Education and Rural Entrepreneurship in Appalachia (2014-2015)

Building on the foundation of the previous Bass Connections project team’s work, this project team explored educational needs, challenges and opportunities in North Carolina’s rural mountain communities.

Only four and a half hours from Duke, communities such as Spring Creek, Hot Springs and Laurel sit close to the eastern Tennessee border, in a region in which past generations found meaningful work and a way of life in farming. This team explored how Duke University faculty, researchers and students can collaborate with local educators and community people to understand the reasons for these challenges, and to achieve educational outcomes of benefit to young lives in Appalachian North Carolina.

This project team researched the educational challenges and opportunities in rural Madison County in western North Carolina, in conjunction with the Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education, and launched a pilot program, Education and Rural Entrepreneurship in Appalachia (EREA). Team members taught middle-school girls entrepreneurial skills, such as business planning, marketing and how to launch small ventures, such as a baking business.



Team Outcomes

Rethinking Appalachia (symposium, March 31, 2015)


Emily Hadley

This Team in the News

Starting Out on the Road to Success

EducationNC Features PAGE in Weeklong Series

PAGE Exhibition: What Happens When We Invest in Inspiring, Educating, and Empowering Girls

PAGE: Creating 21st Century Learners and Leaders

A Friend of Anne Frank Leaves Her Mark on PAGE

PAGE through the Eyes of Olivia

Growing Leaders: Three PAGE Interns and Their Stories

The Power of One, Vulnerable Voice

Mikalah and Her Lens

The Story of PAGE: Empowering the Girls of Appalachia

The Girl Effect

Program Reaches Out to Rural N.C. Girls

A Digital Future for Appalachia

The Student Experience

Diana Dai and Matthew Sebastian Receive Human Rights Center Grants

This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. See earlier related team, Education, Poverty and Economic Inequality in Rural Appalachia (2013-2014).

Team Leaders

  • Deborah Hicks, Social Science Research Institute
  • Robert Korstad, Sanford School of Public Policy

/graduate Team Members

  • Laurel Wheeler, Economics-AM, Economics-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Abby Ardis, Biology (BS)
  • Diana Dai, Public Policy Studies (AB), Int Comparative Studies (AB2)
  • Christy McDaniel, Psychology (AB), Sociology (AB2)
  • Risa Pieters, Philosophy (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Bailey Sincox, English (AB)
  • Benjamin Wang, Evolutionary Anthropology (BS)