appalachian Work Sharing (SWAP) series starting next week. The series will run through the spring semester of 2022.

Many student presenters are supported by the James S. Brown Graduate Fellowships from the Center for Appalachian Research and the Eller & Billings Student Research Fellowships from the UK Appalachian Center.

Researchers in attendance represent four colleges and seven departments across the UK campus.

“We look forward to learning from these researchers and continuing to support the important interdisciplinary work that students are doing across the region,” said Kathryn Engle, director of the center. “This year’s SWAPs will feature research conducted by the recipients of the 2021 James S. Brown Graduate Student Award for Appalachian Research and the Eller & Billings Student Research Award from the UK Appalachian Center. The series will also include special presentations from other UK graduate students and graduate students from other institutions. “

Presentations are scheduled from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the dates indicated below. They will take place at the Appalachian Center at 624 Maxwelton Court and will also be accessible online through Zoom.

SWAP dates and student presenters / topics are:

Wednesday December 8

  • Courtney Martin, Undergraduate Biology: “Assessing Cancer Literacy and Risk Behaviors Among Appalachian Kentuckians through an Oral History Approach” (Eller / Billings Award recipient)
  • KC Vick, sociology: “Meaningful Methods: Learning Through Community-Based Participatory Action in a South Appalachian Cancer Cluster Study” (recipient of the James Brown Prize)

Wednesday February 16

  • Madeline Dunfee, Epidemiology and Biostatistics: “The Influence of Social Networks on Self-Management of Type 2 Diabetes in Appalachian Adults” (recipient of the James Brown Prize)
  • Sarah Tomk, Forestry and Natural Resources: “Determining the Distribution of Eastern Hellbenders in Kentucky using Environmental DNA (eDNA) Methods” (Eller / Billings Award recipient)

Wednesday March 2

  • Emma Kiser, story; “Protecting Old-Growth Forests in the Mountain South” (recipient of the James Brown Award)
  • Benjamin Rhodes, forestry and natural resources; “An Assessment of Red Spruce Reforestation on Mined Land and Ancient Field Sites in the Highlands of West Virginia” (Eller / Billings Award recipient)

Wednesday March 30

  • Magenta Palo, curatorial studies: “Women’s work: redefining the traditions of the Appalachians”
  • Forrest Yerman (Howard University): “The Affrilachian poets and an Affrilachian renaissance”

Wednesday 13 April

  • Zachary Hackworth, Forestry and Natural Resources: “A Five-Year Evaluation of Mammalian Herbivory Impacts on Surface Mine Reforestation Plantings in Southeastern Kentucky” (Eller / Billings Award recipient)
  • Briana Snyder, Forestry and Natural Resources: “Bat Foraging on West Virginia Mined Land Restored via the Forestry Reclamation Approach” (Eller / Billings Award winner)

Wednesday April 20

  • Jeri K. Howell, Community and Leadership Development: “Significant Life Experiences of Kentucky Youth Climate Activists”
  • Junyi Lv (USC Annenberg School for Communication): “How Places Argue: Coal Towns’ Multimodal Argumentation in Energy Transition”

The full schedule with links can be found on the Appalachian Center calendar at

For more information on the UK Appalachian Center and the Appalachian Studies Program, visit

Download a poster of the full SWAP program here.

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