Staff Spotlight: Michael Bergland-Riese

Michael Bergland-Riese
Michael Bergland-Riese
February 18, 2020

What is your position at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln?

I am the communications coordinator for Nebraska Extension. From this position, I provide vision and leadership for Nebraska Extension communications and marketing strategies. I work on everything from websites and media to publications and flyers to e-commerce and events.

What drew you to the University of Nebraska—Lincoln?

I have always had a passion for working in education, especially Nebraska Extension. We have a responsibility to help the people of Nebraska, and it is gratifying to be a part of that mission.

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?

I think it is the people that make this job the best. Every day I have the opportunity to work with smart, engaging, fun people trying to make this world a better place. Whether it is through research, education, or extension, we all have come to the university because we want to be part of something bigger. And the university has the means and the drive to make that impact on the people of Nebraska.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

So, I am going to cheat and say two because they happened so close together. This past year I was awarded both the Chester I. Walters "Extra Mile" award from Nebraska Extension and the Outstanding Employee Award from the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. These both stick out because I was nominated by two different sets of people and represent much of my work over the past 7 years. Often in my position, I work behind the scenes. So, it was a very humbling experience to have peers that I have worked with for several years nominate me for such an award.

What is something that most people don't know about you?

I have an extensive Lego collection. When most people stop by my office for the first time, they tend to be awe of the small Lego Architecture collection I keep at my office. And while my collection at the office is contained to the top of a cabinet, at home, it spans an entire wall of bookcases. It includes a number of different items from a treehouse to a ferris wheel to a sailing ship inside a bottle.

What is your life like outside of work?

Outside of work, I try to maintain a simple life. I spend time with my husband and our pets. We try to travel when we can from cruising to Bermuda and Alaska to discovering local Nebraska attractions across the state. We are big fans of broadway and try to see as many shows each year as we can.