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Monday, April 16, 2018


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Monday, April 16, 2018

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every hour. every day.

Recognizing the impact of Kentucky’s women; what’s changed since ‘Kernel Kuties’ BAILEY VANDIVER Editor in Chief

“Pleasant it is indeed to have Vicki Arrington for this week’s Kernel Kutie,” read a caption on the front page of the Jan. 19, 1957, edition of the Kentucky Kernel. The caption, placed underneath a posed portrait of Arrington, listed her major before continuing, “We are certainly glad to have taken this picture before the cold weather drove our subject into her snowsuit!” In addition to the editorial misjudgment of using an exclamation point in news copy, this feature in the paper, which was far from isolated, was undeniably sexist and unfair in its portrayal of female students. While the “Kernel Kuties” series popped up in our pages for many years, campus historian Terry Birdwhistell said this sort of coverage in the Kernel was most common in the 1920s, 1930s and a little into the 1940s. “It’s what male students thought was something people want to look at, see, think about,” Birdwhistell said. He said it is also important to remember that these “Kuties” voluntarily posed for the photos— exhibiting the need to educate women at the time about how they allowed themselves to be portrayed in the media. “Part of it is women taking control about how they’re portrayed,” he said. In his upcoming book about UK women with co-author Deirdre Scaggs, Birdwhistell examines the treatment of women since 1880, when women were first allowed at UK. Birdwhistell said the culture change surrounding women at UK has been “very gradual,” with highlights

coming during World War II and national movements like the one for women’s suffrage. “I think if you look at women’s history, women have very seldom been given anything,” he said. “They have to take it.” To gauge how things are for women today, Birdwhistell said to look at the demographics of faculty and administration— how many women are in those top positions. UK Institutional Research and Advanced Analytics offers this sort of data; the most recent available data is from spring 2017. Then, 54.3 percent of UK undergraduates were female, while full-time faculty was 41 percent female. Full-time employees falling under the category of “Executive/Administrative/ Managerial” were 47.6 percent female. “The people in charge matter. The people in charge of the Kernel matter,” Birdwhistell said. To that end, the editors at the Kernel have chosen our own so-called “Kernel Kuties”— the 2018 translation of that outdated phrase is “strong women who have impacted and benefited UK and Kentucky.” In the late ‘80s, when Birdwhistell began work on his dissertation, people would ask him what it was on. He would reply, “The history of women at UK.” More than one person responded with some form of, “That shouldn’t take long,” according to Birdwhistell. Well, reading this special edition of the Kernel might not take you long, but these are only a small sample of the women impacting our Commonwealth every single day. As the third consecutive female Kernel editor, I invite you to learn more about these women: Kakie Urch, Ellen Calipari, Ouita Michel, Jada Linton and Kaz Brown.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kakie Urch

From UK student to teacher, role model By Hayden Hooper

In 1988, a UK student wrote a letter to the editor to the Kentucky Kernel that explained the importance of student-led radio. UK was one of the few SEC schools not to have a radio station at the time, she wrote. That same year, she became a founder of WRFL, a student-led radio station with the goal of playing non-traditional music. Now, 30 years later, that student is Associate Professor of Multimedia Kakie Urch, whose office is just down the hall from the Kernel office. WRFL’s office is a few buildings over, nestled in the basement of Whitehall. WRFL has held true to its identity as the station that promotes any type of music to anyone in the Lexington area. To many, WRFL is an escape from the world into other passions.

I tell the students it’s like a golden ticket; you’ve got everything here at UK.

KAKIE URCH “WRFL is a living, breathing community organization that has had so much impact on the city and the people in it,” Urch said. “It has thrown people together because of the love of music, broadcasting and letting the people get the news. It’s just a real point of gathering for a community.” Urch emphasized that it was not any one person who founded WRFL; it was a group effort to start the station that would combine non-mainstream music and the news. She said WRFL’s creation was not accepted by

