2021 Rural College Access and Success Summit Reaches New Heights

May 20, 2021
Same Sun Here book cover

The 2021 Rural College Access and Success Summit, held April 26–30, was a huge success, with participants from around the country tuning into the online event. CCNH was pleased to co-host the summit with Partners for Education, an initiative of CCNH member campus Berea College.

More than 1,000 attendees signed up for the virtual summit, one of the few national convenings to focus on education in rural America. This year’s event brought together leaders from higher education, K–12 schools, government, and nonprofits to share information and strategies for helping students in rural areas succeed in school and beyond.

Summit highlights:

In addition to hosting virtual networking sessions, CCNH facilitated a session on the importance of national service and AmeriCorps programs in supporting rural communities. The session featured AmeriCorps Northeast Regional Administrator Maggie Garvey, Bryan Hall from Service Year Alliance, and NH state representative Matthew Wilhelm.

Also speaking at the summit was Michele Tine, Associate Professor of Education at Dartmouth College. Her research focuses on creating effective interventions for low-income students, including specifically those from rural areas.

Authors Silas House and Neela Vaswani discussed their widely acclaimed young adult novel, Same Sun Here. The book follows the pen pal friendship of two 11-year-olds: one living in rural Kentucky and the other in New York City after emigrating from India.

Social change advocate and author Paul Shoemaker led a conversation about building local leaders who are positioned to address hard problems. Joining Shoemaker were two such leaders, Cecilia Gutierrez and Dreama Gentry, featured in his recent book Taking Charge of Change.

Change agent Aminata Cairo discussed why embracing diversity and inclusion can seem like matter-of-fact endeavors to some and like insurmountable challenges to others. Using this jumping off point, Cairo explored ways to create environments where all people can thrive.