Meet our 2016-2017 Appalachian Transition Fellowship Fellows

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Alice Beecher

Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, and InVision Hazard

Alice Beecher served as an Appalachian Transition Fellow with the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development in Hazard, KY. She worked with community groups in Hazard to develop creative place-making and civic engagement initiatives, including a summer performance arts series and the passage of several important city ordinances impacting Hazard's downtown. Previously, Alice worked as a youth organizer and educator for High Rocks Educational Corporation in rural Hillsboro, WV. She is deeply committed to the struggle for racial, economic, political, and environmental justice in central Appalachia. In her spare time, Alice organizes with the Letcher Governance Project and The Holler Network, two groups working to end structural racism in the region. She also volunteers at her local community radio station, writes poetry, and tries to find edible plants in the mountains. 

Courtney Boyd

Unlimited Future, Inc., and the Wild Ramp

Courtney grew up in eastern Kentucky and lived in the state until her early 20’s when she decided that there was a lot left unlearned by the conventional education she had received up to that point.  That’s when she departed from Appalachia, first working on social justice and women’s rights with the Ihanktonwan Nation of South Dakota.  This started a path of experiential learning where she lived in Utah building beautiful houses with natural materials, worked for solar energy non-profits in Colorado, organically farmed vegetables and worked for a small birch syrup business in Alaska.  Returning to Appalachia in 2015 was a deliberate move to act on the idea that young people need not seek a far off place to find their community but instead can create home in a place needs them. 

Throughout the Appfellows year Courtney has worked alongside Unlimited Future, The Wild Ramp, and Refresh Appalachia to impact the landscape of food and farming in West Virginia.  She has grown in her skills to provide marketing support, event planning, program development, community organizing, and big picture regional capacity work for her respective organizations, and she brings these to the table along with creative thinking and daily organizational skills. She works to grow a local and regional food system that is culturally significant and beneficial to both farmers and residents of the state of WV. Not only does Courtney enjoy working on the growing food economy, but she continues to find inspiration and passion in growing food for herself and her community.

Brittany Means Carowick

West Virginia Center for Civic Life, West Virginia Council of Churches, and Generation West Virginia

Brittany is a native of Charleston, WV.  As a first-generation college student, she completed her undergraduate degree at Concord University in 2012 and achieved her Master's in Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University in 2015. In between, she served a year as an AmeriCorps member in rural West Virginia. Brittany's academic research examines the experiences of Hispanic immigrants in Appalachia, but she's also passionate about Appalachian placemaking and creating better futures for young adults in the mountains. Brittany co-founded the Appalachian Studies Association's youth leadership committee, Y'ALL, in 2014 and still serves on ASA's steering committee as the Awards chair. She lives in Charleston with her husband, Joseph.

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Sam Hamlin

Community Farm Alliance and Fibershed

Sam grew up in a rural community in Southwest Virginia. At 19, she left home and went to school in the Midwest.  Though she has been away from the region, she has ached to be back in the mountains for many years. She is grateful for the opportunity to return to Central Appalachia to give back to the place and the people that raised her.

Hope Hart

Appalshop and Highlander Research and Education Center

Brought home to these mountains as an infant, Hope is a Korean adoptee from Ritchie County, West Virginia. A stubborn optimist restless as a bystander, she has worked within affordable housing, literacy and prison reform, open access education, and other causes close to the heart of Appalachia. A graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in English literature, Hope sees storytelling as a powerful tool for social and economic justice, and sees the region as a library of voices ready for the world to read.

Abby Huggins

Hindman Settlement School, Knott County Chamber of Commerce, and Appalachian Food Summit

Abby was raised in Wilkes County, North Carolina and graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Elementary Education. Afterwards, she collaborated with rural organizations in Grenada, West Indies and Nome, Alaska, working with youth, elders, and families around education, culture, community, food access, and housing justice. Abby spent several seasons working on sustainable farms, first in Alaska, then in North Carolina. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi with an emphasis on oral history, foodways, and Appalachia. As an Appalachian Transition Fellow, Abby collaborated with Hindman Settlement School and the Appalachian Food Summit on establishing the East Kentucky Food & Dance Trail, a project that connects stories and places where people gather around food and dance. Abby is deeply grateful to be a part of the Highlander family and excited to continue to join in work towards collective liberation in our region, our world, our lifetime. 

Kristie Rodgers

Appalachian Land Study

Currently living in rural Harlan County, KY,  Kristie Rodgers an emerging visual artist specializing in emotional impressions through acrylic paintings, exhibiting her work extensively in Seattle and Boston for the past 12 years. She is a community organizer and leader for several grassroots campaigns including advocating for homeless rights, food justice, gmo labeling, and a wide variety of other environmental and social justice causes. She is also a member of "Higher Ground" produced through the Godbey Appalachian Center, and a member ofthe Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange. Kristie is a full-time non-traditional college honor student pursing degrees in clinical psychology and Appalachian studies.

A divorced mom of 3 adult sons, and 2 feline furbabies, Kristie is very passionate about her Appalachian heritage. Sheenjoys church and community activities, as well as wildcrafting, amateur entomology, writing poetry, cooking, listening to an eclectic mix of music, antiquing, travel, fine chocolate, and cheese.

Finnley Willow

Higher Ground and Highlander Research and Education Center

Bio and picture coming soon!

Terran Young

Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Appalachian Voices, and Virginia Tech

Terran's family has been in the Wise County, VA area for over 100 years. Terran spent her younger childhood years in Virginia before moving to Ohio. She has been back in Virginia for over 10 years and is looking forward to working with and in the community.

Brennan Zerbe

Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council and the Calhoun County Park Board

Brennan grew up in Charleston, WV.  He left West Virginia to study Spanish at Appalachian State in North Carolina.  Brennan returned to Charleston in 2014 and began work at a bookstore, Taylor Books, where he spent most of his time curating the book selection and trying to get folks to read!