The Appalachian Project, Ohio

About the Project

The Appalachian Project, Ohio (AP) is a mixed-methods, interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students dedicated to understanding the educational routes of young people in the Appalachian counties of Ohio. To date, project members have already collected background research on the region, conducted visits to 15 counties, and accumulated over 500GB of video interviews with community members. We have presented at a conference on poverty at OSU as well as at a roundtable at the 2013 and 2014 annual conferences of the Appalachian Studies Association.

The AP team takes a predominantly narrative approach to data collection, relying on quantitative data for supporting and complicating information. We believe that listening to the personal reflections of the young people and older adults affected by economic and educational challenges in the region will give us a fuller picture of the issues affecting Appalachian Ohio and lead us to new findings to assist recovery. The purpose of the project is to use interdisciplinary approaches to identify the factors affecting Ohio Appalachian students’ decisions and/or readiness to obtain post-secondary education, understand Ohio Appalachian students’ strategies for negotiating their college experiences, produce recommendations for addressing the barriers and challenges that students face, work toward creating a sustainable educational and economic atmosphere in Appalachian Ohio, and create a conversation at OSU and beyond about the issues Ohio Appalachian students and the region face.

Get Involved!

If you are interested in getting involved with The Appalachian Project, Ohio, fill out this form and one of our coordinators will follow up with you. To learn more about what we do and to hear why you should share your story, watch out informational video. Thanks!


  • Collaboration & Mentorship
  • Fieldwork
  • Grants & Research
  • Web & Archival


  • Amanda Baker (Education)
  • Dr. Christine Ballangee Morris (Arts Administration, Education and Policy) is a faculty member at Ohio State University and a faculty advisor for the learning community.
  • Calvin Beckley is from McArthur, Oh, in Vinton County. He is an International Studies major and Italian minor. Calvin is interested in being on the team so that he can use his personal experience to contribute to research on Appalachia. Calvin's goal for the future is to find ways to help the people from Appalachian communities that face the same sort of obstacles that he had to face.
  • Jessica Brunney (Communication)
  • Megan Chew received her Ph.D. from the Department of History at Ohio State University in 2014. She is currently a Research Associate at Ohio State. Her dissertation research deals with energy production, environment, and economic development in the Ohio River Valley, including in Appalachian Ohio.
  • Edrienne Co (Computer Science & Engineering) is an undergraduate student working to interview Appalachian students about their experience at Ohio State.
  • Dr. Patricia Cunningham received her Ph.D. from the Education Department (Teaching & Learning) at Ohio State. She is the Director of Social Change at the Office of Student Life.
  • Lynaya Elliott (Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies) is the administrative manager for the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies and a first generation college graduate from Pike County, Ohio. She is working to provide mentorship opportunities and resources to allow students from Appalachia feel a sense of home and belonging during their time at Ohio State.
  • Morgan Hall (Public Health)
  • Professor Dorothy Noyes (Folklore) is one of the PI's of the project and Associate Professor of English, Director of the Center for Folklore Studies, and Research Associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.
  • Cassie Patterson is the Assistant Director of the Center for Folklore Studies, Director of the Folklore Archives, and a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English. Cassie's dissertation explores the intersections of Folklore Studies, Appalachian Studies and Literacy Studies to examine the ways in which Ohio State students from Appalachian Ohio position themselves in relation to different concepts of home.
  • Malachi Pulliam (Education)
  • Lucy Ramos (Office of Academic Affairs, Public Health)
  • Matt Schneider (History and Geography) is an undergraduate student interested in studying reasons for unequal educational opportunity for Appalachian students and potential ways to address these challenges.​
  • Dr. Amy Shuman (Folklore) is one of the PI's of the project and Professor in the English department specializing in folklore, narrative, and critical theory.
  • Madeline Stockwell (MA Student, Spanish & Portuguese)
  • Laura Thomas (English as Second Language) is a staff member at Ohio State University and a native of Scioto County, Ohio.

Non-OSU Collaborators:

  • Megan Elizabeth Adams is a Ph.D. student studying rhetoric and composition at Bowling Green State University. Prior to pursuing more academic endeavors, Megan was a one-man-reporter at a television station in Lima, Ohio. For dissertation research, Megan is studying the impact of a digital storytelling project in McDowell County, West Virginia. She is eager to lend her hand helping with video production on The Appalachian Project, and to assist members in working to collect and share the stories of Ohio Appalachians. She is from Warren, Ohio in Trumbull County.
  • Jeffrey Gaver is an undergraduate student at Wittenberg University writing his thesis in Sociology. He is collecting the stories of Appalachian faculty members.

Past Members:

  • Krista Bryson (PhD Candidate in the Rhetoric, Composition and Literacy Program in OSU's Department of English; NSF Fellow researching the West Virginia Water Crisis)
  • Chanel Ellison (B.S. 2013, Sociology, Ohio State University)
  • Jon Fish (B.S. 2012, Business, Ohio State university; currently attending Brandeis International Business School)
  • Kaylyn Joey (B.A. Psychology and Occupational Therapy, Ohio State University)
  • Raven Lynch (B.A. 2013, Psychology and Forensic Science, Ohio State University)
  • Kimberly Moore (Social Work, Ohio State University)
  • Mason Pierce (B.S. 2012, Economics, Ohio State University; M.A., 2014 Economics, West Virginia University)
  • Erik Stewart (B.A. 2013, Philosophy, Ohio State University)
  • Brooke Walters (B.A. 2014, International Studies, Political Science, Ohio State University; currently serving with Teach for America in Oklahoma)

Project Documents, Resources, and Links

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