NEWS RELEASE: Rural Futures Institute’s North Platte, Chadron Regional Forums to Highlight Successes, Address Critical Nebraska Challenges

LINCOLN, Neb. — September 9, 2016 — Nebraskans are invited to attend the Rural Futures Institute’s Rural Regional Forums. Steering committee members from three Nebraska host communities have weighed in and the agendas are set.

The forums in West Point, Sept. 22, North Platte, Sept. 27 and Chadron, Sept. 28 will include overviews of the Rural Futures Institute’s Competitive Awards projects, tours of the communities that highlight successes, a “community visioning” process for area youth, discussions with business, education and health care leaders and group work that aims to address challenges in each region.

North Platte’s forum will be held at the Sandhills Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (CST). Chadron’s forum will be held at the Chadron State College Student Center from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (MT). The full agendas and registration are available at http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/events/2016-rural-regional-forums. The cost is $25.

“When you bring a group of people together from communities like West Point, North Platte and Chadron for an event like this you are in awe of the work they are doing and the solutions their communities have found,” said Chuck Schroeder, Founding Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute. “And then they take it a step further with what their hopes are for the future—you just want to work with them.

 

“The forums, specifically, are an opportunity to get many different people in the same room with the focus being—how can we all work together to get rural communities in Nebraska where they want to go? RFI is here to facilitate those discussions, offer options and ideas and learn from these communities on behalf of other rural communities in Nebraska and beyond.”

 

Challenges identified by all steering committees include housing, business development, leadership transition and recruitment of residents and professionals. Chadron also identified tourism development, retaining younger residents and technology-based entrepreneurship.

 
North Platte details
University of Nebraska Regent Bob Phares will welcome attendees, and three Competitive Awards projects will be presented by leading scholars and practitioners. Each project is a collaborative effort among several sectors including educational institutions, businesses and communities. Projects presented in North Platte will include Rural Community Action Project, Pediatric Obesity Treatment Program for Adoption by Rural Communities and Collaborative Capacity Building in Rural Nebraska Schools via Technology.

Tours will include an overview of the renovations on Main Street led by Vice President of Economic Development for the North Platte Chamber of Commerce Megan McGown, leading innovation in rural health care at Great Plains Health and harnessing technology at the Walmart Distribution Center.

The afternoon’s panel discussion will include University of Nebraska Interim Vice President and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Vice Chancellor Ron Yoder, Mid-Plains Community College President Ryan Purdy, David Fudge of NebraskaLand Days, Jake Tiedeman of Baldridge Company and Tony Orr of Union Pacific Railroad.

“We want people to come and be part of this important conversation,” McGown said. “We want to hear success stories, and we want to know more about the challenges. We are all stronger together.”

 
Chadron details
After a welcome from Chadron State President Randy Rhine, featured Competitive Awards projects will be presented by leading scholars and practitioners: Healthy Food – Healthy Choice, Enhancing Nebraska’s Ecotourism Industry and Bridging the Skills Gap.

Tours will focus on capitalizing on community strengths with a walk through the Rangeland Complex and Sandoz Heritage Center on Chadron State’s campus, innovative collaboration at Chadron Community Hospital and entrepreneurial investment downtown.

The afternoon’s panel will discuss regional entrepreneurship and innovation and include Ron Rosati, dean of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

“We all need to think and talk regionally, and this forum will help us do that,” said Chadron steering committee member Jenny Nixon who serves as a University of Nebraska Extension community vitality educator for the region. “It will give us a chance to focus, and put some action around some of our biggest issues such as housing, tourism and retaining youth.”

For ongoing updates about the forums, follow the Rural Futures Institute on Twitter (@rural_futures, #RFIforums) and Facebook (RuralFutures).

