Monday Memo, May 1, 2023

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of the College of Arts & Sciences

Dear A&S Faculty and Staff,

Glamour and achievement go hand-in-hand when Derby Week arrives at UofL. As an example, we congratulation Hayley Benson (below, center), a junior biology major on the pre-medical track, for being named to the Derby Festival Royal Court. This group welcomes visitors from around the world to the city and state at dozens of balls, parades, and other events surrounding the Derby. In addition to wardrobes and tiaras, the princesses each received a $2,000 college scholarship. Read more.

As the spring semester winds down, there is much to celebrate. Read on for a glimpse of the many gatherings and enriching activities among faculty, staff, students, and alumni that mark the conclusion of the academic year.

Julie Wrinn, Chief of Staff

Below, left to right: Valerie Tran (Engineering '23), Hayley Benson (Biology/pre-med '24), and Mahshad Taheri (Business/Finance '23)


Celebration of Excellence


Thanks to all who attended this year's A&S Celebration of Excellence in the Red Bard. UofL staff photographer Ron Harrison captured the spirit of the event in his photos, which you can view and download here: 

Among those honored at this event were the Distinguished Faculty Award winners pictured below, left to right: Lee Dugatkin (Biology), Lifetime Achievement; Craig Grapperhaus (Chemistry), Research-Natural Sciences; Adam Enders (Political Science), Research-Social Sciences; and Simona Bertacco (Comparative Humanities), Research-Humanities. Each of this year's 25 winners is receiving $400.


Research Agenda


Thomas Jennings, Professor of Anthropology, has been awarded $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to build a digital database of artifacts from the lower Ohio River Valley and surrounding areas. The project is entitled, "Early Life in the Lower Ohio River Valley: Digitally Cataloging Culturally Significant Archaeological Collections." As director of UofL’s Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, Jennings has overseen the excavation and preservation of these artifacts, but a database is needed to help share these with a larger audience. As Jennings explained to Louisville Public Media (LPM), “We want the public and everyone to be able to know what we have, use them in exhibits, maybe libraries, maybe schools, you know, we were protecting these things, but we want them to be used,” Jennings said. The database will include images, descriptions, and 3D scans of items, searchable by region and time period.

Graduate Research Assistant Cenetria Crockett (pictured below) is working on creating the site that will eventually hold the database. As Crockett explained to LPM, “I really hope that people who navigate the new database are able to get a sense of their culture.” Read more.


Congratulations to the following faculty and graduate students whose research projects are receiving funding in fiscal year 2023-24 from the College's Research and Creative Activity Awards, made possible by $20,000 from the UofL Office of Research and Innovation:

  • Morgan Balabanoff, Chemistry, and Austin Hubner, Communication: “Eliciting students’ perceptions of scientists and characterizing correlations to the ‘leaky pipeline’.”
  • Shequanna Belizaire, Yara Mekawi, and Sara Bufferd, Psychological and Brain Sciences: “Using a Mindfulness Intervention to Overcome Race-Related Anxiety in White Parents.”
  • Thomas Jennings, Anthropology: “Testing the Process of Mississipianization at the Prather Site.”
  • Frank Kelderman, English: “Remaking Indigenous Books: Cultural Translation and Native Literature, 1833-1973.”
  • Alycia Lackey, Mikus Abolins-Abols, and Shayna Rosenbloom Earl, Biology: “Consequences of natural temperature variation for salamander growth, development, and physiological stress response.”
  • Ashley Smallwood and Shaylee Scott, Anthropology: “Reconstructing Hunter-Gatherer Mobility at the End of the Ice Age through Chemical Sourcing: A Pilot Study of the Copelin Valley Archaeology Site, KY.”


Hite Institute of Art & Design


Above, Hite Institute students with Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate," Grant Park, Chicago

Forty undergraduates in the Hite Institute of Art and Design traveled on April 1–2 to experience Chicago's vibrant visual arts scene, with expenses for travel, hotel, and museum passes covered by the the department. Many thanks to faculty Delin Lai and Christopher Fulton; Program Coordinator Sara Noori; and M.F.A. students Chloe Cheng, Hannah DeWitt, and Diana Wilder for accompanying the students. The group visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, and public monuments and artwork such as Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" (pictured above). 

In addition to providing enriching opportunities such as this, next year the department will be awarding students over $100,000 from endowed scholarships, thanks to the generosity of Hite alumni and friends. 


The Hite Institute's graduating B.F.A. class was recently celebrated with a reception, award ceremony, and exhibit of their work, ongoing until May 10 in the Schneider Hall Galleries. The galleries are open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am-4:30 pm (closed on May 5 for the Kentucky Oaks). 

Below, left to right: Chase Walker, Mahika Gupta, Sydney Huges, Raurey Shaw, Lauren Sanderfer, Lilly Weakley, Emily Davis (recipient of the Bill Fischer Senior Project Grant), and Amaiya Crawdord.


