Nebraska Thriving Index Student Scholar Jordan Duffin Wong Appears on RFI Podcast


April 10, 2019 — A one-size-fits-all approach to policy is not successful for all rural communities throughout the state, according to Jordan Duffin Wong, a junior studying Political Science and Mathematics at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). The Kearney, Neb., native joined the Rural Futures Podcast as the Episode 27 Bold Voice at 13:59.

The weekly podcast, “Rural Futures with Dr. Connie,” debuts every Tuesday, featuring a University of Nebraska student within a primary interview of a researcher, futurist or rural maverick creating leadership, technology and collaborative opportunities for rural communities across the country. The podcast is hosted by Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., RFI Interim Executive Director and Chief Futurist and is available across listening platforms — iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloudGoogle Play and Spotify.

As a UNL Bureau of Business Research Student Scholar, Jordan works to collect data on a variety of factors affecting Nebraska’s communities for the Nebraska Thriving Index. RFI convened and funded an expanded research team for the Nebraska Thriving Index from UNL, the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the Nebraska Extension Community Vitality Initiative.

“We can make comparisons that create real insights and are useful for policymakers who are trying to help the state grow,” he said.

The Thriving Index provides economic developers, local elected officials and community leaders with economic and quality of life indicators to identify thriving and lagging regions so strategic, future-focused investments can be made.

“In essence, what we’re doing is trying to collect data and use this Thriving Index to inform policymakers about what policies they need to make to best let regions in Nebraska grow,” he said.

For Jordan, participating in the Thriving Index has given him hands-on experience in research and collecting data which he hopes will set him apart from his peers as he applies for graduate school programs.

“It’s about giving myself the best possible chance to end up where I want to end up and study what I want to end up studying,” he said. “Hopefully, this is another stepping stone for me to get where I want to go.”


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