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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Rural Fellows internship begins

Students will have the opportunity to make a difference in rural Nebraska
On Tuesday, 27 students began internships through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but they’re not a local company.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:58 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -On Tuesday, 27 students began internships through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but they’re not a local company. They’re all Rural Fellows who will work with small communities across the state.

It’s a 10-week internship, the Fellows work with small towns to apply their knowledge for community projects.

During this Fellowship, 27 students from different colleges will work in rural communities both in-person and online to enhance the small towns’ needs. The students and the community’s leaders work on anything from tourism to childcare to downtown development.

“The community has incredible leaders, incredible community members, and they have a vision for the future of their community, and we want to provide the resources, the intellectual capacity, the manpower to help bring those dreams to fruition,” said Helen Fagan, Program Coordinator for Rural Fellows Program.

Anywhere from 60 to 80 students apply for the internship. Leaders of the program said the students need to be interested in living and experiencing rural life, and they have to be willing to engage with the community and understand the communities have a vision for themselves.

“We have interviews with the students to learn more about the applications, their areas of strengths and weaknesses, their areas of interests, how they operate in different circumstances,” said Jennifer Okoliku, Student Lead.

One UNL student majoring in integrated science participated in this internship last summer. She’s from Rwanda and said she had a great time learning about a community that has a completely different background than her. Last summer she was in Valley County. This summer she’ll work remotely for Scottsbluff.

“I’m hoping to learn about how to work with leadership in communities, and how to actually be strategic with development, just going through that process and learning from my community leaders that I’m going to be working with, but also apply some of the things I’ve learned from my class,” said Clare Umutoni, Student. “I look forward to just learning as a person and professionally.”

Students from around the country are able to apply for this internship. One of the Fellows is from Texas Tech, and she’ll be working in Scottsbluff.

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