Dr. Sarah Beasley to deliver featured presentation at BSC’s Cele - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Dr. Sarah Beasley to deliver featured presentation at BSC’s Celebration of Human Rights week


Bluefield, WV — A presentation focused upon “Appalachian Stereotypes and the Impact on Student Success” will be a focal point of Bluefield State College’s celebration of Human Rights Week.  The presentation, by Dr. Sarah Beasley (Director of Retention at Concord University) will take place on November 12, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Hebert Gallery, Harris-Jefferson Student Center.

“Redneck, Hillbilly. . . .these are stereotypes we hear about West Virginia and its people,” Dr. Beasley observed.  Her presentation addresses the question, “How do these labels affect students’ belief in their capability to be successful in college?,” by exploring stereotype threat, the relation between academic self-confidence and other non-cognitive factors and student success, as well as the practices and interventions that build students’ academic self-confidence, sense of belonging, and perseverance.

“Appalachian stereotype threat is real, regardless of how beautiful our mountains and streams are . . . .regardless of the fact that we are the kindest, most hardworking, patriotic people you could ever hope to meet,” added Dr. Sarita Rhonemus, (Director of Outreach Programs at BSC).  “Sometimes, just the idea that you think you might be less intelligent than others will make you less likely to compete in school, sports, and the workplace.”

Dr. Beasley holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Boston College.  Her research on college access and success of rural, first-generation students won the National Rural Education Association dissertation award.  “In a time that is so dependent on increasing the number of college graduates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, Dr. Beasley’s research is both relevant and timely,” Dr. Rhonemus noted.

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