Image by Annie Spratt

Just Corn and Cows? Exploring the Rural Divide

Led by Allen Huang (allenh2@stanford.edu) and Zac Stoor (zacstoor@stanford.edu)

Do you want to engage with issues facing rural America? Step outside the bubble. Rural areas are home to 97% of the country’s landmass and 19% of its population, but many Americans aren't aware of the many struggles and successes among rural communities. For example, 40% of rural Americans are still left without effective broadband Internet access, unable to open the door to opportunities for development and implementation of technology. Through our one-unit Winter Quarter class and spring break trip, we will engage with issues that disproportionately affect rural communities including health care, internet access, and agriculture. We’ll look at patterns in the rural-urban divide across the US, with an emphasis on Mississippi and the South, through a historic, social, and economic lens. While being exposed to a diversity of perspectives is a vital goal of Stanford’s education, only about 4% of Stanford undergrads hail from rural areas. We aim to provide students with a learning experience they otherwise may not encounter. We hope it will be a unique opportunity for future policymakers, computer scientists, business owners, and other leaders to engage in constructive dialogue and brainstorm solutions for challenges in America’s future.