About the Prep Program

The Peace Corps Prep is a certificate program for undergraduates that centers on one empowering question: How can you prepare yourself to be the best Peace Corps Volunteer you can be? There is no one right answer to that question, but the Peace Corps has identified four core competencies that are critical to the intercultural fieldwork Peace Corps Volunteers do:

Sector-specific skills

Foreign language proficiency

Intercultural competence

Professional savvy and leadership

The mission of the University of Kentucky’s program is to create engaged, global citizens through instruction and applied experience, enhanced foreign language skills, increased intercultural competence, and professional and leadership development.  These skills are increasingly important in an


By Kathryn King

A&S students from all majors benefit from this high-impact learning opportunity. 

UK’s unique partnership with the Centro del Salud Hombro a Hombro general medicine clinic and the broader Santo Domingo, Ecuador community provides an abundance of opportunities for teamwork, professionalization, and engagement with local and global issues. The experience has the ability to change A&S students’ outlooks on the world and should be one all students consider, according to three recent participants.

“I had never traveled out of the country before [this summer],” said Sydney Adkisson, a current dual-degree student in psychology and public health. “It was amazing. You can learn about it in a textbook, but it is completely different stepping out in another place, eating, trying to get a taxi – seeing that people face the same issues in


By Ryan Girves

Rachel White is a senior international studies and political science major in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Two University of Kentucky students, Amani Shalash, early childhood education major, and Rachel Wright, international studies and political science major, were awarded the Phi Kappa Phi (PKP) Study Abroad Grant. Shalash and Wright were two of 75 students nationwide to receive the $1,000 award. 

The study abroad grants are designed to help support undergraduates as they seek knowledge and experience in their academic fields by studying abroad. This award is open to any enrolled undergraduate student at UK because the university is home to an active chapter in good standing with the national office. To apply, students must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale and have


By Lindsey PIercy

United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

An alumna and strong supporter of the University of Kentucky has been nominated and confirmed as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Kelly Knight Craft, a longtime Republican Party activist from Glasgow, Kentucky, is currently the U.S. ambassador to Canada. In 2017, she became the first woman to hold that post.

In her new role, Craft will serve as the country's chief representative at the U.N. General Assembly, as well as on the U.N. Security Council. On Aug. 3, she was confirmed 56-34, ending a more than seven-month vacancy in the key diplomatic position.

Craft is no stranger to the U.N. In 2007, she was appointed by President George W. Bush as a U.S. alternate delegate to the United Nations


By Jenny Wells

The University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College presented two new college awards — the Diachun Scholar Award and the Evans Scholar Award — to two graduating seniors at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Meghana Kudrimoti, who graduated with degrees in biology and political science in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, was the recipient of the Diachun Scholar Award. This award is given to a graduating senior in a science or related field who has the highest academic achievement among their peers.

While at UK, Kudrimoti was a Gaines FellowChellgren Fellow and director of UK's Big Blue


By Lori Adams

The University of Kentucky has released its Dean's List for the spring 2019 semester. A total of 6,562 students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance. 

To make a Dean’s List in one of the UK colleges, a student must earn a grade-point average of 3.6 or higher and must have earned 12 credits or more in that semester, excluding credits earned in pass-fail classes. Some UK colleges require a 3.5 GPA to make the Dean’s List.

The full Dean's List can be accessed by visiting:


By Whitney Hale

The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that seven recent UK graduates and four doctoral students have been offered Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarships. The UK recipients are among approximately 2,000 U.S. students who will travel abroad for the 2019-20 academic year.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected based on academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 140 countries.

This year's UK students offered Fulbright grants, from a university record 37 applications, are:

Elizabeth Avery, an Earth and environmental sciences doctoral student, to do

By Lindsey Piercy

​Sharrah Lane, a doctoral student in Hispanic Studies and president of the University of Kentucky's chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, has received the prestigious Gabriela Mistral Award for her academic achievements and noteworthy leadership in the chapter.

