Entering this class I did not know about all the stereotypes about Appalachia and what all encompassed the region of Appalachia. From the beginning of the semester I was surprised to learn about what is commonly thought about the region. I was not aware that the stereotypes were so wide spread in their beliefs. Throughout the semester I learned about how the region is underrepresented and how those stereotypes were created and maintained. In my major, thinking is more science based and rarely involves thinking about the culture and the stereotypes. This course has opened my perspective to include more than just the science but how the science can affect the community.
Along with that, I was not used to reading so much opinion based and humanities driven material. It was an adjustment transitioning from reading scientific papers to more culturally based papers. Also, I had never written a blog before so that was a different type of assignment that I had not been exposed to before.
My favorite part about the class that made the biggest impression on me was the field trip to Kayford. I feel that that trip really opened my eyes to what mountain top removal really was and how much damage it was doing to the environment. I learned a lot about mountain top removal but also about how there are very passionate people out there that are fighting against these practices. Learning about mountain top removal and looking at pictures in a classroom doesn’t truly give you as profound of an impact as seeing it in person. This opened my eyes to think about what I could do and what other things could be done to either stop these practices or help minimize their impact.
Learning about mountain top removal and thinking more about the community has slightly shifted my eventual career path in that I want to help minimize the environmental impact of practices such as mountain top removal. Being able to see the impacts in person allowed for me to fully realize what this mining has done to the environment and the community.
Andrew Smith, Junior, Geosciences major, Geochemistry Option, Fall 2016, Midlothian VA, HUM 1704