Meet our team! The Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE) is a thought center established as a collaboration of faculty. Our work exists because of our relationships with each other and the communities involved in our work. This effort transcends academic institutions but is made possible through appointments at our home institutions.

Lauri M. Baker, Ph.D.

Executive Director


Lauri is an associate professor in agricultural communications at the University of FloridaShe is a co-creator of 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 earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural communications from the University of Florida. 

Cheryl R. Boyer, Ph.D.

Executive Director 


Cheryl is an associate professor and extension specialist for nursery crop production and marketing at Kansas State University. She is a co-creator of The Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement and holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and M.S. in horticulture from Oklahoma State University. Her doctoral degree in horticulture was earned at Auburn University in 2008. Cheryl’s research is focused on ornamental plants and new-and social-media marketing for horticultural industries.

Hikaru H. Peterson, Ph.D.

Executive Director


Hikaru is professor of agricultural economics at the University of Minnesota. She is a co-creator of The Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement and holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics from Cornell University. Her research area is food and agricultural marketing with emphasis on consumer issues. She teaches courses in agricultural economics.

Anissa Zagonel

Research and Marketing Associate

IMG_2780Anissa is the research and marketing associate for the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE). She earned her master’s degree in agricultural education and communication from Kansas State University in 2019. During her undergraduate career at K-State, she was also the marketing communication intern for CREE. Anissa is a living testament to the CREE mission. She works with all three partnering institutions: Kansas State University, University of Minnesota, and University of Florida, but is officially an employee of the University of Florida. However, she works remotely in rural Kansas, which allows her to be close to family and their rural community business.