By Victoria Dekle
Geography graduate student Malene Jacobsen is no stranger to travel for her research. While she is a student at UK and spends most of her time in Lexington, Jacobsen’s work on political asylum and migration requires her to move between Europe and the United States as she collects data for her degree.
All of those transatlantic flights, however, are expensive.
Jacobsen was fortunate to recently receive an Academic Excellence grant from the College of Arts & Sciences. The funds from this alumni-sponsored award enabled her to present a paper on her M.A. thesis work at the 5th Annual Nordic Geography Meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, this past June.
“The aim of this research project has been to critically examine how everyday practices and spaces are produced and how asylum seekers navigate and understand themselves within this system,” she said.
Jacobsen chose to pursue research about asylum seekers within the discipline of Geography because of the many theoretical and analytical approaches the field embraces across the social sciences.
Jacobsen explained that there is a great diversity of asylum seekers and that they choose many different ways to negotiate their situations, an approach that reflects modern social science studies.
But there is also an activist ethos behind Jacobsen’s research, for asylum seekers regularly live very difficult lives.
“They are often in a state of limbo, in-between places, or in non-sovereign space,” she said.
“We need to think critically about how we treat people who have left their homes, families, and lives behind – those who fled in order to save their lives. I have always been interested in the inequalities that exist within societies and migration is just one way to study issues of inequality and exclusion.”
With this scholarly foundation, Jacobsen can start pursuing the professional side of her developing academic career by attending international conferences and making vital connections.
“It is important that young scholars such as M.A. and Ph.D. students get financial help to participate in conferences,” Jacobsen said. “The space of the conference provides opportunities to meet people who you might collaborate with in the future or who might hire you when it is time to get a job.”
Malene Jacobsen's story of receiving valuable financial assistance is a common thread for many. These awards enable students to reach their full potential through research, teaching and scholarship, and are largely provided by the generous efforts of our alumni and friends. Here is just a sampling of awards and the people connected to them.
Margaret L. Lantis Award for Excellence in Original Research
The Lantis Award recognizes the most outstanding original research by a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology each year. The monetary award is intended to support further research towards the student’s degree and future career goals.
Margaret L. Lantis was a pioneering anthropologist of the mid-twentieth century, working in the fields of applied anthropology and North American ethnography. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1939, Lantis conducted applied research with the U.S. Public Health Service, the Bureau of the Census, the Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She joined the Department of Anthropology in 1965 and helped to establish its strong emphasis in applied anthropology.
The Swift/Longacre/Scaife Fellowship assists one graduate student with tuition expenses each year, alternating every other year between an M.A. student and a student seeking professional certification to teach pre-college Latin.
This fund honors three notable teacher-scholars in Kentucky. Lou Swift and Ross Scaife were faculty members of the Classics Department at UK, and Ruth Longacre was a Latin pedagogy teacher at Georgetown College who trained many of Kentucky’s Latin teachers. Swift still occasionally teaches at UK as an emeritus professor and was named to the College of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2012. Scaife and Longacre and their contributions to education are remembered through this fund.
T. Marshall Hahn, Jr., Fellowship
(College of Arts & Sciences)
The Hahn Fellowship is awarded by the College of Art & Sciences as additional financial support to a teaching or research assistantship in an effort to attract outstanding first-year graduate students.
T. Marshall Hahn received his B.S. in Physics from the University of Kentucky with highest honors in 1945 and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949. Hahn is a native of Lexington, Ky., and the son of a former UK physics professor.
Elizabeth Haynes Field Trip Fund in Geological Sciences
(Earth and Environmental Sciences)
The Haynes Fund is a need-based award to cover approximately one half of the entire cost of attending a Geology field trip, which in the past have been to locations such as Canada, New England, the Southeastern Atlantic Coast, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Rocky Mountains.
Elizabeth Haynes is a native to Lexington, Ky., who earned an M.S. in Geology at UK, pursued a Ph.D. at the Colorado School of Mines, and now works as a production geologist in Perth, Western Australia. She also served as a member of the College of Arts & Sciences Alumni Advisory Board before relocating to Australia.
Mary Wilma Hargreaves Memorial Fellowship Fund
The Hargreaves fund provides financial support for graduate student travel, both for dissertation related research and for presentations at scholarly conferences.
Mary Wilma Hargreaves, the first woman to receive the rank of full professor in the Department of History, taught at UK from 1964 to 1984 and specialized in courses on the American frontier and American economic history. While in Lexington, Professor Hargreaves served on the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation board. She loved classical music, ballroom dancing, and animals – especially golden retrievers.
Wimberly C. Royster Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
The Wimberly C. Royster teaching assistant award is a monetary award given to a mathematics graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding performance in teaching, scholarship, and future research potential.
Wimberly C. Royster was a mathematics professor as well as a distinguished administrator at UK, serving as the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the dean of the Graduate School, and the first vice president for Research and Graduate Studies. Although retired, Royster is an active member of the university community and promotes education across campus and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Coherent Graduate Student Scholarship
(Physics & Astronomy)
The Coherent Scholarships offer quality physics & astronomy students additional support in their first year of graduate school.
The scholarships were established by R. Milton Huffaker. Huffaker has a long career as a distinguished physicist, company founder and CEO, and philanthropist. After earning a B.S. in physics and pursuing graduate studies at UK, Huffaker worked at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center for 15 years. He moved on to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and later founded Coherent Technologies, Inc. He also founded Coherent Investments which provides guidance and capital to early-stage companies. Huffaker received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from UK in May 2013.