The newly-formed UVa.-Wise Center for Appalachian Studies was represented for the first time at the annual Appalachian Studies Association Conference, held March 27-29, 2015 at East Tennessee State University.
UVa-Wise students in attendance were: Evan Couch, Corbin Hayslett, Tessa McCoy-Hall (former CAS intern), Dalena Adams, and Alana Johnson. They were accompanied by CAS intern Bill Wireman, and founding directors Brian McKnight, Amy Clark, and David Rouse.
UVa-Wise students Alana Johnson and Dalena Adams presented their qualitative study on “The Gendered Language of Gravestones: A Comparative Study of Central and Northern Appalachian Cemeteries” in a poster session on March 27. This study examined the gravestones of two public cemeteries in a western Pennsylvania township and in a far southwest Virginia town, and found gendered rhetorical patterns in how men and women have been represented in death from the late 19th century to present day. The study also suggests that these patterns can be linked to sociocultural shifts in Appalachia in the past century, and suggests that its cemeteries also function as sites of rhetorical power for the living.
CAS Co-Director Amy Clark participated in a roundtable discussion of Appalachian Studies Programs and Centers.
Clark was also awarded the Stephen L. Fisher Award for Excellence in Teaching by the ASA, which “recognizes an individual dedicated to intellectual rigor and pedagogical integrity in constructing and delivering inclusive knowledge about Appalachia and its people.” She was presented a plaque at the ASA awards banquet by Theresa Burriss, director of Radford University’s Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center.
Pictured above, CAS at ASA: (L to R): Evan Couch, Bill Wireman, Corbin Hayslett, Tessa McCoy-Hall, Dr. Amy Clark (CAS Co-Director.)
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Psychology major Cassondra Chadwell, a UVa-Wise senior, conducted research that suggests that expressions of gratitude and positive affect can improve a person’s perception of relationships.
The Big Stone Gap native found that gratitude only worked if it was effortful. Chadwell’s research, conducted under the guidance of Professor Madelynn Shell, suggests that interventions that increase positive affect could improve positive relationships over time. According to Chadwell, her findings could be used to improve relationships in general or could be used for specific groups to form or maintain positive relationships.
Chadwell presented her research “Gratitude and Positive Affect as Predictors of Positive Relationships,” at the Southeastern Psychological Association’s regional conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“It was very exciting and eye opening,” she said. “It opened a lot of doors. I got to meet with students with similar ambitions and goals, and the public speaking aspect was beneficial.”
Chadwell began her work by noting earlier research that suggested positive social relationships have the potential to impact emotional and psychological well-being, and that it is critical to identify factors that can predict the formation and maintenance of such relationships. Her study attempted to identify whether expressing gratitude improves positive relationships and if this is moderated by effort put into gratitude expression.
To conduct her research, Chadwell used 140 students who completed pretest measures, including perceptions of positive relationships and positive affect. During the survey, the participants kept an online journal for at least four days a week for nearly a month. Those participating were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. The experimental group was asked to list three things they were grateful for each day and the control group listed three things they did each day. All participants rated the amount of effort put into each day’s journal. At the end of the journal project, participants once again reported on their perceptions of positive relationships.
She found that the expressions of gratitude improved a person’s perception of relationships and that focusing on expressing that gratitude could improve how a person views their relationships.
“The biggest thing was the writing,” she said. “Writing in psychology is key, and my writing has improved. The public speaking and the experience of getting up there and explaining my research gave me more confidence for my plans to go on to graduate school.”
Chadwell said working with Professor Shell was beneficial on many levels.
“She had been in my shoes before and had seen it from a student’s perspective,” Chadwell explained. “She was able to give me feedback and constructive comments, and that was always helpful, especially when I got discouraged.”
The next step for Chadwell, after she graduates in May, is to sort her choices for graduate school. She is considering several, but is seriously considering a program in industrial organizational psychology.
She has enjoyed her time at UVa-Wise and said the personalized attention she received from faculty and staff helped her along the way.
“They always want us to succeed as students and pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she said.
In her spare time, Chadwell enjoys running and hiking. She is president of Psi Chi, public relations officer for the Student Activities Board, involved in the National Society of Leadership and Service and Delta Iota, and she will soon be inducted into the Darden Society.
John D. Simon, executive vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, will deliver the commencement address to The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Class of 2015.
Commencement 2015 is set for May 9 at 11 a.m. in the David J. Prior Convocation Center.
As provost, Simon, who is also the Robert C. Taylor Professor of Chemistry, is charged with directing the academic administration of the University’s 11 schools, its library, art museum, public service activities, numerous University centers, foreign study programs and the advancement of teaching and research.
Provost Simon served as the vice-provost for academic affairs at Duke University from 2005 to 2011. In that position, he was responsible for overseeing Duke’s strategic planning and for nurturing campus-wide academic initiatives to connect the humanities, social sciences and sciences. He chaired Duke’s chemistry department from 1999-2004.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College in 1979 and his doctorate degree from the department of chemistry of Harvard University in 1983. After a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA, Simon joined the department of chemistry and biochemistry there in 1985. He later moved to Duke University as the George B. Gellar Professor in 1998.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, Simon has earned many fellowships and awards for his scientific work, including the Presidential Young Investigator Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award and the Fresenius Award.
UVa-Wise student Casey Page, a member of the College’s bluegrass band, has helped launch a project to raise money for the Wise County Food Bank after it was destroyed last month by heavy snow.
Page, with help from the Wesley Foundation, organized the Highland Bluegrass Benefit Festival. The event is set for April 16 at 7 p.m. in the David J. Prior Convocation Center at UVa-Wise.
“I love bluegrass,” the Pound resident said. “I thought it would be good to take my love of bluegrass and use it to raise money for the Food Bank.”
Page, a senior music education major, has been a fan of traditional mountain music since he was a child. He grew up in the Old Regular Baptist Church and listened to the music on the radio as his family drove to church.
“I love the traditional mountain instruments,” he said. “I later learned to sing in church.”
His work with the UVa-Wise Bluegrass Band put him in a unique situation to put his plan to help the Food Bank in action. Organizers hope to raise $15,000 for the Food Bank.
All proceeds for the benefit go to the Food Bank. As of April 1, the UVa-Wise Bluegrass Band, Angel Rose, Rush Creek, Poplar Hill Reunion and Tommy Shortt are performing. Doors will open at 6 p.m. the evening of the concert for general seating admission.
All tickets are sold by donation, and organizers suggest donations of $10 for bleacher seats and $30 for floor seats. Tickets are available at the Prior Center Box Office or from the Wesley Foundation, located near Alumni Hall across from campus. Call the Prior Center Box office at 276-376-3431 or the Wesley Foundation 276-328-6826 to reserve tickets. Tickets may also be purchased from Wesley Fellowship student leaders and campus minister Beth Tipton.
In addition, organizers will collect non-perishable food items during the event.
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