Kent State University – SalemRural Scholars Program
B.A. in Anthropology and English, Florida State University, 1998
M.A. in English, University of Connecticut, 2003
What major projects do you work on as a VISTA?
She is currently developing a new college access program, the Rural Scholars Program, at the Kent State University campuses in Columbiana County. The program will facilitate closer ties between the campuses, local school districts, and businesses to build a stronger pathway to higher education for low-income students, beginning with programming in elementary school and continuing throughout their years in college if they attend Kent. Rural Scholars places a particular emphasis on STEM education, applied learning opportunities, and partnership with businesses and organizations in the local community. The goal is to foster in local first-generation college-bound students a clear vision of the connection between education and employment as well as realize the possibilities for investing their talents back in the local community when they graduate college or other post-secondary programs.
Why did you choose to be an Ohio Campus Compact VISTA?
I was looking for a way to move beyond service learning, which is what I had been involved with previously at the University of Connecticut. This opportunity with Ohio Campus Compact/AmeriCorps VISTA offered me the chance to do more of the two things I love best: creating and strengthening campus-community connections while also working collaboratively with students.
Tell us something about yourself
As a Peace Corps volunteer in the Russian Far East, I was deeply immersed in a another culture and a very un-American experience of poverty for two years. This experience continues to challenge me in my thinking about sustainability, access to essential resources, economic class, and the often unrecognized wealth that may be right at our fingertips.
When I’m not driving around Columbiana County I enjoy playing with my three children, reading travel narratives from previous centuries, and being outside in all weathers.
“Places matter. Their rules, their scale, their design include or exclude civil society, pedestrianism, equality, diversity (economic and otherwise), understanding of where water comes from and garbage goes, consumption or conservation. They map our lives.” ~ Rebecca Solnit