Lauri M. Baker, Ph.D. 

Executive Director


Lauri is an associate professor in agricultural communications at Kansas State University. She is the co-creator if the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement. Lauri’s research and grant work are focused on new and social media, agenda setting, decision-making, and public discourse. She teaches courses in new-media technologies and agricultural communication theory. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural communications from the University of Florida. 

Cheryl Boyer, Ph.D.

Executive Director 


Cheryl is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist for ornamental nursery crop production and garden centers at Kansas State University. She holds a BLA (Bachelor of Landscape Architecture) and M.S. in horticulture from Oklahoma State University. Her doctoral degree in horticulture was earned from Auburn University in 2008. Cheryl’s research is focused on alternative potting materials for nursery crops and more recently on social-media marketing for retail garden centers. Professionally, she thrives on helping others be more successful and profitable in their green industry businesses and making horticultural Extension resources more accessible. Cheryl is married to Russell and they have two children, Henry and Lola. Together they enjoy taking walks, watching movies and learning lots of fun things. She takes tons of photos of work, family and play—for social media, of course! 


Hikaru Peterson, Ph.D.

Executive Director


Hikaru is professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Minnesota. She holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University. Her research area is food and agricultural marketing with emphasis on consumer issues. Hikaru has been married to Jeff for over 20 years and they have three children. At this point in her life, she finds herself managing her family’s schedule and chauffeuring her kids to their various activities in spare time. However, she has recently started a beginning tap class for adults. When she needs an excuse for a quick break to the countryside, she enjoys watching her children ride horses. 

Cassie Wandersee

Managing Director 

IMG_2361-2063567476-1519078845204.jpgCassie is a self-proclaimed research geek with deep roots in agriculture and communication. As the fifth-generation on the Kansas family farm and ranch, she has a passion for supporting rural businesses and communities. She completed her B.F.A. with a minor in mass communications in 2012. She then spent two years working in agricultural communication and sales before returning to K-State to earn a M.S. in agricultural communications. Following the completion of her master’s degree, Cassie accepted a position with the Public Issues Education Center at the University of Florida. She returned to K-State in 2017 accepting the position of managing director with CREE. Cassie enjoys a variety of outdoor adventures with her red heeler puppy, Augie.


Mikhayla DeMott

Audience Engagement Specialist 


agmag2016-26 2Mikhayla DeMott is the audience engagement specialist for CREE. She has been a part of the team since August 2017 and was previously involved as a student where she assisted with the first New-Media Marketing Boot Camp. Mikhayla graduated in May 2017 with a degree in agricultural communications and journalism and a minor in leadership studies. If she’s not in the office, you can find her traveling from place to place representing professional rodeo, Kansas, and agriculture as Miss Rodeo Kansas. Mikhayla also serves as a guest host for the television program, That’s My Farm. She grew up on a small farm in Illinois and currently lives in Manhattan.

Chelsie Calliham

Communications Marketing Intern 

chelsie-1021781895-1519079253393.jpgChelsie is a senior at Kansas State University majoring in agricultural communications and journalism with a minor in animal science. She was born and raised on a six-generation crop farm in Colby, Kansas. Before transferring to K-State, she was a student at Colby Community College and participated on the livestock judging team. If Chelsie isn’t studying or in the CREE office, you can find her at the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex staying active. She also enjoys meeting new people, promoting agriculture, and traveling.