 
Rural Regional Forums
9 a.m.               Opening and Overview of the Day
9:15 a.m.          RFI Competitive Awards Overview and Examples
9:45 a.m.          Tours (three options)
11:15 a.m.        Youth Visioning Projects
12 p.m.             Panel Discussion
1:15 p.m.          Issues Discussion
2:00 p.m.          Small Groups
3:30 p.m.          Adjournment

NEWS RELEASE: Connecting Young Nebraskans Summit in York Oct. 28 to Include More Than 225 Leaders Statewide

LINCOLN – October 19, 2016 – Futuring, coaching, sharing, managing—the list goes on for the 2016 Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) Summit, a time for young professionals throughout the state to come together to network and explore solutions for themselves, their organizations and their communities.

Hosted by the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska, the summit entitled “Creating Life Balance” will be held at the Holthus Convention Center in York, Neb., Oct. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More than 225 participants are anticipated, and 51 communities are already represented. Details and registration are available at http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/events.

CYN is an ongoing statewide network of more than 750 professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 that works to connect people in rural communities to each other, professional development training and community leadership resources.

“What we have accomplished with Connecting Young Nebraskans is at the core of the work of the Rural Futures Institute in that it creates a space for community leaders to come together to share ideas and opportunities in an environment that is dedicated to facilitating action-oriented discussions,” said Chuck Schroeder, Executive Director of RFI. “This summit in particular will be an incredibly valuable use of time not only for the participants, but for their employers and rural communities as well.”

The summit agenda was led by RFI coordinator Kayla Schnuelle and created in conjunction with a steering committee of CYN representatives throughout the state. The keynote will be delivered by Lisa Gunderson, certified reality-based leadership coach from Dakota Dunes, South Dakota.

Coffee shop discussions will provide space for networking, idea generation and thoughtful reflection, and Nebraska leaders from Albion, Benkelman, Broken Bow, Grand Island, Hastings, McCook, O’Neill, Ord, York and more will provide professional development breakout and power-up sessions.

RFI Chief Futurist Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild will help attendees explore trends, emerging technologies and inclusive leadership that will innovate community engagement. Schroeder’s remarks will highlight the importance for rural communities nationwide to focus on developing young leaders.

“I have greatly enjoyed collaborating with the Connecting Young Nebraskans steering team to help coordinate the 2016 Summit,” said Rhonda Veleba, Towne Centre Coordinator for the York Chamber of Commerce. “The steering team brings a wide variety of backgrounds and ideas that will make the summit a well-rounded experience with broad topics, innovative ideas and powerful energy. I’m very excited for this statewide event to take place in York this year.”

NEWS RELEASE: Transformational Agricultural Systems Leader Paul Genho to Provide Leu Lecture Oct. 31, Presentation Nov. 1

LINCOLN, Neb. – October 20, 2016 – Agricultural systems expert Paul Genho will visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to share insights into the beef and agricultural industries as well as lessons in leadership and entrepreneurship from his 50 years of experience in acquiring and managing agricultural properties worldwide.

Dr. Genho will provide the 2016 Leu Distinguished Lecture Oct. 31 from 3-4 p.m. at the UNL East Campus Union and an evening presentation and reception Nov. 1 from 7-9 p.m. at Hardin Hall. Both events are free, and the public is encouraged to attend. Details, including registration for the Nov. 1 event, are available at ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/genho.

This visit is made possible by UNL’s Center for Grassland Studies and Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska.

“These presentations are important opportunities for university students, faculty and staff, as well as business and community leaders, to not only learn from a beef and agricultural expert who is known the world over, but to gain important lessons about what innovative entrepreneurship and leadership looks like in practice,” said Chuck Schroeder, Founding Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI). “Dr. Genho will inspire us to embrace and encourage change and find innovative solutions that are required to move our enterprises and rural communities forward.”

Dr. Genho is a Visiting Professor at the University of Florida and independent consultant for various agricultural firms. Throughout his career he served as Chairman of the Board of AgReserves, Inc., vice president and general manager of King Ranch and manager of Deseret Ranches of Florida. He has held numerous leadership positions within the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, scientific, agricultural and academic communities.

