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POP! - Panoply of Possibilities

2018-2019 POP! (Panoply of Possibilities)

Among the benefits of attending The Gatton Academy is the opportunity to explore different careers in STEM and careers that intersect with STEM. POP! presentations and activities let students meet professionals one-on-one and through interactive experiences.  Students learn about what these professionals’ work encompasses and the career paths they took to get there.

POP! events are held throughout the school year and are open to any current Gatton Academy student. 

Farm tour highlights include the beef unit, the dairy unit where WKU cheese is made, the Expo Center, the vineyards, and much more. There are a number of different concentrations offered in the Agriculture Department, and our Agriculture Ambassador for the tour, Ms. Alexandra Polkovic, will be talking about those concentrations, as well as the specific classes and labs associated with the farm.

The farm is used for USDA research, faculty trials, and corn and soybean trials. The farm is a functional living-laboratory used by WKU students pursuing careers in all aspects of agriculture such as Agribusiness, Ag Education, Ag Mechanics, and composting.

Get into the fresh air and discover what might be waiting for you in the field.

Art PopWould you like to find ways to combine your love of Art and STEM? Meet in Ogden Hall and hear form Dr. Krsitina Arnold about how she melds the two together.

Inside WKU’s Ogden College Hall, graceful sculptures seem to float on two walls. Delicate glass membranes in different hues — some golden brown to light yellow, others deep red to a blush pink, and still others that are clear — are suspended within gently curving cells that collectively tower 10 feet high and stretch 16 feet long.

Dr. Arnold explains that the installation, “incubates, explores the birth, development and growth of an idea—and of a scholar. It celebrates the discovery of new knowledge and the process of creativity that is necessary for breakthroughs in any discipline.”

You might not expect to find such a creative, almost ethereal, approach to thinking in a building dedicated to the exploration of science and engineering. Yet it’s at that intersection—or, more specifically, that of art and public health—where Arnold channels both curiosity and creativity to explore how we think about and react to health, including human biology.

Arnold, who pursued a degree in public health and worked at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for five years before entering art school at the University of Tennessee, said human biology references have always been a central focus in her art.

“Human biology is a touchstone in terms of imagery, but it’s larger issues of health, which include human biology, the environment and how we process socially, including challenging the larger societal conventions and models,” that drives Arnold’s work.

That focus deepened during Arnold’s time at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, an experience that “exposed me to ideas around public health like contamination and infection,” she said. The challenge: can those ideas, often viewed as alarming, even downright frightening, be positive?

Dr. Martin Stone, the Leichhardt Professor of Horticulture at WKU and one of the leaders of Gatton’s study abroad program to Costa Rica, LOVES plants! Want to know how much? Well, come out to the Baker Arboretum for a fun tour led by the enthusiastic Dr. Stone. 

Dr. Stone is Director of the Baker Arboretum and teaches courses in Local Foods and Landscape Horticulture.  He is a community organizer for local foods having co-founded the Community Farmers Market and also sells his family farm’s products.  He is contributing editor to the magazine Kentucky Gardener.

His research interests include a nitrogen fixation in a locally-native plant of the Costa Rican cloudforest and grafting tomatoes in the same region.  His graduate students are researching the presence of genetically-modified plants in organic foods products, the influence of feeding stocks on bee health and honey production, and investigating statewide farmers markets for food safety.

Become a mini-Engineer and create your powerhouse of a bridge using popsicle sticks and marshmallows. Alex Sorrels and CK-S will be hosting this event. 

Dental impressions are very common and used for a variety of purposes in the dental field. Impressions can be used to create mouth guards, whitening trays, crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures, and accurate models among other things. Dr. Graves will be teaching students how to take impressions and how to create models of their teeth.

Dr. DeJon Graves is a general dentist who practices in Somerset, Kentucky. Dr. Graves is a 2013 University of Louisville School of Dentistry alumnus. After graduating Dr. Graves was an associate dentist at Precision Dental until 2015 when he purchased the practice. In addition to owning his own practice, Dr. Graves is the President of the South Central Kentucky Dental Society chapter as well as a board member for Southern Kentucky Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Dr. Graves has a passion for education as he often represents the dental field at many public health events. 

Lauren Kinser, a current residential Counselor of the Gatton Academy.  In her undergraduate education Lauren studied Psychophysiology and Communication at Lindsey Wilson College. After graduating in 2015, Lauren began a Graduate Assistantship and started a Master’s Degree in Public Health with an emphasis in dentistry at  A.T.  Still University. Lauren’s research in her MPH-D program was on Utilizing Silver Diamine Fluoride and oral hygiene instruction to arrest and prevent caries in rural Eastern Kentucky. For her practicum Lauren worked for the Dental division for the Belize Ministry of Health. There she helped to create a revolutionary system and policy for tracking treating pregnant women and children in the Government’s dental clinics. Currently Lauren is pursuing a doctorate in Health Professions Education.  

