RFI Fellows


Meet Our Fellows


It is understood that 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 create a distinctive fellows program dedicated to research, teaching and application in rural.

In total, 15 faculty researchers from the University of Nebraska (NU) and partner institutions as well as 11 community practitioners from across Nebraska have assembled to problem-solve around critical challenges and opportunities in rural economic development, health care, business transition, technology and more. In coming years, students and recent graduates working on rural issues and opportunities within the NU system, at other land-grant universities and in colleges and universities around the world will be included. Goals for the RFI Fellows program include enhancing RFI’s scholarship and connecting young professionals to rural people, places and issues.


“Rural is a complex, interwoven universe of factors that cannot be neatly split apart for observation and lone actions. RFI Fellows understand this and are already working collaboratively across the university and with partners to create knowledge resources and application models. Through RFI Fellows we can create even broader, stronger networks for these fellows and rural communities.”

–Chuck Schroeder, RFI Executive Director


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

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.

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.

If you would like more information about RFI Fellows, please contact Shawn Kaskie.



Inaugural Class of RFI Fellows