We are Civic Nebraska

We build young leaders; connect and empower Nebraskans to strengthen democracy; cultivate active members of society in our schools, neighborhoods, and communities; and protect your voting rights. We do this because YOU are democracy. YOU ARE CIVIC NEBRASKA.

Leadership and Administration

Adam Morfeld, JD
Executive Director and Founder

Adam Morfeld founded Civic Nebraska in 2008 with a group of politically diverse Nebraskans to create a more modern and robust democracy in the Cornhusker State. Since then, Civic Nebraska has grown to more than 100 full- and part-time staff who build youth civic leadership skills, fortify civic life in our communities, and ensure nonpartisan and modern elections. 
Adam graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in economics. He graduated from U. Nebraska Law in 2012. In 2016, Adam became an alumnus of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Education Senior Executives in State and Local Government course in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Adam was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014 as the 46th Legislative District’s state senator. He was re-elected in 2018. He also is an adjunct faculty member at Doane University.
In his free time, Adam enjoys spending time with his wife Rachel, backcountry camping, traveling, running, working on his house near Nebraska U.’s East Campus, and watching Husker football.
402.904.5191 office
To schedule a meeting with Adam:
Julie Ward, julie.ward@civicnebraska.org 

Sarah Walker, MA
Director of Development

Sarah, a 2019 University of Nebraska graduate, strengthens our fundraising efforts and expands our grants portfolio. Crafting persuasive funding requests for our program areas present an exciting writing challenge for Sarah, who studied political science and English. Before joining Civic Nebraska, Sarah spent two years in public relations departments and community organizing roles at various Nebraska nonprofits. She loves teaching, was an instructor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and continues to teach English coursework at Doane University. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching soccer, spending time with friends and family, and being outdoors.
 Education: University of Nebraska at Omaha, Masters in English
  • Grant writing and management
  • Event planning support
  • Fundraising support
  • Researching and identifying fundraising avenues
  • Laying the long-term groundwork to open a “Civic Madrid” branch office during her travels to Spain
Office: 402.904.5191
Cell: 402.802.7671

Nicholette Meyer
Director of People and Culture

Nicholette works closely among all members of Civic Nebraska’s administrative team and plays a key role in ensuring a positive and successful work environment for our staff. She assists with hiring, onboarding, employee benefits administration, employee relations, and annual reviews. Nicholette also contributes to professional development planning. In addition to her work with us, Nicholette is an administrator at the Lincoln Jewish Community School, is immediate past president of the South Street Temple, and is on the City of Lincoln Personnel Board. She is also a certified diversity and inclusion trainer with Inclusive Communities. Nicholette lives with her partner Jake, five kids, four cats, and a dog in Lincoln.
Education: University of Arkansas, anthropology and Middle Eastern studies; Public Leadership, Harvard University; Nonprofit Management, Northwestern University
  • Collaborates with senior leadership to understand the organization’s goals and strategy related to staffing, recruiting, and retention
  • Plans, leads, develops, coordinates, and implements policies, processes, training, initiatives, and surveys to support the organization’s human resource compliance, strategy needs, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Administers or oversees human resource programs including, but not limited to, compensation, benefits, and leave; disciplinary matters; disputes and investigations; performance and talent management; productivity, recognition, and morale; occupational health and safety; and training and development
  • Conducts research and analysis of organizational trends including review of reports and metrics from the organization’s human resource information system (HRIS)
  • Maintains knowledge of trends, best practices, regulatory changes, and new technologies in human resources, talent management, and employment law; applies this knowledge to communicate changes in policy, practice, and resources to senior leadership
  • At ease with her Siamese


