highlander head shotI’m the Associate Director of the Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program at the University of Kentucky. I recently completed my PhD in the Department of Sociology at UK. I earned my Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University. My thesis explored the history of the Lend-A-Hand Center, a nonprofit organization in the Stinking Creek watershed of Knox County, Kentucky. I attended Eastern Kentucky University for my undergraduate studies earning a BA and BBA. My senior honors thesis was a digitization project of the Madison’s Heritage column which culminated in the publication of Madison’s Heritage Rediscovered.

I worked for three years as the site coordinator for the Lend-A-Hand Center Grow Appalachia Gardening Program in Knox County, Kentucky. I am also on the board of the Lend-A-Hand Center, the Knox County Farmers’ Market, and I serve on the education committee of the Appalachian Studies Association.

My current research focuses on the Lend-A-Hand Center Grow Appalachia Gardening program and the Stinking Creek community of Knox County, Kentucky. I am interested in local food systems development, thinking about community economies, and gathering and sharing stories about rural life in southeastern Kentucky.

Areas of Interest
Appalachian studies, rural sociology, feminist theory, qualitative methods, community-based research/participatory action research, oral history, critical pedagogy, Appalachian Studies pedagogy, Appalachian women’s and gender studies, postmodern Marxist analysis, community economies, international education

Research Interests
The War on Poverty in eastern Kentucky, the Council of the Southern Mountains, overlapping social movements in Appalachia during the late 20th century, Appalachian feminism, SOAR, post-coal transition, re-localization of food systems in Appalachia