many people at the university and in Lexington, but 30 years later, it’s still here. Earlier this year, the radio station and founders celebrated their three decades on air with a concert, the scattering of Ale-8 bottles, the pumping of the bass from guitar amps and a gathering full of smiling people. That letter to the editor did not only start Urch’s involvement with WRFL, but also with the Kernel. She later began working for the Kernel as a music writer and general reporter. “The Kentucky Kernel got me into journalism,” she said. After she graduated from UK, Urch’s passion kept coming through her journalistic work. In her career, she went from mastering radio to social media. Urch has lived journalism from the beginning of the technology age. She was once told that technology had no part in journalism and would never be needed for journalism. Things like that did not stop Urch as she kept investigating technology and finding opportunities to embed it in journalism. Urch said her passion is being a mentor to many and an inspiration to all she serves as a professor at UK. “The University of Kentucky, for me, is the place where I was able to coalesce all of my interests, learning and experiences into activities that were enlightening, fun, helped the community and were great entry points to a variety of different careers,” Urch said. “I tell the students it’s like a golden ticket; you’ve got everything here at UK. You can explore all of this stuff on this college campus.” Urch said UK is a diverse college campus with many opportunities in student activities, student organizations and academic departments. Her office is always open


Kakie Urch is a founder of WRFL, a stuent-led radio station created to play non-traditional music.

Kakie Urch stands in the Kernel office with Erik A. Reece, now an English professor at UK and former Kernel arts editor, and Jay Blanton, UK spokesman and former Kernel editor, around the time she wrote the 1985 column suggesting that UK needed a student-run radio station.

as she is on the move in the basement of the Grehan Journalism Building. She is always trying to find a way to give journalism students every opportunity imaginable. Urch said she enjoys the experience of helping new journalists get their start. Being a mentor at UK reminds her of the people who helped her along the way, such as Dr. Maria Braden, Scoobie

Ryan, Dr. Virginia Blum, Dr. Ellen Rosenman and Dr. Janet Eldred. Urch had some advice for women on campus searching for jobs in any profession. “I would just tell of all types, but especially women, do your research, find out what is the best practices in the area you want to embark on, and don’t ask for permission,” she said.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Ellen Calipari

A resourceful matriarch to her family– and to the UK basketball team

ARDEN BARNES I STAFF Ellen Calipari sits in her sunroom and talks about the coffee table she built herself. She said that the table opens, resembling a coffin-- large enough to fit her husband John Calipari, she joked. By Bailey Vandiver many people would be sur- and she started out small.

Ellen Calipari stood at her worktable, looking through her tools to find the Dremel tool her husband bought her. For the last 30 years or so, she’s had a passion for woodworking, making products from serving trays to the coffee table in her sunroom. “I have a lot of power tools,” she said. Her current worktable, which she admitted is a little too tall for her, was built by former UK basketball player Brian Long, representing another important part of her life— being like a mom to the basketball players coached by her husband. Ellen described herself as “very normal.” “Probably not what people would think,” she said. “I live a very normal life.”

‘A tough lady’

John and Ellen’s eldest daughter Erin said she thinks

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prised to learn more about her mom, who is probably most often seen on the Rupp Arena sidelines wearing her son Brad’s jersey. “My mom’s this adorable, tiny woman, who’s always put together, and she always has her hair done, her makeup done, her outfits are perfect,” Erin said. “Then you talk to her and she’s like the sassiest, wittiest person of all time.” Erin described her mother as “one of the most resourceful people” she has ever met. It seems to be well understood in the Calipari family that if someone gets a flat tire, the first call is to Ellen, not John. “My mom can change a tire, change the oil— my dad doesn’t know how to do any of that stuff,” Erin said. “Part of the reason he’s so successful is because my mom is so good at doing everything else.” Ellen said her sister-in-law got her into woodworking,

Now, however, she is most proud of the bigger pieces she’s done, “because it’s more of a challenge.” One of her more complex projects was a TV console, which she patterned off of something she saw in a Pottery Barn catalog. Ellen said that looking back now, she doesn’t know how she managed to work on these projects when her three children were young, but Erin remembers her “doing that stuff all the time” when she was a kid. “She was so resourceful and fixed all these things, but seeing her do this kind of stuff… it really taught me that I can do anything and I can figure anything out and no one can tell me otherwise,” Erin said.

