Student Spotlight November 2016
Kent earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Berea College. He then came to the University of Louisville, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. After his Master’s program, Kent stayed at the University of Louisville and is currently working towards a PhD in Applied Sociology.
I was really drawn to the faculty and staff here at the University of Louisville. They provided a very supportive and encouraging environment to conduct research and scholarship.
My research can be broadly defined as Environmental Demography. I focus on the impacts of environmental pollution and problems on population health. My dissertation examines the longitudinal impacts of coal mining on mortality rates in the Appalachian region.
I study how environmental pollution from coal mining impacts people’s health and wellbeing.
I’m from the Appalachian region and I have a real love and passion for the region.
Outstanding Research Award, Department of Sociology, UofL – Spring 2014
Alice Eaves Barns Award – Spring 2014 UofL SIGS
Dean’s Citation – Spring 2014
I hope my research can help change the policy debate about coal mining. In particular, I hope it can advocate for policies that help coal mining communities remediate environmental destruction to improve their health and wellbeing.
My long terms goals are to develop and establish a career and mentor students who come from similar backgrounds as myself, encourage them to pursue higher education, and achieve their goals.
Neither of my parents graduated high school. I grew up in a very modest household, to say the least, in a rural community. I’ve been a first generation student in high school, college, and now graduate school. The fact that I have made it as far as I have in higher education is the achievement I am most proud of.
I have met so many wonderful faculty, staff and fellow students here at UofL. Meeting them has been my favorite part of graduate school.
Graduate school can be a lonely place sometimes. You spend long hours studying, writing, and researching and don’t have much time for a social life. I think it’s important to build a small network of people who you can call on for support and who can count on you for support. We are small enough in the Sociology Department that we’ve developed a pretty strong connection with each other. We purposely spend time together watching movies, bowling, hanging out, and even traveling to conferences together.
I have always highly valued my family, they have been my rock in times of trouble.
Favorite book: Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Favorite quote: “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” – Mother Harris Jones
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? I would probably be working in politics.