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Ann and David Bruntz of Friend, Nebraska, established the Bruntz Family Award for Teaching with faculty members such as Assistant Professor Barb Berg in mind.
Berg is the 2022 recipient of the Bruntz Award, and this fall semester is her 44th year with the Veterinary Technology Department at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis.
Two of those academic years were 1971-1973 when she was a veterinary technology student at NCTA when it was then called the University of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture. The other 42 years have been as a faculty member.
The Bruntzes established the teaching award in 2016 as a permanently endowed fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation. The fund allows NCTA to provide a stipend to its faculty members who exemplify the criteria of the award, recognizing dedication and expertise for teaching excellence.
Berg was nominated for the award by peers and selected by the NCTA Faculty Senate.
“In looking for the perfect example of dedication to teaching and support of students, Barb should be on the poster,” one nominator wrote. “She always has the students’ best interests in mind.”
About Berg being conferred the award, Ann (Ramm) Bruntz said, “On behalf of our family, we endowed this award…to recognize an outstanding faculty member at NCTA. Our daughter, Julie, was a student here in Vet Tech, and David and I graduated from UNSTA in 1971. We are proud to do this.”
The annual recognition includes a $1,000 stipend, plaque and a butterfly memento in memory of Julie, who passed away in 2016. Through instruction from Berg and others, Julie received a program certificate in animal care from NCTA in 2003.
Part of the University of Nebraska system, NCTA is a two-year institution with a statewide mission of preparing students for careers in agriculture, veterinary technology and related industries.
Berg is academic unit lead of the six-member Vet Tech teaching faculty plus the facilities class coordinator. For decades and again this year, she teaches beginning and advanced courses in nursing, radiology, anesthesia, animal restraint and more. Often, she oversees the required internships students experience in clinics, zoos and animal shelters.
Berg is a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and Vocational Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Her years in higher education have prepared hundreds of Aggie graduates for their careers, including veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, nurse anesthetics, radiology technicians and animal care technicians.
Her leadership is often behind-the-scenes and unknown by Aggie students and the public, said Judy Bowmaster-Cole, the campus awards committee co-chair who has taught alongside Berg for most of her career.
“Barb Berg is certainly deserving of the Bruntz award,” said Bowmaster-Cole, a past recipient of the Bruntz Award. “In many cases over her 42-year career, she has been the unsung hero. Not only a champion and beacon for Vet Tech, but a supporter of NCTA across the board. …”
Military and industry service
Berg served in the Navy Reserve in Omaha, was active duty in Desert Shield and Desert Storm from 1990-91, and is retired Yeoman, First Class Petty Officer Managerial from 1984-2007.
She is a life member and past president of the UNSTA-NCTA Aggie Alumni Association. In 2017, she received the Alumni Achievement Award.
Throughout her career, Berg has been active with the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association, Livestock Emergency Diseases Response System and served as a professional exam writer for the National Veterinary Technician Exam.
Each year, the Veterinary Technician Continuing Education Association, which she co-founded in 1980, coordinates its conference in Curtis. Its annual conference is Oct. 21-22, 2022.
Berg also oversees the national reaccreditation of the NCTA Vet Tech program by the American Veterinary Medical Association. NCTA was initially accredited in 1973, one of the first two colleges in the U.S. to become fully accredited by the organization.
For information about opportunities to support the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, contact Kristen Houska at 402-458-1245 or 800-432-3216.