Steve Smith
Director of Communications

Steve identifies, develops, and shares Civic Nebraska’s stories with the world. He joined Civic Nebraska in 2018 after a decade as a chief communications officer at the University of Nebraska and, before that, 15 years as a journalist in Iowa, California, and Nevada. His interest in American history – especially the era of the Revolution and the Framing – has prepared him well for writing about our democracy-building efforts. Steve is a published author (1, 2), an alumnus of Leadership Lincoln Fellows XXXII, a mentor of a local teen through Big Brothers Big Sisters Lincoln, a Civic Saturday Fellow, and a (very) amateur cyclist. A native of Rosalie, Nebraska, Steve lives in Lincoln with his wife Kathy and their very laid-back cats, Frankie and Ellie.
Education: University of Nebraska, news-editorial journalism
  • Media and public relations
  • Storytelling
  • Branding and marketing
  • Media training
  • Social media
  • Stories about how information traveled before the Internet
402.419.4349 cell
402.904.5191 office

Heidi Uhing
Director of Public Policy

Heidi helps determine the public policy agenda for Civic Nebraska and lobbies for voting rights and fair election laws in the Nebraska Legislature. Previously, she was director of the Legislature’s Unicameral Information Office for 10 years. There she edited the Unicameral Update, which is free to the public and reports on bills as they move through the legislative process. She also directed the Legislature’s civic education programs and is proud to have received Civic Nebraska’s Outstanding Youth Engagement Program Award in 2016. Heidi has served as the ACLU of Nebraska’s director of communications and supported research communications at the University of Nebraska. She’s active in Lincoln’s Woods Park neighborhood, where she lives with music librarian Scott Scholz and their backyard chickens, who are named after U.S. presidents’ daughters. You may find her reading on her porch when she’s not at the Capitol.
University of Nebraska, journalism and public relations; University of Iowa, English
  • Public policy
  • Lobbying
  • Media relations
  • Talking about Nebraska’s unique nonpartisan unicameral
402.770.5756 cell
402.904.5191 office

Jules Ward
Executive Administrator

As executive administrator, Jules keeps the executive director organized and on time. You can contact her if you need to make an appointment with Adam Morfeld or need organizational help with Civic Nebraska in general. Jules moved to Nebraska from Texas in 2009 after working for major corporations for 10 years. She then worked for the State of Nebraska for a decade, giving her an education on what it’s like to work in the private sector as well as being a public servant. She brought that dedication to Civic Nebraska in 2018, where she’s passionate about the mission and honored to help with all aspects of the organization. Jules likes to practice yoga, and she and her husband share their home with Lucy and Banjo, their terriers. 
 Education: University of Illinois, English literature
  • Coordinating Executive Director’s calendar
  • Civic Nebraska Board of Directors liaison
  • Special projects like coordinating staff training, tracking strategic goals, creating internal newsletter content, and coordinating the Internal Leadership Academy
  • Lunchtime recaps of real-crime TV documentaries 
214.392.4623 cell
402.904.5191 office

Alex Brechbill
Grant Writer

Alex coordinates our grant activities, drafts initial project summaries and funding proposals, tracks grant deliverables, writes and edits grant proposals, and compiles development reports for our growing organization. A native of Aurora and alumnus of Nebraska Wesleyan U., Alex was a fellow for The Nature Conservancy of Nebraska and later was an administrative assistant to State. Sen. Tim Gragert of Creighton in the Nebraska Legislature. He and his partner Sarah live in Lincoln’s Woods Park neighborhood with their Australian shepherd, Birdie. Alex enjoys woodworking and teaches beginning and intermediate woodcarving at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha and the LUX Center for the Arts in Lincoln.
Education: Nebraska Wesleyan, political science
  • Manages grants
  • Maintains relationships with donors and funders
  • Conceives, writes, and edits initial development proposals
  •  Identifies funding sources
  • Sharing the differences between chisels, gouges, and mallets

Emily Priefert
Finance Specialist

Emily joined Civic Nebraska as finance and operations coordinator in 2021. Emily, of Valparaiso, works across Civic Nebraska’s programs to support our staff and growth and to coordinate accounting and human resources. She also is the office and vendor coordinator. Emily is currently completing her associate of business degree from Southeast Community College, and she enjoys spending her free time with family, friends, and her dog, Roxy. She’s also recently discovered the fun of upcycling furniture.

