HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Juniata College in Huntingdon received a significant grant to help support a program that helps students learn about life in rural communities.

The liberal arts college was given a $149,989 implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will support the program titled “Rural Experience: Fostering Narrative Imagination and Civic Curiosity.”

Students and faculty involved in the project will collect oral histories, research local archival data, and examine community dynamics of people in the rural U.S.

“This is our fourth award from the NEH since 2020, which underscores the importance of the humanities to our identity as a liberal arts college,” Juniata’s Provost Lauren Bowen said. “The NEH was so impressed with our proposal that they will include it in their new national initiative, ‘American Tapestry.’ Our focus on rural experiences through an interdisciplinary humanities lens resonates with the NEH’s turn toward contemporary social challenges. Providing students with meaningful engagement in their local community is central to our mission and our commitment to our location.”

Project director Amanda Page was among those who helped lead the grant application process and said the program is a great opportunity to show the richness of rural life.

Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter

“Rural people have been consistently marginalized throughout history. Rural people have deep roots in their communities, and even when industry leaves, or workplaces change, there’s value in small communities where people have those long-established roots and deep commitments,” Page said. “There are lots of beautiful stories of how people have made ways for their families and how culture has grown in these regions. This is an opportunity to show the richness of rural life and a good chance to show college students the benefits of being in a small place where you really can make a difference.”

The NEH has awarded over $5.6 billion for humanities projects through more than 64,000 grants since its creation in 1965.