‘Mama Cal’

For the last two seasons, Ellen has actually been the mother of one of her husband’s players, but she has

been functioning in the mom role for far longer. She said she tries to be like a mom to the players, “without pushing myself on them.” Despite the prevalence of basketball in her life, Ellen said she is definitely not a sports fan. “I get in it from the mom side of it; these are my guys and I’m there to support them,” she said. “I don’t do it for the love of basketball; I do it because I know how hard they’re working.” While her daughter describes her as “a tough lady,” Ellen sometimes sees herself as more of a calming presence in comparison to her husband John— “a balance to his craziness” when it comes to his coaching style, she said. From practices to classes to tutoring sessions, the players have lots of responsibility, which Ellen understands. “So I try to be the fun person once in a while,” she said. She said sometimes the younger players don’t quite know what to call her. Sometimes she’s called “Mama Cal,” but to most of them, she is Mrs. Cal, she said. The Calipari family has joked about its own nicknames: Back in October of 2017, the Caliparis’ younger daughter Megan quoted a Kentucky Basketball tweet and added: “We actually call our dad Mr. Ellen Calipari.”

‘Not about the brownies’

Anyone who follows John Calipari on Twitter understands the phenomenon of Ellen’s birthday brownies. On March 26, he tweeted happy birthday to Wenyen Gabriel, adding, “I know Mrs. Cal is at home baking your birthday brownies today.” Ellen said she cannot divulge her secret recipe, even though she is asked for it often. “It’s not about the brownies, it’s about the recipient,” she said. “It’s about the players,

and it’s about that recognition about it being their special day.” A few weeks ago, she dropped the brownies off for Gabriel but didn’t get a chance to deliver them personally. “I don’t know when they’re in and out of the gym at this point, or else I would’ve taken them and gotten a hug from him,” she said. Erin said nobody can make brownies like her mom. “It’s really nice to see my mom be such a great mom to us, while also kind of taking care of (the players) in the same way, which is sweet,” Erin said. “These kids are like 18 years old, away from home, so I’m sure it makes them feel good to have someone who actually really, truly cares about them.”

It makes me really happy to see her kind of owning who she is because I think she’s awesome.

ERIN CALIPARI ‘No one holds a candle to her’ Ellen said the women in her family— her grandmothers and aunts— are her female role models. As the movement continues for women to speak up for themselves, Ellen said, “I always felt like it was okay to speak up and be your own person.” She said she is proud that her daughters are the same way and have chosen the careers that they have— Megan is a pastry chef and Erin runs a lab at Vanderbilt. “(They) are very independent women, and they’re both the progressive women who have gotten married and kept their last name— which doesn’t mean anything, but

they’re not afraid to stand up for what’s right and do it in a way that’s a good way to do it, so I’m happy for that,” Ellen said. Ellen said her main focus has always been being a mom and protecting her kids, especially since they had to move around so much. Erin said that Ellen was basically both mom and dad while John was traveling to coach. Moving around so much made them a closer family, she said. When the family moved to Memphis, John picked out the new house all by himself, Erin said. She described it as a beautiful house, but there were busts of women on the wall that the family found weird. “So then my mom thought one year— this was like the first year we were there— it would be hilarious to dress these statue ladies that no one likes up for Halloween. So she put these terrible stickon mustaches on them,” Erin said. Those mustaches stayed for the next seven years or so, Erin said. Ellen said she tried to give her children a normal life while they were growing up “in the public eye.” Now, Ellen herself is stepping more into the public eye, whereas she used to be more reserved, Erin said. “It makes me really happy to see her kind of owning who she is because I think she’s awesome,” Erin said. Erin, nearly in tears as she talked about her mom, said Ellen sacrificed a ton to take care of the family while still finding time to do her own thing— like woodworking. “I think (she’s) one of the best role models I’ve ever come in contact with,” Erin said. “I’ve worked with a lot of brilliant people in my life, but my mom… no one holds a candle to her.”

