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Appalachian studies students present at ASA conference

ISSUED: 26 March 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities sponsored three paper presentations at the 42nd Annual Appalachian Studies Association conference in Asheville, North Carolina, March 15-17. The center also nominated the winner of the Weatherford Award, Silas House, for his new book Southernmost, a lyrical work of fiction dealing with LGBT issues in the region, and sponsored a reading from the new Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Karen Spears Zacharias Volume XI and a paper on Zacharias’s award-winning novel Mother of Rain.

Cameron Mallow, a secondary education major from Cabins, presented his paper, “West Virginia’s Forgotten Union Soldiers: The Andersonville Story,” which told the story of five Union soldiers who were captured and sent to Andersonville Confederate prison in South Carolina, where nearly 13,000 soldiers died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure to the elements. Mallow will also make a presentation at the 2019 Shepherd University Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors on Wednesday, April 17, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Student Center Storer Ballroom.

Megan Rynne, of Washington, D.C., a recent Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction graduate with an Appalachian studies graduate certificate, presented “Shepherd Speaks and the Power of Storytelling: Organizing and Sustaining a StoryCorp Project in the Academy and in the Community.” Rynne shared her experiences organizing the Shepherd StoryCorp project that took place in fall 2018.

Honoria Middough, an English language learner teacher in Durham, North Carolina, attended Shepherd’s July 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities “Voices from the Misty Mountains and the Power of Storytelling” summer institute and turned the storytelling project she developed at the institute into her conference presentation, “Narratives of Appalachia: Hands, Faces, and Voices.”

“This was an extraordinary group of presentations and Shepherd was well-represented at the ASA conference,” said Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, director of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities and a mentor for the three presenters. “All three papers accepted for the conference fit beautifully with the center’s emphasis on telling one’s own story and the student empowerment that the art can engender.”

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