- Please summarize the final deliverables your team created. How will these deliverables be valuable to the community? If you could waive a wand to automatically implement one of the recommendations, which would it be and why?
Our final deliverable was the asset map focusing on Connellsville but it also included some of the larger assets in the greater Fayette county region. If I could make any recommendation happen it would be the expansion of public transit within Fayette and to Pittsburgh. This would allow for the work from home force to work outside the city, but still have access to it if they need go into the office. Additionally this would allow for residence of Fayette to visit the city more regularly and vice versa. Transportation is essential for every aspect of live so having the ability to move more freely across city lines would open a lot of opportunities.
- How/has your perception of the Appalachian region (and Fayette County in particular) shifted as a consequence of the work you’ve done this semester?
I expected a lot less of Fayette as growing up I just knew it as the place you pass through to get to Fallingwater and Ohiopyle. My dad would often talk about what a great place it used to be to create some ruckus when he was growing up, but that it died down since then. I was really surprised and happy to see all the work the area has been doing to revitalize and grow. I think I’ve become more hopeful in the outcome for Fayette and other Appalachian towns future.
- Would you consider continuing this work professionally? If so, what kind of opportunity would it take to recruit you to work in Fayette county?
I do see myself continuing this type of work professionally. I even made long term plans to work with ARC in D.C. or as a local representative if that’s a thing. I think a lead community developer role would be enough to get me to work in Fayette. It is close to home and I don’t plan to travel far for another 10 years or so, so something local would be ideal. Additionally, I think it is important to me to stay local and help the communities that I’ve grown up with. I want to continue to help people in my community who may not have had the same opportunities that I did.
- When you are old and grey, how would you summarize this entire experience to your grandchildren?
I would summarize it as a really beneficial move in my academic and professional career. The experience was really great and I had an amazing team to work with.
- Describe how this course was different than other courses you have taken in college.
This was the first course that was very hands on with a local community which I really liked. Community development is important, so being able to be even a small part of it was an experience I never thought I would get the opportunity to have in college.