A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

People in the News: Welch joins Farmers National Bank; Walz moving to Wilwaukee school

Brant Welch joined Farmers National Bank in the role of Vice President, Customer Experience Manager.

Welch has over 20 years of marketing and public relations experience, with 11 of those being in the financial services industry. A Washington County native, he is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in journalism and obtained his Master’s in Business Administration from Strayer University. Welch received an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America and Sports Marketing Certification from the University of Kentucky.

He serves as Treasurer of the Public Relations Society of America, Thoroughbred Chapter and is past president and a volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass. Welch and his wife, Anne, have two children.

Brant Welch (Photo Provided)

Brant Welch (Photo Provided)

Farmers National Bank, a community owned bank since 1879, has banking facilities in Danville, Burgin, Harrodsburg, Junction City, Lancaster, Perryville and Stanford.

Walz moving from UK to Milwaukee Engineering School

John Y. Walz, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering, has been elected president of the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His term will begin July 1, 2016.

MSOE is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,900 students that was founded in 1903. The institution offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business and nursing.

“Dean Walz has been a tremendous leader – growing enrollment and private support of the college, while at the same time enhancing the quality of education for every engineering student at UK,” said UK Provost Tim Tracy. “He has been instrumental in increasing the number of engineers directly impacting the Commonwealth, and I have no doubt he will bring the same vision to MSOE.”

Walz has been in his current position since 2012. Previously, he was professor and department head of chemical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

During his time here, the UK College of Engineering’s enrollment has reached record levels, increasing the number of engineers released into Kentucky’s workforce each year. In the fall of 2015, the college welcomed more than 800 students in the incoming freshman class and more than 3,000 students in the college for the first time. At the same time, the Engineering Residential College has grown to 700 students and a freshman design lab has been introduced to meet the demand.

Under Dean Walz’s leadership, the college has also seen a significant increase in gifts investing in students, faculty and facilities, including the $7 million gift made by F. Joseph and Joani Halcomb this year to transform biomedical engineering at UK.

Former pageant winner Miller awarded UofL’s highest doctoral honor

A former pageant winner and state representative candidate, Ashley Miller, 32, has been awarded the Guy Stevenson Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies, the highest honor the University of Louisville gives to graduating doctoral students. Miller will receive her Ph.D. from the UofL School of Nursing at spring commencement Saturday, May 14, at the KFC Yum! Center.

Named after a former dean of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, the Guy Stevenson Award is given in the fall and spring semesters to the most outstanding doctoral graduate who excels in scholarship and leadership.

Ashley Miller (UofL Photo)

Ashley Miller (UofL Photo)

As the recipient, Miller will carry the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies banner at the Doctoral Hooding and Graduation Ceremony and the university-wide Commencement Ceremony on May 14. She also will speak at the Hooding Ceremony.

Miller was raised in Louisville and is co-owner of Athena Health and Wellness, a boutique-style health center for women where she works as a women’s health nurse practitioner.

While working and attending school full-time in 2014, she ran for state representative of the 32nd District in east Louisville, losing to Phil Moffett.

“She ran a campaign for political office while pursuing a Ph.D., which is borderline unheard of,” said Ben Wetherbee, coordinator of graduate affairs at UofL. “The award committee was enthusiastically blown away by that.”

Miller received her B.S.N. from Berea College and her M.S.N. from UofL.

She is the first person in her family to graduate from college and supported her education by participating in beauty pageants to take advantage of scholarship programs. Miller won Ms. Kentucky United States in 2013, Miss Black Ohio in 2010 and Miss University of Louisville in 2008. Her success in pageants provided enough scholarship money to pay for her master’s education.

Miller said she was humbled to receive the Guy Stevenson Award.

“I think when you’re in the program and you’re working so hard toward a goal, you really don’t pay attention to the stuff around you that you’ve achieved, so it definitely feels amazing for someone to tap you and say we think your work is amazing,” Miller said. “It’s a pillar of hope for other people that you really can achieve anything you want if you work hard enough and stay persistent.”

Staff report

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