Giving to Duke

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Emily Hadley ’15 is from a rural town in New Hampshire. She knows first-hand what it is like to grow up feeling isolated and to face limited career opportunities at home. That’s why she jumped at the chance to spend the summer helping girls living in Laurel, North Carolina, a similar community in the Appalachian Mountains with few educational resources and poor job prospects.

Emily’s Bass Connections project team, led by faculty members Deborah Hicks (Social Science Research Institute) and Robert Korstad (Sanford School of Public Policy) researched the educational challenges and opportunities in the region and launched the pilot program, Education and Rural Entrepreneurship in Appalachia (EREA). They taught middle school girls entrepreneurial skills, such as business planning, marketing, and how to launch small ventures, like a baking business. Their goals are to prevent young girls from dropping out of school and help them be successful in their native communities.

“I love applying my academic studies beyond the classroom and building my problem-solving and teamwork skills,” says Emily. “I have only just begun to appreciate the power of research, collaboration, and passion in driving social change and look forward to the many exciting developments on the horizon."