Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design
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Current Assignment in the College of Education and Human Sciences:
Extension Specialist for Textiles and Apparel
“Rural” matters. Some Nebraska rural areas are dwindling in population and in economic vitality. Specific concerns for rural sustainability include failure of rural areas to keep their brightest youth or to get them to return to their rural roots; transfer of rural businesses; immigration; lack of high speed Internet connectivity or the desire to invest in it by rural consumers; dwindling populations; and the list goes on.
Nebraska’s people represent a wide diversity of age groups, ethnicities, education levels, occupations, dreams and goals. In some areas, where there have been recent influxes of immigrant workers, ethnic diversity has presented problems, both for the new residents and for the older established residents. In order to exist in the twenty first century, all Nebraskans must be able to work together.
I work toward economic development for rural areas by helping communities survive and thrive in the information age. My work focuses on three areas, information technology, business retention and expansion, and youth entrepreneurship. In addition, I offer programs traditionally associated with the textiles specialist.
I place a high level of importance on the creative process which I believe guides all human activity. I feel it is through the ability to think “outside the box” that people can learn to solve problems in new and innovative ways. Human beings are born to be creative, and it is only through negative forces that doubts about creative abilities arise. In a delightful book, A creative companion: How to free your creative spirit (Sark, Celestial Arts. Berkeley CA: 1991) I find inspiration to “plant impossible gardens”, “imagine yourself magic”, “open up, dive in, and be free”. These simple strategies can relate to most all situations, and help inform the methods I use for teaching.
The impact of my work will be seen as members of rural communities embrace broadband technology, using information technology for commerce, education and communication. Rural communities will grow and maintain retail sectors, enabling them to attract economic development opportunities. Youth will feel empowered to return to rural communities as valued community members. Youth and adults will learn to understand and respect each other. Communities will prosper as youth are encouraged to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors which will create new wealth.