The Leu Lecture Series seminar entitled, “Fifty Years: Looking Back, Looking Forward,” is made possible, in part, by a gift from the Frank and Margaret Leu family to the University of Nebraska Foundation. In his comments, Dr. Genho will present five big ideas affecting the beef industry in the future. The ideas were garnered from his five sons who are deeply involved in the beef supply chain from production through processing and merchandising. These ideas will provide a framework for moving the industry forward.

“We’re delighted that donations such as that from the Leu family allow us to bring someone of Dr. Genho’s stature to campus,” said Martin Massengale, director of the Center for Grassland Studies.

During the Nov 1. presentation, “The Future of U.S. Agriculture in a Global Market,” Dr. Genho will draw from his experience as a systems thinker, manager and leader, to provide perspective about the role of U.S. agriculture in a competitive and ever-changing global market. His experience in pulling together unified management systems that assure healthy landscapes, enterprises and people will frame the discussion.

“Dr. Genho’s ability to connect the lessons of the past with anticipated future transformations in the beef business will make for an invigorating and thought-provoking discussion,” said Tom Field, director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

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About the Center for Grassland Studies
The mission of the Center for Grassland Studies is to implement focused, interdisciplinary research, educational and service programs and activities that emphasize the role of grasslands as a natural resource and conservation measure and that enhance the efficiency, profitability, sustainability, and aesthetic value of grasslands, wetlands and turfs.
grassland.unl.edu/

About the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska
The Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the institute encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address critical rural issues. It works collaboratively with educational, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders.
ruralfutures.nebraska.edu

About the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program is focused on helping transform the resources of our nation’s strength in agriculture into the next big idea. An idea that will solve a problem. Open a new door. Fill a hungry stomach. Create a new product. Grow more food with fewer resources. The Engler Experience empowers enterprise builders. Our job is to provide the skills, inspiration and fortitude to make that happen.
engler.unl.edu

NEWS RELEASE: RFI Student Serviceship Interns Start Their Rural Nebraska Experiences

For eight University of Nebraska (NU) students, this week marks the start of their “rural immersion” into four Nebraska communities.

McCook, Neb., North Platte, Neb., West Point, Neb., and York, Neb., are hosting pairs of University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) and University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) students through Rural Futures Institute (RFI) Student Serviceship. A hybrid between service learning and traditional internships, “serviceships” provide communities with tangible results on important self-defined projects while giving students resume-building work and insight into the career and life opportunities in rural places.

Community host teams include subject-matter experts and leadership mentors that assist with students’ major projects, connect them with volunteering opportunities and invite them to participate in community events and activities. RFI provides support and guidance throughout the nine-week serviceship experience, and all participants learn and share on behalf of rural community growth. RFI Student Serviceship was made possible in partnership with the Heartland Center of Leadership Development.

“We have had many students go into communities through RFI Student Serviceship and make a positive, significant and ongoing impact,” said Chuck Schroeder, RFI Executive Director. “But, as importantly, the students themselves gain real-world experience and build a network that influences them for a lifetime.

 

“We have had many students go into communities through RFI Student Serviceship and make a positive, significant and ongoing impact. But, as importantly, the students themselves gain real-world experience and build a network that influences them for a lifetime.”

–Chuck Schroeder, RFI Executive Director

 

“It is our way of giving students a new or a first experience in a rural community, so they can be storytellers, champions and leaders for rural throughout their lives. And it gives communities specific results from the University of Nebraska.”

All student interns completed a one-week leadership training course hosted by RFI the week of May 22. They got to know their partners, learned more about their communities, gained details about their projects and held online meetings with their community host teams. NU faculty and staff as well as community leaders served as guest speakers, introducing the students to personal and professional development strategies as well as community development theories and practices. The students also explored Firth, Neb., and Seward, Neb., to hear from local leaders and entrepreneurs.