Scholarship Luncheon


Hosting a Scholarship Luncheon was a long-held dream by the college's Senior Director of Development, Denise Bohn, and on April 14 it finally came to fruition. The event was a huge success and is sure to become a meaningful annual tradition for A&S alumni and friends. Bringing donors together with students who have received college- or department-level scholarships, this luncheon afforded students the opportunity to share a meal with their benefactors, network, make new friends, and even take a professional headshot with staff photographer Ron Harrison. More of Ron's photos from the luncheon may be viewed here:


GEO Game Day


Over 30 students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Geographic and Environmental Sciences and the Geography Club gathered at Cherokee Park on April 14 for a day of yard games, board games, sports, and other fun activities. Students particularly enjoyed the event and they expressed that this event allowed them to know more about the faculty and build stronger connections among students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Funding was provided by the Dean's Office.


Honors Students' Research & Creative Activity


The University Honors Program would like to congratulate the following A&S Honors students for presenting at the Southern Regional Honors Council conference in Charlotte, NC on March 30-April 1:


  • Mustafa Almosawi & Ethan Mills - The Functionality of Hemoglobin in Freeze-Dried Red Blood Cells
  • Eden Baize - Birth Control in the 60s: A Dialogue Surrounding the First Oral Contraceptive
  • Emma Donaghy - The Lost Cause and the Commonwealth: The Legacy of the Kentucky Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy
  • Michayla Gatsos - Immunology Meets Bioarchaeology: Disease Markers in Skeletal Remains
  • Tobias McDaniels - Perception of Identity In Gothic Literature
  • Ava Peruski - Aphantasia -- A Blind Mind's Eye
  • Anna Simpson - The Paradox of Negative Art
  • Nim Singh - The Magic in Mushrooms: Psilocybin and Neuropsychiatric Disorders
  • Abigail Stanger - “Moral Panic” in the Sixties: The Rise and Rapid Declination of LSD in American Society
  • Emily Stucky - Playboy Magazine's Contradictory Contribution to Social Change in the 1960s


  • Sarah Belcher - The Extracellular Matrix Component, Hyaluronan, Augments Phagocytosis in Macrophages
  • Romith Paily - Mentholated 4th-Generation E-cig Aerosols Induce Ventricular Arrhythmias and Early Repolarization Defects in Mice
  • Veena Pendyala - The Sensory Potential of Synaptopodin: An Analysis of Synaptopodin within the Dorsal Root Ganglion
  • Ava Peruski & Nim Singh - Detecting Neural Correlates of Autobiographical Memory for Recent and Remote (Early) Memories through High-resolution fMRI


Ethnic Heritage Celebrations


April's staff luncheon for Arab American Heritage Month offered fantastic food from Safier Mediterranean Deli and a presentation by Prof. Khaldoun Almousily, Program Coordinator for Arabic language and a faculty member of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program. Those in attendance were very appreciative of Prof. Khaldoun's insightful and entertaining talk on a dauntingly huge topicArabic language and culture. (I learned from Khaldoun's slide above not to say "Arab culture" or "Arabian culture.") Thanks also to the luncheon organizers, Joshua Boydstun, Ramonia Brents, MaryPat Chiavaroli, Yolanda Demaree, and Lisa Schonburg, and to Rae Stillwell for the promotional flyer. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage and Jewish Heritage Month: look for that invitation soon.


Dr. Evelyn Hu-DeHart's keynote presentation on April 13 for Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Heritage Week was “Black or White or Yellow? How Asians are Racialized in America.” A world-renowned scholar from Brown University, Dr. Hu-DeHart is pictured below, and her lecture may be viewed on YouTube here.




Andreas Elpidorou, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Liberal Studies Program, co-authored an article articulating a novel theory of boredom, which is the featured article in the latest issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Prof. Elpidorou specializes in the philosophical study of the mind with an emphasis on emotions and consciousness.


Thanks to the generosity of Eleanor and Bob Maddox, the Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Department hosted its annual Carolyn Krause Maddox Prize presentation on April 13. This year the undergraduate paper prize went to WGST senior Claire Gill, for “Dehumanization: From the Great Chain of Being to Human Zoos.” The graduate prize went to Katie Cross Gibson, a master’s student of Comparative Humanity, for “‘Sugar in the Knees’ and Hellfire on your Heels (/Hills): Examining Appalachian Christian Queerphobic Rhetoric’s Reach via the Outsouth Oral History Collection.” WGST recognizes the good work of the prize committee (Cate Fosl and Cara Snyder) and Jan Rayburn for organizing this event.  


Kudos to Joy Hart, Professor of Communication and Director of the Honors Program, and Kandi Walker, Professor and Vice Chair of Communication, on the terrific coverage of their study of workplace stress in the Courier-Journal, “Workplace stress, lack of purpose can lead to chronic illnesses, Louisville research shows.” Hart and Walker collaborated with Dr. Brad Shuck, an organizational culture researcher at UofL's College of Education and Human Development, and Dr. Rachel Keith, a faculty member in the UofL School of Medicine. Read more.


Felicia Jamison, Associate Professor of History and Comparative Humanities, and students in her “Introduction to Public Humanities” class collaborated with community organizations to research and tell the history of enslavement at Oxmoor Farm. Students presented their research on April 19 at Oxmoor Farm, and the project received great coverage from WHAS.


