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A bold vision: UK alum helping create brighter future for Eastern Kentucky students

LEXINGTON, Ky.  Luke Glaser was once a struggling math student.

Academically, he often excelled. But learning polynomials, as well as quadratic equations and functions, just didn’t seem applicable to his life as a high school teenager.

“I hated math, and I took AP classes to simply not have to take math in college.”

But 10 years later, in one of life’s little ironies, Glaser finds himself at the head of the classroom teaching AP Calculus.

“The biggest challenge wasn’t going to be re-learning integrals or derivatives but convincing students that taking the hard classes are worth it.”

As the AP instructor at Hazard High School, Glaser understands his seniors are facing an exhilarating but daunting decision — where to go to college.

The choice is about more than the name of the school etched on your diploma. Where you pursue higher education will touch numerous aspects of your life — from academic studies to social activities and beyond.

Many factors go into making that final decision, but for Glaser, the moment he stepped foot on the University of Kentucky campus, he just knew.

“I toured a handful of colleges both in state and out of state. There was an energy at UK that is more felt than described, and I just remember getting a palpable sense of that energy on my tour,” he said. “It’s the flagship university of Kentucky. There were opportunities that I was unlikely to find elsewhere.”

So, Glaser enrolled at the university, moved from his hometown of Louisville to Lexington and took advantage of every opportunity that came knocking.

“Like many college students, it took me awhile to get my feet wet at college. But once I did, it quickly became home,” he said. “I tell my students to get involved with as many things as possible. It may be awkward at first, but opportunities, networks and friends at college follow a pattern of exponential growth. The more things you do, the more all of these things increase.”

For Glaser, that sentiment held true. With every resume building opportunity, he also expanded his definition of community.

“Most of my mentors at UK I met through my experiences. Giving a speech led to a professor recommending me to work for the Kentucky Kernel. Joining the College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors led to a job with the college and a great relationship with my adviser, Jamie Wheeler. Interacting with professors outside of class led to friendships with many, including Jonathan Allison, Robert Rabel and nearly all of my professors in the Gaines Fellowship.”

And throughout his time at UK, those mentors turned friends would help point Glaser toward his passion and purpose.