Alyssa Hogue, MS
People and Culture Coordinator

Alyssa ensures a positive and successful work environment for Civic Nebraska staff, with an emphasis on school-based, part-time employees.  A native of Wisconsin, she earned her undergraduate degree at Nebraska U. and a master’s from Texas A&M, where she managed a staff of nearly 100 part-time game-day staff to ensure Aggie ticket-holders had a great time at the stadium. She and her husband Reese live in Ashland, where Reese is a teacher and a coach. In her spare time, Alyssa loves joining the Bluejay faithful at Ashland-Greenwood athletic events and cheering students on. She also enjoys being outside, making music playlists for every mood, and staying active. 
Education: University of Nebraska, hospitality, restaurant, and tourism management; MS, Texas A&M, sports management
  • Assists with hiring and onboarding
  • Maintains personnel files
  • Coordinates annual reviews for part-time staff
  • Reviews policies and procedures with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Civic Nebraska’s No. 1 Taylor Swift fan

Youth Civic Leadership

Building the next generation of Nebraska’s civic leaders.

Michael Bandy
Director of Youth Civic Leadership

Michael has led Civic Nebraska’s largest program since 2023. As director, he is responsible for the success of the programs and projects within our youth-based efforts, including six after-school programs in Lincoln and Omaha and the Civic Circles club program at middle schools in Omaha. Michael joined Civic Nebraska in 2020 as the school community coordinator at our Lincoln Northeast High School Community Learning Center.
 He previously was a volunteer coordinator at College Possible. Raised in Omaha and an alumnus of Nebraska Wesleyan, Michael backpacked through South America after college, living and working in Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina. Most recently, he was a volunteer engagement specialist with College Possible. In his free time, Michael enjoys hanging out with his dog, Mago, and being outdoors. He’s a mountain biker, has recently started doing longer, adventure-style races and triathlons, and is busily planning a wedding with his fiancee Amanda.
Education: Nebraska Wesleyan, international relations and political science
  • Oversees all Youth Civic Leadership operations
  • Member of Civic Nebraska’s Senior Directors team
  • Staff hiring and professional development
  • Developing community partnerships
  • Dialing in on a gnarly berm before catching air on a rad booter 

Shari Kimble
Youth Civic Leadership Programs Manager – Omaha

Shari oversees day-to-day operations at Civic Nebraska’s Omaha after-school programs as well as its youth outreach programs. Shari has spent over 10 years guiding youth and adults at nonprofit organizations in the Omaha area. As a leader and trainer who is dedicated to program quality, Shari helps ensure that the youth of Civic Nebraska’s programs are best equipped to be tomorrow’s leaders. A lover of travel, Shari is always interested in trying a new food, meeting new people, and navigating new places. When Shari isn’t working or traveling, she’s spending time with her husband Charles, their son Isaac, and dog Sasha.
  • After-school programs
  • Program quality
  • DHHS compliance
  • Staff development
  • Food taster / explainer / recommender 
712.898.4211 cell
402.554.3584 office
Brianna provides daily after-school programming for over 115 Sherman Elementary students. Students are provided a meal, homework help and engaging, high-interest learning activities. A native of Omaha, Brianna worked in Georgia after graduating college before returning to her hometown and becoming involved in education. She enjoys gardening, dancing, and being involved in improving her community. 
Education: Clark Atlanta University, business administration and supply-chain management
  • Recruitment and communication
  • Plan program, field trips and family nights
  • Staff hiring, professional development
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Develop community partnership
  • Posing for a photo to go next to “Woo” in the new edition of Clifton StrengthsFinder

Equasha Smith
Senior Site Director, Lothrop Magnet School Community Learning Center

