Dr. Jacqueline Yahn, a middle childhood education coordinator and lecturer at Ohio University’s Eastern Campus, has been awarded the Edward W. Chance Memorial Rural Education Dissertation Award by the National Rural Education Association (NREA).
The award recognizes doctoral research that makes both a significant contribution to rural education and addresses issues of current concern. Dr. Yahn’s research consisted of a qualitative study which took place within seven counties in Appalachian Ohio. Each county had decided to lease their natural gas rights to various oil and gas companies for exploration and drilling.
With this in mind, she considered how the leaders of those counties navigated the pressures and responsibilities of entering into legally binding agreements with natural gas companies.
Dr. Yahn formally accepted the award earlier this month during the 2017 National Forum to Advance Rural Education in Columbus, Ohio.
“I’m very proud of Dr. Yahn’s national recognition and commend her research efforts that took place right here within our region,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “OHIO houses many of higher education’s foremost scholars and researchers, and their work continues to impact our state, nation and world.”
"I'm still in the ‘shocked’ phase," Yahn said, when asked how she felt about winning the award, "It's incredibly humbling and exciting."
Yahn noted that winning the award is especially an honor because of the winners who have come before her, particularly both Karen Eppley (a 2009 winner) and Erin McHenry-Sorber (a 2012 winner), whose research she unknowingly came across while writing her own dissertation.
Yahn became involved in the NREA as a doctoral student after being exposed to the importance of rural education because of the involvement of her professors.
The NREA serves as an advocate of all rural schools and communities across the United States, whether having recently completed important research that needs to be published or looking for help with the specific education needs within a community.
Yahn thanked the "excellent committee" that guided her doctoral process during the awards ceremony, particularly noting the chair, Dr. Frans Doppen, and Dr. William Larson, Dr. Charles Lowery and Dr. Geoffrey Buckley.
“Each of them played an integral part in my success because they allowed me to run with my ideas while giving me the feedback that I needed to do better,” Yahn said.
Yahn also acknowledged OHIO’s Patton College of Education as a "wonderful place" for both faculty and students to learn and thrive.