Chuck Schroeder

Charles P. “Chuck” Schroeder is a native of southwestern Nebraska ranch country near the rural community of Palisade. Prior to beginning his new duties on December 1, 2013 as founding executive director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, Schroeder served 12 years as president and executive director of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Prior to that, he held other leadership positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as founding CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, headquartered in Denver, Chicago and Washington, DC. Schroeder also served as executive vice president and director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation and director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Schroeder was involved with his family’s farming, ranching and cattle feeding enterprise, the Schroeder Cattle Company, for about 30 years, until its sale in 2004. Chuck is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Animal Science.

Schroeder has served on many boards of business and civic organizations such as the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Museums West, the Oklahoma State Fair, Sirloin Club of Oklahoma, and advisory boards for the Oklahoma Arts Institute and the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. Previous volunteer leadership roles include terms as chairman of the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching, president of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development, chairman of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council, and founding board member of the Rural Policy Research Institute., as well as Agriculture Future of America. He has also served as a board member for the International Stockmen’s Education Foundation and Payne Education Center. Special recognitions include the Oklahoma Humanities Council Community Leadership Award, the National Cowboy Symposium Western Museum Award, the NU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Alumnus Award, the Ak-Sar-Ben Agricultural Achievement Award, and inclusion in “Who’s Who in the Western Livestock Industry.” He was also selected for participation in the Gallup Premier Leadership Institute and Stanford University’s Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders.

Schroeder is an active team roper, and his interests span American Quarter Horses, art, rodeo, political history and livestock genetics among other facets of the American West. Chuck is married to Kathi, a retired high school special education instructor, and they have one daughter, Dr. Lindsay Hastings, who is a faculty member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and executive director of the Nebraska Human Resources Institute. Chuck and Kathi are also proud grandparents of two wonderful granddaughters.

Mark Balschweid, Ph.D.

Mark Balschweid, Ph.D., joined the Rural Futures Institute as Interim Executive Director on July 1, 2019. He is Professor and Head of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication. His Ph.D. is in Agricultural Education from Oregon State University. As a former high school agricultural science teacher, Dr. Balschweid developed his research interests by highlighting the intersection of science and agriculture in the secondary classroom as a way to enhance student interest in science and increase student knowledge of life sciences. Dr. Balschweid spent 10 years teaching and conducting research in teacher preparation for agricultural sciences at Purdue University prior to moving to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Balschweid has worked extensively in evaluating international programs in agricultural and extension education. He received a Fulbright Fellowship and spent a year teaching and conducting research at Jamaica’s College of Agriculture, Science, and Education. He authored Jamaica’s first Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Agricultural Education and continues to consult in Jamaica and the Middle East. He is interested in providing students with international experiences that shape their worldview.

Katelyn Ideus

Katelyn Ideus serves as the Director of Communications & Public Relations at the Rural Futures Insitute and the National Strategic Research Institute, both at the University of Nebraska. She develops the strategic communications plan for the Institutes, producing, stimulating and delivering stories about the successes earned, innovations created and solutions found.

Katelyn previously supported the University of Nebraska’s online education initiatives for five years, specifically the University of Nebraska High School, which works with schools and students around the world. Prior to that, she worked in internal communications at Nelnet, Inc. She also served as communications specialist for a children’s hospital in downtown St. Louis, working with St. Louis University faculty physicians to support rural community hospitals throughout Missouri and Illinois.

She holds a masters degree in integrated media communications and bachelors degree in news editorial and broadcast journalism, both from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Katelyn lives with her husband and three children near Adams, Neb., where they are part of the Ideus Family Farms operation. Katelyn’s husband, Tyler, is a specialist of physical medicine at Lincoln Performance & Sports Medicine in Lincoln, Neb., and he travels the world teaching. Listen to his Rural Futures Podcast episode that Katelyn produced!

Kim Peterson

Kim Peterson grew up on a family farm in Fillmore County, Neb., and currently resides on the family farm near Grafton. She is a former Nebraska LEAD member. Kim attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) and graduated with a degree in animal science. Upon graduation, Kim served as Communications Director for the Nebraska Stock Growers Association in Alliance. After five years, she returned to the family farm in Fillmore County and stayed at home for a few years to raise her four sons.

In 1992, she accepted the position of Communications Coordinator with the University of Nebraska at the South Central Research and Extension Center. She was employed there until the center closed in 2003. Kim then transferred to UNL where she served as Coordinator and Outreach Program Specialist for the Nebraska Rural Initiative.

