Patricia Cunningham Appalachian Student Scholarship

This fund is designated to provide scholarship opportunities to undergraduate students from Appalachian counties in honor of Dr. Patricia Cunningham, WGSS alumna, to further her pledge of increasing access to higher education for underrepresented students. These scholarships will be awarded based on academic merit and commitment to student leadership. 

Dr. Cunningham was a three-time graduate of Ohio State University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Women's Studies in 2002 going on to receive her doctorate in Education Policy and Leadership in 2011. In Women's Studies, She was part of the first cohort of undergraduate students who helped create the department’s Peer Power group, which led discussions on gender, race, and sexuality in area high schools. In the College of Education, she taught courses on race, poverty, gender, civic engagement and leadership, and oversaw several community outreach programs as Director of Social Change. She was the founder of the Appalachian Project Ohio which focused on pathways to education for Ohio State's Appalachian students. 

Dr. Patty dedicated her time, resources, and soul to serving underrepresented students both on and off-campus. She tirelessly worked to break down barriers for students to obtain a college education and pursue their endeavors beyond. She will be greatly missed by the many students she mentored and the OSU community. 

Apply For the 2024-2025 Scholarship

One $500 scholarship will be awarded for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Criteria, Eligibility & Application Materials:

  • GPA of 3.4 or higher
  • May not be a senior graduating in Spring 2024
  • Resume
  • Undergraduate students must be from the Appalachian region.
  • Declared in an Arts and Sciences major.
  • Students must be enrolled full-time during the 2024-2025 academic year


  • March 11, 2024

Apply to the 2024-2025 Scholarship Now

Congratulations to our 2021 Scholarship Winner, Emily Taft!

2021 Cunningham Scholarship Winner, Emily Taft


My name is Emily Taft and I am a second-year student at The Ohio State University. I am honored to be recognized as the recipient of the Patricia Cunningham Appalachian Student Scholarship. This scholarship will go far in continuing my studies here at Ohio State. Thanks to your generosity, I am able to put more of my focus on my education rather than how it will be funded.

I am studying history with minors in education and sociology. I have absolutely loved the courses I have had the opportunity to take through the university, especially those focusing on modern American history. After graduation, I am excited to begin working as a high school social studies teacher and helping to shape future generations. 

Being an Appalachian student, I have learned that education is a privilege that not all are able to receive. I have been taught to truly value the opportunity I have to attend college. Receiving this scholarship means so much to me. With this award, I am able to continue my education at the university and reach my academic goals. Thank you so much for your investment into my future.

A very special thank you to the following donors whose support made this scholarship possible!

Community of Appalachian Student Leaders
Four Winds Community
Dr. Megan Chew
Lynaya Elliott
Rishona Headen-Brown
Matthew Luby
Dr. Jason Marion
Steven May
Heather Robinson
Dr. Amy Shuman
Julie Vargo
Brooke Walters
Dr. Shannon Winnubst