Monday Memo, March 14, 2022

Dear A&S Colleagues,

Faculty and staff who are serving on the newly formed Provost’s A&S Strategic Planning Committee are leading our college’s evolution in response to the changing landscape of higher education. Strengthening interdisciplinarity and enhancing research collaborations are just two of the several charges being explored by this committee. We invite you to stay informed about their work by visiting a new website containing a committee roster, a fuller description of its charges, meeting notes, and resources including how other universities have adapted. Your feedback is wanted throughout the course of the committee’s work, which will continue through December 2022. A communications plan is still being finalized and will include—in addition to the website—listening sessions by committee members, open forums, and options for emailing the committee, signed or anonymously.

Congratulations to Tamara Russell, who departs A&S on March 25 to become Director of Multicultural Affairs and Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement at Jefferson Community and Technical College. As a valued member of A&S, Tamara has grown the M.L. King Scholars Program into one of UofL’s premiere mentored scholarship programs and a highly coveted home for students throughout the state and region with an interest in social justice. Among her many accomplishments during her tenure, Tamara developed a third-year Latinx and Indigenous Immersion Experience and created both an M.L.K. Scholars Program Alumni Council and a Community Advisory Committee. But the four cohorts of brilliant Black and Brown scholars whom she supported to graduation will be her most enduring legacy.

Some of you may have noticed a new subject line from me last Monday: “A&S This Week.” Because I am making the Monday Memo only an occasional e-newsletter, “A&S This Week” will provide timely event information on weeks when there isn’t a Monday Memo. To submit an item to either e-newsletter, please email and help your events and stories reach a wider audience of appreciative colleagues.

Julie Wrinn, Chief of Staff


Saturday, March 26 is Admitted Students Day on campus, and departments are invited to set up tables and send representatives for the Resource Fair. The Resource Fair runs from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. We anticipate about 400 students and 1200 total guests attending. This is a tremendous opportunity to connect with our admitted incoming students and allow them to learn and engage more with each of your programs. For more information, please contact

The Office of the Dean of Students has finalized the dates for key fall events. If you would like to participate in some way, or if you have any questions, the contact person is listed beside each event.

Welcome Week (August 18-21) –

Family Weekend (Sept. 23-25) –

Homecoming Weekend (October 21-22) – or (Nakia is a UofL alumna)

Mentored Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Grant. Grant applications of $1,000 to $1,500 for mentored undergraduate research and creative activity during the summer term are due by April 20 (team applications by May 16). Please find the application and guidelines here.

The Employee Success Center has developed an onboarding guide for integrating employees into departments on a more personal level, which will help them feel welcome and more connected. For more information, please contact laura.mcdaniels@louisville.

Are you a first-generation faculty/staff member? Christy Metzger of the First Year Experience and Student Success Programs asks you to complete this form. As the Student Success Center grows programming and support for first-gen students, they want to identify who UofL’s first-gen faculty and staff are, regardless of what institution issued your undergraduate diploma. If neither of your parents/guardians earned a 4-year university degree before you, then you’re a First-Generation (first gen) Cardinal even if you had a sibling who attended college or graduated ahead of you and even if you didn’t earn your degree from UofL.


Congratulations to Safia Alhrabi for receiving the Ovshinsky Student Travel Award ($750) from the Division of Materials Physics, American Physical Society (APS). Safia will present a talk on “Strain and interface effects on the stability and electronic properties of SiGe/GeC lateral heterostructure” at this month’s American Physics Society meeting.

Beth Mattingly Denham, part-time lecturer in the Communications Department and executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was nominated by Today’s Woman magazine for the Most Admired Woman 2022 in the category of Health and Wellness. Denham is certified in diversity, equity and inclusion and has focused her 35-year career on nonprofit work, fundraising, and community development in the Kentuckiana community. You may vote once per day per email address for the entire month of March, and votes do matter.

For International Women’s Day on March 8, the Chemistry Department spotlighted a leader of women in science at UofL. Dorothy Gibson joined the Department of Chemistry in 1969 as the first female faculty member in the natural sciences. Dorothy grew up in Waxahachie, TX, received B.A. and M.S. degrees from Texas Christian University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. She was tenured in 1973 and an invaluable member of the faculty for 39 years until her retirement in 2007, serving as vice-chair of the department in 1978-87, as acting chair in 1982-83, and as director of the Center for Chemical Catalysis. She was the project director for several major grants in the chemistry department and the primary author of numerous journal articles and conference presentations. She received the DeVoe and Raynolds Co. Faculty Award, the College of Arts and Sciences Award for Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity, and the President's Award for Research in the Basic and Applied Sciences. In 2019 an anonymous donor funded the Dorothy Gibson Memorial Fellowship to fund a graduate research fellowship in chemistry. A tree planted in her memory sits in the garden outside the Chemistry Building with a plaque commemorating her contributions to our university.

Congratulations to Clest Lanier for her appointment by Mayor Greg Fischer to the Juneteenth Commission and to the Louisville Tourism’s Black Tourism Advisory Council (BTAC). In 2021 alone, the BATC helped launch a Black Heritage tourism campaign, hosted the 2021 African American Travel Conference in Louisville for the first time, launched a blog on the Black experience in Louisville for, and landed the 2023 African American Golf Expo and Forum to take place in Louisville, among many other activities. We are fortunate to have Clest representing the College of Arts & Sciences on these venerable groups.

