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Rural Matters

Apr 14, 2022

In Part III of our superb series, Designing Postsecondary Alternatives for Rural Learners, produced in collaboration with and underwritten by one of our most exciting new partners, PelotonU. Michelle chats with three terrific guests about pathways for collaboration with rural communities: Laura Wise, Program Director for the Michigan State University College Advising Corps (MSUCAC), which supports college access for low-income, first-generation, and under-represented students; Regan Kelly from TNTP, who oversees academic work and leads teams of experts to support literacy instruction in districts across the state of Tennessee; and Maria Luna-Torres, Project Director at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, where she manages the implementation of AgriLife’s Rural Student Success demonstration project. Wise discusses the mission of her organization, the challenges she observes when college advisors enter rural communities to support students, and best practices for organizations to follow to more effectively engage with their communities. Kelly talks about the lessons she has learned from her work in Tennessee and tips for success in partnering with rural communities. Luna-Torres touches on lessons learned from her experience as Director of the Rural Student Success Initiative, and how she approaches outreach in a state as large as Texas. This episode, and the entire four-part series, is sponsored by PelotonU, whose innovative and regionally accredited degree options flip the script on higher education and allow learners to fit college around their lives rather than fitting their lives around college. Learners can try it for six weeks risk-free with no money down. Visit to get started.