Rural Futures Institute Establishes New Partnership; Kaskie to lead RFI Fellows

KEARNEY — Shawn Kaskie and Aliese Hoffman have been added to the Rural Futures Institute team at the University of Nebraska and will lead efforts to develop and expand the RFI Fellows program.

In the new partnership Kaskie will hold joint positions with RFI and University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Center for Rural Research and Development in the College of Business and Technology.

Shawn Kaskie headshot
Shawn Kaskie

His office will remain on the UNK campus. In addition to his new role as RFI Fellows coordinator, Kaskie will continue as director of CRRD, a position he’s held the past seven years. Hoffman will serve as administrative specialist.

Kaskie is a certified Professional Community and Economic Developer, former Gallup Entrepreneurship Acceleration System Guide, business retention and expansion consultant, and NxLevel entrepreneurship instructor.

Hoffman will also have a shared RFI/CRRD position and will assist Kaskie as program assistant for the development of the Fellows program. Hoffman is a Red Cloud native and UNK graduate.

“Kaskie will join the RFI team with the goal of launching and growing a RFI Fellows Program,“ said Chuck Schroeder, executive director of the Rural Futures Institute.

Kaskie has a master’s degree in regional planning and undergraduate majors in public administration, sociology and psychology from Hastings College. He has experience in providing community economic development and market research.

“We are very excited to welcome Shawn and Aliese to the RFI team and look forward to developing even closer working relationships between the four University of Nebraska campuses as well as community and organizational partners as the RFI Fellows program evolves,” said Connie Reimers-Hild, associate director of the Rural Futures Institute.

The Memorandum of Understanding between RFI and UNK is the first for the Institute.

“Shawn will be in a position to advance the agendas of both the RFI Fellows Program and the Center for Rural Research and Development on the UNK campus. This is a collaboration of tremendous potential that is emerging at exactly the right time and in a most effective way,” said Charles Bicak, senior vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at UNK.

The Rural Futures Institute is one of four interdisciplinary institutes at the University of Nebraska that leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the system. The institute, through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, encourages bold and futuristic approaches to collaboratively address state, national and global challenges.


Contact: Kayla Schnuelle, Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska, 402.472.2935,