Rural Renewal Symposium planned for Oct. 5

Oklahoma State University will host the third annual Rural Renewal Symposium on Oct. 5 at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center in Stillwater.

The event, which unites stakeholders and researchers from across the U.S. to share current rural renewal research, will take place 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with check-ins beginning at 8 a.m.

The symposium will be held in-person for the first time since its start in 2020. More than 150 people representing 39 states participated in the inaugural symposium, which was hosted in a virtual format.

“We expect participants from a variety of states, such as Florida, Virginia, Nebraska and Texas,” said Tyson Ochsner, one of the co-directors of OSU’s Rural Renewal Initiative. “It is great to be able to bring this group together to advance research for rural people and places.”

The Rural Renewal Initiative began in 2019 and includes a team of diverse researchers and external partners committed to improving quality of life in rural Oklahoma communities and beyond through interdisciplinary research, student involvement and community engagement.

The symposium is meant to foster collaboration among rural renewal scientists on issues facing rural communities while promoting related research, according to Audrey King, a co-director of the initiative. Research from three of the program’s seed grant projects and eight rural scholars will be presented at the symposium.

“Watching research come full circle, from developing an idea to sharing results, is satisfying and exciting,” King said. “I look forward to hearing from students about their summer research experiences.”

The Rural Renewal Research Prize and the Rural Renewal Citizenship Prize will both be awarded during the symposium.

The winner of the 2022 Rural Renewal Research Prize is Amy Price Azano, associate professor of adolescent literacy and rural education in the School of Education and the founding director of the Center for Rural Education at Virginia Tech. Azano’s research has focused on gifted and talented programming, rural schools and communities, and addressing the challenges of young people in rural areas.

“Her work has led to broader and deeper thinking about how education affects rural communities and is of great significance to Appalachia and all of rural America,” King said.

The winner of the Rural Renewal Citizenship Prize will be named at a later date.

Advanced registration is required and is $100 for professionals and $50 for students and community members. To view the event’s full agenda, visit the Rural Renewal Initiative website.