As the Site Director of Civic Nebraska at Lothrop Magnet in Omaha since 2017, Equasha has guided 14 trained and qualified staff and 150 students during program time to ensure all participants are safe and learning lifelong skills to become positive citizens. She has been working in after-school programming since 2004. Equasha has a passion for serving others and enjoys working for students and their families. She has a young daughter, who is her motivation to continue her education. 
  • Recruitment and communication
  • Plan program, field trips and family nights
  • Staff hiring, professional development
  • Candle connoisseur
Making a difference in the lives of youth is Tracy’s No. 1 goal. She joined Civic Nebraska in 2017 as site director after serving five years as assistant site director at Lewis & Clark. Tracy has worked in several youth programs, including Belvedere Elementary, Hope Center for Kids and others for 15-plus years after transitioning from the business world. A native of St. Louis, Tracy loves a good strong cup of coffee to get her going. She enjoys creating digital designs and also has an Omaha baking and sweet-treats business with her daughters. She has instilled success principles in her daughters Kelli, Jessica, and Bre. Tracy also has been public relations director for the Nebraska First Jurisdiction Church of God in Christ for 10+ years. In her spare time, Tracy loves to travel — and relax. 
Education: University of Nebraska, business administration-marketing/industrial engineering
  • After-school Programs
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Classroom management
  • Youth quality work methods
  • Staff sweet-treat maven

Haroon Al Hayder
School Community Coordinator, Lincoln High Community Learning Center

Haroon’s role as the head of Lincoln High’s CLC means he advocates for Link students, families, and neighborhood residents; works with the Link community to create effective programs for teens participating in the CLC; and plans, schedules and directs daily CLC activities. A native of Iraq who came to the United States in 2016, Haroon has a passion for building strong relationships with students and community partners in his work building the next generation of civic leaders. Haroon lives in Lincoln with his wife Sipan. Haroon also has family in Germany and Sweden.
Education: Minnesota State University, communications studies and business innovation
  • Recruitment and communication
  • Planning programs, field trips, and community engagement
  • Staff hiring and professional development
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Developing community partnerships
  • Making dinner on his new air fryer

Trey Sterner, MS
School Community Coordinator, Campbell Elementary Community Learning Center

Trey advocates for Coyote students, families, and neighborhood residents; works with north-central Lincoln neighborhoods to create effective programs for children participating in the CLC. He also plans, schedules and directs daily CLC activities. A native of Doniphan, Trey earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from Oklahoma State University, where he also consulted and worked with Oklahoma school districts on educational and behavioral intervention. In his spare time, Trey likes to play disc golf and pickleball. He also enjoys reading about history and is a huge basketball fan.
Education: University of Nebraska at Kearney, psychology; Oklahoma State University, educational psychology
  • Recruitment and communication
  • Planning programs and community engagement
  • Staff hiring and professional development
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Developing community partnerships
  • Breaking down a 1-3-1 zone-trap press

Alexis Lipson, M.Ed.
School Community Coordinator,
Lincoln Northeast High Community Learning Center

Alexis leads our Rocket CLC by engaging with students, families, and neighborhood residents and works with the Northeast neighborhoods to create and sustain programs for young adults participating in the Northeast CLC. She also plans, schedules, and directs daily CLC activities. A self-described “Army kid,” Alexis grew up in both Kansas and Nebraska. She spent her high-school years in Abilene, Kansas, the same small town as President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Kansas, with an emphasis on teaching English to speakers of other languages. She also served as a Peace Corps youth development specialist in Ukraine from 2019-2020. When she’s not working, Alexis will happily talk anyone’s ear off about the spirit of the people of Ukraine. She’ll also tell you the story of Maxine, the Ukrainian street cat who swindled her into loving her, and the five kittens she birthed in Alexis’ apartment in Ukraine. Maxine and the smallest from her litter, Primara (Ukrainian for “ghost” or “spirit”), are often curled up in their window hammock in Alexis’ Lincoln home.
Education: Doane University, history and international studies; University of Kansas, education 
  • Recruitment and communication
  • Planning programs and community engagement
  • Staff hiring and professional development
  • Data collection and reporting
  • Developing community partnerships

Civic Health Programs

Strengthening our state’s civic, social, and political fabric.

Nancy Petitto, MA
Director of Civic Health 

Nancy Petitto is our director of Civic Nebraska’s civic health programs across the state, guiding staff, initiatives, and community partnerships to fortify Nebraska’s shared civic life. She previously served as director of Collective Impact Lincoln. Before that, Nancy worked at the University of Nebraska in academic, administrative, and research departments. Since 2017, she has served on the board of directors for GIRLPowR Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls in Lincoln and Nicaragua through educational and leadership programs. Nancy lives in Lincoln with her husband Scott, and their dogs, Frankie and Murphy. 

