Research & Theory
Graduate Student Representative

Bret Staudt Willet
Michigan State University

I am a PhD student in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology at Michigan State University. Iím interested in understanding participation online, especially how educators connect with each other on social media for lifelong learning with benefits related to establishing and expanding learning networks, social capital, and professional development.

Academic Background
During the decade following my undergraduate degree, I grew increasingly interested in how people learn and what tools best serve this process. I returned to formal studies, first completing a Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design and Research and then an MA in Educational Technology at Michigan State University. I naturally gravitate toward new ideas and have participated in creative conferences such as IdeaCamp and NASAGA (on whose Board I served for two years).

Professional History
I am a perpetual, almost accidental, thought- and change-leader. I was the founding National Director for Ministry in Digital Spaces with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA from 2014 to 2017, overseeing R&D, strategic projects, and personnel recruitment for a team that spanned the corners of the United States. This team had a core of 12 staff and several dozen volunteers; we specialized in connecting meaningfully with college students wherever they were present online, especially via social media, video games, and podcasts.

In total, I worked for InterVarsity from 2003 until 2017, and I was a frequent public speaker and group facilitator throughout this time. I also trained, developed, and coached student volunteers in leadership, and I started new student chapters on campuses throughout the local area. All told, I was a staff director and supervisor for 9 years. In the course of my 14 years with InterVarsity, I secured more than $1 million in funding for our programs.

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