“I knew this was going to be a great resume-building experience for me,” said UNL agribusiness major Amber Ross. “What I didn’t realize is how much support I would have, and how much of a professional network I would build. Just the training course was an incredible experience, so I obviously can’t wait to start my projects in West Point.”

 
2017 Project Summaries

In McCook, Neb., Tyan Boyer and Collin Fleecs, exercise science majors at UNK, are creating health science education summer day camps for area youth. The camps will provide hands-on educational environments that integrate many key skills necessary to not only improve the health of rural youth, but also inspire future health professionals.

UNL agricultural economics major Syndi Lienemann and UNL agricultural education major Trey Mogensen are helping North Platte, Neb., connect the dots between workforce recruitment and workforce readiness. They will work hand-in-hand with North Platte Public School, the North Platte Chamber of Commerce and the business community to identify the community’s great career opportunities and develop a marketing plan for high school students, college students, community members and potential new residents.

West Point, Neb., is taking an inventory of the community’s parks and recreation opportunities and, with the help of Ross and UNL environmental studies graduate Madeleine Schwinghammer, will develop a needs assessment that will dive into what the community can do to create a more robust lifestyle for those who live in Cuming County.

In York, Neb., UNL political science major Emily Coffey and UNL agricultural economics major Shelby Riggs will work with York County Economic Development, York Chamber of Commerce, City of York, Nebraska Extension and other community stakeholders to craft a plan to increase awareness and propel LB840 forward.

 

Since 2013, 38 NU students have worked and served in 19 Nebraska communities through RFI Student Serviceship. This year is the first year out-of-state students also completed training. Through the Jasper Foundation, Courtney Feagans of Taylor University and Riley Hickman of Depauw University will serve in Jasper and Newton counties in Indiana. RFI Student Serviceship developed from a 2013 RFI Competitive Awards teaching and engagement project led by Dr. Tom Field and Dr. Lindsay Hastings of UNL.

For more details, including community host team members, visit ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/serviceship. Coverage of the students’ experiences will be shared throughout the summer on RFI’s Facebook (ruralfutures) and Twitter (rural_futures).

Lectures from Visiting Presenter Paul Genho, Ph.D., Now Available

Frank and Margaret Leu Lecture
Fifty Years: Looking Back, Looking Forward

October 31, 2016 | UNL East Campus

Over the past 50 years, there have been unprecedented changes in the beef industry, but it’s nothing compared to what’s to come in the next 50. Agricultural systems expert Paul Genho offered his thoughts on the changes to come during the 2016 Leu Distinguished Lecture on Oct. 31 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

 

Presentation and Reception
The Future of U.S. Agriculture in a Global Market

November 1, 2016 | UNL East Campus

 

 

paul_genho

Dr. Paul Genho, a Visiting Professor at the University of Florida and independent consultant for various agricultural firms, visited the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for two presentations on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Both presentations are available below for viewing.During his career Dr. Genho served as Chairman of the Board of AgReserves, Inc., vice president and general manager of King Ranch and manager of Deseret Ranches of Florida. He has held numerous leadership positions within the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, scientific, agricultural and academic communities.

Dr. Genho’s visit was made possible by UNL’s Center for Grassland Studies and Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska.

 

cgs-graphic Rural_Futures_at_Nebraska_horizontal_stack_Color englericon_huskerredwhitefill1

Results from 2016 CYN Summit

 

CYN, and young leaders from the area, hosted the 2016 Connecting Young Nebraskans Summit on October 27-28, 2016 in York, NE. This was the fifth state-wide summit of the CYN network. The Summit was a unique statewide event that brought together young professionals to develop new skills and share life experiences.

The 2016 theme was “Creating Life Balance” and featured 27 engaging speakers on a variety of topics from five holistic wellness categories: Purpose, Social, Community, Physical and Financial.  A personalized experience was made available through interactive breakout sessions, which included GLOW Leadership founder, Jodi Sell discussing Crucial Conversations.

