Two WVSU Students Chosen for W.Va. Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia Folkways Project Fellowship

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
February 17, 2022
Two WVSU Students Chosen for W.Va. Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia Folkways Project Fellowship

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Two West Virginia State University (WVSU) graduate students have been selected as fellows for West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia Folkways Project.

Leeshia Lee and Angelica Willis were recently selected for the fellowships, which span a nine-month period during the regular college academic year.

“Leeshia and Angelica are outstanding candidates for our fellowship,” said Eleanor Gould, Folkways Project coordinator. “Our goal is to support the growth and development of the fellows in their storytelling and leadership skills.”

Butch Antolini, interim executive director for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, said the fellowship will provide the graduate students hands-on reporting skills and generate content highlighting African American folk life, arts, and culture in Appalachia.

Public Broadcasting representatives said that mentoring student producers of content focusing on the African American Appalachian experience, actively building a diverse corps of Folkways reporters, and partnering with African American teachers, trainers, and producers, is an integral part of the project.

Gould said the long-term goal is greater diversity, not just in content, but to begin to foster an atmosphere where greater diversity can thrive across the organization.

Lee and Willis will produce at least two stories, participate in all aspects of the Folkways Reporting Corps, be mentored by esteemed African American content producers from across the region, learn the basics of audio reporting and Folkways storytelling, and expand the Folkways Project to purposefully include exploration of the African American experience in Appalachia.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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