Education: University of Nebraska, news-editorial journalism; M.A., educational administration-higher education administration 

  • Direct civic health programs and staff
  • Develop and execute strategies from the Nebraska Civic Health Index
  • Build and maintain strong community partnerships across Nebraska
  • Lead civil discourse, media literacy, and community involvement workshops 
  • Gourmet coffee-maker for Civic Nebraska HQ staff
402.904.5191 office
402.202.3807 cell

Daniel Bennett
Rural Civic Health 
Program Manager

Daniel supervises and builds civic health programs that affect Greater Nebraska, including the Civic Catalyst Communities Initiative and the Rural Civic Action Program. He also is a member of the team that updates the Nebraska Civic Health Index, hosts the Nebraska Civic Health Summit, and coordinates other special projects to help our towns and cities build civic health. A native of Omaha who spent five years in the Panhandle as a community planner for the Panhandle Area Development District, Daniel is based in Scottsbluff but travels regularly around the state. In his spare time, he enjoys percussion and vocal music, running, hiking, spending time with family, being involved in church, and volunteering.
Education: Iowa State University, Community and Regional Planning
  • Rural Civic Action Program
  • Civic Catalyst Communities Initiative
  • Developing and evaluating rural civic health programs
  • Research and outreach
  • Challenging the executive director in number of miles hiked and run per year

Allie Christianson
Senior Community Organizer
Collective Impact Lincoln

As Collective Impact Lincoln’s senior community organizer, Allie works with residents and stakeholders in the Near South and Everett neighborhoods to build strong and resilient communities. Allie, who previously worked with the South of Downtown CDO, is passionate about community building and uses an intersectional approach to positive social change. She elevates voices through grassroots organizing to empower communities to retake ownership of their unique futures. 
Education: University of Nebraska, global studies and political science
  • Asset-based community development
  • Community partnerships 
  • Grassroots initiatives
  • Housing affordability
  • Placemaking 
  • Volunteer leadership development
  • Supplying fellow HQ staff with homemade goodies

Audrey Nance
Capitol Experience Day

A native of Lincoln and a Lincoln High and Nebraska U. alumna, Audrey oversees one of Civic Nebraska’s flagship programs – Capitol Experience Day. Audrey is a resource for teachers and community partners across Nebraska to enhance civics education opportunities for students and constituents. Audrey comes to Civic Nebraska from Friendship Home, where she focused on child advocacy and was the lead children’s advocate at the organization. 
Outside of work, Audrey takes nature walks with her partner and her big sweet dog, Jayne; visits the lake with friends; gardens and cares for her houseplants; watches science fiction and fantasy; and enjoys arts and crafts.
Education: University of Nebraska, journalism and history
  • Coordinates and facilitates Capitol Experience Day field trips
  • Builds and maintains relationships with teachers, school districts, and other community partners.  
  • Promotes Capitol Experience Day and the usage of Civic Nebraska’s educational resources
  • Leverages relationships with school administrators, teachers, students, and organizational leaders to provide additional cross-programmatic opportunities to student and adult learners
  • Debates which is the better prequel series: Obi-Wan Kenobi or House of Dragons

Voting Rights Initiatives

Protecting every Nebraskan’s right to vote.

Heather Engdahl
Director of Voting Rights

Heather supervises and plans programs to expand and protect voting rights across the state of Nebraska, including our nonpartisan get-out-the-vote and election protection programs; Civic Nebraska’s voting rights investigation and litigation efforts; policy advocacy; and specialized initiatives, such as the felony voting rights restoration program. Heather guides the voting rights team to advocate and protect the right to vote on behalf of Nebraska voters. Additionally, Heather manages grant development for team programming and represents the organization with partners nationally.  
Heather enjoys traveling, spending time with family, reading, and enjoying good food. 
›› Ensure all eligible Nebraskans can register and vote 
›› Identify opportunities for advocacy related to our elections  
›› Direct Civic Nebraska’s election protection and observation program in coordination with state and national partners
›› Develop meaningful [voting rights] initiatives aligned with the values of community, learning, power, innovation, and optimism.
›› Supervise promotional and educational projects 
›› Lead and manage the voting rights team 

