Roundtable Discussion with the Steele-Reese Foundation
We’re proud to host a funders roundtable with the Steele-Reese Foundation on Friday, January 26 at EKU-Manchester. Registration is closed for this event.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Kirsten Wilburn, our Events Coordinator, at email@example.com.
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Meet Our Speaker
Judy Owens is a lawyer, writer, and journalist. She has served as the Appalachian Director of the Steele-Reese Foundation since 2007. Before coming to Steele-Reese, Judy was director of the UK Center for Rural Health, a $12 million annual, 120-employee integrated health, education, and social services agency that received multiple national awards during her tenure.
In previous years Judy was in private legal practice. Before attending law school Judy was a journalist for more than 15 years, writing for such publications as the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal. She served on Gov. Paul Patton’s Kentucky Appalachian Commission and was a consultant with the Ford Foundation’s 10-year project, The Rural Community College Initiative.
Her writing has appeared in professional journals in law and health. She has received national recognition for her writing about rural education, social services, and other issues. In 1989 she was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles about how low educational attainment engenders poverty. The Kentucky Press Association has given her worktop awards in news writing, investigative journalism, and sports features.
Judy’s creative non-fiction essays have appeared in the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, USA Weekend, and Southern Exposure. One of her essays, Bumming Work, was chosen as part of a University of Michigan Press anthology An Angle of Vision. This publication, edited by the Vanderbilt University Department of English, has been used as a curriculum to inspire writing as a form of artistic expression among lower-income and working-class women.
Judy is a member of the board of the Thomas D. Clark Foundation, which supports the University Press of Kentucky by helping fund important books about the Commonwealth. In addition, Judy is serving her second term as President of the Woman’s Club of Central Kentucky, Inc., a historic women’s philanthropic organization. She is currently the State Historian and Chapter Regent of the Lexington Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, where she has proven 14 patriot ancestors. In addition to her current position, she has served other chapter, state, and national offices in the DAR. She is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association, Philanthropy Southeast, and the Kentucky Nonprofit Network.
Judy grew up in Bell County, Kentucky, and worked for more than 25 years in Appalachian communities including Hyden and Hazard. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Murray State University, and a law degree from the UK College of Law, where she served as president of a national championship Moot Court team and was a law journal editor.
She is married to Dr. Devert J. Owens II, a dentist with practices in Lexington and Barbourville. They make their home with their two English Springer Spaniels, Lily and Queen Victoria. Currently, Judy is writing a memoir.
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