Meet Our Ambassadors

My name is Kristin Baker and I’m from Hazard, Kentucky. I’m currently a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) major. First and foremost, it has always been a lifelong dream of mine to be a graduate from the University of Kentucky. The UKCERH has given me the opportunity to stay close to home and have the chance to receive a great education from an elite college. Being a single working mom it would have been impossible for me to follow my dreams if I didn’t choose to attend this campus. GO CATS!! I am interested in serving as a Rural Health Ambassador for the chance to advocate and being a Student Ambassador is a deeply rewarding opportunity both on a personal level and also in terms of your career prospects after leaving the UKCERH. As a Student Ambassador I would have the opportunity to get involved with many different types of work allowing myself to develop skills I already have as well as gain new ones.  As a Student Ambassador you are the face of the University, with that said I have a fun personality and love to get people involved in activities with the school. I also know there is a need to develop awareness within the educational community and the public that reorienting education to achieve sustainability is essential, especially living in Eastern, KY. I hope to break some barriers we face in the rural Eastern KY and promote educations because we don’t have enough educators to advocate the importance.


My name is Brandi Chappell, and I am in the Physical Therapy program. I am from the small town of Bedford, KY, which is part of the reason I chose to attend the Center of Excellence in Rural Health here in Hazard; it reminds me of home. I could tell immediately upon meeting the other students and staff that everyone is more like a family here. The atmosphere is very welcoming, and the staff is focused on ensuring that every student is successful. Each day that I spend in the program only adds to my confidence that I made the right decision in coming here. I wanted to be a Rural Health Ambassador so I could help show other people how great the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health is, and how the people at the center are working diligently to improve the community in terms of healthcare and education. My hope is that as an Ambassador, I can contribute to the positive and welcoming environment that I felt on my first visit here. I want to help strengthen the sense of community on and off campus, so that we can all work together in overcoming the challenges that rural populations face in terms of healthcare and education.

My name is Matthew Gumm and I am currently a member of the Physical Therapy Class of 2017 at The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health. I am from Owsley County, KY, which is roughly 50 miles west of Hazard. I have a strong desire to be a physical therapist, which led me to a search of schools that offered the DPT degree. I stumbled upon UK’s location in Hazard and became quite interested. After many hours of research as well as meeting some of the staff I was sure that it was where I belonged. Over the past year the faculty and staff at CERH have assured me that I made the correct decision. They are by far the most helpful and kindest people that I have ever had the privilege of being around. They have made the transition from undergraduate studies to PT school as smooth as possible with academic advising, mentoring, the list goes on. I have spoken with students in the Lexington cohort of our PT program, and they said that they are jealous of the individualized attention that we receive. Small class sizes, one-on-one interaction with professors, and a genuinely caring atmosphere are just some of what UK’s Hazard Campus has offered me.

My name is Lisa McIntosh, I’m from Beattyville, KY, and I’m a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) major.  I’ve wanted to attend the University of Kentucky ever since I moved here but because I live so far away from Lexington I didn’t see how that was possible. Then, I discovered that the University of Kentucky had a campus in Hazard where I can earn my BASW and my MSW, in the future. I want to be an ambassador so that I can have the opportunity to be more involved in the University. While being a student is great, I would like to experience more than just that. I would also like to be able to speak with prospective students and assist them in any way that can ease their stress of starting college. As an ambassador I hope to encourage current and prospective students, as well as make a difference in my community by providing awareness of the services available in our area. 


My name is David Nelson, and I am from a rural town outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  I chose to come to UK’s Hazard Campus because I have a strong interest in making a difference in rural communities, and because I thrive in smaller, more personal educational settings.  I chose to enter into the physical therapy profession because I have a passion for helping others and I believe physical therapy provides me the opportunity to use my hands and my mind to succeed. I feel very fortunate to have made the right decision of attending UK’s Hazard campus because the atmosphere our faculty and staff provide allows us as students to optimize our learning experience.  As a class of 18 students, we have become a family that works as a team to overcome the challenges of graduate school.  Furthermore, the experience working with underserved and rural communities provides UK’s Hazard students a deep understanding that will positively impact the way we practice as health care professionals in the future.

