On the first day of class, Tim Ezzell asks his students what comes to mind when they hear the word Appalachia. Invariably, he hears words like hillbillies and moonshine. At the end of the semester, he asks the same question and instead gets answers like hard-working, family, and resilient. In its fifteenth year, the UT class is part of a program called the Appalachian Teaching Project sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission. This year’s students are working with the Copper Basin Learning Center to raise at least $2,000 through crowdfunding to buy a 3D printer for the community near Ducktown, Tennessee.
“I think a lot of people underestimate these Appalachian youth,” said Ezzell, political science lecturer and project director. “These are smart young people. Give them the tools and some space and I think they will surprise folks with what they can accomplish.”
The project runs until November 13. Donations can be made on the project’s indiegogo page.