Sigma Delta Pi is a national collegiate Hispanic honor society, and the award is presented each year to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student who is an active member.

Lane, who is also a Spanish instructor and a graduate assistant for the International Studies program, said receiving this award is a great achievement. "I feel very honored to receive this prestigious award, and I'm grateful to my colleagues, Kacie Gastanaga and Marlee McCloud, for


Jordan McCay, currently a junior at the University of Kentucky, was one of three students to receive the 2018 College of Arts & Sciences International Studies Winter Travel Grant. Using the funds provided to her by this grant, Jordan was given the opportunity to travel to Berlin and London over the course of two weeks. Having previously studied abroad in Japan, her time in these two cities not only allowed her to visit historical and cultural sites but share in these experiences with the international friends she made while in Japan.

In Berlin, Jordan visited multiple museums and memorials throughout the city. Of the sites she visited, Jordan’s experience at the Jewish Museum of Berlin has stuck with her the most. She recalled not only the powerful nature of the exhibits but also how the purposeful architectural design of the museum was able to relay German-Jewish history


By Rebecca Longo

Top, l to r: Eli O’Neal, Chase Carleton, Melynda Price (director). Middle: Claire Hilbrecht, Josh Ehl, Carson Hardee. Front: Aileen Tierney, Hannah Thomas, Bria Northington, Daniela Gamez. Not pictured: Will Kueshner, Nicole Blackstone, Megan Yadav.

The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities has selected 12 undergraduate students as new scholars for the Gaines Fellowship Program.

The Gaines Fellowship is presented 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. Founded in 1984 by a generous gift

  Trevor McNary, Class of 2016

Major: Economics and International Studies

Senior Engagement Associate at 270 Strategies *




What was your childhood like?

It was a fairly standard childhood. I grew up in Lexington and went through the public school system there. My parents always pushed the value of education and taking care of the most marginalized people which are values I have to this day.

How did you wind up at UK? Why did you select Economics and International Studies as your major?

After reading Freakonomics when I was younger, I always knew that I wanted to study economics when I went to college. This wasn’t really to gain any particular technical skillset, but I wanted to learn how to think like an economist. I decided to study international studies because I am


Graduating in 2012 with his bachelor’s degree in International Studies, Caleb Lucas was one of few IS students with a thematic concentration in international relations. Using the knowledge and experience he gained from focusing his studies in Africa and the Middle East, Lucas worked for a nonprofit in Detroit where he assisted newly-arrived refugees from the Arab world. In this role, Caleb helped establish an English Language Program as well as construct a four-season greenhouse all while continuing his Arabic studies at a local university.

While at UK, Caleb sought to combine his interest in political science and the Middle East through the International Studies major. He explained that, “The interdisciplinary nature of the program was appealing as I was exposed to both quantitative social science and ethnographic anthropology.” Now enrolled in a PhD program at the


Graduating in the spring of 2016, Cheyenne Maddox pursued her interest in the field of international development through attaining her bachelor’s degree in International Studies with minors in Spanish, business, and international business. Within the IS major, she focused her studies in the area of global development as well as Africa and the Middle East. Cheyenne felt as though her thematic concentration coupled with her language skills and business background provided her with a solid foundation in the field of international development.

Not only did Cheyenne’s coursework as an International Studies major prepare her for a career in her field of interest, but also connected her with valuable opportunities for involvement on campus. As an undergraduate, Cheyenne applied her knowledge of the factors constraining social and economic development through acting as Student


Seeking to learn more about the global community and to look deeper into his Mexican heritage, Cesar Avila is pursuing a major in International Studies with focuses in Latin America and comparative politics and societies. Cesar has elected to further explore the interaction between politics and the global economy by also pursuing a major in French and International Economics (FLIE). Using his internationally oriented skill sets and multidisciplinary knowledge of economics, Avila hopes to pursue a career with the Foreign Service upon graduation.

