Tyra Ann Reardon


Family and Consumer Sciences Education

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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2020 Communities: Chadron, Crawford & Harrison | Dawes County

Focus: Tourism, PreK-12 Education and Mental Health Awareness, Indigenous Population Inclusion

The student fellows will work to complete SHAPE planning and implementation through data collection and analysis of pre-K-12 youth, with a priority support for the Native American population. Students will focus on methods to reduce stigma of mental health through awareness campaigns, as well as work with Educational Service Unit 13 to create a school-based mental health services needs assessment and a behavioral mental health dashboard for the department’s ongoing use. Students will also assist Dawes County Joint Planning and Discover Northwest Nebraska in the development of programs and marketing campaigns designed to enhance the tourism industry in Northwest Nebraska. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has already and will continue to disrupt the 2020 tourism season for the region. Having interns available for the summer will allow focus on promoting local and regional tourism through staycations and complete several planning projects for 2021.

Peer: Sawyer Smith
Innovators: Katie CarrizalesTerri HaynesSandy Montague-Roes, Kerri Rempp

Sponsored By: Chadron Public Schools, Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) Grant, Educational Service Unit 13, Dawes County Joint Planning, Northwest Nebraska Tourism

Why did you choose the Fellowship Program?

I chose to be a RFI fellow in order to expand upon my self while helping impact others. I want to give back to the state that has given me so much. I am from a small community in Nebraska, and I want to learn more about and give back to other rural towns outside of my own.

What do you hope to gain?

I hope to gain a better understanding of myself and our awesome state! I plan to live and teach in a rural community in Nebraska, and I want to learn as much as possible about the communities across the state.I also want to improve on my leadership, communication, and teamwork skills by immersing myself into a new community and culture.

Why is it important that students develop inclusive leadership development?

I think it is extremely important for students to gain inclusive leadership skills. We are the future workforce, so knowing how to properly lead and understand others is crucial.

Why should students work in rural communities?

I grew up in a very small town in Nebraska, and it has helped shape me into the person that I am today. I think every student should have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rural community. Doing this helps show you a multitude of things, from where our food comes from to the day-to-day workings of a community outside of your own.

Why is it important students give back to Nebraska?

Giving back to Nebraska helps ensure our future. Nebraska is in the Bread Basket of the world; we feed millions. Helping the communities that are helping so many is a no brainer, in my opinion. The importance to give back to Nebraska even goes beyond feeding our future. It is important for students to give back to Nebraska to help further create a strong foundation for our own futures. Helping the communities that we may one day want to work and live in helps ensure that they are sustained and thriving for ourselves and others.

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

There is no better time than now to help move rural communities forward because of the threat these communities have faced over the past year. The floods that tore through these communities has left many of them in a devastating state. Helping rebuild and move these communities forward will help ensure a stable future for thousands of businesses, farms, and families. I want to help drive these communities forward by teaching the next generation in rural Nebraska communities. After I graduate, I want to return to a small community to live and teach in. I also want to help strengthen rural communities by providing them with mental health resources. Mental health is one of the most over looked aspects of a person’s overall well being. Because of this, I want to help provide a more in depth mental illness education in schools and communities. I want to accomplish this by making rural communities aware of the resources that are available to them, and also help bring in more mental health assets.