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ouita Michel

A UK alumna who knows the taste of success By Akhira Umar

UK alumna Ouita Michel has perfected her recipe for prosperity. To her, it’s delicious, and the customers at her chain of restaurants across Kentucky would probably agree. Michel happily boasts seven restaurants: Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station, The Midway Bakery, Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, Smithtown Seafood, Glenn’s Creek Cafe and Honeywood. While some of these locations are rather new and others are well-established, all of these food stops are a testament to the same tenacity and passion Michel has had all her life. While Michel now competes against other top chefs, she used to compete top debaters for the National Debate Tournament championship. When Michel first arrived at UK in the ‘80s, her passion was debate. She had been on the debate team at Henry Clay High School and decided to major in political science to get on the debate team at UK. Her college career was spent participating in debate, the honors program and the first class of Gaines fellows at UK. Among the people who helped guide her were former poet laureate Jane Gentry Vance, Herb Reid and Michel’s debate coach, Roger Solt. One of the proudest achievements in Michel’s life was winning the National Debate Tournament in her senior year, 1986, with a debate topic of education reform. “It was a really near and dear subject to my heart,” Michel said.


Michel and her partner, David Brownell, beat Washington D.C.’s Georgetown College 4-1. The win cemented Michel as only the second woman to win the national debate

championship. Michel shined as an accomplished woman in what her coach called a “male-dominated activity.” Michel said it was a “fantastic moment” to be rewarded for working about 60 hours a week researching and practicing. “Ouita and her partner winning the National Debate Tournament was the personal highlight of my coaching career, and it was certainly one of the highlights in the history of the debate program,” Solt said. Solt said Michel improved more over her college career than other other student he coached. “It is an extremely life-affirming experience to succeed at the highest level with any activity to which you have devoted long and intense effort,” he said. Michel credits debate with one of her greatest moments, as well as leading her to her future career. Though she loved cooking as a child, she said it was cross-country debate trips that allowed her to try new foods and begin to take cooking seriously. This love inspired Michel to head to New York City and try the restaurant scene. The venture up north only made her love for food grow. Michel attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and graduated first in her class before bringing her talents back to the Bluegrass state. Michel was able to get her foot in the door of the Kentucky food industry thanks to another successful female restaurateur, Debbie Long, owner of Dudley’s on Short. Long would become a mentor and an inspiration to Michel, along with other foodie women like Lucie Slone Meyers and Libby Murray. “There were a lot of women in the restaurant business that were very successful in this area that were role models,” Michel said. In 2000, Michel bought Holly Hill Inn and opened the restaurant the next year. Solt would then reappear in Michel’s life, this time for food instead of debate. He said he had followed her culinary career because he saw a “great culinary future” for her, plus he loved her cooking. He has been a business partner with his former debate student ever since. Michel prides herself on her incorporation of Kentucky “food culture.” This includes farmers’ markets, fast food, restaurants, food trucks and even poetry about local agriculture. Michel said food culture includes everything from foods historically eaten in a specific location to the experience and production of food now and even the introduction of new types of food. “It’s like what we write about food, what

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY OUITA MICHEL Ouita Michel prepares country ham plates for a Kentucky-themed dinner at James Beard House in New York City, New York, in February.

we think about food, where we buy food, how we eat food,” Michel said. “It can be defined by our individual families, and those individual families, when they come together, form communities, and those smaller communities come together and create a larger community that is Lexington and central Kentucky and then the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It’s a big, interesting melting pot and trying to get people to think broadly about food culture rather than super narrowly.” Each of Michel’s restaurants is a little different, but using locally produced foods is one thing every location has in common.

I just try to make sure that in my businesses women feel supported, heard, empowered, and I want that for my daughter.

OUITA MICHEL “If you’re using locally growth agriculture that’s part of what makes it Kentucky because this was grown in Kentucky from Kentucky soil,” she said. Michel said she wants others to succeed as much as she has. She is involved with UK HealthCare and the International Society of Neurogastronomy in an effort to help chronically ill patients conquer appetite is-

sues. She works with UK extension agencies and the College of Agriculture by helping match small producers with small markets. She helps young adults hoping to enter into the culinary industry by promoting them and giving them challenges and advice. She tries especially hard to make her restaurants safe places for working women. “I just try to make sure that in my businesses women feel supported, heard, empowered, and I want that for my daughter,” Michel said. “I feel that way about women, I feel that way about all kinds of different people, that we need to be tolerant and we need to listen to one another and everyone should be treated fairly.” Michel has been such a positive impact on the community that UK will soon honor her with an event. On April 21, the UK Art Museum will be hosting “An Inspired Evening,” a soiree and fundraising event honoring Michel. “Ouita is certainly an inspiration to me, and I’m sure she is to many others as well,” Solt said. “It is rare to find a person with her talents and her professional acumen who is also a genuinely compassionate and warm-hearted individual.” Despite this praise, Michel remains humble. With plans of being a Donovan scholar, she still sees herself as a student trying her best, not as a teacher to be followed. “I don’t think of myself exactly as a role model because it’s kind of hard to live your life that way, but I just try to do and be the best, the kindest person that I can be and work hard and follow the golden rule,” she said.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Jada Linton

