Rural Future’s Institute announces project grant with Peru State faculty

Rural Future’s Institute announces project grant with Peru State faculty

12:00 p.m., July 12, 2017
Jason R. Hogue, Director of Communications, Peru State College,, 402-872-2429


Nebraska City, Nebraska – The Rural Futures Institute announced nine teaching and research grants worth almost $400,000 on July 6. Peru State College Professor of Business, Dr. Sheri Grotrian-Ryan and Professor of Kinesiology, Dr. Kyle Ryan, are attached to a project based in Nebraska City focused on obesity education for post-secondary students.

The Rural Futures Institute writes, “The 2017 project, ‘Obesity Intervention and Service Learning,’ is a collaborative project to combat the epidemic of rural pediatric obesity. University of Nebraska at Omaha Assistant Professor Danae Dinkel and Peru State College Professors Kyle Ryan and Sheri Grotrian-Ryan will work with schools and community-based organizations in Nebraska City to create a service-learning course for undergraduate students.”

Ryan notes that, even though the obesity epidemic has been well chronicled, many are unaware of the circumstances that make combating rural obesity more challenging.

“The structural and cultural limitations in rural areas make addressing obesity difficult at best. While many people see the rural landscape as offering unlimited opportunity for exercise, the truth is that seasonal changes make this impossible. As a result, attempts at physical activity are quite limited given the number of recreation facilities and lack of transportation,” Ryan said.

Rural Futures Institute adds, “The course will introduce post-secondary students to service learning and the prevalence of overweight and obesity in rural areas. It will also seek to engage existing and new partnerships with community-based organizations for students’ service learning.”

Grotrian-Ryan said, ““With engagement being a cornerstone at Peru State, this type of service-learning opportunity is paramount in allowing our PSC students to embark on experiential learning in our local community.”

The grants build on RFI’s successful Competitive Awards program that so far has funded 50 teaching and research projects in more than 100 Nebraska communities. The projects address unique challenges and opportunities facing rural populations in the areas of economic development, education, health care, diversity and inclusion and more.