With the Rural Futures Institute Kim serves as Director of Competitive Awards and Finance. More recently, Kim has taken classes to complete a graduate degree in Marketing, Communications and Advertising.

Kim is married and she and her husband, Stan, have four sons, all whom live in rural Nebraska. The family has grown with the addition of three daughter-in-laws and eight grandchildren. Kim enjoys crafts, quilting, and most importantly, spending time with family and living the great life in rural Nebraska.

Aliese Hoffman

Aliese Hoffman is from the rural town of Red Cloud, Neb., where she grew up and worked on her family’s cattle ranch. She was an active member of 4H and FFA. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs and has a passion for rural life.

Aliese earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management. After graduation she worked in the hospitality industry where she gained skills in customer service, event planning, and management. She began working in the Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development at UNK in August of 2015 where she is involved in event coordination, outreach services, market research and supports the Enactus student organization. For the Rural Futures Institute, Aliese supports the RFI Fellows program.

Bradley Lubben, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow | Policy Specialist | Director of the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center

Department of Agricultural Economics | University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Brad Lubben has more than 24 years of experience in teaching, research and extension, focusing on agricultural policy and agricultural economics and working in Illinois, Kansas and Nebraska. Brad grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Burr, southeast of Lincoln. Brad has extensive experience in teaching, research, and outreach through extension with specific expertise in rural ag-policy and in the UNL ag-econ department.


  • Bachelor’s degree, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Master’s degree, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Doctorate degree, Kansas State University



  • Lubben. B.D. 2015-2019. “North Central Risk Management Education Center.” USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. $3,248,008.
  • Walters, C., S. Banerjee, and B. Lubben. 2016-2017. “Northern Plains Regional Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Partnership.” USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. $443,561.
  • Mattos, F., B. Lubben, J. Parsons, and C. Walters. 2016-2018. “The Ag Econ Scholars Mentoring Program.” USDA Economic Research Service. $30,000.



  • Nebraska Association of Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and
    Human Sciences 2010 Communicator of the Year, 2011.
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Senior Faculty
    Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence, 2015.




  • Agricultural Economics
  • Farm policy
  • Agricultural policy development and education

Peter Longo, Ph.D.

Faculty Fellow | Natural & Social Sciences

University of Nebraska at Kearney



Dr. Longo has been at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Department of Political Science, since 1988. Previously he was at Benedictine College (Kansas) (1986-88). Longo has published, with Anthony Schutz and the late Robert D. Miewald, the Nebraska State Constitution: A Reference Guide, 2nd edition (University of Nebraska Press) and co-edited (David Yaskowitz) Water in the Great Plains: Issues and Policies (Texas Tech University Press). Longo serves as the editor of Great Plains Research, a journal from the Center for Great Plains Studies (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), exposing him to great faculty research across the midwest and making him a great resource for our new Fellows Team.


  • Bachelor’s degree, history, Creighton University
  • Doctorate, political science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Research Interests

  • How cooperative models can promote the community good



  • Daugherty Water for Food Institute University of Nebraska, Healthy Nebraska and Beyond: Building Health from the Bottom-up along Waterways, ($27,465 with Alan Kolok, Patrick McNamara, Eleanor Rogan—Longo ) 2015
  • Nebraska University Foundation, Empowering Nebraska Youth to empower Nebraska Communities, ($82,500, with John Anderson), 2007 – 2009
  • Campus Kitchen of Washington, D.C. A grant to help students deliver meals to citizens in need. ($10,000), 2006 – 2009.


Leadership Roles

Most Recent Publications

  • Longo, P.J., Cummings R.G. (2013). Dam Water Policy: The Need for Global Governance. Journal of International Energy Policy, 2, 31-38.
  • Edwards, R., Longo P., (2013) Introduction Rural Communities and School Consolidation. Great Plains Research, 91-97.
  • Blauwkamp, J.M., Longo, P.J., and Anderson, J. (2011). School consolidation in Nebraska: Economic efficiency vs. rural community life. Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy, 6, 1, 1-20.
  • Longo, P.J., & Blauwkamp, J.M. (2011). Workplace religious accommodation for Muslims and the promise of state constitutionalism. Great Plains Research, 21, 3 (Spring), 3-15.
  • Longo, P. “Water Quality.” (2011). Governing America: Major Policies and Decisions of Federal, State, and Local Government, eds. Paul Quirk and William Cunion., New York, NY: Facts-on-File
  • Miewald, R., Longo, P., Schutz A. (2010). 433pp., The Nebraska State Constitution: A Reference Guide, 2nd edition 433pp., University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln NE
  • Nebraska’s 150th birthday is today: Through good times and bad, state has persevered By David Hendee



  • University of Nebraska Foundation Noddle Award for Service, 2012
  • Leslie Hewes Award Best Social Science Article, Great Plains Research Journal 2012 (with Joan Blauwkamp)

Catherine Lang, J.D.

