How to Contact Us

Nebraska Folklife Network
Gwen Meister - Executive Director
5620 Hunts Drive - Lincoln, NE 68512
Phone and Fax: (402) 420 - 5442


NFN Board of Directors

Melphoto.jpg Melodee Landis has a PHD in education. She recently retired from the University of Nebraska at Omaha faculty where she was associate professor of teacher education. Melodee is also a musician who sings and plays fiddle. She has been involved in promoting the Internet and technology in instruction since 1985. Melodee is President of the Nebraska Folklife Network board. 
Dr. Steven Swidler

Dr. Stephen Swidler is Associate Professor of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Instruction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research has centered on rural schools and on teacher education. He has experience with folklife projects in the schools and has participated in Iowa’s folklife institute for teachers. Steve is Treasurer of the Nebraska Folklife Network board.

Todd Richardson is an Assistant Professor of English in the Goodrich Scholarship Program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His research focuses on the role and representation of authenticity in American folklore and folklore studies, and his writings on the subject have appeared in such journals as The Journal of American FolkloreWeber: The Contemporary West and (dis)Closure: The Journal of Social Theory. A native and near-lifelong Nebraskan, Todd earned a Ph.D. in English with a specialization in American Folklore at the University of Missouri. Todd is Secretary of the Nebraska Folklife Network Board.

Blanca Ramirez-Salazar holds a master’s in community and regional planning and a bachelor’s in social work. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and has worked for years to support Nebraska Latinos and other immigrants in positions with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Census Bureau.  Currently she is employed with the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services  as a Health Program Manager-Native American Health Liaison for the Office of Health Disparities & Health Equity.  
Bob Schmer
Bob Schmer, Scottsbluff NE, is an accordionist who leads the River Boys, a Dutch Hop style polka band. They play the traditional music of the Germans from Russia, a prominent ethnic group in Nebraska. Bob has led Dutch Hop bands for more than 30 years and is a recipient of a 1994 Nebraska Governors Arts Award. The River Boys were featured in the American Folklife Center - Library of Congress Homegrown Concert Series in Washington DC during June 2006. He works as a sales agronomist in Scottsbluff.
Vida Stabler is the Director of the Umo ho Language and Culture Center at the Omaha Nation Public School in Macy. She collaborates with community Tribal Members to develop cultural curricula for use within the K-12 public school and community. She is an enrolled member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska.

Erin Poor is Assistant Curator of Education at Sheldon Museum of Art. She is responsible for building public programs, organizing a statewide travelling exhibition, and managing the volunteer docent program. Prior to her her position at Sheldon, Erin was a teaching fellow at Northeastern University School of Architecture in Boston, MA. There she helped develop education and exhibition programming at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Erin holds an MA in Art History and Museum Studies from Tufts University.Erin_Poor_2.jpg

Dawn Vincent Dumas is a visual artist who supports this habit through her work as a hospice nurse in central Nebraska. The mother of two children, she devotes significant time and energy to the development of her family, gardening, and quilting. Dawn received her Bachelor of Arts in Art with an emphasis on clay and photography, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Wesleyan University.Dawn_Vincent_Dumas_2.jpg

Sief Mahagoub is currently a community liaison with the Lincoln Public Schools and works primarily with at-risk youth. He was formerly with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services where he conducted outreach programs and leadership training for refugees and other newer immigrants. He is originally from North Sudan but has lived in Japan and several other countries since leaving his homeland.Sief.jpg

NFN Staff

MeisterGwen08.jpg Gwen Meister has an MA in cultural anthropology and an MBA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her specialty is public folklore. Gwen served as folk arts coordinator for the Nebraska Arts Council from 1991 to1995. Gwen is passionate about ensuring a bright future for the traditions of Nebraska's unique variety of cultural groups. With help from other Nebraskans who recognized this need and with financial support from the Nebraska Arts Council, Humanities Nebraska and the National Endowment for the Arts, Gwen founded the Nebraska Folklife Network in 2003.
Dylan Wall began as a student volunteer in 2008 and has done contract work for the NFN since 2009. Dylan holds a BA in cultural anthropology and psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As Program Coordinator for the NFN, Dylan's work includes conducting field interviews and writing lesson plans for the various NFN projects. He also films and photographs various cultural events that take place in Nebraska that are incorporated into the cultural education kits. The opportunities he has had to research various cultures and form relationships with members of various cultural and ethnic groups in Nebraska has been highly rewarding.


The Nebraska Folklife Network is a nonprofit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.