Hoyas and Highlanders

Deconstructing the Rural-Urban Divide

Georgetown Students: APPLY HERE!

Radford Students: APPLY HERE!


#HoyasAndHighlanders: Deconstructing the Rural-Urban Divide is an experiential learning opportunity organized in partnership with Radford University. This two-part program takes place both in rural Appalachia and Washington, D.C. Our next cohort will begin in June 2019.

Part 1: Radford, Virginia

Together with students from Radford University, Georgetown undergraduate students spend three days exploring in-depth conflict resolution skills through interactive simulations and exercises, constructive outdoor activities, and learning more about rural communities and Appalachian culture.

Goals for this session are to:

  • Understand typical sources of conflict in challenging conversations and how to manage them
  • Build skills to navigate contentious, values-based discussions
  • Engage in fun, challenging outdoor activities, including a ropes course and canoeing, with their peers
  • Develop the cultural dexterity needed to serve as a bridge between urban and rural communities

Part 2: Washington, D.C.

The program continues for a three-day session held in Washington, D.C. Students immerse themselves in the D.C. community and explore issues salient to urban development and renewal specific to D.C., with the aim of further developing skills in dialogue and cultural dexterity explored during the first part of the program.

Students practice negotiation and consensus building skills through interactive, team-based exercises and simulations. Students also take part in activities that showcase D.C. culture and allow students to learn about issues central to the city’s history and urban development. These include site visits to Capitol Hill, Anacostia, Georgetown, and other historic D.C. neighborhoods.

Check out our photo album for another look at the program. Stay tuned for application information in early Spring 2019.

Program Leaders

Rachel Milner Gillers is Director of the Georgetown Baker Negotiation Network and Adjunct Professor of Negotiation and Mediation at the Georgetown University Law Center and McCourt School in Public Policy. She specializes in multi-stakeholder processes, international development, and gender and negotiation.

Theresa L. Burriss serves as Chair of Appalachian Studies and Director of the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center at Radford University. She teaches Appalachian undergraduate and graduate classes on the region’s literature, history, political economy, and social and environmental justice issues.

Don Martin is General Counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. A native of southwestern Virginia, Mr. Martin served as Assistant General Counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency and was a corporate litigator for the law firm, McGuireWoods LLP.

Take A Look

Learn more about the #HoyasAndHighlanders and highlights of their experience in Appalachia:

Suggested Readings

Interested in learning more about the themes and concepts explored during #HoyasAndHighlanders? Check out some suggested readings and videos below:

Books and articles:
The Rise of the Rural Creative Class
How Hiking Could Change the Fate of Rural Appalachia
What You are Getting Wrong About Appalachia

Film and video:
Bourdain’s Field Notes: West Virginia