Sara Payne Scarbro named by Appalachian Regional Commission as Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow

Sara Payne Scarbro

Sara Payne Scarbro, associate vice president for external engagement at the Marshall University Research Corporation, has been named by the Appalachian Regional Commission as a participant in the 2021-2022 class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute.

As an Appalachian Leadership Institute fellow, Payne Scarbro will participate in an extensive, nine-month series of skill-building seminars featuring regional experts, peer-to-peer learning and case study analysis. The program begins virtually in October and culminates with the Class of 2021-2022’s graduation in July 2022.

“I am honored to congratulate the 2021-2022 class of Appalachian Leadership Institute fellows. These phenomenal Appalachians are the driving force of change in their communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “The work of this new class of fellows—and the ones who came before — gives me hope to the future of our region and is a testament to all that can be accomplished when Appalachians work together.”

Payne Scarbro will work directly with public policy, community development, education, investment, and other professionals who live and/or work in the region to:

  • Identify and implement best practices and strategies to inspire positive change in their communities;
  • Build a robust network of leaders across the region;
  • Integrate community assets into long-last economic development strategies; and
  • Appreciate the diversity and commonalties of the 13 states in the Appalachian Region.

“Sara’s incredible energy, drive and leadership make her a perfect fit for this program,” said Marshall University President Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert. “Her love of West Virginia and the Appalachian region is evidenced by her incredible commitment to Marshall University and the people of our state. Sara is a true West Virginian and I’m very pleased she will represent our university and state in this prestigious institute.”

Payne Scarbro was selected via a competitive application process.  She is a graduate of Marshall University with a double major in public relations and political science.  She is a 1998 graduate of Winfield High School.

The Appalachian Leadership Institute is a comprehensive regional leadership training program developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission in partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact. More information about the Appalachian Leadership Institute is available at