264 Nebraskans from 57 communities attended the summit held at the Holthus Convention Center on October 28. Lisa Gunderson was keynote speaker. She is certified by Cy Wakeman, Inc., to delivered reality-based leadership programs to audiences of all professional levels.  An exciting evening social was held the night before, on October 27, at the Chances R’ restaurant where Arthur Fratelli, a mentalist and entertainer, presented.

 

cynsummit_attendance_graphic2

NEWS RELEASE: Rural Futures Institute Invests in Research, Teaching Projects to Address Critical Rural Challenges, Find Solutions

Awards_ChuckQuote_Twitter

 

LINCOLN, NEB – July 6, 2017 – Rural mental and physical health care access, entrepreneurship and technology are among the critical topics addressed by this year’s competitive teaching and research grants through the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska (NU).

Worth almost $400,000 in total, the 2017 grants engage faculty and students from across the four NU campuses as well as Kansas University, Purdue University, Peru State College and Wayne State College. At least 32 Nebraska communities, non-profit and business partners will be involved, and nearly all projects will include participation from K-12 students across the state.

“For America to thrive, our rural residents must thrive. The challenges and opportunities facing rural communities in Nebraska and across the country require action-oriented collaboration and commitment,” said RFI Founding Executive Director Chuck Schroeder. “The University of Nebraska, together with partners, is rigorously seeking and developing solutions that will help our rural people and places. Even more exciting, what we learn here can be scaled broadly, so Nebraska becomes a national model for building and sustaining vibrant rural communities of the future.”

The grants build on RFI’s successful Competitive Awards program that so far has funded 50 teaching and research projects in more than 100 Nebraska communities. The projects address unique challenges and opportunities facing rural populations in the areas of economic development, education, health care, diversity and inclusion and more.

 


 

2017 Teaching & Engagement Projects

Ending Mental Health Stigma & Promoting Mental Health Among Rural Nebraska College and University Students

Principal Investigator: Sonja Franziska Tutsch Russell, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Rural Health Education Network

The growing shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas, alongside the rising number of rural college and university students who experience mental health difficulties, calls for a comprehensive public health approach to addressing underlying causes of mental illness and related stigma. In collaboration with faculty and students at Wayne State College, the team seeks to develop and implement a promising mental health promotion curriculum aimed at addressing stigma and alleviating mental health difficulties among college and university students in Nebraska.

 

Obesity Intervention and Service Learning

Principal Investigator: Danae Dinkel, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Health Physical Education & Recreation

In an effort to combat the epidemic of rural pediatric obesity, Peru State College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in partnership with rural stakeholders, seek to develop a new service-learning course for undergraduates. The course will introduce post-secondary students to service learning and the prevalence of overweight and obesity in rural areas. It will also seek to engage existing and new partnerships with community-based organizations for students’ service learning.

 

Teaching Health, Exercise, Technology, & Aquaponics (THETA) Day Camps to Grow Future Health Professionals

Principal Investigator: Gregory Brown, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences

Developed by a team of seven faculty members at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) this project focuses on inspiring and motivating rural middle school students to pursue careers in health science. Students will participate in a series of half-day science education camps during which they will learn about various careers that are associated with health science topics through physical activity, nutrition and food growing programs. UNK undergraduate students with career goals in health science will lead the camps.

 

Systems Thinking for Sustainable Future

Principal Investigator: Ashu Guru, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

This project provides an opportunity for youth to develop system-thinking skills by understanding how food, energy and water systems are interconnected. Undergraduate students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Engineering will design and develop aquaponics system kits as well as lesson plan trainings and implement the project in K-12 schools in rural Nebraska. They will use a train-the-trainer model to prepare middle school educators and high school students to implement the plan in their school system.