Mike Forsythe
Voting Rights Program Manager

Mike supervises of our full-time field organizers and is responsible for the overall management of the organizing team’s initiatives. He also coordinates and oversees our policy and voter education initiative focused on the re-enfranchisement of returning citizens following a felony conviction. He also is a key member of our get-out-the-vote campaigns and the Election Protection Program. Mike retired in 2018 from Omaha Box Co. after 39 years of service, 25 of them as a production supervisor and also was a 2018 candidate for the Nebraska Public Service Commission – an experience that reaffirmed his faith in civic engagement, civic health, and civil discourse. Mike and his wife Margo live in Omaha and have three grown children. He enjoys spending time with family, playing golf, birdwatching, listening to music, and long walks.
  • Advocate outreach and communication
  • Policy initiatives and volunteer support
  • Election Protection Program recruitment and training
  • Statewide voting rights initiatives
  • Coordinating voting rights events to engage lawmakers and elected officials
  • Jamming to live music and cheering on his favorite athletes
402.904.5191 office
402.490.4831 mobile

Chueqa Yang
Voting Rights
Organizing Coordinator

An Omaha native who now calls Lincoln home, Chueqa supervises our part-time voting rights field crew and leads data management of our outreach efforts. Chueqa also helps coordinate with local and statewide get-out-the-vote campaigns and election protection.
Chueqa fell in love with relationship-building, grassroots organizing, and creative placemaking in 2020 upon joining the South of Downtown Community Development Organization. Chueqa believes intentional listening and civic engagement through art are powerful tools for engaging with communities. When not organizing, they like to discover new parks around their neighborhood with their chihuahua lab, Winston, enjoys attending local music concerts and art gallery shows, and traveling around the states. You might find them getting spontaneous tattoos, reading near the lake, or trying not to adopt all the cats in Lincoln.
  • Advocate outreach and communication
  • Policy initiatives and volunteer support
  • Election Protection Program recruitment and training
  • Lincoln- and Omaha-based voting rights initiatives
  • Coordinating voting rights events to engage lawmakers and elected officials
  • Letting stray cats “follow them home”
Office: 402.904.5191
Email: chueqa.yang@civicnebraska.org

Nathan Leach
Voting Rights
Field Organizer

Nathan grew up in Kearney and graduated from Kearney High School in 2015. After a semester at UNK, he took a job as a legislative page in the Arizona State Senate before joining a South Dakota ballot initiative for nonpartisan/open primary elections. Following the campaign, Nathan enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard as a 27D Paralegal Specialist and obtained a medical discharge in March 2020.
Nathan is passionate about the Nebraska Legislature and its nonpartisan unicameral structure. In late 2016 he founded a nonprofit called Nonpartisan Nebraska, which is dedicated to keeping the Nebraska Legislature nonpartisan. Nathan is the organization’s volunteer executive director. 
In his free time, he enjoys watching the Legislature when it is in session, playing chess, and spending time with his many cousins. Nathan works remotely from his home in Kearney.
  • Advocate outreach and communication
  • Policy initiatives and volunteer support
  • Election Protection Program recruitment and training
  • Greater Nebraska voting rights initiatives
  • Coordinating voting rights events to engage lawmakers and elected officials
  • Asking ‘WWGND?’
Office: 402.904.5191
Email: nathan.leach@civicnebraska.org


After School Programs

  • Sherman Elementary School

    5618 N 14th Ave.
    Omaha, NE 68110

  • Lewis and Clark Middle School

    6901 Burt St.
    Omaha, NE 68132

  • Lothrop Magnet Elementary

    3300 N. 22nd St.
    Omaha, NE 68110

  • Campbell Elementary School

    2200 Dodge St.
    Lincoln, NE 68521

  • Lincoln High School

    2229 J St.
    Lincoln, NE 68510

  • Lincoln Northeast High School

    2635 N. 63rd St.
    Lincoln, NE 68507