Our Team

Email: ruralfutures@nebraska.edu
Phone: (402) 472-2940

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 830710
Lincoln, NE 68583-0710

Main Office
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
East Campus
103 Miller Hall
Lincoln, NE 68583-0710

 

Work With RFI

 

 

Mark Balschweid, Ph.D.

November 16, 2017
Interim Executive Director
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. …
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.
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Katelyn Ideus

November 17, 2017
Director of Communications & PR
           Katelyn Ideus serves the National Strategic Research Institute as well as the Rural Future Institute, both at the University of Nebraska. She develops the strategic communications plan for the Institute, producing, stimulating and delivering bold stories about the successes …

          

Katelyn Ideus serves the National Strategic Research Institute as well as the Rural Future Institute, both at the University of Nebraska. She develops the strategic communications plan for the Institute, producing, stimulating and delivering bold stories about the successes earned, innovations created and solutions found by rural communities around the world.

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 master’s degree in integrated media communications and bachelor’s in news editorial and broadcast journalism, both from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Katelyn lives with her husband and two children near Adams, Neb., where they are part of the Ideus Family Farms operation. Katelyn’s husband, Tyler, is a specialist in physical medicine practicing in Lincoln, Neb., and traveling the world to teach. Listen to his podcast episode!

BOLD Communications Strategy

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Helen Fagan, Ph.D.

June 28, 2018
Director of Leadership Engagement
Dr. Fagan is a leadership and diversity scholar and consultant. She is the CEO and founder of Global Leadership Group, an assistant professor of practice in leadership engagement at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a qualified executive coach. Helen holds her …

Dr. Fagan is a leadership and diversity scholar and consultant. She is the CEO and founder of Global Leadership Group, an assistant professor of practice in leadership engagement at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a qualified executive coach.

Helen holds her doctorate in human sciences with emphasis in leadership. She studied international economics and British political economy at Oxford University during the formation of the European Union. Helen is a certified diversity trainer, a qualified administrator of the intercultural development inventory and a certified emotional intelligence and diversity trainer.

For the last four years she has also served as a faculty with the Qatar Institute for Intercultural Communication, providing workshops for faculty, staff and graduate students working at six U.S. universities in Education City in Qatar.

Dr. Fagan’s expertise in developing inclusive leaders, organizations and communities has enabled her to speak in multiple nations and four continents. Dr. Fagan’s passion is to develop leaders who create better tomorrows.

In 2000, she became the first coordinator of diversity and cultural competence initiatives at Bryan Health during which time the initiative gained national recognition. During that time, she played a key role in the recruitment and resettlement of nurses from the Philippines and worked diligently to address employment and healthcare needs of refugees and immigrants. Because of her dedication, she has received multiple awards including a key to the city of Lincoln.

Dr .Fagan’s Website Dr. Fagan’s CV
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Theresa Klein

November 17, 2017
Executive Team & Rural Engagement
Theresa Klein’s grassroots leadership experience and perspective add an important perspective to the Rural Futures Institute’s executive team. After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a degree in animal science and agricultural economics, Klein traveled the entire state on …

Theresa Klein’s grassroots leadership experience and perspective add an important perspective to the Rural Futures Institute’s executive team.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with a degree in animal science and agricultural economics, Klein traveled the entire state on her first job while handling all public relations and communications for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. She then joined the University of Nebraska Foundation serving as Director of Communications for 11 years with the unique opportunity to work with all of the NU campuses.

To raise their children in the best of places, Theresa and her husband moved to a small farm west of Wahoo, near her family’s dairy farm, so the kids would experience production agriculture and rural life. She began serving as Development Director for Bishop Neumann High School, with a personal goal of getting the facility upgraded by its 50th Anniversary in May 2015. This move allowed Theresa to immerse herself in a wide variety of leadership opportunities ranging from the Wahoo Chamber of Commerce, Teammates Board & Public Library Foundation to helping found the Friends of Saunders County 4-H & Extension Foundation.

After attending the RFI conferences in 2011 and 2013, Theresa became a fan of the RFI approach. She believes in engaging leaders of all ages in applying innovative ideas and community-specific strategies to strengthen individual communities. Currently, she serves on the Saunders County Ag Society and was recently appointed Trustee of the Saunders County Medical Center, continuing a real-world connection with the complex challenge of affecting change in a rural community.

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Kim Peterson

November 17, 2017
Director of Competitive Awards & Finance
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 …

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.

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