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Developing future rural leaders through PROPEL

Alan Flurry

Our colleagues in the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach share the inspiring story of how UGA students from across campus explore the needs of rural Georgia communities through the the PROPEL Rural Scholars program:

UGA students are learning about economic drivers in rural Georgia — and why they matter to the state as a whole — as scholars in PROPEL, a unique program led by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. PROPEL (Planning Rural Opportunities for Prosperity and Economic Leadership) provides rural communities with resources to create systems needed to support their own economic and workforce development strategies.

Max White aspires to a management career in rural economic development and is gaining hands-on experience through the PROPEL Rural Scholars program. A third-year atmospheric sciences and economics major whose family goes back generations in Grady County, White recognized the opportunities PROPEL could provide rural communities and how he could be a part of it.

“It made me wonder what I can do to improve conditions in my hometown,” he said.

Launched last fall with a generous $250,000 gift from the University of Georgia Foundation and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the PROPEL Rural Scholars program is part of an overarching effort to help low-income rural cities and counties become more self-sufficient and prosperous.

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Image: Students visit Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Power Plant. (Photo by Shannah Montgomery)

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