Staff Directory

We look forward to collaborating with you to strengthen Indiana and its rural communities.

Project Manager

Email:
iambrose@iu.edu

Isabelle Ambrose helps center staff and partners work with rural communities by implementing project management systems and improving efficiencies across the center’s work.

Director of Campus Partnerships

Email:
toddburk@iu.edu

Todd Burkhardt serves as the director of campus partnerships, facilitating work with faculty, staff, and students that connects IU’s broad resources to improve the well-being of rural Indiana.

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Email:
jtcarley@iu.edu

Joe Carley develops partnerships with regional and state organizations to support rural prosperity in Indiana.

Director of Communications

Pronouns:
she/her/hers
Email:
knblanke@indiana.edu

Kyla Cox Deckard leads communications for the center, working with the campus, communities, and media to share the story of rural Indiana.

Healthy Hoosier Communities Liaison

Email:
mygaston@iu.edu

Mylan Gaston strives to help rural Hoosiers live their healthiest lives by linking communities with the university and other resources, facilitating collaboration to effectively create and implement health initiatives.

Deputy Director

Email:
rmankows@iu.edu

Rebecca Mankowski serves as deputy director of the center, ensuring efficient operations and extending the transformative effects of IU throughout the rural communities of the state.

Director of Community Initiatives

Email:
gpiser@iu.edu

Gabriel Piser supports the center's work by developing and expanding large-scale community impact initiatives and strengthening relationships with community stakeholders.

Metrics Specialist

Email:
pittmanc@iu.edu

Caleb Pittman conducts research and analysis to support the center's mission and evaluates projects and initiatives implemented by the center and its partners.

Sustaining Hoosier Communities Director

Email:
jrogan@indiana.edu

Jane Rogan leads the Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative, connecting communities to IU courses, students, and faculty to address community-identified needs and opportunities.  

Program Director for Faculty Leadership and Engagement

Email:
wreilly@indiana.edu

Whitney Schlegel cultivates a faculty community at the center to implement and scale proven approaches and innovate new modes for rural engagement. 

Community Resilience Liaison

Pronouns:
he/him/his
Email:
jacdsimp@iu.edu

Jacob Simpson supports the center’s work by building relationships with community members who collaborate with IU faculty, students, and staff to foster a more resilient Indiana.

Health Projects Liaison

Email:
ksobiech@iu.edu

Kathleen Sobiech supports the implementation of projects to address COVID-19 related health disparities and advance health equity by expanding the resources and services offered in rural communities.

Executive Director

Email:
kthomso@iu.edu

Kerry Thomson leads the Center for Rural Engagement's efforts to improve the lives of Hoosiers.

Hoosier Quality of Place Liaison

Email:
nvasconi@iu.edu

Nicole Vasconi works in collaboration with community leaders, the IU Arts & Humanities Council, faculty, and students on quality of place initiatives to connect IU programs and resources with rural Indiana’s artistic and cultural opportunities.

Executive Administrative Assistant

Email:
gvertree@indiana.edu

Gina Vertrees supports the center’s administration, managing scheduling, travel, and event logistics, and clerical needs.

Media Specialist

Pronouns:
she/her/hers
Email:
watersje@indiana.edu

Jeni Waters supports communication efforts by maintaining the center’s web presence and developing media assets to visually enhance the story of rural Indiana.

Create thriving rural communities with us