 

Rural Narratives on Welcoming Communities

Principal Investigator: Athena Ramos, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health, Center for Reducing Health Disparities

The team will use appreciative inquiry to interview community leaders about creating welcoming communities and work with partners to develop powerful narratives, provide access to resources and disseminate best practices.

 


 

2017 Research & Engagement Projects

Building Capacity for Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating the Family Health and Wellness Coalition’s Community Health Improvement Plan

Principal Investigator: Todd Bartee, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology & Sports Sciences

The Family Health and Wellness Coalition was formed in 2015 with the focus of reducing chronic disease risk among Nebraska residents of Boone, Colfax, Nance and Platte counties. This emerging coalition is motivated yet hampered by challenges to participation, resources and other core capabilities such as planning, implementing and evaluating their work. Through this project, partners will produce a systematic community change process that can be replicated in other rural areas.

 

Assessment of and Treatment Applied to Food Addiction to Encourage Self-Management of Obesity

Principal Investigator: Trina Aguirre, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing

The research team will evaluate the efficacy of using nurse practitioners to deliver interventions to patients referred to an outpatient clinic for the treatment of obesity. The primary objective is to evaluate the efficacy of four interventions in obese rural patients with and without food addiction to develop effective, better-targeted interventions to help obese rural residents successfully self-manage their obesity, enabling them to live healthier lives and reduce the high cost of treating the comorbidities associated with obesity.

 

Nurturing High School Entrepreneurs and Transforming Local Business Owners

Principal Investigator: Surin Kim, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Education and Human Sciences

There is a substantial need for educational programs that promote entrepreneurship and vocational skills for both adults and youth whose retention will be critical for rural futures. Such programs can help local business owners maintain and grow their enterprises and promote career readiness and entrepreneurship for youth. This project intends to analyze the unique needs of rural businesses and youth to implement a highly successful entrepreneurship program within the local context, modify as needed and disseminate via extension professionals and relevant educational entities.

 

Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age

Principal Investigator: Roberto Gallardo, Purdue University, Purdue Center for Regional Development with University of Nebraska at Omaha and Nebraska Extension Co-Principal Investigators

There is significant interest in the role digital platforms play on increasing civic engagement in urban communities. However, their role in rural settings is not understood but critical as well. This project seeks to increase civic engagement in three rural Nebraska communities by developing strategies and tactics for engaging in conversations online, as well as social media training, to assist rural communities in increasing and improving overall engagement.

 

Extended project descriptions and lists of all current contributors and partners are available at http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/awards.

RFI Student Serviceship Interns Start in Rural Communities

Serviceship Group Photo

And they’re off!

Today 10 trained RFI Student Serviceship interns are starting their nine-week experiences in rural Nebraska and Indiana communities.

2017 RFI Student Serviceship Host Communities

  • McCook, Neb.
  • North Platte, Neb.
  • West Point, Neb.
  • York, Neb.
  • Newton County, Ind.

A hybrid between service learning and traditional internships, “serviceships” provide communities with tangible results on important self-defined projects while giving students resume-building work and insight into the career and life opportunities in rural places.

University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska–Lincoln student pairs will lead projects and serve and participate in the communities throughout Nebraska. With assistance from the Jasper Foundation, Taylor University and Depauw University students will work in Newton County, Ind.

 

Get to Know the Serviceship Interns!

 

All students completed a one-week leadership training course hosted by the Rural Futures Institute where they got to know their partners, learned more about their communities, gained details about their projects and held online meetings with their host teams. Students were introduced to personal and professional development strategies as well as community development theories and practices. They also explored Firth, Neb., and Seward, Neb., to hear from community leaders and entrepreneurs. A special thanks to our guest speakers!

