Undergraduate students Madison Britton, Olivia Dove, Jesse Gowin, and Brynn Wingard presented their original ethnographic research projects at the eighty-second annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology on March 25, 2022. The panel was organized by anthropologists Amanda Poole and Abigail Adams and titled Ethnographies of Post-Pandemic Recovery in Rural Appalachia: Transforming Possibilities through Undergraduate Community-Based Research. Brandon Vick, IUP Department of Finance and Economics, served as a discussant for the panel. 

COVID-19 has revealed the striking health and economic inequalities in the US, including those in rural areas, where risks involve an aging population, pre-existing health problems, and disparities around infrastructure and support services. This panel focused on the transformative possibilities of undergraduate ethnographic research in rural communities in Northern Appalachia. This panel explored how student ethnography, in partnership with community organizations, can illuminate the landscape of recovery from COVID; the socioeconomic challenges facing rural communities, including job disruption, food insecurity, and social seclusion; and the ways in which people create individual and collective forms of resilience. 

Britton, Dove, Gowin, and Wingard each designed and conducted IRB-approved research on these topics, working with a community partner, the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force. Their research was conducted as part of the Appalachian Teaching Program, a grant that supports collaboration between students and community groups for research that supports sustainable development in our region.  

Anthropology Department