After a three-year hiatus, on April 14 the KY Alliance Against Racist & Political Oppression restarted its Unity Dinner at Hotel Louisville, a.k.a. Wayside Christian Mission.  The keynote speaker was Ricky Jones, Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies, and the College purchased a table for the event in support of our colleague. A recording of Prof. Jones's rousing remarks is available on SoundCloud here.

Earlier that week and two days after the mass shootings, Prof. Jones also published an op-ed in the Louisville Courier-Journal, “We Don’t Need More Thoughts and Prayers About Gun Violence.”


Congratulations to Deborah Lutz, the Morton Endowed Chair in English, on the publication of her latest book, Victorian Paper Art and Craft: Writers and Their Materials (Oxford University Press, January 2023). Lutz gave a talk at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library on April 12 about the George Eliot notebooks and the Emily Brontë miniature poetry manuscripts held in the collections of the library. See book cover below. Lutz is a 2023 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and has also been awarded a fellowship with the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. The fellowships will allow Lutz to research and write a biography of Emily Brontë, to be published by W.W. Norton. She is the editor of two Norton Critical Editions—Jane Eyre and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


Congratulations to Associate Professor Brandon McCormack (above) on his induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College on April 14. Brandon is also pictured below among other inductees, back row, one spot left of center, in front of the majestic 6,000-pipe Wendell P. Whalum organ in the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse.


What do the loneliest galaxies look like? Congratulations to Lori Porter (Physics 2023) on the publication of a first-author paper addressing this questiona remarkable achievement for an undergraduate. The paper was co-authored with Porter's mentor, UofL astronomer Benne Holwerda, and a team of researchers from other institutions. It will appear with the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a pre-print copy can be viewed here. Porter conducted her research with the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) and GalaxyZoo citizen science project, comparing void galaxies to galaxies similar in mass. The direct comparison showed that the two look remarkably similar, with the notable exception of the central bulge, the part thought to be the oldest part of galaxies.


Congratulations to the 13 A&S faculty who were recognized at the Sustainability Council 15th Anniversary Celebration:

  • Brian Barnes (Philosophy)
  • Russ Barnett (Honors)
  • Barbara Burns (former Psychology & Brain Sciences)
  • Margaret Carreiro (Biology emerita)
  • Brent Fryrear (UPA Sustainability lecturer)
  • Joy Hart (Honors, Communication)
  • Avery Kolers (Philosophy)
  • Erin Kurtz (alum – first graduate of UPA’s Sustainability major)
  • Rodger Payne (Political Science)
  • Henny Ransdell (Sustainability alum and current graduate student)
  • David Simpson (former UPA)
  • Angela Storey (Anthropology)
  • Kandi Walker (Communication)

Photos from the event may be viewed here:


Upcoming Events


Astronomy on Tap: Understanding the Universe through Particle Physics, with Akhtar Mahmood, Bellarmine University. Particle accelerators can recreate the hot, dense conditions which existed in the first microsecond after the Big Bang. At that point, subatomic particles called quarks were creating protons and neutrons. Other subatomic particles called neutrinos survived until today, and could play a pivotal role in the fate of the universe. Wednesday, May 3, 7:008:00pm, Monnik Beer Co, Upper Room 1036 E Burnett Ave, Louisville KY 40217

Delphi U's Face-to-Face workshop offers an unmatched opportunity to learn more about the design and facilitation of online courses. Participants have the chance to work directly with members of the instructional design team and collaborate with online instructors from across the University while exploring best practices in course design, engagement strategies and student evaluation. This four-day workshop begins May 8 with an optional review of Blackboard Basics and runs until May 11. Learn more and register online at

The National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) will hold a National Speech and Debate competition on the UofL campus all day on Saturday, May 27. Expect to see hundreds of high-achieving high school students in business attire circulating throughout campus on those days. Like the debate competition held on campus last summer, this event promises to be a fruitful recruiting opportunity, showcasing our beautiful campus and facilities. It will take place in the following A&S Buildings: Davidson, Gottschalk, Humanities, Life Sciences, Natural Sciences, Shumaker, and Strickler; as well as BAB, SAC and the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering, and Law.

30th Anniversary of the UofL African American Theatre Program: Black Light Awards Gala, “Changing the World One Performance at a Time." We will produce a dynamic large-scale event to highlight the African American Theatre Program alumni who have built lifelong careers in the theatre and film industry and have made a significant impact both locally, nationally, and internationally. The gala is a black-tie affair and will feature a keynote speaker anticipated to be a celebrity and/or nationally recognized theatre artist. Our vision is to host an evening full of powerful celebration and honor for the three decades of groundbreaking accomplishments which have led to this special 30th anniversary. In so doing, this gala presents an invaluable opportunity to serve as a fundraiser to continue fortifying this legacy and ensuring the expansive growth of the program. Saturday, September 30, 2023, 6:0010:00pm, Louisville Central Community Center, 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd, Louisville, KY 40203. For more information contact LaShondra Hood at RSVP by August 31. Tickets