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