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45th annual Appalachian Studies Conference on campus this week

WVUToday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As West Virginia University prepares to host a national conference this week, several experts can offer insights into various aspects of Appalachian issues, culture and research. 

The 45th annual Appalachian Studies Conference, titled “Making, Creating and Encoding: Crafting Possibilities in Appalachia,” will be held Thursday through Sunday (March 17-20). Below is a list of WVU’s own Appalachian experts who will be part of the event.

Erin Brock Carlson, Assistant Professor of EnglishEberly College of Arts and Sciences. Carlson, with research expertise in technical communication, focuses on how community organizers in rural Appalachia address complex problems such as public health crises, heightened environmental risk and socioeconomic disparities. She regularly facilitates community-based research projects in the region, including a recent one documenting landowner experiences with gas pipeline development in West Virginia. 

Email: [email protected]

(Include Jessica McGee, Director of Marketing and Communications, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, [email protected] on correspondence.)

Rita Colistra, Associate Professor of Advertising and Public Relations, BrandJRNY Principal Investigator and Director, Reed College of Media. Colistra has conducted extensive community-engaged research and creative scholarship in West Virginia communities. Taking a multi-method approach, her work has focused on residents as well as regional and national audiences. Her applied and theoretical research has informed place-branding campaigns that have boosted tourism and economic development in partner regions, increased community engagement, and expanded the knowledge base and enhanced understanding of these areas in academia.

Email: [email protected]

(Include Erica Lindsay, Director of Marketing and Communications, Reed College of Media, [email protected]on correspondence.)

Rosemary Hathaway, Professor of English, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Her areas of specialization are folklore, American literature, English education and young adult literature. She has published a book on the cultural history of the West Virginia and Mountaineer titled “Mountaineers Are Always Free: Heritage, Dissent, and a West Virginia Icon.” At the conference, Hathaway will present on her current fieldwork with former WVU students who were active in the first organization for African-American students on campus in the late 1960s.

Email: [email protected]

(Include Jessica McGee, Director of Marketing and Communications, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, [email protected] on correspondence.)

Kirk Hazen, Professor of Linguistics and a Benedum Distinguished Scholar, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Hazen is a scholar of dialects, specifically social varieties in the U.S. South and Appalachia, where he has conducted research over the last 29 years. As founding director of the West Virginia Dialect Project, he has guided undergraduates through the research enterprise with funding from both the NSF and the NEH, earning WVU’s top research mentoring award. Hazen is the author/editor of five books, most recently “Appalachian Englishes in the Twenty-First Century.”

Email: [email protected]

(Include Jessica McGee, Director of Marketing and Communications, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, [email protected] on correspondence.)

Gary Laruta, International Admissions Counselor for WVU. Laruta, originally from Bolivia, moved to Morgantown over 20 years ago. A WVU alumnus and U.S. Army veteran, he has traveled throughout West Virginia to extensively photograph various parts of the state. Laruta will serve as part of the roundtable “Latinx In West Virginia: Perspectives from WVU and the Mountain State.”

Email: [email protected]

(Include Jake Stump, Director of Research Communications, [email protected] on correspondence.)

Ashton Marra, Teaching Assistant Professor, Reed College of Media, and Executive Editor of 100 Days in Appalachia. Marra has spent nearly a decade reporting in Appalachian communities, now helping to lead coverage of the 420-county region at an independent digital publication whose mission is to elevate Appalachian stories to a national and international audience. Marra’s work focuses on the breakdown of trust in media throughout the region due to the stereotyping and harmful narratives of parachute journalism, with a particular focus on addiction and addiction coverage and the perpetuation of stigma through the media.

Email: [email protected]

(Include Erica Lindsay, Director of Marketing and Communications, Reed College of Media, [email protected] on correspondence.)

Sarah L. Morris, Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator for Undergraduate Writing. Her research focuses on composition pedagogy and methods, rhetoric, identity and lived experience. Currently, she is working on a book about “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and its implications for West Virginian identity. 

Email: [email protected]

(Include Jessica McGee, Director of Marketing and Communications, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, [email protected] on correspondence.)

Melanie Page, Associate Vice President for Creative and Scholarly Activities, WVU Research Office. Page is the local arrangements chair for the conference. She can speak about why WVU is hosting this year’s event and how it contributes to the greater good of the Appalachian region, as well as how it fits into the broader picture of research at WVU.

Email: [email protected]

(Include Jake Stump, Director of Research Communications, [email protected] on correspondence.)

Audra Slocum, Associate Professor of English Education, College of Education and Human Services, and Co-Director of the National Writing Project at WVU. Slocum’s research focuses on how adolescents in Appalachia use cultural discourses to construct their identities, and how educators in Appalachia advocate for social justice. 

Email: [email protected]

(Include Lindsey Ranayhossaini, Marketing and Communications Director, College of Education and Human Services, [email protected] on correspondence.) 

Find more information on the Appalachian Studies Conference and register.

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.

-WVU-

MEDIA CONTACT: Jake Stump 
Director 
WVU Research Communications 
304-293-5507; [email protected]

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