Appalachian Information Technology Extension Project

By Peggy S. Meszaros, Patricia Sobrero, Sandra Schneider, Crystal Duncan Lane, Shirley Hastings, Ann Vail and Lydia Marek.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Through the NSF-funded Appalachian Information Technology Extension Services (AITES) grant, Family and Consumer Science (FCS) professionals are utilizing an Extension model to solve an Information Technology (IT) talent crisis for girls. The goal is to increase community capacity over five years in five states in rural Appalachia through a sustainable program of change concentrating not on the girls, but by mobilizing the social capital in their lives. In the first year approximately 365 parents, teachers, and counselors were involved in at least one session provided by the Virginia Community Cohort Teams of middle and high school teachers and counselors and FCS and 4H Agents. FCS professionals are pioneering an innovative model to build community capacity and social capital that brings more females into the IT career pipeline. The model builds on the commitment of the profession to empower communities and also becomes an economic development, workforce development, and human development engine. While this model is in its early stages, if successful, it will provide a template for professionals in other rural regions to mobilize communities to help solve the IT talent crisis.

Keywords: Talent Crisis, Information Technology, Appalachia, Females

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.91-104. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.562MB).

Dr. Peggy S. Meszaros

Professor and Director, Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Human Development and Research Director, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA

Dr. Peggy S. Meszaros is the William E. Lavery Professor of Human Development and Founding Director of the Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth and Families. She received her degrees from Austin Peay State University, the University of Kentucky and University of Maryland, College Park. During the over 28 years of her work in higher education, her research interests have focused on positive youth development, technology impacts, human ecological, family and gender issues. She has published over 80 scholarly articles, 3 books, numerous book chapters and received over 6 million dollars in external research grants. She is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) on the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research grant, “Appalachian Information Technology Extension Services” and the PI on two Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation research grants.

Dr. Patricia Sobrero

Associate Vice Chancellor, North Carolina State University, USA

Dr. Patricia (Pat) M. Sobrero provides leadership to strategic planning, the scholarship of engagement, urban programs, and evaluation of extension, engagement and economic development programs across the colleges and units on campus and statewide. She also brings multi-disciplinary faculty and staff together to strengthen partnerships between North Carolina’s Gateway Counties, their partners, and university departments. She is a tenured full professor in the Agriculture and Extension Education Department, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State.

Sandra Schneider

Radford University, USA

Dr. Sandra B. Schneider, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Education in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership and Graduate Faculty, Mathematics Master’s Program Initiative, College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Radford University. Sandra received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in 2006. She received her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction in 2000, and her B.A. in Communication Studies in 1998-all from Virginia Tech. Sandra’s research and teaching interests include: Educational advocacy, critical literacy, Social Justices, Equity and education, the social organization of instruction, community-based participatory research, action research and the integration of sociocultural and multi-modal orientations and the use of electronic and mobile technologies in education and outreach.

Crystal Duncan Lane

Virginia Tech, USA

Crystal Duncan Lane, Ph.D. has served on the AITES project at Virginia Tech since its initial planning stages when she was the graduate research assistant. In August 2011 she assumed the role of AITES Program Manager. At the end of the 2010-2011 academic year, Dr. Lane received a doctorate in Human Development from Virginia Tech with a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. Prior to her doctoral work, Dr. Lane served as Grant Administrator in the Department of Family Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. While there she completed a post-master’s fellowship in Interdisciplinary Rural Health and served as adjunct faculty with the Early Childhood Education program at Mount Olive College. Dr. Lane earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from East Carolina University. As part of her master’s graduate program, she completed a dual internship at the Walter B. Jones Alcohol, Drug, Addiction Treatment Center and Eastern Surgical Associates, Inc. Dr. Lane has been a Certified Family Life Educator with the National Council on Family Relations since 2001. She is a native of southwest Virginia.

Dr. Shirley Hastings

Professor and Associate Dean, University of Tennessee, USA

Dr. Hastings has been on the faculties of Oklahoma State University and Mississippi State University and was the Director of the School of Human Sciences at Mississippi State University before joining the faculty of The University of Tennessee. She has worked at the county, district, and state level as an Extension Home Economist, a 4-H Youth Agent, a 4-H District Agent, and State 4-H Specialist. She has worked with the Cooperative Extension Service in five states including Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi and Tennessee. Her experience includes work in rural as well as urban areas.

Dr. Ann Vail

Director, Assistant Director, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky, USA

Dr. Ann Vail is Director of the School of Human Environmental Sciences and Assistant Director of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension at the University of Kentucky. Prior to coming to Kentucky she was Department Head for two departments at New Mexico State University—Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and Department of Extension Home Economics. She held faculty positions in Family and Consumer Sciences Education at Iowa State University, University of Idaho, and Ohio State University. She has a Ph.D. and M.S. from Ohio State University and a B.S. from Colorado State University in Family and Consumer Sciences Education.

Dr. Lydia Marek

Research Scientist, Director, Family and Community Research Laboratory, Virginia Tech, USA

Dr. Lydia I. Marek is President of Evaluation Consulting Services (ECS), Inc. and is a Research Scientist in the Department of Human Development at Virginia Tech. Dr. Marek’s current research focuses on community capacity, community coalition assessment, sustainability of community-based programs, and evaluation of prevention and intervention programs. She has been involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of primary prevention and intervention programs in a variety of communities since the early 1990s. Dr. Marek has and continues to provide extensive evaluation services to many agencies including, NSF funded research, United States Department of the Army, United States Department of the Air Force, United States Department of Agriculture, Virginia Department of Mental Health, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and America’s Promise. Her research has been published in many books and periodicals, including Family Relations, Journal of Primary Prevention, Journal of Family Psychotherapy, Journal of Community Practices, and in the books, Research Methods in Family Therapy, and Looking Back, Look Forward: Life Course Unfolding of parenthood. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Family Life Educator.


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