Megan Tofflemire

Senior

Criminal Justice, Spanish, Pre-Law

Wayne State College

2020 Community: Arapahoe

Focus: Economic and Community Development

The students will work on a variety of community and economic development projects. One goal is to connect local store fronts and homes with alumni and entrepreneurs. Students will also focus on a campaign to secure the passage of LB840 in the November election. Other projects will include building the new economic development organization through determining community and business needs, helping local businesses get an online presence, developing community marketing, and more.

Team:
Peer: Aline Abayo
Innovators: Angie Moore, Kate Warner

Sponsored By: Arapahoe Economic Development, City of Arapahoe

Why did you choose the Fellowship Program?

This program offered me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and expand my individual abilities, without losing sight of where I came from. I chose this program because I feel that the leadership, staff and immersive experience are unlike any other internship program I have seen. I am looking forward to the opportunity to witness the impact made on the community I work with, as well as the opportunity to strengthen my personal abilities through the 1-on-1 coaching experience.

What do you hope to gain?

I hope to gain an individual confidence that enables me to take a more assertive approach to leadership, problem solving and conflict management. I also hope to strengthen my communication skills, so I am confident in my abilities to communicate effectively with any individual, especially public officials. Finally, I hope to gain a working knowledge of the behind the scenes work that goes into a thriving small town community.

Why is it important that students develop inclusive leadership development?

I think if students stay within their comfort zones and don’t take the initiative to learn about different leadership styles, methods and opportunities, they are ultimately hindering their potential growth. Inclusive leadership development accentuates the importance of respectfully working alongside others and openly accepting ideas to create a welcoming atmosphere. This open-mindedness creates a platform for shared ideas, knowledge and ultimately growth.

Why should students work in rural communities?

If we utilize an inclusive leadership method, it is likely that our awareness and knowledge of diversity will be enhanced. Diversity is an important part of our community dynamic. We should focus on creating a community that is not just accepting, but welcoming to diversity. A greater understanding of diversity furthers our awareness of the adversity that is impacting our community as a whole.

Why is it important students give back to Nebraska?

Nebraska is more than a state, Nebraska is a genuine community. Being raised here has graced us with a kindhearted midwestern acceptance that is sustained by the people within it. To believe that our state is powered by anything other than citizens hoping for prosperous growth is unrealistic. It is our people that keep this state great, and we as students are the future of Nebraska, which is why we need to give back with our time, effort, and knowledge.

What new opportunities exist today to help move rural communities forward? What are your ideas?

Nebraska is currently in a state of growth. As expansion continues, it becomes increasingly important for us to work alongside our rural communities to ensure that they are not left behind. We want to enable our rural communities to grow alongside the rest of our state. A couple ideas that I have to move small town communities forward are educating future generations on the success that can take place within their own communities and expanding marketing for the often times overlooked businesses small towns have to offer.