RFI Student Serviceship Leadership Training Course | Guest Speakers

Amanda Barker | Deputy Executive Director, Nebraskans for Civic Reform

Tom Field, Ph.D. | Director of Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Lindsay Hastings, Ph.D. | Director of Nebraska Human Resources Institute & Clifton Professor in Mentoring Research, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Kurt Mantonya | Senior Associate, Heartland Center for Leadership Development

Linda Moody | Assistant Director, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Civic Engagement

Reshell Ray | Associate Director, University of Nebraska–Lincoln East Campus Programs & RFI Community Innovation Fellow

Milan Wall | Co-Director, Heartland Center for Leadership Development & RFI Community Innovation Fellow
Stay up-to-date on this summer’s serviceship experience on Facebook and Twitter.

 

« Back to RFI Student Serviceship 2017

NEWS RELEASE: Rural Futures Institute Launches Faculty, Community Fellows Program

RFI Fellows Group Photo

 

LINCOLN, Neb. – March 7, 2017 – Innovation is most likely to occur where disciplines intersect and when a diverse and inclusive group of stakeholders is working hard on an issue or opportunity. The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska has employed this fundamental principle to launch a distinctive fellows program dedicated to research, teaching and application with and in rural communities in Nebraska and beyond.

Fifteen faculty researchers from the University of Nebraska and other institutions as well as 10 community practitioners from across Nebraska have assembled to think strategically about opportunities in rural business, health care, education, technology and more.

“Rural communities and their leaders face a complex, interwoven universe of factors that cannot be neatly split apart for observation and lone actions,” said RFI Executive Director Chuck Schroeder. “RFI Fellows already understand this and have been working diligently throughout their careers to create solutions and opportunities for rural people and places.

 

“By bringing various disciplines of researchers together with community leaders in this purposeful way, we not only intend to help rural residents thrive, but to also give rural America a significant and consistent voice, and position it as vital to the future of our country.”

 

Through their work, RFI Fellows will connect with partners from across the University of Nebraska system, scholars from other academic institutions and experts in the public and private sectors to strengthen their capacity for research and application. They will foster student experiences in concert with communities, strengthening the community-by-community presence of RFI throughout Nebraska, the Great Plains and the world.

 

2017 RFI Faculty Fellows
RFI Faculty Fellows are professors and researchers who have contributed significantly to rural communities and people through research, teaching and outreach and intend to continue to strengthen the statewide, national and international knowledge resource of rural.

  • Todd Bartee, Professor, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kinesiology and Sports Sciences
  • Robert Blair, Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Public Administration, Public Affairs, and Community Service
  • Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, Extension Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Panhandle Research and Extension Center
  • Randy Cantrell, Rural Sociologist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Jim Cavaye, Professor, Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Bree Dority, Associate Professor, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Economics
  • Gregory Karst, Executive Associate Dean, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Allied Health Professionals
  • Peter Longo, Professor, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Political Science
  • Bradley Lubben, Extension Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Agricultural Economics
  • Athena Ramos, Community Health Program Manager/Instructor, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health, Center for Reducing Health Disparities
  • Kyle Ryan, Associate Professor, Peru State College, Exercise Science
  • Jessica Shoemaker, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law
  • Eric Thompson, Associate Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Business Administration, Economics
  • Kim Wilson, Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Architecture
  • Amanda Witte, Project Manager, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools

 

2017 RFI Community Innovation Fellows
RFI Community Innovation Fellows are community leaders, alumni and professionals from both the private and non-profit sectors working to advance rural people and places. This group represents rural places that have creatively partnered with RFI to inform outreach and programming efforts while connecting research and resources directly to communities and leaders. They are innovators in their industries and the communities they represent.

  • Tiffany Crouse, Director, Hastings Downtown Center Association, Hastings, Neb.
  • Marty Fattig, CEO, Nemaha County Hospital, Auburn, Neb.
  • Melissa Garcia, Community Affairs Manager, Black Hills Energy, Broken Bow, Neb.
  • Rachel Herpel, Assistant Director, Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Don Macke, Co-Founder, Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Greg Ptacek, Director, Economic Development, City of Neligh, Neligh, Neb.
  • Reshell Ray, Assistant Director of Student Involvement, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Robert Stowell, J.D., Stowell & Geweke, P.C., L.L.O., Ord, Neb.
  • Milan Wall, Co-Director, Heartland Center for Leadership Development, Lincoln, Neb.
  • Jeff Yost, President and CEO, Nebraska Community Foundation, Lincoln, Neb.

