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Student Teachers work with Elementary students

COLUMBUS, Miss. – Five Mississippi University for Women students presented community-based research at the 16th annual Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) symposium in Washington, D.C., Dec. 2-3.

The W’s team included Kayla Davidson of West Point, Tamra Harrison of Meridian, Amber Hearn of Caledonia, Kayla McClain of Nesbit and Madison Rigdon of Columbus. 

The symposium is supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and organized by the Center for 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 on topics related to building a sustainable future for the Appalachian Region. As part of ATP, student teams travel to Washington, D.C., to formally present their research to other participating schools and ARC leadership.

This project is a partnership between The W’s pre-service teacher candidates and the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau. The project focuses on developing next-generation leaders’ knowledge of the rich heritage of Columbus. Both pre-service teachers and K5 students are researching the cultural heritage of Columbus and develop a way to share the information with current residents and tourists from a child’s perspective. 

Candidates are researching the cultural heritage of Columbus including but not limited to its architecture, music, food, celebrations and history. They are developing and presenting lessons on the research topics to K5 students from partner schools. Students from the K5 area schools have had an opportunity to research and learn about the rich heritage of Columbus in each of these areas. Both MUW candidates and K5 students have worked with representatives from the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau to develop a method for sharing their research and knowledge with residents and visitors of Columbus.

ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl said, “Each year, the Appalachian Teaching Project brings together students from across the Region to share their research, work and vision. These next-generation leaders are energetic and innovative and give a glimpse into Appalachia’s bright future.”

Two faculty members also attended. They are Dr. Chrystal Hodges of Tupelo and Dr. April Coleman of Tuscaloosa, Ala. Also, five faculty members were named ARC Appalachian Teaching Fellows for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

Gohl added, “We are also pleased to designate Dr. Monica Riley, Dr. April Coleman, Dr. Chrystal Hodges, Dr. Royal Toy and Ms. Debbie Fancher as ARC Appalachian Teaching Fellows for the 2016-2017 academic year. These faculty members are responsible for teaching and administering the project on your campus. Faculty members who participate in this project provide the leadership to engage students at a level that goes far beyond a typical classroom experience. We value their effort, their dedication, and their commitment to sustainability of the Appalachian region.”

The 2016 ATP symposium was held at the Crystal City Marriot in Arlington, Va., and featured 150 students representing 14 schools from 11 Appalachian states. 
Nearly 2,000 students from 20 colleges and universities across Appalachia have participated in the ATP since the program began in 2001.

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 innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.