RFI Student Serviceship


2018 Results

2017 Results

2016 Impact Report


Rural Futures Institute Student Serviceship connects communities to college students and students to rural communities, leaders and mentors.

A hybrid between service learning and traditional internships, “serviceships” provide communities with tangible results on important self-defined projects while giving students resume-building work and insight into the career and life opportunities in rural places. In this unique experience, intern pairs directly support community efforts as a whole, often serving as the link between many entities.

Community host teams include subject-matter experts and leadership mentors that assist with students’ major projects, connect them with volunteering opportunities, invite them to participate in community events and activities and provide diverse perspectives. The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) trains students and provides support and guidance throughout this experience. All participants learn and share on behalf of rural community growth. RFI Student Serviceship was made possible in partnership with the Heartland Center for Leadership Development.

Thirty-eight University of Nebraska students have worked and served in 19 Nebraska communities through a serviceship experience from 2013 to 2017. RFI Student Serviceship developed from a 2013 RFI-funded teaching and engagement project led by Dr. Tom Field, Dr. Lindsay Hastings and Reshell Ray of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

“This program truly makes a dent in attracting and retaining young talent. Thank you for making a difference for Nebraska!”
Kara Asmus
Workforce Development Coordinator, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Columbus, Neb.


RFI Student Serviceship Communities



An Impactful Experience for Communities & Students

Nebraska Communities

RFI Trains & Places

RFI selects communities and interns through a competitive application and interview process. With RFI facilitation, selected community host teams build out their projects, locate 10-week housing for interns and identify funding to support projects and the interns’ stipends (approximately $8,000 per student pair).

Out-of-State Communities

RFI Trains, You Place

Lead entity identifies community, host team, project, 10-week housing for interns and funding to support projects and the interns’ stipends (approximately $8,000 per student pair). Lead entity may select interns to be trained by RFI or have RFI select stellar University of Nebraska students.

Serviceship Interns

Selected interns complete a one-week leadership and community development course at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in Lincoln, Neb. Pairs of interns work, serve and participate in their host communities for 10 weeks.



Although the Rural Futures Institute underwent a significant budget reduction effective July 2018, we are pleased to announce that we will host a 2019 RFI Student Serviceship experience. Details will be announced in late February 2019. If you would like to offer support to this program, please contact us.