Ten students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania will
attend the 15th annual Appalachian
Teaching Project (ATP) Symposium in Washington, D.C. on December 4
and 5, 2015.
The students will be hosted by the Appalachian
Regional Commission (ARC).
Supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission and
organized by the Center
of Appalachian Studies and Services at East Tennessee State
University, ATP coordinates student teams from participating colleges and
universities in Appalachia to develop applied research projects building a
sustainable future for the region. As part of ATP, these projects are formally
presented to Appalachian Regional Commission leadership in Washington.
“The Appalachian Teaching Project is a flagship event for
the Appalachian Regional Commission and one I look forward to every year,” said
ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl. “ATP is an opportunity to hear directly from
the region’s next generation and learn about their innovative ideas for
community development. I am always deeply impressed by the leadership,
creativity, and poise each student brings to this program and to Appalachia’s
This year’s symposium will feature 150 students representing
15 schools in 10 Appalachian states. Students
from IUP will present a project on “Poverty Traps and Sustainable
Solutions: Using Mixed Methods to
Understand the Economic Barriers to Living-Wage Jobs in Indiana, Pennsylvania.”
Their research team is led by Brandon Vick, who was named an
Appalachian Teaching Fellow for the 2015–16 academic year. Vick is an assistant professor of economics
“The goal of this project was to get students to interact
with the community to better understand the economic lives of local people,”
Vick said. “Poverty is a complicated problem that can affect different people
in different ways, and anyone can be in poverty at some time in their lives.
“That’s why it was important for students to look at a
couple of specific problem areas, such as access to daycare, food insecurity,
and job availability and pay. They worked with a number of local agencies,
including the Indiana County Community Action Program and the Department of
Human Services, to analyze local data and perform group interviews with
caseworkers and clients of various services.”
Mixed methods pair quantitative data analysis with
qualitative techniques, such as in-depth interviews.
“My economics students researched statistical data to
present a broad description of local poverty. We partnered with (IUP professor)
Dr. Amanda Poole’s applied anthropology class, who conducted group and
individual interviews and analyzed the data they gathered,” Vick said. Six of
the students presenting are economics students and four are anthropology students.
IUP has an active Center for
Northern Appalachian Studies, involving faculty from a variety of disciplines
across the university. Its mission
is to provide a locus for the enhanced understanding and appreciation of the
richness of the region’s diverse cultural heritage. The Center’s work includes
the creation of educational outreach programs, the development of historical
archives, and the facilitation of community-based activities.
More than 1,800 students from 19 colleges and universities
have participated in ATP since the program began in 2001.
Teaching Project can be followed on Facebook
on Twitter using #ARCATP.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is a
regional economic development partnership of federal and state governments
across 420 counties in 13 Appalachian states. ARC’s mission is to be a
strategic partner and advocate for sustainable community and economic
development in Appalachia.