Going into the Appalachian Teaching Project

Jessica Jones

Junior at the University of Pittsburgh

Biology major, French minor, and Sustainability Certificate

Fun fact about me: I am from Pittsburgh and grew up about 15 minutes away from campus.

This past fall I was apart of the Appalachian Teaching Project through the University of Pittsburgh Frederick Honors College and my sustainability capstone course. When I first went into this project, I honestly did not know what to expect, but I have gained so much out of this experience. The purpose of the Appalachian Teaching Project is to look at different regions within the Appalachian Mountain Region and learn about the ongoing “brain drain” and other components of economic and social sustainability. The University of Pittsburgh has committed to the project for ten years focusing on Fayette County in Pennsylvania. With last year being the first year, the project started in Connellsville, and this year we were able to expand into Uniontown to focus on the out-migration and regional economic and social sustainability as previously mentioned. After getting to visit both Connellsville and Uniontown, I understood the importance of helping the community with some of their various projects and goals within the scope of our project. I have always had an interest in environmental science and sustainability, but learning about sustainability in a different context, such as economic instead of environmental, has made me take interest and learn a lot about how small towns operate. Although my academic goal of earning the sustainability certificate has focused mostly on environmental classes, I have now found a great interest in social and economic sustainability that I hopefully can learn more about in the future of my academic career. As a part of our project this year, the Frederick Honors College has offered internships to those students who have participated thus far, so I am very excited to stay involved and see the future of this project.

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