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Meet ReImagine Appalachia’s Summer 2022 Interns!

By Blog, Events & Updates

By Molly Updegrove

ReImagine Appalachia is excited to highlight our 2022 Summer Interns!  The ReImagine Appalachia interns are full of enthusiasm, experience, and excitement!  Our interns will be helping to research, provide virtual event-support, and capacity in several of the priorities of our work plan.

Please read more about each of these incredible individuals below and welcome them to the team!

Communications & Outreach – Sophie Muller

Sophie Muller grew up in Elkins, West Virginia, but now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sophie holds Appalachia in a special place in her heart because of all the cherished memories it has given her. Sophie is a junior at Boston University where she is majoring in Environmental Analysis and Policy and minoring in Sustainable Energy and Business. She’s excited to pursue her passion for the environment and her love for Appalachia with Reimagine, and can’t wait to see what the future holds! In her free time, Sophie is a rock climber, a skier, a book lover, and a temporary bed for her dog, Greta.

Policy Matters Ohio Research Intern – Teagan Hughes

Teagan Hughes is a rising senior at Oberlin College majoring in Politics and minoring in Comparative American Studies, with an integrative concentration in Journalism. She grew up in Athens, Ohio, where she developed a love for Appalachian Ohio and the region at large that she is excited to put into action this summer with ReImagine Appalachia and Policy Matters Ohio! Her career interests include public policy research, legal advocacy, and journalism. She is currently one of two Editors-in-Chief of The Oberlin Grape, Oberlin College’s student news and culture magazine. In her free time—scarce though it is—she can be found writing and performing stand-up and sketch comedy on Oberlin’s campus and, on occasion, beyond.

ReImagine Appalachia Research – Molly O’Brien

Molly is a graduate student working on a masters’ degree in public policy, with a concentration in environmental policy, at George Mason University. Her professional experience includes teaching high school Spanish, working in an alternative high school completion program for adults and English-language learners, working in a job training and workforce development program, leading a faith-based nonprofit focused on sustainable development and global mission, and serving as the Administrative Coordinator of the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary. Molly grew up in Maine and Vermont, lived for a few years in Virginia, and now lives in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Appalachian Mountains have played a formational role in many chapters of her life, and she is excited to bring her professional experience and personal passion for the outdoors, environmental activism, and social justice to the role of Research Intern with Reimagine Appalachia. In her free time, Molly can be found hiking, gardening, or playing with her two extremely high-energy dogs, Shadow and Lily.

ReImagine Appalachia Research – Cameron Snowden

Cameron Snowden is from Breathitt County, Kentucky, and is a rising sophomore at Harvard College. During his last semester at Harvard, he founded the Harvard Appalachian Student Association (HAPPSA) with several of his peers from the region. In addition to working as a research intern for ReImagine Appalachia this summer, Cameron is helping construct low-income housing for Appalachian Kentuckians through the Housing Development Alliance in Hazard, Kentucky. Needless to say, he is passionate about Appalachian activism and advocacy, and excited to work with ReImagine Appalachia’s diverse team of forward thinkers this summer!

Working from the ground up

This work is best done together.

We’ve gathered visions from around the region and received input from scores of community leaders. Our endorsements come from organizations representing the voices of millions of residents across four states in the Ohio River Valley: Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.


Expand opportunity through public investments

Create new opportunities for extractive industry workers and build career ladders for young people from all races and backgrounds.


Publicly funded projects should come with strong wages, benefit and diversity requirements, and union rights.


People moving out of extractive industries have skills we need to create the world we want.


Build pathways for women and people of color into union jobs and family-sustaining careers.

We can create good jobs while putting our region’s energy dollars to better use.

Build a 21st century sustainable economy

National climate change legislation and federal economic stimulus packages are opportunities to bring much-needed resources into our region. We must be at the table, together, if we want to get a deal that works for us.


Clean up abandoned properties and put them back to good use. And provide health care and secure pensions for coal workers, especially those with black lung disease.


By upgrading our antiquated electric system, expanding broadband, and making our homes and businesses more energy efficient, we cut emissions, save money and create new jobs.


Our vision grows manufacturing in the region. Federal investments will help us repurpose shuttered coal plants, turning them into eco-industrial parks. Together, we can spur more energy efficient manufacturing and reduce operating costs in a way that doesn’t involve lowering wages.


By laying rail and expanding infrastructure for electric vehicles fueled by renewables, we can create good jobs while putting half of our region’s energy dollars to better use.


To absorb carbon, we can put people to work expanding our forests, wetlands, and sustainable farms. Give hiring priority to returning citizens caught up in the “war on drugs” and opioid epidemic.

Everyone is more successful when people are paid a living wage.

Grow unions, raise wages for all workers

We must improve job quality for working people in all industries by raising the minimum wage and providing them with real rights to form a union.

Taking Action Now

Our work is time sensitive.

We’re working to ensure the people of Appalachia have a say in how our region rebuilds.

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