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A&S Students Named 2022 Gaines Fellows

By Ryan Girves

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 13, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has selected undergraduate students as new scholars for the Gaines Fellowship Program

Fellowships are awarded in recognition of outstanding academic performance, a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities.

Founded in 1984 by a gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK’s campus. 

UK’s 12 new Gaines Fellows are:

  • Ellie Browning, community and leadership development major, sustainable agriculture minor.
  • Eriel Burns, political science major, business minor, Lewis Honors College .
  • Isha Chauhan, biology major, creative writing minor, Lewis Honors College.
  • Joseph Cox, interiors major, creative writing minor, historic preservation certificate, Lewis Honors College.
  • Leena Haider, history major, biology minor, Lewis Honors College.
  • Danica Hak, interior design major, dance minor.
  • Shria Holla, mathematical economics major, political science and statistics minors, Lewis Honors College. 
  • Jessica Miller, English major and environmental and sustainability studies minor.
  • Joshua Miller, Merchandising, Apparel, & Textiles and marketing majors.
  • Nicholas Relich, economics and political science major, Lewis Honors College .
  • Gretchen Ruschman, agricultural and medical biotechnology major, microbiology minor, Lewis Honors College.
  • Kate Walker, dance major, interdisciplinary arts minor.

“As a Gaines Fellow, I hope to gain a broader understanding of the inner workings of our society and how we represent that knowledge into higher academia,” said UK sophomore Shria Holla. “I also hope to gain a network of like-minded friends that will push my curiosity and perspectives.”

Successful applicants will make a two-year (four semester) commitment to the program, and while all Gaines students are expected to participate in the Center's activities throughout the fellowship, benefits and expectations vary by cohort and progress to completion.

Any student at the University of Kentucky may apply for a Gaines Fellowship. Students in all disciplines and with any intended profession are given equal consideration. Any undergraduate demonstrating excellence in his or her undergraduate career is encouraged to apply. Applicants must have two years of planned undergraduate study remaining and must have an outstanding academic record.

“For nearly 40 years, the Gaines Center for the Humanities has welcomed a cohort of distinguished student to the undergraduate fellows program,” said Gaines Center Director Melynda Price. Each of these students were chosen through a highly competitive process.  They were chosen for their academic excellence, but also because of their work in their respective communities and demonstrations of leadership. This year’s cohort come from very different colleges and minors but by their participation in the Gaines Fellowship Program, they will join together for two years of deep immersion in the humanities.  We are excited to work with them and watch them as they develop as scholars.” 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.