My name is Adam Sexton, and I am from Whitesburg, KY. I received my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Kentucky. I am currently working toward achieving my doctoral degree in physical therapy from the University of Kentucky at the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health. I chose to attend the UK CERH - Hazard Campus because not only was it close to home, but because they offer the opportunity specifically to students with a rural background. I believe this is of significant importance because it allows those students from rural areas to get an advanced degree and return home to serve their community. The Center also offered more personal experiences with instructors and classmates due to the small numbers in each class; therefore, giving the students a better environment to learn. I wanted to become a rural health ambassador the moment I heard the opportunity. I saw it as an opportunity to challenge myself, help out the Center, and give back to the community in a different way, while still being a student. As an ambassador I hope to be able to let others know of the amazing opportunities that are offered at the Center, and teaching them about the success that has followed many of its graduates. I hope to grow as a person in handling the affairs with the Center as well as the community. Most of all I want to be a symbol for what the Center represents, which is success and progress for not only the students who attend, but for the community for which it serves.

My name is Kathy Michelle Kelly. I was born and raised in the small town of Oneida Kentucky, which is located in Clay County.  I am currently a pursuing a BASW degree here at the UK CERH-Hazard campus. I was really struggling with what path I wanted to take my career in when I heard about the social work program through the UK CERH. The UK CERH-Hazard campus has provided me with an amazing schedule allowing me to complete my degree while still being able to work and provide for my family. However, the schedule and flexibility are not the only reasons I chose the UK CERH-Hazard campus. Upon submitting my application for enrollment I was guided step by step through every process having to be completed by great advisors and staff. I have found that the sense of community here is amazing. I have become so close to all of my classmates due to the fact the classrooms are small and intimate, while still having all the modern technology and educational advancements as the main campus. I aspire to be a UK CERH-Hazard campus ambassador to spread the news about all the great opportunities the Center offers! The UK CERH-Hazard campus is located in a small Eastern Kentucky community. Many people have not heard about all the programs offered through the Hazard campus and have the ideology that in order to obtain a bachelor degree you have to leave home. I made it my goal to ensure that others were given the same opportunity as I was given. There are so many people in Hazard and surrounding counties that would love to continue their education, yet it seems so out of reach for them. In all reality, education advancement is never out of reach, we just have to have the right information and opportunities. As a UK CERH-Hazard campus ambassador I hope to be a stepping stone to pave the path for someone’s future. I want to be able to reach out to those in the community and help them achieve their educational dreams. As an ambassador, I want to invest my time and effort into speaking to school counselors, other local colleges, and the community about the programs and services offered by the hazard campus. I want to be a good example of what the Hazard campus is capable of. The Center has made such a difference in my life, and offered me so much! I feel like the UK CERH-Hazard campus is advancing daily and I am so proud to be a part of the movement.

My name is Cassandra Slone, and I’m from Underwood, MN. I’m currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program. I chose the UK CERH-Hazard campus because I wanted to stay close to home and give back to the community that I live in. It was always University of Kentucky for me, but I was unable to move due to a child with special needs. When I found out Hazard had the program that I wanted, there was nothing else within sight. I went for my dreams. Why did you want to be an ambassador? As an outsider coming into Eastern Kentucky I learned that not everyone had access to the healthcare and human service programs that other places in the United States did. I want to help the community that I live in as we face unique biological, psychological, social, and spiritual systems in our society. There are many resources that we could be using to help people of Appalachia, but unfortunately access is not always available. I want to promote awareness, education, and access to the most vulnerable and those who need it. As an ambassador, I hope to bring hope. There are so many families in the area that need assistance with the very things that Social Workers promote. I also hope that the different disciplines within the UK CERH can start talking and coming up with solutions to work together and represent the University of Kentucky. I also hope to inspire other potential students to follow their dreams. Education is the key to getting Eastern Kentucky where it should be.