maincurve UC Library MyUC iLearn Webmail Home
title Media Relations Home



UC’s Theater Students Assist at US Penitentiary


Williamsburg, KY., - Students from University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) theater department recently assisted their professor, Dr. Kim Miller, at the US Penitentiary. Miller took the students in her Acting II class to the McCreary County Federal Penitentiary for a more interesting hands-on approach to learning. While there the students participated in an intensive training session with officers and administration acting out various scenarios.

Miller, and eight of her Acting II class students, ventured to Pine Knot, Ky. after the US Penitentiary contacted her and invited her class to help them act out a few possible scenarios. Miller happily accepted the invitation and she and her students were excited to get to be a part of such a unique training. The officers and guards practiced what they would do in certain circumstances with inmates, which were played out by the UC students.


“It was an interesting experience,” said Miller. “We all had to enter the building through metal detectors just as anyone else would. We saw the visitors’ area, the yard, and exactly what the life of an inmate was like. I must admit that I have a lot of respect for the officers who work at the Federal Penitentiary.”

UC’s Acting II students played a variety of roles which included inmates, hostages, and whatever the officers and trainers asked of them. The prison staff was able to gain a better understanding of their position and prepare for the worst case scenarios and give officers and guards the practice they need to effectively do their jobs. UC students also received the acting and dramatic practice as well as the joy and reward of helping others.

“My students were pretty much helping the officers practice their chain of commands,” said Miller. “I was proud of the class and they enjoyed getting this experience.”

This was the first time UC’s Acting II class had helped at the U.S. Penitentiary and worked with law enforcement but it is not the first time they have provided their talents and services to others. Just last month Miller’s Acting II class was asked to assist UC’s Physician Assistant (PA) department. The acting students were presented with random scenarios in order to help the potential PA students learn what to do in different circumstances. For the most part, the actors and actresses played the role of patients with various complaints and in need of different treatments and care.

“It is always good for acting students to work with different people,” said Miller. “Different environments and different ideas will keep them on their toes. I am glad UC’s students could be helpful and serve in the assisting and training of these workers. I would love for my classes to be able to volunteer again in the future.”

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; 10 pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information visit