British junior Kayli Bolton named astronaut scholarship holder

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug 31, 2021) – The University of Kentucky’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards announced biology and Lewis Honors College student Kayli Bolton is one of 60 2021 recipients to receive a scholarship of up to $ 15,000 from the ‘Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). The ASF scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM).

A nonprofit organization, ASF was established by the Mercury Astronauts in 1984. Its purpose is to help the United States maintain its global leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships to outstanding students pursuing studies in these. areas. Since then, astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs have joined this educational endeavor. UK students have earned a total of $ 216,000 from ASF since 1998.

Kayli Bolton is the granddaughter of Linda Mays, of Corbin, Ky., And the fiancee of Phillip Brown, of London, Ky. She is a biology student at the British College of Arts and Sciences and is a fellow of Lewis Honors College.

It was Bolton’s mother’s breast cancer diagnosis during her sophomore year of high school that influenced the researcher’s choice of college education and her interest in biomedical science research.

“My mother received treatment, and during my subsequent years in high school she was able to come and see all my dance and marching band competitions, be there for the holidays, send me to the five week Governor’s Scholars Program in the summer. , and several other meaningful life experiences, ”Bolton said. “My mother passed away early in my senior year of high school, and my father then committed suicide. Although it was the most difficult and tragic time of my life, it is also what motivates me the most. I am extremely grateful to the scientists and doctors who were able to give my mom the extra few years she probably wouldn’t have otherwise. “

Since starting his first year in the UK, Bolton has been active in undergraduate research in the laboratory of Professor Matthew Gentry in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the UK College of Medicine. She has had the opportunity to participate in several metabolomics projects concerning glycogen storage diseases at Gentry’s Lab and describes her experience as a crucial starting point for further research in her graduate studies and career. One of three UK Goldwater Scholars for 2021-2022, Bolton is also part of the Markey STRONG scholarship program.

In addition to Gentry and members of his lab, Bolton credits neuroscientist Ramon Sun and his lab, as well as the faculty of the UK Department of Biology and Lewis Honors College, as influences on his success. In addition, she praises postdoctoral fellow Jessica Macedo, doctoral students Lyndsay Young and Zoe Simmons, and Pat Whitlow, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, as important mentors during her time in the UK.

Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree, Bolton plans to pursue a Doctor of Medicine / Ph.D. with a specialization in biochemistry. Its objective is to carry out research in biomedical sciences on diseases such as cancer in industry or academia.

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards helps current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni apply for external scholarships and scholarships funded from sources (such as a non-governmental foundation or government agency) outside the university. These awards honor outstanding students across the country. Students interested in these opportunities are encouraged to start working with the office, located in the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence, well in advance of the scholarship deadline. Staff are available for in-person and virtual appointments to discuss opportunities for the 2021-2022 academic year and beyond.

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