On December 2–3, 2022, students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania participated in the twenty-second annual Appalachian Teaching Project Symposium. The conference, supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission and organized by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University, is the capstone for the ATP program, which includes a for-credit fall course where students designed and led their own applied research projects to help address a community or economic need in their region. 

During the symposium, Indiana University of Pennsylvania students from Abigail Adams’ Contemporary Native American Cultures class (ANTH 314) and Amanda Poole’s Anthropology of Religion class (ANTH 316) designed two experiential walking trails in our Northern Appalachian community. 

The first trail is a Native American Awareness Trail that engages Indiana County’s Indigenous heritage.

The second trail is a Paranormal Walking Tour in our downtown area that builds upon local lore and oral histories. From the Native American legends that continue to circulate among the non-Natives of Indiana, to the stories of unexplained phenomena, our local storyscape shows us the ways that Appalachian people understand broader sociopolitical currents and forces. 

“Young leaders, such as the IUP students who participated in this year’s Appalachian Teaching Project, are integral to shaping the future of economic development throughout Appalachia,” said ARC Federal Cochair Gayle Manchin. “I’m impressed by the hard work they put into their research projects and look forward to following their journeys as they continue to positively impact their communities, and communities across our region.” 

IUP’s students join the 2,800 college and graduate students from 22 colleges and universities across Appalachia that have participated in the Appalachian Teaching Project since it was established in 2001. The program has helped Appalachian educational institutions identify and address a wide range of community challenges, including downtown revitalization, outdoor recreation development, education, food insecurity, access to healthcare, and more. These projects, which are aligned with ARC’s investment priorities, have resulted in new development strategies that help fill community gaps and strengthen economic growth across the region. 

ATP is supported by ARC and organized by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State University. ARC released the RFP for the 2023 program, which has been renamed the Appalachian Collegiate Research Initiative to better reflect the value of the research and development strategies students provide for their communities. 

To learn more about the IUP’s project and this year’s other ATP research projects, visit the ATP website.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission 

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties across the Appalachian Region, including 52 counties in Pennsylvania. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. 

Anthropology Department