Community Innovation Fellow | State Director | Nebraska Business Development Center

University of Nebraska at Omaha



Catherine Lang leads the statewide outreach for the Nebraska Business Development Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and works to build new collaborative efforts across the University of Nebraska system to support the Center’s mission.

From 2014 to 2016, Lang was the Vice President of Accelerate Nebraska, a statewide organization connecting improved educational outcomes to local business needs for better careers and stronger communities.

Lang also served the State of Nebraska for almost 33 years. She was the Director of Nebraska Department of Economic Development (December 2011 to June 2014) and the Commissioner of Labor (September 2008 to June 2014). She was the Nebraska Property Tax Administrator from 1996 to 2007, and the Deputy Tax Commissioner from 2007 to 2008. As an involved state and community leader, she is a member of several local and state philanthropic and community organizations.

Research Interests

  • Rural business and community vitality
  • Small business support and sustainability after startup
  • Business transition and succession




  • Juris Doctor



  • SBA Small Business Development Center Grant
  • DLA Procurement Technical Assistance Grant
  • Federal and State Technology Partnership Program
  • Currently leading statewide US EDA University Center grant application to promote Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

Gregory M. Karst, Ph.D., P.T.

Faculty Fellow | Executive Associate Dean | College of Allied Health Professions

University of Nebraska Medical Center



After receiving his bachelor’s degree in physical therapy he practiced in Tucson, Ariz., before completing his master’s degree. During his doctoral study his research focus was neural control of human movement. He was on faculty at UW-Madison prior to coming to UNMC in 1992, and served as associate director of PT Education before taking his current position.

A first generation college attendee from rural central Kansas, Dr. Karst is committed to reducing geographic and socioeconomic barriers to becoming a heath care professional by making health professions education more accessible to all Nebraskans. He was involved in all aspects of the planning, design and construction of the Health Science Education Complex on the UNK campus, thus expanding UNMC health professions programs from Omaha to Kearney. Greg Karst also wears a few hats as PT professor and admin for the Allied Health Sciences program at UNK and UNMC. This puts him on the road quite a bit and gives him a great understanding of rural health care professional needs.


  • Master’s degree, physiology, University of Arizona
  • Doctorate degree, physiology, University of Arizona



  • “Opening Windows and Doors to Health Care Careers in Rural Nebraska Communities” USDA Rural Community Development Grant; $250,000; PI – GM Karst; eligible but not funded due to limited USDA funds; 2016
  • “Promoting IOM Core Competencies through Interprofessional, Digital Case Scenarios.” Kelly Foundation; $28,000; KP Meyer (PI), GM Karst (I); 2008-9
  • “A novel method of quantifying balance impairment in persons with MS” National MS Society; $25,000; AE Tyler (PI), GM Karst (Co-I); 2000-1


  • Physiology
  • Physical Therapy
  • Academic Administration



Rachael Herpel

Community Innovation Fellow | Assistant Director

Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska



Herpel provides leadership in the development and execution of research, education and engagement programs as well as events for the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, established in 2010, and the Rural Futures Institute, both at the University of Nebraska. Through this joint appointment she is able to share best practices and lessons learned to the benefit of both institutes. During her graduate studies, Rachael specialized in environmental planning and water quality issues. Rachel’s role with DWFI Fellows and partners provides great perspective for the RFI. Her work with the rural NRD’s is a nationally recognized model for managing a very important resource, fresh water.


  • Bachelor’s degree, political science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Master’s degree, community and regional planning, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



  • Community and Regional Planning – Environmental Planning Emphasis
  • Political Science


  • $50 million gift to establish the Water for Food Global Institute, disbursed in 5-year increments. Currently WFI is in year 2 of the second 5-year increment.
  • Water for Food Institute directors secured more than 40 grants, contracts and gifts totaling more than $3.5 million in fiscal year 2016