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Neely and Four-Legged Friend Building Community on Campus

Neely and Four-Legged Friend Building Community on Campus
Brett Neely smiles for a photo as Marko receives some attention from Huskers during a Pawp-Up event on campus.

With the help of a furry, four-legged companion, Brett Neely, assistant professor of management, is finding a larger community on campus.

As an organizational psychologist, Neely researches leadership and people at work, and as an instructor, he prepares the next generation of business leaders — something he relishes.

“Getting to know the students in my courses has been a highlight for me,” Neely said. “I really enjoy the management course I teach. It’s very relatable. It’s all about understanding people at work.”

But he wanted to expand his opportunities to work with others on campus, and he found one after Marko, his 5-year-old goldendoodle, completed a year-long training to become certified as a therapy dog. With his new credentials, Marko and Neely are regular faces at Big Red Pawp-Ups, hosted by Big Red Resilience and Well-being. Pawp-Ups allow students, faculty and staff to interact with therapy dogs. Marko naturally fell into his new position as a campus cutie after finishing his training.

“Marko loves being around people and has brought a lot of joy into my life,” Neely said. “Training him to be a therapy dog seemed like a great opportunity for him to share his people skills with others.”

Bringing Marko to events has helped Neely feel like a more active participant at Nebraska, and grow the breadth of his network here.

“It’s a great time and a lot of fun to see people from different parts of the UNL community,” Neely said.

Looking ahead, the College of Business’ Inclusive Business Leaders program — a group of first-year business students who are committed to making business more inclusive — will be welcoming its third cohort this fall. As Neely has been able to help with IBL, he has gained inspiration from their determination and skills. He is planning to continue his involvement this upcoming school year — with a special guest, of course.

Marko will be spending some time at the orientation for IBL’s third cohort this fall, and hopefully many more Pawp-Ups in the future. Pawp-Up events are planned to begin again in September.

“I’m really happy we [trained Marko],” Neely said. “I don’t think there’s anything that makes Marko more excited than when he realizes he’s going to work.”

Published: July 18, 2023