2014 Cam Collins Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Folklore
Madelyn Gates has a history of interest in Folk Studies and has loved her time here in the department as a student and working in the office. Since her father was the state folklorist in Kentucky for twenty years, she grew up surrounded by folklore. As a child during the Kentucky Folklife Festival, she was always running around between the different stages and tents, and once she got older, she volunteered and participated in the planning of the festival. Gates was homeschooled, which allowed her to go on fieldwork expeditions with her father. She credits these experiences for fostering her love of learning and telling people's stories as a creative writing major.
Madelyn recently received an Art Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Through this grant she started a program in called "Creative Community Story Share—Senior Arts Immersion," which connects senior citizens with artists in the community through oral history. Participants are interviewed about their lives and the artists interpret and help the participants tell the stories in creative ways. Gates hopes to continue this important work after graduation. She says, "This is what I'm really passionate about right now and want to be able to continue." She will graduate in May and hopes to serve with AmeriCorps this fall.