What do economics students study?  How do they do research?  Is Economics a STEM field?  Come join WKU Department of Economics chair Dr. Alexander Lebedinsky as we explore the world of economics.  This event won’t be far away.  It’s next door is Grise Hall 437 at 3:30 pm on November 12.

Dr. Chris Groves is the University Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology at Western Kentucky University where he directs the Crawford Hydrology Lab. He received a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and has since developed an active international research program in hydrogeology, geochemistry, and water resources, with karst fieldwork in 25 countries. He has been particularly active in the extensive karst region of rural southwest China, having now made 36 trips. In January 2017, Groves received the China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, China’s highest honor for foreign scientists, from China’s President Xi Jinping.

Visit Dr. Groves’ lab and hear more about his adventures in Kentucky and around the world.

Every aspiring medical professional must consider if nursing is the right fit for them.  Nurses are among our nation’s most-in-demand professionals and play a central, critical role in our medical system.  Come discover nursing at the School of Nursing on the Medical Center at Bowling Green’s campus.  Join Dr. Sherry Lovan on a guided tour of the school to see how nurses train on November 5.  We will depart The Gatton Academy at 3:30 pm sharp.

Have you ever wondered what Public Health means EXACTLY? Public health is a field that offers a wide array of job opportunities to suit a variety of interests and skills. Whether you are interested in managing data and crunching numbers, conducting research or working with people, there is a place for you in this field. Public health is ideal for individuals who gain satisfaction knowing that they are working to improve the lives of others.

Meet with Associate Professor and Interim Department Head Dr. William Mkanta to get a better idea of how you can pursue a career in Public Health. Dr. Mkanta works internationally in Tanzania and Zanzibar, taking WKU students to assist in health clinics in both countries each year. If you’re interested in a career that lets you work globally, this would be a great session for you to attend.

Can’t control those dancing feet? Become a part of the Gatton Science Dancers! You’ll work alongside members of the WKU Dance department and the National Dance Educators Organization to help create and perform an original dance based on a scientific concept. The 2017 dance was about Climate Change, and the 2018 dancers choreographed acts based off seizures and mitochondria. All levels of dancers are invited!

Service DogsAlthough not officially trained as such, some of you already know our “service dog” Daisy. What many folks don’t know about is the training and etiquette for a fully-trained Service Dog. Dr. Darbi Haynes-Lawrence, Associate Professor in Child and Family Studies, recognized the need to educate individuals on service dog etiquette through personal experience.

Dr. Haynes-Lawrence has multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system that can cause nerve damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Indiana Canine Assistant Network paired Haynes-Lawrence with service dog Jaeger two years ago to assist her.

Although being paired with Jaeger assisted Haynes-Lawrence in living with multiple sclerosis, adapting to life with a service dog was not without challenges.

“[My family and I] were psyched because service dogs are cool,” Haynes-Lawrence said. “And then we went to Target. We walked in, and the attention that we got from the community was terrible. Jaeger was fascinating to the community, but we couldn’t go in and grab a gallon of milk. We couldn’t do anything without being bombarded: people trying to touch the dog, people running screaming because they would see a dog.”

Want to find out more about service dogs and how to help the public understand their role in our society?

So welcome to Emily Hilliard's Pop presenting a POP!, Mr. Michael Hilliard from Henry County. As he explains it:

“I fell in love with Public Safety as a child. I began hanging around a fire house when I was 10-years-old. They basically adopted me.  I have served as a volunteer firefighter, a career firefighter, an emergency medical technician, a police officer, and as an emergency manager, which is Homeland Security or FEMA at the local level. I hope to help students realize how STEM has enhanced my public safety careers and what advanced career opportunities there are related to public safety that may put their talented minds to better use while still providing public safety and serving their communities.”

Find out where he is now on his journey and what it takes to become a Triple Threat for Good! 

StickworksGatton Academy students are invited to work with a professional artist to create a piece of public artwork that will be housed on WKU’s campus for years to come.

The Cultural Enhancement Series Committee, in conjunction with the Kentucky Museum, is proud to host award-winning artist Patrick Dougherty at WKU over the course of three weeks in October (Oct. 1-19) while WKU’s piece is created.  Dougherty creates large scale environmental sculptures made from intertwined tree saplings. Gatton Academy students are invited to join in the effort help build Dougherty’s next installation that will be located at the historic entrance of the Kentucky Museum.  This is an important location for Gatton since we are next door neighbors with the Kentucky Museum; the artwork will be visible from our building and it will be there for years to come. 

POP! Questions?

CherylCheryl Kirby-Stokes
Academic Opportunities Coordinator



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 Last Modified 7/2/19