LEXINGTON, Kentucky (December 15, 2022) — When the University of Kentucky launches in December 2022, the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration will celebrate the first student to receive a bachelor’s degree in public policy from their undergraduate program. Martin School began offering a undergraduate public policy major in the fall of 2020. Previously, the school only offered a postgraduate master’s degree, certificate, and doctorate. public policy and administration programs.
For Franklin, Tennessee, a native of Grayson Blount, choosing the UK wasn’t difficult because it’s all about family.
“My mum is a former British student and my older sister went to the UK, and I really liked the campus,” Blount said. “It gave me the opportunity to have a quality education and to be closer to my family in Bath County.”
Blount began her college career as a biology major, with a pre-medical track. He even connected with the campus through his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and while working on the moral committee of DanceBlue. But, his academic journey didn’t seem quite in the right direction.
“I still wanted to continue on the path to medical school, but I felt like something was missing from my education,” he said.
Blount knew two things – he wanted a career helping people and he was interested in government – but not so much politics.
So in the spring semester of his second year, he took a meeting at the UK Stuckert Career Center to discuss options. This meeting led him to the Martin school.
Blount says it was the Martin School’s program approach, allowing each individual to pursue their particular interests within the framework of public policy, that helped him make his decision.
“Since day one, my advisor, Brooke, has worked tirelessly to ensure the transition was successful while taking classes that will help me achieve my ultimate goal,” he said.
His advisor, Brooke Kuerzi, head of student affairs at Martin School, says helping him merge his academic passions has been a unique experience.
“Moving to a non-science major, let alone a brand new one, and continuing to pursue medical school shows just how much Grayson cares about societal issues and his role in solving them,” Kuerzi said. “I’ve had the pleasure over the past two years of watching Grayson grow into a confident and thoughtful leader. He has a very easy-going and approachable demeanor, but underneath he’s incredibly bright, empathetic and caring.”
Blount is the first undergraduate to complete the program, but six others will graduate in May 2023, giving the Martin School seven inaugural recipients for the academic year. These students are: Olivia Corley, Alli Johnson, Logan Kuegel, Andrew Laws, Hunter McCormick and Henri Neblina.
For Martin School faculty, seeing the undergraduate program evolve from its inception to actual graduates has been special. It was also a meaningful experience for faculty to see students apply their commitment to integrity, fairness, and excellence in leadership roles on campus, internships throughout the community, and building on mission to prepare future leaders.
“I will always cherish the students of this first cohort of graduates. They have shaped our public policy community in the UK and we will long benefit from their influence as more students join us in the years to come,” said Cory Curl, Ph.D., Director of Undergraduate Studies. cycle at the Martin School.
As for Blount, he will still get a minor in biology. And he will use the major and minor to continue to merge politics and his interest in health care.
“I’m currently in the application process for medical school, so I’m crossing my fingers that it works out next fall. If not, I’ll try again next year,” he said. “In the meantime, I hope to travel, improve some of my clinical skills, or perhaps attend graduate school for my MPP, MPA, or MHA”
The December UK launch ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday, December 16 at the Rupp Arena in the Central Bank Center. The board awarded 2,037 degrees for the fall 2022 semester. For more information, visit https://beginning.uky.edu/.