Internet2 Names Brett Bieber of the University of Nebraska Winner of 2023 Rose-Werle Award
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Internet2 today announced that Brett Bieber, assistant vice president for Information Technology Services at the University of Nebraska, is the recipient of the 2023 Rose-Werle Award. The award recognizes leaders for their extraordinary contributions to expanding broadband services and access for community anchor institutions like K-12 schools and libraries to increase educational opportunities for all.
Brett will be honored at the Internet2 Community Anchor Program’s virtual award ceremony at 2:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Brett’s digital equity efforts currently center around leading the ConnectEd Nebraska program through Network Nebraska. ConnectEd Nebraska is one of seven state efforts in the Internet2 eduroam Support Organizations program working to extend the reach of the eduroam global Wi-Fi access service to K-12 schools, libraries, museums, and other community anchors. eduroam empowers students, researchers, teachers, and staff with secure and seamless Wi-Fi access at their schools and campuses and when visiting other eduroam-enabled locations. This is particularly important for students who live in rural areas where broadband access is limited, or for students who have inadequate or no access to broadband at home.
Brett’s determined leadership has resulted in resounding support and adoption of eduroam to connect K-12 schools across Nebraska.
“Thanks largely to his advocacy, the Nebraska Department of Education sponsored an eduroam pilot project which has resulted in 68% of the public school districts in our state signing on to participate and bring eduroam service to their schools and communities,” said Scott Isaacson, technology director of the Nebraska Educational Service Unit (ESU) Coordinating Council. Nebraska has 19 ESUs throughout the state that provide technology, infrastructure, student services, professional development, instructional materials, and administrative services to K-12 schools that would otherwise be unavailable, unaffordable, or inconvenient.
In his efforts to bridge the digital divide in Nebraska, Brett coordinated a statewide outreach campaign to educate stakeholders at Nebraska’s K-12 institutions, libraries, museums, and local businesses about the benefits of eduroam to encourage participation. Brett was involved at every level of the rollout process for ConnectEd Nebraska.
“His unwavering commitment to the project’s success was palatable in his approach and his enthusiasm. Brett was at the forefront of not only organization and implementation but also marketing and communication. He chaired question panels and presented at several conferences, while also ensuring he was available for one-on-one questions, discussions, or concerns,” said Becca Kingery, education IT manager for the Office of the CIO of the State of Nebraska.
Brett also serves as chair of the eduroam-US Advisory Committee, where he engages with the broader community to formulate new strategies and best practices for the service in the U.S., bringing feedback and success stories from Nebraska to those conversations. “Brett’s comprehensive and hands-on approach to the eduroam rollout in Nebraska is a model for how the research and education community can partner with other institutions, organizations, and community members to promote transformational digital equity and inclusion projects,” said Stephanie Stenberg, director of Internet2’s Community Anchor Program.
Brett has a history of over 18 years of service to the University of Nebraska community, where he has previously held roles in IT identity management, IT security, and web applications, as well as teaching roles. In leading Nebraska’s statewide K-12 eduroam rollout, his work is benefitting more Nebraskan students than ever before. “Because of him, we have seen one of the most innovative features in educational technology available and successful in the state of Nebraska,” added Kingery.
Brett’s tireless advocacy to bring eduroam services to community anchor institutions and public places across Nebraska will have an impact on the state for years to come.
“His dedication, passion, and leadership have made a lasting and transformative impact on the educational landscape in Nebraska,” said Jamen Hall, director of technology for ESU 6, which serves southeastern Nebraska schools. “His exceptional contributions to expanding eduroam across the K-12 sector in Nebraska, his commitment to digital equity, and his ability to foster collaboration and innovation make him an outstanding candidate for this prestigious recognition.”
About the Rose-Werle Award
The Rose-Werle Award is named in honor of Richard Rose (1947-2007) and James Werle (1971-2018), early contributors to and leaders in the national Internet2 K20 Initiative, now part of the Internet2 Community Anchor Program. Rose and Werle embodied the true spirit of the Internet2 community, tirelessly advocating for extending the Internet2 network and advanced technologies to students at all levels, libraries, and community institutions—to broaden and deepen opportunities in learning, scholarship, and science. The award is given annually based on criteria such as commitment to the mission and vision of the Internet2 Community Anchor Program, recognized innovation in the community, and leadership and mentoring qualities.
eduroam (education roaming) is the secure, worldwide roaming wireless service developed for and by the international research and education community. Internet2 is the operator of eduroam in the U.S., with more than 1,100 eduroam-subscribing organizations. eduroam allows students, researchers, and staff to roam and find connectivity at more than 3,100 locations in the U.S. and more than 33,000 locations worldwide.