Dr. Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel

Extension Specialist
Rural Prosperity Nebraska

We believe in the power of every person.



Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel is a Professor and Extension Specialist – Rural Prosperity Nebraska, located at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center in Scottsbluff. She brings to the position over 25 years of community development experience focused in the areas of new resident recruitment and retention, tourism development and community planning. Currently she teaches a GPIDEA (Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance) graduate course in Community Engagement. In addition, she contributes to the Department’s Community Development Certificate program with a course focused on workforce development.

Being located in rural Nebraska, she is keenly aware of the opportunities and challenges that impact rural areas. Her goal is to provide research-based information so that stakeholders can make informed decisions impacting the future of their communities.

Dr. Burkhart-Kriesel has held leadership roles on several state and regional boards, including Nebraska Workforce Development, South Platte Natural Resource District, Nebraska Wheat Growers and most recently has been a member of the Blueprint Nebraska statewide planning effort. In 2019 she was asked to participate in the USDA’s National Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN).


  • Ph.D. 1992, Community and Human Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Emphasis - Community and Human Resources
  • M.S. 1982, Applied Human Resources, Colorado State University, Emphasis - Consumer Sciences
  • B.S. 1976, Consumer Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Emphasis - Consumer Affairs



Sherin, K., & Burkhart-Kriesel, C. (2018).   Cooperative Extension’s investment in workforce development: Past and present in the book Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers.  Federal Reserve Bank Workforce Development Resource Library. Available at www.investinwork.org/book

Sherin, K., Burkhart-Kriesel, C., & Bruns, J, (2017). Marketing Hometown America ripple effects mapping case study.  In the monograph, The Emergence of Ripple Effect Mapping.  Eds. Emery, M., & Chazdon, S.   


  • Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Hawkins, J., & Weigle, J. (2019). Engagement to enhance community: An example of Extension’s land-grant mission in action.  Social Sciences – Special Issue: Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities. 8(1), 27.  MDPI Publisher.  Available at https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0760/8/1/27/htm
  • Hatch, C., Burkhart-Kriesel, C. & Sherin, K. (2018).  Ramping up rural skills: An Extension-centered, community-based approach. Journal of Extension. Vol. 56 (2), 2FEA1, Available at:  https://www.joe.org/joe/2018april/a1.php
  • Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Cantrell, R., Narjes, C., Vogt, R., Hodur, N. (2015). Marketing rural communities: A qualitative study on the power of community images. Journal of the Community Development Society, 45(2), 181-194.
  • Nene G., Johnson, B., Cantrell, R., Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Narjes, C., & Vogt, R. (2009). Community recruitment and retention of new residents: A study using a market assessment process. Online Journal of Rural Research & Policy - Rural Development Special Issue. 4(1), 1-27.
  • Cantrell, R., Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Johnson, B., Narjes, C. & Vogt, R. (2008). Moving to the rural Great Plains: Point of origin differences in the decision-making process. Great Plains Research. 18(2), 155-164.
  • Burkhart-Kriesel, C. & Francis, C. (2007). Red carpet service - Linking rural communities to travelers and tourists. Journal of Extension, 45(6), Article 6FEA7. Retrieved January 1, 2008 from http://www.joe.org/joe/2007december/a7.shtml 

Extension publications

  • Vogt, R., Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Lubben, B., McElravy, L.J., Meyer, T., Schulz, S., & Weigle, J. (2020). Well-Being in Nonmetropolitan Nebraska:25 Years of Trends. Nebraska Rural Poll Results. Research Report 20-3, August 2020.  Available at: https://ruralpoll.unl.edu/pdf/20communityandwellbeing.pdf
  • Vogt, R., Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Lubben, B., McElravy, L.J., Meyer, T., Schulz, S., & Weigle, J. (2020). Resilience in Nonmetropolitan Nebraska: Capacity to Overcome Disasters and Hardships. Nebraska Rural Poll Results. Research Report 20-2, August 2020. Available at: https://ruralpoll.unl.edu/pdf/20resilience.pdf
  • Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Vogt, R., Cantrell, R. (2013). Using focus groups to understand what new residents want and need in a community. Marketing Hometown America (embedded within the electronic magazine). Retrieved December 1,2013 at: http://em-zmags.unl.edu/mha/FocusGroups.pdf
  • Vogt, R., Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Cantrell, R. (2013). Using surveys to learn the opinions of new residents. Marketing Hometown America (embedded as a resource within the electronic magazine). ). Retrieved December 1, at: http://em-zmags.unl.edu/mha/HouseholdSurvey.pdf
  • Burkhart-Kriesel, C., Cantrell, R., Johnson, B., Narjes, C., Vogt, R. & O’Brien, T. (2010). Tailoring rural community websites to new residents. Extension Circular EC 859. Retrieved February 1, 2010 from http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec859/build/ec859.pdf 


  • USDA NIFA - $500,000, 2017- 2021 with a 5th year extension. Water for Agriculture. (Multi-state team; local collaborator).
  • North Central Region Community Rural Development Center, $13,500, awarded in 2018, October 2019- October, 2020, extended to July 1, 2021. Updating Marketing Hometown America Curriculum and Expanding to Additional States (PI with collaborators from University of Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
  • North Central Region Community Rural Development Center, $ 7,171, October 2016-2017. Workforce Issues: Collaborating to Build Extension’s Capacity. (Multi-state team representing all regions of the U.S.; Co-PI).
  • Rural Futures Institute, $57,073, December, 2013 - 2016. Bridging the Skills Gap: Workforce Development in the Great Plains. (Multi-state team; Co-PI).
  • Rural Futures Institute, $98,079, December, 2012 - 2014. Community Marketing: Taking a New Look at Rural Communities in the Great Plains. (Multi-state team; PI).
  • NCR Sustainable Agriculture Research Extension (SARE) Professional Development, $73,984, 2009 - 2010. Business Feasibility, Marketing and On-line Direct Marketing: In-depth Training to Better Serve Sustainable Agricultural Businesses. UNL Extension Entrepreneurship Work Group Initiative. (Co-PI).
  • USDA National Research Initiative - Rural Development, $498,000, 2008 - 2012. Marketing Rural Communities to Attract and Retain Workers. (Multi-state team; Lead Co-PI).
  • USDA National Research Initiative - Rural Development, $220,000, 2006 - 2008. Relocation to the Buffalo Commons: Using a marketing approach to understand residential decisions among migrants to the Nebraska Panhandle. (PI).

Awards and Honors

  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Excellence in Teamwork Award for Marketing Hometown America – multi-state curriculum revision, National Runner-Up, 2022.

  • National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Distinquished Career Award, 2021.

  • Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources Omtvedt Innovation Award for Extension, 2019.
  • University of Nebraska Gamma Sigma Delta Excellence in Extension, 2015.
  • National Rural Sociological Society Excellence in Extension and Outreach, 2015.
  • National Community Development Society Innovation Award for Marketing Hometown America, 2014.
  • National and North Central Region Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Excellence in Teamwork Award for Marketing Hometown America, 2014.
  • Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement Inductee, 2014.