As Cesar works to complete his sophomore year at UK, he has enhanced his expertise in Latin American societies and politics through studying under Dr. Magda Hinojosa, a distinguished professor of political science at Arizona State University. This experience further propelled his desire to study abroad in both Argentina and France. He


Majoring in International Studies as well as Chinese and International Economics (FLIE), Michael Di Girolamo has been able to combine his passion for learning foreign languages with the study of international commerce. Michael is focusing his studies in East, South, and South East Asia with a thematic concentration in comparative politics and societies. The flexibility of the major has allowed him to study Chinese and pursue a minor in Italian all while continuing to learn Korean. This past summer, Michael further refined his Korean language skills and gained an in depth understanding of American diplomacy through his participation in an internship at the U.S. Embassy in South Korea.

As an International Studies major, Michael has greatly enjoyed the multidisciplinary nature of his coursework. Through completing an introductory course in international relations as well as


By Chris Crumrine, Amy Jones-Timoney, Kody Kiser, and Brad Nally


“To actually be in Washington, D.C. is unlike anything that you can experience in a classroom or here in Kentucky,” says Hayley Leach. “The hands-on experience is unlike anything you can get.”

That is the primary goal of the University of Kentucky’s WilDCats at the Capitol program — to provide students with unique opportunities in the nation’s capital; support them through organized housing, academic credit and financial aid; and provide a rewarding and professional experience that will serve them beyond graduation.

Over the last year, more than 40 UK students from multiple disciplines have walked the halls of Congress alongside elected officials and policymakers, gaining a dynamic academic and professional experience


Pursuing her interest in politics and the study of Latin American societies, Kendall Hitch graduated in December of 2018 with her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minors in both International Studies and Latin American Studies. In coming to choose these fields of study, Kendall shared how, “I have always been extremely intrigued by the way in which cross-cultural experiences force you out of your comfort zone and open you to new thought processes and ideas.” For Kendall, the International Studies minor has allowed her to focus her studies in the realm of international development through interdisciplinary coursework on UK’s campus and experiences abroad.

In completing an International Studies minor, Kendall has been able to equip herself with the skills necessary to pursue a career in intercultural education. In order to advance her knowledge of


By Whitney Hale

The University of Kentucky Office of Nationally Competitive Awards has announced that 2018 modern and classical languages/Chinese studies and international studies graduate Bridget Nicholas, of Covington, Kentucky, will receive one of only 30 Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowships. Nicholas is the second UK student to be awarded the prestigious honor.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, the Pickering Fellowship Program provides graduate students with up to $37,500 annually in financial support for a two-year master's degree in a field related to the Foreign Service, as


Understanding the value of the International Studies minor in enhancing her study of politics, Willow Kreutzer graduated from UK with a major in Political Science as well as minors in both International Studies and Women and Gender Studies. To further refine her knowledge in these areas, Willow completed certifications in Peace and Conflict Studies as well as Global Studies. Each of these academic areas stood to complement the other while providing her with a comprehensive background in political theory. Willow sees the International Studies minor as having allowed her to focus her interest in political science within the areas of international relations and politics.  

During her sophomore year, Willow had the opportunity to complete coursework for her IS minor while studying abroad in Spain. She completed demanding courses in international politics that she believes greatly


Belonging to one of the first graduating classes of the International Studies major, Jon Hibbard was able to combine his interest in European art and culture with his passion for the French language through pursuing a double major in International Studies and French. Jon views the International Studies major as having given him a distinctive opportunity to explore his diverse academic interests in a manner that was complementary to his studies of French and history. In light of the multidisciplinary nature of the major, Jon explained that, “I was able to meet and form connections with many amazing professors and peers I wouldn’t have otherwise met.”

As an undergraduate student, Jon worked at the UK Medical Center to support himself through college. During his junior year, he was given the opportunity to study abroad in Saint-Etienne, France for the full academic year. Jon


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