Staff spotlight: Kylie Kai dedicates herself to graphic design and photography

Small Towns

During the past several years, one person has been the driving force behind most of the graphic design elements and photographs seen throughout the Center for Rural Affairs’ published work: Kylie Kai.

Recently hired as a senior communications associate, Kylie started her journey with the Center in 2016, when she began contracting graphic design services. Later, she added her photography skills, as well as website and social media management to that list.

Now, in her full-time position, she’ll take leading roles on a variety of communications projects, and she’ll maintain the Center’s brand identity.

“I assisted in creating the current brand standards for the Center more than five years ago, and I look forward to improving and refreshing the Center's look and feel through marketing pieces,” Kylie said.

She also plans to dedicate more time to building the Center's photo library.

“As a graphic designer, I know how important photos are to showcase events and important research,” said Kylie. “My photo and design worlds often collide in this role, and that excites me.”

Kylie earned a bachelor's degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before being hired by the Center, she was a freelance graphic designer and branding contractor. She has also owned and operated a part-time photography business since 2012.

After living in Lincoln for several years while she attended college, Kylie knew she wanted to come back to a rural area with her husband to raise a family.

“Growing up in the small village of Snyder, Nebraska, I spent a lot of time around cattle and crops at our family farm, just a few miles away from my childhood home,” she said. “So a small population is not new to me. The personalized feeling that comes with living in a small community is hard to beat.”

Kylie says an added bonus is that she can easily walk to the bank, swing by the post office, and then grab a few groceries all within a few blocks and 20 minutes.

When she’s not working, Kylie loves spending time with her husband and their two children. As a family, they enjoy spending time at the lake and fixing up their 1915 home in West Point.

Kylie enjoys gardening and being involved in her community. Since moving back to the area in 2015, she has served on various boards and committees, and has been a high school competitive speech coach since 2018.

Kylie is based out of the Center’s main office in Lyons; reach her at or 402.687.2100, ext. 1021.