A history maker who made the most of her time at UK situation,” Linton said. “It’s just amazing to have that support.” Not only did Linton have the love and supJada Linton began her journey at UK four port from her family, but she also found a lot years ago. Coming in her freshman year, she of her support and encouragement from her wasn’t quite sure about her major, but knew sorority sisters. Linton is a member of Delta she wanted to make good grades and make Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and said that her the most of her time here at UK. sorority sisters have had a major impact on What Linton didn’t know was that by the her life throughout her years at UK. time she graduated, she would be National Both her family and sorority sisters were Panhellenic president, a resident adviser for excited when she was nominated for homethree years and a maker of coming court, and once she school history. was crowned queen, they were Last fall, Linton became the all there to celebrate with her. I could tell that first black woman to be UK “I was there with my coushomecoming queen. there was a lot of in, we were crying, we were Going back to her homehugging because it felt like it positive changes coming experience, Linton was more than just a win for described the entire process coming after that her,” said Linton’s younger of being nominated, and winsister Jordan Linton. “It felt happened. In my ning, as a surreal moment. like it was a win for all black “I could tell that there was life, at UK and for women, for all black people at a lot of positive changes compeople as a whole. UK because sometimes you ing after that happened. In my aren’t recognized in the grand life, at UK and for people as scheme of things.” JADA LINTON a whole,” Linton said. “I feel Jordan said that her sister like I was happy to be that role has always been her rock and model for young women, for described Jada as confident young black women, for anyand outgoing. She said that one who felt like they might when she is around her sister, she becomes not have been able to be in that position. I an outgoing and exciting person who wants feel like I was really blessed to be that role to try new things, and that she has always enmodel to them.” couraged her to get out of her shell. At the time she was nominated for home“She’s influenced me by just always showcoming court, she had already set some per- ing so much presence,” Jordan said. “And sonal goals for herself. Linton is a dietetics consistency can really have a positive influmajor and said that one of her goals is to com- ence on you. I talk to her every single day no plete her internship, which he is working on matter where she is in the world.” right now, and to graduate this May. She is Jada said that one of the challenges she has also in the process of preparing for the reg- faced during her college experience is taking istered dietitian exam that she will be taking on more than she can handle. soon. “I was very involved during my time at UK “Whatever God’s plans are for me that’s and I wouldn’t change that for the world bewhere I’ll go,” Linton said. “I’m not set on cause I met so many different people and I being in one location it’s just, I hope to be made great connections, and I really had the where I need to be.” chance to build that community that I wantLinton, originally born in Chicago, has al- ed when I went to college,” Jada said. “And ways moved around a lot because of her fa- I think that was a big growth point of being ther’s job. She said the opportunity to live in able to prioritize my time and manage the difso many different areas has been great. Her ferent projects that I take on. I think that was final stop before moving to UK was Marietta, probably the biggest thing I’ve had to deal Georgia. with during college.” Linton has three sisters and said she has alJada explained that everyone should take ways been super close to her family. a deep breath when faced with adversity and “Our family dynamic is wonderful because think about the things that can be controlled. we can talk about anything and they always She emphasized how important it is to maingive me the best advice no matter what the By Hayden Gooding

6 | kentucky kernel

PHOTO PROVIDED BY JADA LINTON Jada Linton takes a photo with her sister, Jordan. Linton made history in September as the first black woman to be named UK Homecoming Queen.

tain a positive mindset. “That’s what really got me through a lot of things that I was not in control of because if something is out of your control, there’s really nothing you can do about it, except how you react to it,” Jada said. She said this is one of the most important skills someone can have to be able to adapt to different situations and show emotional intelligence. During her time at UK, Jada has achieved

many things. In addition to becoming the first black UK homecoming queen, one of the things she is most proud of is getting into her program, which has allowed her to get her internship and work toward becoming a registered dietitian. “I’ve grown so much at UK,” Jada said. “And if it weren’t for everyone that I’ve met at UK I would not be where I am today, and I’m just so thankful for that.”

