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Appalachian student becomes first recipient of teaching fellowship with the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington, D.C.

By Ellen Gwin Burnette

BOONE, N.C.—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) through a partnership with Appalachian State University is launching its first Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) Fellowship. The fellowship was created to provide a student studying in Appalachia the opportunity to learn more about the region and the ARC’s investment efforts to strengthen critical, analytical and leadership skills.

View larger imageAppalachian State University graduate student Jacob Meadows is the first recipient of a teaching fellowship with the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington, D.C. Photo provided by Jacob Meadows

Jacob Meadows of Carrollton, Kentucky, B.S. in business economics from the University of Louisville and currently a master’s degree student in Appalachian studies at Appalachian, arrived in Washington, D.C., in early May to work with the ARC for several weeks on this pilot program.

Meadows will work closely with the ARC staff researching the impact ARC-funded projects and grants have on local economic development. As part of this research, Meadows will interview previous grantees and develop case study summaries of their projects.

“This is very important information and is part of ARC’s mission to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia,” according to Wendy Wasserman, director of communications for the ARC.

At Appalachian, Meadows is involved as the co-chair of the Appalachian Studies Association steering committee for Young Appalachian Leaders and Learners (Y’ALL), a research graduate assistant at the Center for Appalachian Studies, as well as a zero-waste graduate assistant in the Office of Sustainability.

“Throughout the Spring 2017 semester, I had the opportunity to take an independent study course with the ARC. Not only has it prepared me to succeed while in D.C., but it has also shed light on ways in which ARC strategic investment goals assist the economies of distressed and at risk areas of Appalachia,” said Meadows.

“I have gained significant cultural, environmental and economic knowledge of the region, which has furthered my understanding of economy in place-based studies. My first year at Appalachian State has undoubtedly helped prepare me for a future in public policy and will continue to do so as I further my education.”

The ARC is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state and local government. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president.

The ARC was formed to address persistent poverty and growing economic despair of the Appalachian region. Its mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.

Appalachian is part of a network of schools involved in ARC’s Appalachian Teaching Project Initiative (ATP) formed in 2001. As a part of ATP, college students in participating schools undertake original research on community based economic development. Then, they go to Washington, D.C., to present their findings and to work with their peers from other schools, as well as ARC leadership.

The vision for the ARC Fellowship is to continue to provide leadership and career development opportunities for ATP students and give them additional experience that can be applied to Appalachia’s future growth.

“Our goal is to make sure all partners have a good and worthwhile experience and to develop a fellowship program that will be mutually beneficial to ARC and Appalachia’s next generation of leaders,” said Wasserman.


About the Center for Appalachian Studies

The Center for Appalachian Studies promotes public programs, community collaboration, civic engagement and scholarship on the Appalachian region. The center is committed to building healthy communities and deepening knowledge of Appalachia’s past, present and future through community-based research and engagement.

About the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities, social sciences, and the mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university’s strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.