University of Kentucky CAER Home


The CAER has a full range of education programs. Its scope includes opportunities for pre-college (K-12), undergraduate, graduate students (MS and PhD), postdoctoral, and professional development.

For more information on any of these events, contact: Shiela Medina.


K-12 | Collegiate | Exchange | Staff | Outreach | Professional | Training Materials | Publications



Elementary School Level

UK CAER Russell Cave Tour of CAER

Scientists in the Classroom

The CAER has educational outreach programs at the elementary school level. We partner with Russell Cave Elementary School to strengthen its science curriculum by introducing hands-on experiments and demonstrations. CAER scientists go into the science labs and lead experiments that compliment the science curriculum being studied by Fayette Co. students. Have developed cross disciplinary experiments, where results are charted and graphed.

Energy Fair

The CAER holds an annual Energy Fair for fourth and fifth grade students from Fayette County, which features displays by energy-related organizations from both inside and outside the university. These students are from traditionally underrepresented populations. Their school scores are the lowest in town. About 300 attend.
| 2011 Event | 2010 Event | 2009 Event | 2008 Event

UK CAER Energy Fair - UK Solar Car

Science Fairs

CAER scientists are available to judge local science fairs in Fayette County and do so for at least three schools per year. To determine who would be the best judge for your group, contact Marybeth McAlister.

Outdoor Classrooms

Scientists have participated in the creation of an outdoor classroom and rain garden at local elementary schools.

Middle School Level

MathCounts Energy Night

State finalists (from every Kentucky county) come to Lexington every other year for the state math finals. The night before the finals, they interact at CAER with Kentucky Energy Club UK Chapter students, performing engineering-type activities (e.g., ping-pong catapults, edible car races, paper airplane designs, etc.)

High School Level

Pre-engineering Programs

CAER helped start the Lafayette High School Pre-engineering Program many years ago, as part of the educational outreach portion of a National Science Foundation grant. We now provide senior research opportunities for these students.

Fayette County Experienced Based Career Education (EBCE)

EBCE is located in the Fayette County public schools. High school students are assigned to a Resource Person at CAER. This person monitors and evaluates the student's attendance and activities for the duration of the internship at the Center. Students see firsthand how adults successfully incorporate their careers into their lives. Mentors create laboratory experiments that offer experience beyond the classroom and provide insight into the scientific field.

MSTC Program with Dunbar High School

High-achieving students from the Paul Laurence Dunbar Math and Science Technology magnet program do final year research projects at the CAER.

Undergraduate/Graduate/Postgraduate Students

Undergraduate Co-ops and Student Workers

The CAER employs UK undergraduates on an informal basis, and in addition, participates in the College of Engineering's Co-op program, whereby students perform research in their fields prior to graduation. This is designed to take place on alternating semesters for a total of three terms.

University Courses

Several researchers are also adjunct faculty members of UK departments and teach courses in mining, mechanical, and chemical engineering; geology; and chemistry.

Mining Engineering Scholarships

The CAER supports the Kentucky Mining Engineering Scholarship Program (KMES) each year. This support enables students to pursue careers as mining engineers.

UK CAER Student in a Lab

Kentucky Energy Club (UK Chapter)

This is a club of undergraduate students that encourages broad involvement across relevant disciplines, as well as for those with individual interests in energy. Students are drawn from engineering, natural sciences, business and economics, law, design, agriculture, and communications.

Graduate-Student Research

Research Assistantships are offered to graduate students pursuing an M.S. or Ph.D. Generally, the research of RA's directly complements the Center's activities and in many cases, a student will be engaged in research sponsored by an outside organization. Researchers serve on thesis and dissertation committees for both UK students, and those in related fields at other universities.

Exchange Program

Since 1999, the CAER has hosted groups of French exchange students from the University of Burgundy's materials engineering school (Ecole Superieure D'Ingenieurs de Recherche en Materiaux or ESIREM) located in Dijon, France. In this reciprocal exchange, American and French students are able to study abroad, engage in a laboratory practicum and other experiential education at the UB and UK campuses. More recently, the CAER has begun a similar exchange program with the University of Alicante in Spain.

Postdoctoral Scholarships/Fellowships

Postdoctoral Scholarships are for students who have completed the requirements for a Ph.D. and meet the requirements of The University of Kentucky Graduate School. The postdocs work under the direction of a research mentor who provides advanced training to prepare the postdoctoral scholar for a research career. For more information on postdoctoral opportunities, contact Don Challman.

CAER Sponsored Scholarships/Financial Assistance

CAER sponsors/hires many students that work directly in the laboratories and on current research projects. Review the student and financial counts.

UK Prospective Graduate Students

Should check out the University's requirements and benefits for prospective students.

CAER Educational Stories Archives

CAER has a long, rich history of educational outreach programs. Take a stroll down our educational memory lane.



Faculty and Professionals

CAER Adjunct Faculty

Some CAER staff members also hold adjunct and tenured faculty positions with various campus academic departments.

UK Exhibit

UK Faculty Associates

The Center prides itself on strong collaborations with campus. One of the strongest links is through the Faculty Associate program, which provides professional collaborations, lab space, summer salaries, and student employment for faculty members. Review a current list of faculty associates.


