The original mission of the Allegheny Institute for Natural History at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford was to encourage undergraduate, field-based research and public education in biology. In 2011, the mission of the AINH mission was broadened to encourage applied undergraduate research and public engagement across all academic disciplines.
In addition to maintaining its commitment to ecosystems research, the Allegheny Institute now serves to promote and help facilitate faculty-led,
applied undergraduate research and supports on-campus undergraduate exposure to place-based learning about the Upper Allegheny region of the Appalachian Mountains and its inhabitants. The Institute's mission now includes the encouragement of sustainable regional development for the rural Pennsylvania communities served by Pitt-Bradford.
There are outstanding needs and opportunities for university-based outreach and student-led research in the region. Rural Appalachia has long-suffered from a ‘brain drain’ that decreases the capacity of rural communities to diversify local economies and better-adapt to social and economic change. Many Appalachian communities are also distinguished by regional disparities in health, per capita income, rates of poverty, and other indicators of development and well-being (see www.arc.gov/data). The AINH’s goal is to strengthen the profile of undergraduate research across academic disciplines at Pitt-Bradford to address these issues in the context of fulfilling the University’s regional mission , particularly its commitment to rural engagement and outreach.
Provide students with real-world training and project management experience in sustainable development strategies to improve their competitive advantage on the job market.
Help fulfill the goals of regional institutions and agencies that have values which are consistent with those of the university’s mission, thus building regional development capacity.
Promote awareness of Upper Allegheny and Appalachian issues and place-based learning on campus.
Continue the AINH's original commitment to undergraduate research in the natural sciences by promoting regional partnerships and applied undergraduate field experiences.
AWARDS AND HONORS
2015 Inspiring Youth Award, Pennsylvania Wilds Program (Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources).