Lauri Andress, Ph.D.
The thing that is important is not the thing itself but what we do with it…how we name it and treat it.
As a community engaged place and health scholar, my scholarship is informed by the basic notion of social justice and the inquiry into power differentials that shape the places where populations “live, work, and play”. The goal being to shift the way that a community thinks about and conceptualizes notions of good and poor health. I have conducted research on infrastructure issues in West Virginia including transportation planning, food access and food deserts for low income women, children, the homeless, and seniors.
A qualitative public health assessment on the connection between place and health, my scholarship portrays the lived experiences of underrepresented (UR) groups in West Virginia as told by and through their stories, photos, narratives and video recordings. These digital records are intended to help us see the connections between lived experiences and larger historical, social, and structural forces of a place.
The digital records are valid evidence because they have been co-constructed in a dialogue between the researcher and the community member to learn about and lift up lived experiences of the underrepresented (UR) in our community.
Additionally, these digital records aide in determining how a community (society) will make meaning of those experiences and use them to develop the policies, systems, and practices that shape a place, drive a community, and create population health.
From a 60, 000-foot level the place and health scholarship presented examines the agenda setting process, what counts as evidence and the role that ideas, framing, narratives, and political ideology versus science, facts, and evidence play in policy discussions.
Sandra Fallon is an adult education specialist with over 20 years’ experience developing and delivering educational programs on water, energy, environmental, and equity issues to local, state, national, and international clients. She served as Education and Training Manager for the National Environmental Services Center at West Virginia University (1998-2016), a federally funded program that provided drinking water and wastewater-related information, technical assistance, and training services to small and rural water systems and communities throughout the United States. Her international work involved managing a team of experts to develop and deliver a series of water-related training programs to small transboundary watershed groups in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Currently, she is a program coordinator for the TransTech Energy (TTE) Research and Business Development Program. TTE provides mentoring and educational services to help energy innovators and startup companies in the West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio tri-state region secure early-stage investment funding. She also serves as curriculum developer for the West Virginia University School of Public Health’s Transportation Equity Project. Ms. Fallon has served as a board member of the West Virginia Environmental Education Association, manages a local climate change education program, and provides outreach, communication, and media advisory services to numerous organizations and community groups. She has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from The Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in technology education from West Virginia University.
Dr. Matt Purtill
Dr. Purtill’s research is multidisciplinary and includes academic training in Anthropology, Geology, and Geography. He specializes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping and interpretation of spatial data. He applies both quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques and has authored various papers and presentations on a range of topics. He currently is an Assistant Professor in Geology and Environmental Science at SUNY-Fredonia, New York.
Garrett Yurisko, born in Wheeling, WV, attended West Virginia University majoring in Television Journalism. Along with being a multimedia talent, Garrett has his own clothing/media brand entilted “DayoneLifestyle”. Garrett and other other members of his team collaborate in doing music videos, designs, and events. Garrett is also a freelance photographer.
Madison Matheny is a third year undergraduate student at West Virginia University. Madison is from Mineral Wells, West Virginia, where she graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 2017. She is the daughter of Jeff Matheny and Melanie Matheny of Mineral Wells, West Virginia.
Madison is a double major in International Studies and Environmental Geoscience, focusing on Sustainable Development in Africa and the Middle East. Her main interests include environmental sustainability and the impacts of climate on vulnerable populations internationally. Madison is a member of the Honors College and the Helvetia Honorary. She has been involved with the Arabic Studies Club since her freshman year, meeting with other students to explore and celebrate Arabic culture and language. She is a member of the Model United Nations Club, attending conferences in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Erfurt, Germany. She is also a member of the Sierra Student Coalition, a student organization focused on conservation and environmentalism. Madison has been involved with the Student Government Association since her freshman year, first as an intern, then as a Senator focusing on sustainability, and now as Student Body Vice President. Her involvement in Student Government has allowed her to advocate for students on a variety of topics as well as plan many events and initiatives to improve sustainability at WVU. In May, 2019, Madison traveled to Kampala, Uganda, for a study abroad program focused on Sustainable Development in Africa.
Madison began working with Dr. Lauri Andress in November, 2017 on a project researching Transportation in Monongalia County. The project aimed to conduct qualitative research with vulnerable populations in Monongalia county. Madison conducted interviews with individuals to learn about their experiences with transportation, and what effects transportation had on their ability to maintain a healthy diet, receive regular healthcare, and generally on their day to day life. She also worked with Dr. Andress to plan a transportation workshop, in which participants came to learn more about transportation systems and civic institutions to train them to advocate for themselves. Madison was a participant in both the Research Apprenticeship Program and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, a highly selective program which allowed her to dedicate her summer to this project.
After graduation, Madison plans to attend Law School and focus on Environmental Law, hoping to pursue a career in environmental advocacy and regulation policy.