Rural Fellowship Program’s 10th Anniversary
Summer 2023 will mark the Rural Fellowship program’s 10th anniversary. The seven-week program, housed in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, places college students in Nebraska towns to help create and execute community-improvement projects.
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[00:00:01.605]Summer 2023 will mark the Rural
Fellowship program’s 10th anniversary.
[00:00:05.195]The seven-week program, housed
in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s
[00:00:09.290]Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources,
places college students in Nebraska towns
[00:00:13.617]to help create and execute
[00:00:17.830]For both students and communities,
the application window opened Oct. 1.
are due December 30.
[00:00:25.670]Applications can be found at
[00:00:31.637]“The Rural Fellowship Program is
different from a traditional internship,”
[00:00:34.522]said Helen Fagan, program coordinator.
[00:00:37.562]“In an internship, students generally work
for a company to gain career experience.
[00:00:42.525]With the fellowship, students
live in and work for a community,
[00:00:46.705]bringing their own talents and education
to help improve that community.”
[00:00:51.326]During the application process,
community leaders outline projects
[00:00:55.076]they’d like to work on
the following summer.
[00:00:57.434]Fagan and her team then interview
student applicants and place them
[00:01:00.214]in towns where their education and experiences
can be used to help complete those projects.
[00:01:05.044]In the past, students have designed hike-and-bike trails,
organized “Small Business Saturday” events,
[00:01:09.964]hosted youth entrepreneurship seminars
and created public health initiatives.
[00:01:16.084]“We didn’t have the ability,
from a team member and time perspective,
[00:01:19.944]to devote to this,” said Kyle Kellum, CEO of
Cherry County Hospital in Valentine,
[00:01:24.584]where a major project for 2022 Fellows
was researching the need for
[00:01:29.091]and possibility of creating
[00:01:33.091]“This was something that we
had to tackle as an organization,
[00:01:35.951]and having the Rural Fellowship program here
has been a tremendous asset for our organization.”
[00:01:41.794]While having students living and working
in the towns is a boon to rural Nebraska
[00:01:45.823]communities, the students
also benefit from the experience.
[00:01:49.223]And not just through their paycheck.
[00:01:51.543]“The communities bring in some of the
brightest, most vibrant and most ambitious
[00:01:55.253]young minds to their communities,
ready to be proactive in developing plans
[00:01:59.103]to create resources and solve challenges,”
said Darrell King, experiential learning and
coordinator for the program.
[00:02:06.738]“As for the participants, they get a chance
to apply their knowledge to real-world issues
[00:02:11.832]and work with community leaders
while still learning via their courses.
[00:02:15.952]Working with these community leaders
provides mentoring opportunities,
[00:02:19.292]leadership skills and
[00:02:22.982]Faith Junck, an environmental science major
from Carroll who served in Chadron this summer,
[00:02:27.098]said: “Serving as a Rural Fellow in Dawes,
Sheridan and Sioux counties for the summer
[00:02:31.229]proved to be one of the greatest experiences
of my college career so far.
[00:02:35.700]Rural communities may be small,
but they are mighty.
[00:02:39.310]They hold our state together and
are the driving force behind
[00:02:42.720]‘the good life’ that can only
be experienced in Nebraska.”
[00:02:46.870]To learn more about the Rural
Fellowship program or to complete
[00:02:49.850]your community application,
go to ruralprosperityne.unl.edu.
[00:02:55.150]For Nebraska Extension,
this is Jordan Rasmussen.
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