Rachel Williss


Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Connect on LinkedIn

2020 Community: Table Rock | Pawnee County

Focus: Community Marketing, Economic Development, Tourism

The main focus of this project will be to implement a comprehensive social media strategy for local businesses to build their social media presence and expand their reach to new audiences. The goal is to include areas high school students that are interested in marketing or advertising that could help facilitate this process and take the reins once the fellowship is completed. Students would also perform community impact surveys and brainstorm new ways to promote the area through tourism.

Peer: Kate Osbon
Innovators: Kenneth EdwardsAmy Hunzeker

Sponsored By: Table Rock Development Corporation, Pawnee County Promotional Network, Village of Table Rock, City of Pawnee City, and Table Rock Historical Society

Why did you choose the Fellowship Program?

I chose this opportunity because everything about it is purposeful and impactful. I liked that my internship would be constructed around my strengths, so that they can be put to use by a community that can benefit from them, while also giving me a chance to practice them outside of the classroom and develop professionally. I also liked the fact that this internship would push me out of my comfort zone. I will get to explore a new part of the state and new responsibilities. The opportunity to make an impact beyond just gaining work experience is not something many other internships offer.

What do you hope to gain?

I hope to discover a new area of Nebraska, build relationships, gain new perspectives and increase my experience in media development and in leadership.

Why is it important that students develop inclusive leadership development?

It is unavoidable to see that our world is constantly developing and becoming more diverse. Establishing inclusive leadership skills is not only important, but essential for cooperation and unity. Learning to be respectful and welcoming of new perspectives and ideas improves the accomplishment of everyone involved and builds trust, which is foundational for success. Skills and experience in inclusive leadership are applicable to all careers. This opportunity is especially important for students because many are still discovering their identity, career path, and leadership philosophy that they will take with them into the future. Developing more inclusive leaders will help to heal the divides in our communities and in our country.

Why should students work in rural communities?

Rural communities are the backbone of our state, and learning from them is important for communication and understanding. Many of us will have careers that require us to interact with people from all over Nebraska, so experiencing rural perspectives while also experiencing the perspectives of our university city is beneficial. Completing an internship in a place that may be unfamiliar also gives students greater responsibility and independence.

Why is it important students give back to Nebraska?

Having a supportive community is a part of our identity and is one of our advantages as a state. It is important to contribute to it and advocate for it so that it remains that way for years to come. It is also rewarding get to know an area you may not be familiar with. While we are all Nebraskans, there is still a lot of diversity in communities and in the land throughout the state. Building relationships in new places helps strengthen communication, understanding, and trust between communities.

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

The world is more interconnected, making it easier to share knowledge, ideas, opportunities and resources. I think that encouraging more of this communication both within Nebraska and beyond will strengthen us as a state.