Kudos to Kristi Maxwell, who has been named an American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellow for 2022–23. The fellowship will support a research trip to Denmark during Fall 2022, when Kristi is on sabbatical.

Learn how Reverend Gwendol Fay Brown McCaskill (Psychology 1968), who passed away in 2016, helped integrate the on-campus dorms of UofL. Rev. McCaskill continued her education at Temple University and then earned a Ph.D. in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University. She went on to become a social worker, educator, administrator and consultant. Notably, she was the first African American to serve as a social worker in Hopkins County, Kentucky, and one of the first to serve in the state of Kentucky. Her daughter, Annissa McCaskill, also a former UofL student, shared some of her story with UofL News. Read more.

Congratulations to Andrea Miles, a doctoral candidate in the Humanities Ph.D. Program (Culture, Criticism, and Contemporary Thought track), who was awarded a prestigious research fellowship from the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Andrea’s dissertation is titled “Black Rebels: African American Revolutionaries from North Carolina During and After the War of Independence,” and it focuses on free Blacks in North Carolina who joined revolutionary forces during the American War of Independence. Andrea works with Dr. Daniel Krebs (History) as her primary advisor, and her committee members are Dr. Glenn Crothers (History), Dr. Thomas Mackey (History), and Dr. Charlton Yingling (History). Her Outside Reader is Dr. Dewey Clayton (Political Science).

As a first-generation college student, Lexi Raikes started her freshman year unsure where higher education would lead her. When she graduates in May, she’ll be doing so with a triple major in English, French and political science and with the confidence and ambition to make the world a better place. The stops on Lexi’s path to greatness—including being named Kentucky’s only 2021 Truman Scholar—illustrate how UofL is redefining student success. Learn more about Lexi and other Cardinal leaders at the Here & Beyond campaign page.

Heartfelt congratulations to Robert Eric Shoemaker, a doctoral candidate in the Humanities Ph.D. Program, Public Arts and Letters track, on accepting a position as Digital Archive Editor at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. In his position there, Eric will curate poems for Poetry magazine and develop an annual strategy for the poem selection process. Eric works with Dr. Alan Golding (English) as his primary advisor, and his committee members are Dr. Natalie Polzer (Humanities), Dr. Susan Ryan (English), and Dr. Kristi Maxwell (English). His outside reader is Dr. Peter O’Leary from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, who will visit our campus for the defense and offer a reading of his poetry on March 23, 2022, at 5:30 pm in the Ekstrom Library Bingham Poetry Room. For more information, visit the event page.

Congratulations times four to Ché Rhodes, associate professor and head of the glass department in the Hite Institute of Art and Design! First, an untitled work of his (at left) has been added to the permanent collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. and will be included in the museum’s upcoming exhibit, This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, on view from May 13, 2022 to April 2, 2023. Second, to see Ché’s work closer to home, visit Crafting the Vernacular, a national glass exhibition featuring the glasswork of artists of color, which was curated by Ché and is currently featured at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, 715 W. Main Street, until April 3, 2022 ( Third, Ché’s work is on the cover of the Spring 2022 edition of Glass: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly, and as a testament to the centrality of UofL to the field of glass crafts, the cover story’s author is a retired faculty member of Hite and Director Emeritus of the Speed Art Museum. Finally, Ché has been selected by the James Renwick Alliance for Craft to receive its Distinguished Craft Educator’s Award for 2022. A&S is very fortunate to call him one of our own.


Health Care Ethics Series: T. Benicio Gonzales, M.S.W., Director, Center for Health Equity at the Louisville Metro Dept. of Public Health and Wellness. “Advancing Health Equity in Louisville.” March 23, 12–1 p.m.

Please join us for the inaugural virtual event of the newly endowed Albert and Anita Goldin Memorial series for Yiddish Culture on Sunday, March 27 1:00pm EST with Professor Eddy Portnoy on “The Strange Tales of Yiddishland: What the Yiddish Press Reveals about the Jews.” Offering an underground history of downwardly mobile Jews between the two world wars, Dr. Portnoy reveals the seamy underbelly of pre-WWII New York and Warsaw, the two major centers of Yiddish culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Portnoy is a renowned expert on Jewish popular culture. He has an MA in Yiddish from Columbia and a PhD in Jewish history from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is the author of the acclaimed book Bad Rabbi and Other Strange but True Stories from the Yiddish Press. Please RSVP for the Zoom link by March 24:

The April meeting of Astronomy on Tap led by Lutz Haberzettl has been shifted to Saturday, March 26, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. to coincide with the Society of Physics Students Zone meeting in Louisville. Venus is the nearest planet to Earth, but the last American mission to it was launched a third of a century ago in 1989. Since then, missions from other countries and ground-based observations have revealed it to be more mysterious than ever, and it is the subject of much renewed interest.

30th Annual Neuroscience Day returns April 8. The 30th Annual Neuroscience Day will be held virtually on Gather. Neuroscience Day is an opportunity to showcase neuroscience research from around the region and features an exciting line-up of local and invited speakers. We are excited to host two outstanding scientists, Paule Joseph with the NIH and Gülin Öz, University of Minnesota, whose research investigates the impact of COVID-19 on the nervous system. Membership, abstract submission, and meeting registration are free. For more information, please visit the webpage.

Clayton Smith, M.D., physician at UofL Health, specializing in LGBTQ+ health care. “Gender-Affirming Care of Transgender and Gender Nonbinary People.” April 20, 12–1 p.m.