Internet2 Names Charlotte Bewersdorff of Merit Network Winner of 2021 Rose-Werle Award

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2021 – Internet2 today announced that Charlotte Bewersdorff, vice president for community engagement at Merit Network, is the 2021 Rose-Werle Award recipient. The award honors extraordinary individual contributions that have made demonstrable impacts on the formal and informal education community by extending advanced networking, content, and services to community anchors nationwide. 

Charlotte Bewersdorff

Bewersdorff, who is also a board member of the Michigan Broadband Alliance and a member of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation, will receive her award at the Internet2 Community Anchor Program virtual meeting on April 29, 2021.

Bewersdorff spearheads the Michigan Moonshot initiative, working tirelessly to solve the state’s broadband access challenges through data and research efforts, community education initiatives, and the development of public and private partnerships. 

“Over one-quarter of Michigan households with school-age children lack access to broadband, and Charlotte’s work on Merit’s Michigan Moonshot is helping to close the digital divide for them,” said Stephanie Stenberg, Internet2 Community Anchor Program Director. “Her leadership efforts in connecting Michigan community anchor institutions to the Merit and Internet2 research and education networks are impacting so many communities in Michigan including schools, libraries, hospitals, and local governments. Charlotte’s dedication to this effort is truly inspirational and she is very deserving of this community recognition.”

Joseph Sawasky, president & CEO of Merit Network, credits Bewersdorff’s leadership in transforming the Michigan Moonshot program from ideation to a statewide engagement and collaboration platform. 

“Under Charlotte’s leadership, the Michigan Moonshot has become an exemplar for organizations interested in supporting broadband expansion efforts throughout the country,” says Sawasky. “This program includes the development and crowdsourcing of hundreds of pages of community network resources and guides, an in-person and virtual educational series that has garnered more than 1,500 participants, and a digital community of policy-makers, municipalities, anchor institutions, and broadband champions more than 600 strong.”

Bewersdorff is also leading the development of a statewide survey and broadband mapping initiative which gathers citizen-driven connectivity data, sentiment analysis and speed test information with the goal of supporting municipalities in broadband expansion and grant application efforts. To date, more than 12,000 individuals have participated in the survey.

“Charlotte designed this innovative engagement platform to leverage the support of local outreach partners in order to increase the success of data collection efforts,” added Sawasky. “Her grassroots approach to data collection and engagement creates stronger relationships between public and private partners, anchor institutions, community organizations, broadband champions, elected officials and residents.”

Bewersdorff joined Merit Network in 2013 and during her tenure has grown its member community by 131 organizations. The Merit community engagement teams under Bewersdorff’s leadership and supervision include events and marketing, community engagement management, and member engagement support. 

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. For more information, visit https://internet2.edu/community/about-us/awards/rose-werle-award/

About Internet2

Internet2® is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 serves 320 U.S. universities, 59 government agencies, 45 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 100,000 community anchor institutions, over 1,000 InCommon participants, and 56 leading corporations working with our community, and 70 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.

Internet2 delivers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions that leverages, integrates, and amplifies the strengths of its members and helps support their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network that was built to deliver advanced, customized services that are accessed and secured by the community-developed trust and identity framework.

Internet2 offices are located in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; Washington, D.C.; and West Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit www.internet2.edu or follow @Internet2 on Twitter.

Media contact:

Sara Aly, Internet2