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  JUNE 03, 2011
East Tennessee Students Selected for ASPIRE Appalachia Scholarship

castleMs. Karie Castle and Ms. Katie Baker at the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health have been selected as recipients of the 2011 “Alphin Scholarship to Promote the Integration of Research and Environmental education” in Appalachia (ASPIRE Appalachia).  The program supports East Tennessee students who wish to complete their field placement in a rural Appalachian Community.  

Ms. Castle is a senior undergraduate student pursuing a BS in Environmental Health. Originally, from the small Appalachian community of Castlewood, in Russell County Virginia, she plans to obtain practical work experience before attending graduate school to obtain a master’s degree in Engineering.


Ms. Castle will be completing her field placement with the Boone Watershed Partnership.  This partnership “works with local users, regional, state and federal entities, educators and others to identify and address water resource issues in the Boone Watershed, an area of about 686 square miles” located in five contiguous counties in the Appalachian areas of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. She will assist with restoration projects involving both Sinking Creek and Gap Creek, both listed as 303 (d) “impaired waterways” in central Appalachia. 


In 1969, East Tennessee’s undergraduate program in Environmental Health became the first program in the country to receive accreditation from the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).


bakerMs. Baker is a DrPH student in the community health track. She is a native of the Appalachian community of Greeneville, Tennessee. She received her undergraduate degree in Health  & Exercise Science from Furman University and a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in maternal and child health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. She received the 2009-2010 award for Outstanding DrPH Student in Community Health.  


Ms. Baker’s most recent research was published in the December 2010 issue of the Archives of Dermatology, and received national attention, with The New York Times,, and The Huffington Post featuring write-ups on her work.  She also received first place in her division in the 2011 Appalachian Student Research Forum. Upon completion of her doctorate, she plans to continue her work in teaching and in research, with a focus on parent-child communication and its impact on high-risk health behaviors among adolescents.


Ms. Baker will complete her field experience this summer with the Tennessee Cancer Coalition, working in the Appalachian counties of the northeast region of the state. She will be involved with education and outreach and with program development for local community organizations regarding skin cancer prevention and sun safety. 


ASPIRE Appalachia is made possible by support from the Love Everybody Fund and the Hope Through Healing Hands Foundation,  


[Photos (from top to bottom): Ms. Karie Castle and Ms. Katie Baker]