■ Kala Brown of Lafayette High School is one of Kentucky's five winners in the 2014 National Achievement Scholarship Program. Brown hopes to practice law as a career. Kala is among some 700 seniors who will receive one-time $2,500 National Achievement Scholarships, which are awarded on a regional representation basis. Blake Gilbert of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was among Kentucky's 12 semifinalists, which were announced last fall.
■ Sahil Nair, a junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, has received the 2014 Distinguished Leader Award from Leadership Lexington Youth. He received the award April 9 at the close of a graduation luncheon at Transylvania University. Nair will also be recognized at Commerce Lexington's annual dinner next February and will get a $1,000 scholarship upon high school graduation.
■ For the second year in a row, University of Kentucky vocal performance senior Gabrielle Barker of Lexington has been named the VSA Kentucky young soloist award winner for the state. Each year, VSA Kentucky recognizes outstanding young musicians, ages 14-25, with disabilities and supports and encourages them in their pursuit of a career in music. These emerging musicians receive a $500 educational scholarship, mentoring sessions with professional musicians and performance opportunities.
Barker studies under Endowed Chair, Professor of Voice Cynthia Lawrence at UK Opera Theatre in the School of Music.
Barker's focus on her talent began in high school, where she won vocal competitions, participated in All State Choir and American Choral Directors Association Choir, and was a part of the Governor's School for the Arts.
■ The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has chosen 12 undergraduates as new scholars for the university's Gaines Fellowship Program for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years. Gaines Fellowships are given in recognition of outstanding academic performance, demonstrated ability to conduct independent research, an interest in public issues and a desire to enhance understanding of the human condition through the humanities.
Gaines Fellowships are awarded for the tenure of a student's junior and senior years, or for the last two years of a five-year program; students in all disciplines and with any intended profession are given equal consideration.
UK's 12 new Gaines Fellows are:
Phillip Barnett, of Louisa, majoring in communication; Kevin Bloomfield, of Lexington, majoring in architecture; Jonathan Elliott, of Kentwood, Mich., majoring in economics and mathematics; Kyeong Ran Jang, of Lexington, majoring in biology; Jordan Keeton, of Flatwoods, majoring in economics and finance; Trevor McNary, of Lexington, majoring in economics and international studies; Jacob Mattingly, of Louisville, majoring in chemistry and philosophy; Shannon Newberry, of Paducah, majoring in architecture; Stephen Parsons, of Lexington, majoring in computer science and international studies; Jonathan Sarfin, of Louisville, majoring in psychology and English; Sarah Wagner, of Louisville, majoring in architecture and English; and Kalin Wilson, of Olive Hill, majoring in biology.
■ University of Kentucky's Ryan Winstead, of Madisonville, an English and gender and women's studies junior, has been awarded an English-Speaking Union Scholarship presented by the English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch. The scholarship will cover Winstead's expenses for summer study at the University of Oxford.
■ Tammie Franks, principal of Harrison Elementary, and Chris Townsend, director of law enforcement for Fayette County Public Schools, have been recognized by Stand Up for Youth for their work on behalf of children. Stand Up For Youth works to bring attention to the issue of child abuse and neglect. In addition to Fayette schools, the members represent Sunflower Kids, CHES Solutions, Key Assets, CASA, Kids First, the Plantory, WellCare and Positively Java.
■ The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development awarded nearly $100,000 in prize money recently to some of Kentucky's most-promising college entrepreneurs.
The awards were announced during the seventh-annual Idea State U event, a two-day student competition that identifies and supports the next generation of Kentucky innovators and entrepreneurs. The event was held at the Lexington Center April 11-12.
Twenty-six teams, comprised of more than 80 undergraduate and graduate students from eight Kentucky public universities, the University of Pikeville and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, participated in Idea State U.
The top award of $21,619 was presented to Trifecta Cooking Equipment, a graduate student team from the University of Louisville. Trifecta unveiled plans for its patented "FutureFry," an energy-efficient deep fryer for restaurants. The FutureFry uses less cooking oil and is easier to clean than a traditional deep fryer. The judges also awarded $20,333 to Southern Shine Co., an undergraduate team from Jefferson Community and Technical College that plans to create a distilled spirits company. Southern Shine Co. plans to sell Amendment 21 Moonshine, a high-end premium 80-proof flavored moonshine liqueur product line.
Other prizes for the top-rated proposed ventures include the following:
Mosquito Tech (University of Kentucky) received $11,079 to develop a technology that tackles the mosquito population by preventing reproduction through sterilization.
Jockey Analytics (University of Louisville) received $11,079 to develop the first jockey rating system for the horse racing industry. The system will provide handicappers and bettors with an individual jockey rating on a race-by-race basis.
Belles of the Bluegrass (Morehead State University) received $5,111 to start an event-planning business.
Shouter (University of Kentucky) received $5,540 for a mobile application company that allows a person to connect with nearby people, events and businesses.
Cypress MD (University of Louisville) received $3,810 to develop innovative anesthesia technology. The technology will save patient time, decrease hospital costs and improve patient safety.
PocketParkU (University of Louisville) received $3,810 to develop a mobile application that will provide students, faculty and staff with real-time campus parking information.
Arymza Technologies (University of Kentucky) received $2,540 for a business concept to produce Cylozymes, enzymes that assist in the processing of starch, and are used as food ingredients or as feedstock for microbes in the production of bioethanol.
Veggie Magic (Northern Kentucky University) received $2,540 to develop a spray solution that can be applied to vegetables to block bitter flavors.
Gruentech Heating Systems (University of Pikeville) received $1,270 for a business concept to replace air-cooled swimming pool circulating pump motors with water-cooled pump motors.
BambooRF (Morehead State University) received $1,270 for a business concept to manufacture radio frequency instruments.
In addition, BambooRF also received the Governor's Innovation Award. The trophy and $500 is presented each year to the team that best demonstrates innovative and out-of-the-box thinking. For more information, go to IdeaStateU.com.
■ Mark Simonds, a Bluegrass Community and Technical College student from Nicholasville, will be honored at an upcoming Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society conference as one of 30 members, selected from 450 national and international nominees, to be honored with the 2014 Distinguished Chapter Officer Award. The award will be presented this week during Nerd Nation 2014, the group's annual convention, in Orlando, Fla.
In addition to his awards, Simonds recently received a research grant from the NASA Kentucky Space Grant Consortium program. Simonds was part of a team of students that designed and built a satellite that orbits the Earth at 18,000 mph at 300 miles altitude. The satellite passes over Kentucky every 90 minutes, which allows students to communicate with it. The grant includes a trip to NASA so Simonds can present his project findings.
■ The University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union has donated $15,000 in scholarship money, $5,000 to each of the three main entities it serves: University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. These scholarships are awarded by the separate financial aid offices to qualified students who need financial assistance as they pursue a higher education degree. Recipients include: Will Schaefer, UK; Karen Popp, EKU; and Sunny Bayne, Katherine Ishmael and Patricia Cummings, who are enrolled at the KCTCS jockey school, the North American Racing Academy.