■ Five Fayette County Public School students have received top honors in violin and piano competitions sponsored by the Kentucky Music Teachers Association and the Music Teachers National Association. Earning kudos during the Oct. 24 and 25 state conference at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green were:
William Auer, a sixth-grader at SCAPA at Bluegrass, first place in junior high violin; Alexander Auer, a sixth-grader at SCAPA at Bluegrass, second place in junior high violin; Amy Wang, a junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, first place in high school piano; Andy Du, a freshman at Dunbar, second place in high school piano; and Erik Han, a freshman at Dunbar, second place in junior high piano
William and Amy will represent Kentucky in the Music Teachers National Association's nine-state Southern Division contests Jan. 15 and 18 in Tampa, Fla. The national finalists will compete in San Antonio in April.
■ Eastern Kentucky University has been included on the 2016 list of STEM Jobs Approved Colleges. Victory Media cited EKU's aerospace technology program as one of 80 Industry Award winners nationwide. The STEM Jobs Approved Colleges survey measures how effectively schools align their programs to high-demand, high-paying STEM jobs, and how well they assist their students in achieving career aspirations in STEM fields.
The Industry Award recognizes institutions that provide the best training and preparation for graduates to enter STEM fields profiled in STEM Jobs magazine (Stemjobs.com). EKU's nationally renowned aviation program offers a bachelor's degree concentration in aerospace technology and in aerospace management and professional flight. For more information, visit Aviation.eku.edu.
■ The League of Women Voters of Lexington is sponsoring an essay contest for Fayette County high school students asking them to write an op-ed on the following: Explain a current public policy issue of local, regional or national interest that deeply concerns you, what position you take on it and how you came to that position. Your job is to present facts and data to support your position in order to inform your readers and gain their support.
The contest is open to any student in grades 9-12 who attends a Fayette County school. Private school and home-schooled students are eligible. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 30.
Prizes of $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place will be awarded in January. An honorarium will be awarded to the teacher/sponsors of the top three writers.
Students and teachers may learn more about the contest by emailing the essay contest committee chair, Judy Johnson, at Lexington.firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the League's Web site at Lwvlexington.com.
■ The Asbury University Hands and Feet 5K and Kids' Run will be 8:45 a.m. to noon Nov. 21 at Coldstream Park in Lexington. The race begins at 10 a.m. Participants will enjoy the 5K run/walk, kids' run, free fall treats and Haiti-made products for sale while benefiting unadoptable Haitian orphans, five years after the disastrous earthquake. Cost: $22; includes shirt. For more information about the 5K, visit Handsandfeet5klex.org.
■ Centre College has received $750,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a four-year effort to enhance diversity and inclusion on campus. Over the years, the Mellon Foundation has been a supporter of initiatives at Centre, and with this new grant it has provided more than $2 million in funding over the past six years alone. This is the largest single award from the Mellon Foundation in the Centre's history.
Thirty percent of Centre's current first-year students come from a historically underrepresented group, for instance, which is 8 percent more than the previous year. The number of first-generation college students is now at 20 percent.
Of the several initiatives supported by the $750,000 Mellon grant, an initial campus climate study will lay the groundwork, with diversity addressed in the broadest sense, including socioeconomic, religious and political differences, in addition to categories such as race, ethnicity and gender.
The grant also will support the recruitment of two tenure-track positions, one each in the humanities and the social sciences. Centre is committed to support a third hire in the sciences. Faculty who focus specifically on topics of diversity also will be hired to teach during the three-week CentreTerm courses offered each year in January.