Rogers Explorers

Clay County students John “John Lucas” Hubbard, Allie Phillips, and Emily Whittle graduated from The Center for Rural Development’s 2017 Rogers Explorers youth leadership program. The Rogers Explorers program is an educational leadership program that provides hands-on learning opportunities for middle school students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky to build their math, science, and technology skills. Graduates are encouraged to work toward pursuing careers in these in-demand career fields.

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“It means a lot to help further my education,” Phillips said. “The sessions have benefited my math, science, and technology skills.”

Two hundred and twelve students—the largest class ever—attended this year’s Rogers Explorers program. Participants apply when they are in the eighth grade and attend during the summer before the start of their freshman year.

“This year’s class of Rogers Explorers showed that there are many bright, young leaders in our region of Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said Laura Glover, Managing Director of Operations at The Center. “By participating in this program, Explorers had the opportunity to experience first-hand how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can positively impact our region while also getting a feel for what college life was like.”

The Rogers Explorers program is presented by The Center in partnership with Lindsey Wilson College, University of the Cumberlands, Asbury University, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, University of Pikeville, and the newest host site, Union College.

Hubbard is the son of Larry and Courtney Hubbard of Manchester. Phillips is the daughter of James and Leslie Phillips of Manchester. Whittle is the daughter of George Whittle and Kelly Evans of Manchester.

For more information about Rogers Explorers, call 606-677-6000 or email Visit to learn more about youth programs at The Center.

Established in 1996 through the vision of U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders, The Center for Rural Development is a nonprofit organization fueled by a mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life in Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In its 45-county primary service region, The Center provides innovative programs in leadership, public safety, technology, and arts and culture. The Center is committed to constantly expanding its capabilities in order to deliver a range of key services throughout Kentucky and the nation.

University of the Cumberlands Rogers Explorers: Graduates of the 2017 Rogers Explorers program held on the campus of the University of the Cumberlands were Eliza Crawford, Boyd County; Brendan Bush, Carter County; John “John Lucas” Hubbard, Allie Phillips, and Emily Whittle, Clay County; Kendra Cross and Abbigale Young, Clinton County; Autumn McCutchen, Cumberland County; Kiki Dean, Harlan County; Charleston Dixon and Lauren Shackleford, Knox County; Brady Dalrymple, Nathan Sanders, and Kathleen “Katty Ann” Taylor, Laurel County; Cole Blakeman, Lincoln County; Alexa Bruce and Dalton Daugherty, McCreary County; Kylee Coleman, Metcalfe County; Blake Brown, Michael “Allen” Hail, Macey Hudson, William “Will” Muse, Jackson Owens, Layla Blevins, and Breezi Turner, Pulaski County; Morgan Melton and Grayson Wise, Taylor County; Elijah Harrington, Cierra Ledford, and Anabeth Sharpe of Whitley County.