The purpose of this project is to document the reasons for brain drain in central Appalachia, and the organizations that are encouraging the rural return movement. Brain drain, the theory that the best and brightest people leave and never return the first chance they get, has had a noticeably negative impact on the Appalachian region. This journalistic research project focuses on two organizations and two businesses dedicated to making positive change in Appalachia. Included are interviews with Ivy Brashear of MACED (Mountain Association for Community Economic Development), leaders from the Appalachian Media Institute, The Stay (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) Project, and Bitsource. These interviews amplify the efforts to revitalize Appalachia in the wake of economic decline. These organizations are working toward diversifying the economy and encouraging a more accepting social atmosphere so that the younger generation of Appalachian people will see various, long-term opportunities in the region, as well a as progressive, accepting social climate. If prolonged, work by these organizations may further encourage rural return, the recent trend of high-achieving young people choosing to return to rural areas to stimulate growth of all kinds.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-9-2016


Deborah T. Givens

Mentor Professional Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Art and Design