As the coal industry declines in Eastern Kentucky, it becomes more and more evident that rural Appalachia’s most valuable resource is not mineral but mental. We must train and retain the brightest minds to help revitalize this region. Steven Palmer will use his recent experiences teaching in coal country to show the current challenges facing educational equality in Appalachia, as well as how we can keep those students who are creators and innovators from leaving the region. This young-person led revitalization in one of the poorest areas of the U.S. could lead to the largest economic turn-around in American history.

About Steven

As a proud alumnus of UT Chattanooga, Steven has been privileged to see the growth and transformation of the Scenic City first-hand. Steven served as a Social Issues, Equity, and Diversity Chairperson and Vice President of the UTC student body. After graduating from UTC in 2014, he joined the Teach For America Appalachia Corps and began the most challenging and eye opening journey of his life. Steven has since been teaching high school and middle school English Language Arts and Drama at Harlan Independent in Harlan, KY.