LAWRENCE – The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has named its 2023-2024 Dole Fellow in partnership with the Kansas Rural Center (KRC), a state-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting the long-term health of the land and its people through research, education and advocacy.
As a fellow-in-residence, Karen Willey, a KRC board member, will engage with members of the Dole Institute’s Student Advisory Board, led by students Braiden Bangalan and Rachel Creighton, to develop public programming for spring 2024 on topics related to sustainability in Kansas.
Karen Willey also serves as the Douglas County Commissioner for District 3. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and doctorate in geography, both from KU. She works as a nonprofit consultant through Futureful, a local company providing organizational health and fundraising support to health, housing and human services organizations in urban Kansas City. She leverages this social impact work along with her science and entrepreneurship experience in crafting grounded local policy.
Bangalan, from Lawrence, is majoring in global & international studies, political science and data science. Creighton, from Fort Morgan, Colorado, is majoring in political science and English with a minor in business.
“We are excited to partner with the Kansas Rural Center to create bipartisan, student-focused programming around critical issues of rural sustainability and their broader implications,” said Audrey Coleman, Dole Institute director.
“The Kansas Rural Center is honored to partner with the Dole Institute to bring together Kansans to discuss some of the most pressing challenges we face. This partnership is a great way to connect students with the community and issues around them,” said Tom Buller, executive director of the Kansas Rural Center.