Monday, April 16, 2018

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spring 2018 | 7

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kaz Brown

The volleyball player who helped fill the seats at Memorial Coliseum

team in the near future. “She’s been on a couple of visits, so she’ll call me and tell me about those, we talk all Kaz Brown wanted to accomplish many the time,” Kaz said. The talks between Kaz and Kacia often things when she came to UK to play volleyball, but one was about what happened have to do with volleyball, because they are the only ones who play volleyball in the around the court, not on it. She wanted to chase championships and Brown family full of athletes. Kaz’s parents and two older brothers both be the best player she could be, but she also wanted to fill up the stands of Memorial Col- play basketball while Kaz and Kacia were the iseum for volleyball games. Brown and her only ones in the family to choose volleyball. teammates accomplished that goal during Kaz had her experiences with basketball, but their historic 2017 season, which featured the in the end, she wanted to make her own route Cats’ hosting NCAA Tournament games in and excel in a sport that was not yet tested in Memorial Coliseum up until their Elite Eight the Brown family. “No one else in my family had played volloss to eventual national champion Nebraska. “We saw Memorial Coliseum completely leyball at a high level, so I just kind of fell in filled, which has been a dream of mine when love with it that way,” Kaz said. Picking volleyball endI committed to this school,” ed up being a good choice Brown said of the crowds for Kaz, as it brought her to at the NCAA Tournament We saw Memorial Kentucky where she got to games. “I wanted to see this Coliseum comhelp grow the sport of volplace full of people and full of ARDEN BARNES I STAFF leyball with all the success Kentucky senior middle blocker Kaz Brown smiles walking off the court after UK’s win against fans and we got to accomplish pletely filled, which at UK. that this year.” WKU during the second round of the NCAA tournament on Dec. 2, 2017, in Lexington, Kenhas been a dream Kaz’s favorite year of vol- tucky. UK’s average attendance leyball was her final season for home games last year was of mine when I at UK, when she and her 2,522, which is the most in the committed to this teammates built a strong Craig Skinner era and nearly bond that helped them make double the amount of average school. history in the UK volleyball attendance when Brown first book. came to UK in 2014. KAZ BROWN “For Kentucky volleyball Four of the top 10 attento kind of make its mark on dance figures for volleyball this campus and on this uniat Memorial Coliseum come from the 2017 season, including two that are versity and on this city was extremely important to me and I’m glad things went the in the top five. However, Kentucky isn’t the only place way they did this season,” Kaz said. As for what’s next for Kaz, she graduatwhere Brown has seen the sport of volleyball grow. Brown, who is from Waterloo, ed from UK in December of 2017, but she is Iowa, said volleyball is popular in the mid- still on campus working in the UK Athletics west region that Iowa lies in, but it was not as office. However, she still has dreams of playing popular in the southern region when she first professional volleyball, and she is searching moved to Kentucky. In the four years that Brown has been in for an agent to help make that happen. Kaz Kentucky, she has seen the sport of volley- would like to sign a pro contract in the summer, which would set her up to play profesball grow tremendously in this area. “Volleyball is getting really, really popu- sionally overseas in the fall. Kaz would prefer to play in Europe so she lar, especially with girls in high school. It’s actually getting more popular than girls bas- gets the opportunity to see an exciting part ketball, which I think is significant,” Brown of the world, but Kaz has an open mind as to where she’ll play next. said. When her volleyball career comes to an Brown has spent some amount of time paying attention to high school volleyball, end, Kaz wants to start a career in sports HUNTER MITCHELL I STAFF because her younger sister, Kacia Brown, is broadcasting. Middle blocker Kaz Brown and junior outside hitter Darian Mack celebrate together during the “For right now, I’m just kind of seeing an up-and-coming high school prospect that match against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Sept. 25, 2016, in Lexington, Kentucky. could be playing on an NCAA division one where life takes me,” Kaz said. By Chris Leach

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Kentucky Kernel 041618