The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) designated Dr. Judy P. Byers and Noel W. Tenney as ARC Appalachian Teaching Fellows for the 2010-2011 academic year. These two individuals are jointly responsible for administering the Appalachian Teaching Project (ATP) on the campus of Fairmont State University.
Led by the Consortium of Appalachian Centers and Institutes, the ATP offers students a unique opportunity to conduct active community-based research on their campuses. They are invited to present their findings to an audience of their peers and ARC administrators in Washington, D.C., every December. For more information about the ATP, visit www.etsu.edu/cass/projects.
As ARC Appalachian Teaching Fellows, Byers and Tenney guided student efforts to explore the heritage of the local Eastern European community as it relates to the history of coal, disaster and community in the town of Monongah. Students worked through the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at FSU, along with The Monongah Centennial Committee, Monongah Fest Committee, Sen. Roman W. Prezioso, Jr. and other interested community members.
Byers and Tenney have been co-mentors for students in the Appalachian Teaching Projects since 2005. The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center has been selected to produce a project each year since 2005. Each project includes a grant from the ARC that allows for supplies and materials needed plus research data collecting to complete the display and the project. Most of the funds are used to take students to Washington, D.C., to present the project before the ARC. The theme focuses on community sustainability in Appalachia.
Byers is well known for her work as a folklorist, archivist, teacher and storyteller and serves as the Director of the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at FSU. She is executrix for the folklore estate of the late Dr. Ruth Ann Musick, an eminent collector of Appalachian folklore, and is the archivist for the vast collection which includes the holdings of the West Virginia Folklore Society, housed at FSU.
Noel W. Tenney currently serves as a Folk Cultural Specialist and Assistant Professor of Folklife Studies at FSU. He has co-directed, along with Dr. Judy P. Byers, various West Virginia Humanities Council Summer Seminars on Folklore for Teachers.
Created by the U.S. Congress, the Appalachian Regional Commission is a unique partnership between the federal government and the governors of the 13 Appalachian states designed to improve economic opportunities throughout the Region. Additional information on ARC can be found at www.arc.gov.