Daniel Showalter

I realized I never actually set up a page on this wikispace, but I would assume that we're all in this (to varying degrees) for the long haul rather than just a quarter, so it's probably worth it for me to go ahead and do it now.

I'll divide my experiences with rural up into three chunks: Childhood, Twenties, Ohio University

I grew up in Bellefontaine until the age of 8, and then moved to West Liberty (an adjacent town). West Liberty is a town of only 2,000, but it is still engraved in my memory as a sort of metropolis, because I was a country kid. I grew up a mile outside of the town limits which may not seem far, but it was enough to isolate me from all the social ongoings of the town kids. Our property included a section of forest, which is where I spent most of my free time - building forts, damming the creek to make a swimming hole, blazing trails, etc. Our property was surrounded by farms, and I helped bail in the summers, but I wouldn't consider my rural childhood exposure an agricultural one.

I spent half of this decade overseas backpacking and teaching. I started off in the cities, simply because those were the places I had heard of, and the public transportation made them easier to navigate without a car. At some point, mostly by coincidence, I started getting out into the countryside more and found it enthralling. In particular, there was a 14-month stead where I drifted from one rural area to another - the tribal lands of India, the mountains of central Nepal, the rice fields of Cambodia, the jungles of Laos and northern Thailand, the raw borderlands of the eastern Tibetan border, Mongolian gurs, a farm in Finland, and a small castle village in Switzerland. Looking back, my trips to the cities were "visits" whereas my rural stays were all "mini-homes" (with the exception of a particularly delightful intentional community I stayed with in St. Petersburg, Russia).

Ohio University
I was intrigued by some of the work with rural areas going on at OU when I applied, but only in the peripheral. My main intent was to dive into mathematics and become a math teacher (or professor) who would be adept at making mathematics relevant to the students in one way or another. I was also searching for ways to focus on the wellbeing of students beyond their academic "progress" because that had been my experience while travelling. Bob (Klein) was my master's advisor and, being involved in several rural projects himself, introduced me to some rural topics as well as rural academie (namely the Howleys and Jerry Johnson). With the Howleys, I spent a summer working with interview data from a 7-site study on place-based mathematics education. With Jerry, I did statistical work for a couple projects involving rural policy. I could talk more extensively about these projects, as well as the ones that followed, but that might defeat the purpose of an intro page. Suffice it to say, rural is now near the top of my academic endeavors and is the thread that links together most of my professional work from the past couple years. I continue to wrestle with how exactly to handle my views and interests in rural efforts, but it is a productive tension. I am always up for a good conversation on the subject!