 

Extended details and video introductions of each of the fellows are available at ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/fellows.

NEWS RELEASE: Rural Futures Institute’s Connecting Young Nebraskans Network Announces Steering Team

Andrew Ambriz at 2016 CYN Summit

 

LINCOLN, Neb. — April 28, 2017 — Connecting Young Nebraskans, a network of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska, has announced its 2017 steering team. For the next year, the team of 17 will direct the engagement and professional development efforts of the 840-member network of young leaders located throughout Nebraska.

Fourteen Nebraska communities—from Cody to West Point to McCook—are represented by the steering team as are many professions including economic development, tourism and education.

“Connecting Young Nebraskans is designed to be guided by a group of young leaders who have shown future-focused thinking and immense dedication to rural Nebraska,” said Chuck Schroeder, RFI Executive Director. “We are proud to work with these leaders and the entire network to facilitate critical conversations and actions that will benefit individuals and communities across the state.”

According to Connecting Young Nebraskans summit attendees in October, the biggest challenges young leaders face in rural communities include isolation, lack of formal transfer of leadership practices, leader burnout, limited opportunities to engage with peers and lack of professional development opportunities.

Connecting Young Nebraskans addresses each of these issues to connect, empower and retain young people ages 21 to 40 in rural communities. It expands young peoples’ networks, grows their professional and leadership skills and helps them think boldly on behalf of their communities. In total, 118 Nebraska communities, not including Lincoln and Omaha, are represented in the network.

“Connecting Young Nebraskans is all about the future, including motivating our young people and facilitating progress within our local communities that creates impacts,” said steering team member Chelsea Luthy, Community Development Specialist for Central Nebraska Economic Development District. “The Rural Futures Institute having the Connecting Young Nebraskans network is critical in terms of entrepreneurship and collaboration. RFI helps us ideate and makes our ideas available in a way that stimulates our rural areas.”

 

2017 Connecting Young Nebraskans Steering Committee

  • Ginger Ady | Ady Marketing & Consulting, Founder, North Platte, NE
  • Selena Aguilar | Nebraska State Fair, Entertainment Assistant, Grand Island, NE
  • Andrew Ambriz | McCook Economic Development, Interim Executive Director, McCook, NE
  • Bradley Averill | Nebraska Extension, Extension Educator, Neligh, NE
  • Mary Berlie | Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation, Executive Vice President, Grand Island, NE
  • Tina Biteghe Bi Ndong | West Point Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, West Point, NE
  • Tiffany Crouse | Hasting Downtown Center Association, Director, Hastings, NE
  • Abigail Frank | Full-Time M.A. Graduate Student, Neligh, NE
  • Jonathan Jank | Seward County Economic Development Corporation, Executive Director, Seward, NE
  • Chris Kreikemeier | Nielsen Center, Manager, West Point, NE
  • Chelsea Luthy | Central Nebraska Economic Development, Community Development Specialist, Cody, NE
  • Andrea McClintic | University of Nebraska-Lincoln Career Services, Associate Director of External Relations, Lincoln, NE
  • Jacie Milius | Southeast Research & Extension Center, Assistant Extension Educator, Nelson, NE
  • Penny Parker | Nebraska Total Care, Community Relations Coordinator, Kearney, NE
  • Crystal Ramm | Central Community College/Ord Learning Center, Regional Coordinator, Ord, NE
  • Kayla Schnuelle | Rural Futures Institute, Leadership Engagement Director, Diller, NE
  • Rhonda Veleba | York Chamber of Commerce, Towne Centre Coordinator, York, NE

 
For more information visit ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/CYN. CYN is active on Facebook and Twitter.