The CAER offers sabbaticals to visiting scientists and professors. The duration of appointments varies, depending upon the circumstances, but have ranged from short appointments of a few weeks, to an extended period of a year. For more information on collaborations, contact Don Challman.

Employee Educational Services

The university provides staff members with the opportunity to take two classes (6 credit hours) per semester at no cost through this program. The CAER has had numerous staff members who have taken advantage of this opportunity in order to obtain degrees.

CAER Site-Based Employee Training: The CAER information services staff organizes computer-related courses for staff members.

Curriculum and Advising

Several CAER scientists serve on various thesis and dissertation committees as well as conducting informal mentoring of students working in the CAER laboratories.



Community Engagement - Outreach and Collaborations

Beakers in a lab

CAER Industrial Support

Industrial services include difficult-to-obtain analytical testing, assistance with technical problem solving, and longer-term collaborative research. The Industrial Support Coordinator is a single point-of-contact who evaluates a given problem, recommends a course of action, provides a free-cost estimate, and assures the job is fulfilled quickly.


CAER energy experts are available (and often consulted) for radio, TV, on-line and print media interviews on energy issues in the news. - Communications Contact

Regional Offices

An energy-extension agent extend our reach to various parts of the Commonwealth. Regional office is located in West Liberty (Eastern Kentucky). The purpose of these endeavors are to assist local governments and industry in the development of energy projects by introducing them to the capabilities of the Center as well as the University as a whole.

Teacher Workshops

The CAER holds teach-the-teacher workshops to demonstrate energy experiments that they can in turn teach their students in a classroom setting.

Web Site

The CAER web site is THE one place to find ALL pertinent information related to the lab.

Conferences, Lectures, Short Courses, Seminars, Workshops

CAER Seminars

The Center organizes and hosts energy-related seminars throughout the year.

Distinguished Lectures

The center holds distinguished lectures on energy issues, whose speakers have included: Rick Smalley, Harry Kroto, Edward Teller, Matt Simmons.

Other Hosted Conferences, Workshops and Events

The CAER organizes and hosts many other conferences.

WOCA Conference

WOCA Conference

An ongoing international conference held jointly by the CAER and the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA) biennially with approximately 500 attendees. - WOCA Conference


The CAER organizes and hosts various short courses and workshops.

Energy Educational Materials

Ky Ash Ed and CCT Logos
  • Kentucky Ash Education Web Site - A general introduction to what coal combustion by-products are for the general public. The interactive web site provides clear explanations of the issues surrounding coal combustion (by-) products, their potential for beneficial utilization, environmental cleanup, and what the University of Kentucky is doing to study them.
  • Understanding Clean Coal Technologies (CCT) - This web site represents a significant effort directed at educating state officials, legislators and the general public about the benefits of clean coal technologies. Topics covered include: Energy Security and Clean Coal Technologies; Gasification for Electric Power Generation (IGCC); Transportation Fuels from Coal (Coal to Liquids); Synthetic Natural Gas from Coal (SNG); and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Sequestration.
  • 4th Grade Science Experiments for Teachers - Available to any teacher, both on-line and in CD format, are PowerPoint presentations of the experiments that have been performed by researchers at the Scientists in the Classroom program with a local elementary school.

Publications by CAER

Energeia covers
  • Bimonthly Newsletters - Energeia is an energy-topic newsletter, begun in 1989, that publishes articles and editorials on all aspects of energy resource development and environmental topics. Its readership is around 7,000.   Real Time is an online feature publication.
  • Brochures on Energy Research at UK - A general round up and description of current energy projects on fossil fuel and renewable energy research throughout the university.
  • CAER Produced CTL Report - Kentucky House Bill 299 - "Report on Coal to Liquids and Synthetic Natural Gas Technologies" has been produced by the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research located in Lexington, KY.
  • CAER Reports and Photo Gallery - CAER produces PR brouchures, annual reports and many other types of research reports.
Energeia covers
  • Coal Combustion and Gasification Products - a refereed journal, is a unique peer-reviewed journal designed specifically to communicate coal ash research. Launched in 2009, the primary goal of the CAER and ACAA in beginning this endeavor is to bring together research that currently is published in disparate sources.
  • Web Site - Ash Library - In order to learn to use CCBs more efficiently and effectively, research results must be disseminated in a way that makes them readilly available to everyone in the field - industries, academia, governments. Information leads to innovation in industry, but it also leads to questions and ideas that can be answered only with further research. That is why the Ash Library web site was created.
  • Working for You Brochures - CAER's current PR booklet. (PDF)


CAER and the Kentucky Geological Survey maintain a presence at the Kentucky's Dept. for Energy Development and Independence to provide technical advice and consultation on energy-related questions from the public and staff. An employee from CAER and KGS provide technical expertise and information to energy policy makers. This is a serendipitous approach to offering ongoing dialogue between the university and the state.

Social Networking

CAER has a presence on LinkedIn; Facebook; Twitter; Podcasts; CAER Blog; and an RSS Feed. - CAER Social Media

Video Casts

CAER's Videos of research projects, press conferences, news interviews and more.