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Heney, Hitesman, and Hopping receive grant to document regional oral histories

Kelly Hopping, an assistant professor in Human-Environment Systems, and Jill Heney and Tiffany Hitesman, lecturers in the Department of English, received a GEM3 Workforce Development Seed Grant for their project Collecting Gems: Improving Workforce Communication and Listening Skills Through Documenting Oral Histories of Idaho’s Sagebrush Steppe.

Kelly Hopping

Working with others from across campus, they will collaborate with three interdisciplinary Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPs) to train students on collecting and archiving multi-generational oral histories from rural communities across Idaho’s sagebrush steppe.

Tiffany Hitesman

The project addresses the need for increased visibility of rural voices in higher education, develops an archive of local knowledge and experience, emphasizes the practice of listening for researchers and participants, and positions students as interviewers and researchers through a multi-semester experiential learning project.

Jill Heney

The project is recruiting STEM students and students from agricultural or ranching backgrounds for fall enrollment. For students interested in participating in this VIP project, contact Jill Heney at or Tiffany Hitesman at