University of Pittsburgh students, alongside an interdisciplinary team of faculty, collaborated with the Fayette County Cultural Trust (FCCT) to develop a pilot platform for community-engaged research and pedagogy about how to sustain and enhance the economic development of rural and small urban spaces in the Southwest Pennsylvania region. This interdisciplinary platform brings together a wide range of students and research skills to evaluate how to address the consequences of the rural brain drain in the post-COVID 19 era. At the start of this long-term partnership, students worked with the FCCT to identify the cultural, artistic, historic, and natural assets that are most appropriate for engaged research at this time. Through the partnership, students will have the opportunity to help FCCT in on-going established efforts to curb the brain drain and to help identify new approaches and possibilities. As part of this project students constructed a Scope of Work and presented their findings to community partners. In addition, throughout the course students were asked to critically reflect on their experiences through prompts on a public blog. The desired outcome of this collaboration is for the team to serve as a valuable resource for their community partner and for the two to continue working towards building a more resilient future for the region.