Welcome to our New WorkLife Intern!

We recently welcomed our new WorkLife Connections Intern, Morgan Laajala, to our team. Please read on to get to know her a bit better. We are looking forward to her working with us and helping to build WorkLife Connections programs here at Michigan Tech!

Hi everyone! My name is Morgan and I’m the new intern for the WorkLife Connections Program. I have been working to help organize events, researching other university’s work life programs, and building awareness to the program by setting up social media pages.

I am a second yemlaajalaar business marketing student at Michigan Tech. There was never a question about what university I wanted to attend, as it was always this one. My mom and two sisters graduated from here, and I couldn’t wait to follow in their footsteps. While my classmates were researching and choosing colleges during our senior year, I was confident in my choice and I have not regretted it. I’ve been enjoying my classes so far and I’m excited to continue learning more. I’m not quite sure what I plan to do with my degree yet, but I have at least two more years to figure that out. All I know is that I hope it allows me to travel. During my time here, I would love to study abroad for a semester.

Speaking of travel, I got to do some this summer when my best friends and I took a ten-day road trip out east. We visited New York City for the first time, wandered around Washington, D.C., swam in the Atlantic Ocean, hiked Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, white water rafted in Tennessee, stayed in a cabin high in the Smoky Mountains, and finished off our trip in Nashville. I have always wanted to travel, and after that trip, I only wanted to see more beautiful places! I am so lucky to have these crazy friends that are always up for every new adventure. When I’m not dreaming about my next travel destination, I enjoy meeting new people and trying new things, painting, writing, and spending time with friends and family.

I am excited to be a part of this important program at Michigan Tech. I have been researching other universities such as Yale University, Michigan State University, and Brown University. There are many different dimensions that come with a Work Life program, and I am gaining knowledge on what those are. I hope I can be useful in helping the WorkLife Connections program meet its goals to help Michigan Tech’s faculty, staff, and students balance their work and home lives.

Thanks for Attending “Relax for the Holidays” Open House

By Shannon Brodeur, SWEAT Coordinator

Faculty, staff, and students enjoyed our 3rd annual “Relax for the Holidays” open house on November 9. Attendees let go of stress with aromatherapy, yoga and relaxation, chocolate tasting and more.

WorkLife Connections and Employee Wellness would like to thank the following individuals and business for donating their time, expertise, and prizes:

  • Joan Kero, yoga instructor
  • Vicky Sleeman, Young Living Essential Oils
  • J. Jukuri Spa and Salon

Winner of the massage and sauna package from J. Jukuri Spa and Salon is Lorrie Graff, Office of Advancement.  Thank you to everyone who attended.

WorkLife Connections Offers Second Financial Wellness Lunch and Learn

Join us for WorkLife Connection’s second Financial Wellness Lunch and Learn from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 2) in MUB Alumni Lounge B. Chris Riesgraf, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, will present on the “Foundations of Investing.”

Learn about the importance of developing an investment strategy, the importance of investing early and how to meet your financial goals through investments. If you are new to investing, considering beginning investing or would like to discuss new strategies for your current investments, you’ll find this Lunch and Learn very informative.

Click HERE to RSVP. Feel free to bring your lunch; beverages will be provided.

Financial Wellness Series Lunch and Learn

By Connor Will, Business Operations /  WorkLife Intern

Join us on October 25, 2016 for WorkLife Connection’s first Financial Wellness Lunch and Learn.

On October 25, from noon to 1:00 PM, Jay Ruohonen, Vice President for Business at Superior National Bank, will present on the ins and outs of applying for “Your First Mortgage.” Join us in MUB Alumni Lounge A to learn about the process to apply for a new mortgage, how to be a responsible mortgage holder, how to manage your finances accordingly, and other important details about applying for and handling mortgage loans. Anyone who is considering buying a new home, upgrading or downsizing, or purchasing your dream vacation home in the next few years will find this Lunch and Learn to be particularly informative.

Click HERE to RSVP as you learn how to take the steps toward your mortgage. Feel free to bring your lunch; beverages will be provided.

Knitting Can Create Mindful Spaces in Stressful Times

By Morgan Laajala, WorkLife Connections Intern

WorkLife Connections and Employee Wellness hosted a “Knitting for Wellness” Lunch and Learn on Wednesday, October 5 in Memorial Union Ballroom B3. The Lunch and Learn had a great turnout, with about 31 attendees. The presentation was given by Silke Feltz, a knitting enthusiast and Humanities PhD student.

Silke talked about Knitting at Michigan Tech, StreetKnits (an international knitting charity), how knitting can be beneficial to your mental health, and provided resources for other knitters. Studies have shown that regular knitting and similar

Silke Feltz, humanities PhD student, discusses the wellness benefits of knitting at the 10/05/16 Lunch & Learn.
Silke Feltz, humanities PhD student, discusses the wellness benefits of knitting at the 10/05/16 Lunch & Learn.

needle work activities produce benefits for knitters, including creating mindfulness, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, helping quit a bad habit, improving cognitive function, and increasing happiness. Silke loved sharing her passion with others, and said that doing the presentation “was like a spa treatment for [her] soul.”

When Silke is taking a break from PhD work, she enjoys walking her dog, spending time outside, doing yoga, and of course, knitting. She explained that even during her busiest days, she takes her knitting with her and will take five minute breaks between grading papers to knit. This helps her to keep calm, relax, and focus on the task at hand.

Silke’s advice to other knitters is to realize that it’s just like any other skill that requires practice and commitment. If you keep practicing, you will eventually be able to knit without even thinking about it. Most importantly, give it a try, commit to it, and don’t get frustrated.

If you would like to learn more about StreetKnits or donate needles, yarn, or knitwear, check out their Facebook page or e-mail streetknits2013@gmail.com. If you have questions for Silke, e-mail her at shfeltz@mtu.edu.


“Knitting for Wellness” Lunch and Learn

WorkLife Connections and Employee Wellness invite you to join them for a Lunch and Learn, “Knitting for Wellness,” from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 in Memorial Union Ballroom B3.

Did you know knitting has health benefits? Join Silke Feltz, knitting enthusiast and Humanities PhD student, to learn about resources, knitting at Michigan Tech and more. Novice and seasoned knitters are encouraged to attend.

Register at HuskyPAW, members may claim 100 bonus points for attending. Feel free to bring your lunch. Beverages will be provided. Email Shannon Brodeur with questions.

Bike the Keweenaw Lunch & Learn

WorkLife Connections and Employee Wellness invite you to join them for a Lunch and Learn with Bike Initiative Keweenaw (BIKE!) from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21 in Memorial Union Alumni Lounge B.

Interested in biking more often? Learn how to be comfortable and safe while riding and commuting, as well as what BIKE! is working on for our bike-friendly community.

Register here. HuskyPAW members may claim 100 bonus points for attending. Bring your lunch. Beverages will be provided. Email Shannon Brodeur with questions.

An Invitation to Staff to Join Michigan Tech’s Pilot Staff Mentoring Program

The Staff Mentoring Program Committee invites all university staff interested in working with a trained mentor to fill in the Mentoring Interest Form. Forms must be submitted by August 15, 2016 to be considered for participation. Click HERE to fill out the Mentoring Interest Form.

In 2015, Michigan Tech received a grant from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to develop a staff mentoring program, designed to train mentors here on campus who would like to work with their colleagues to assist with things like:

  • Finding ways to more effectively blend work and home life demands
  • Developing job skills to assist with career growth and advancement
  • Learning about the University and opportunities to become more involved
  • Improving professionalism and communication skills
  • Finding opportunities to network and meet people from other departments
  • Addressing challenging workplace situations
  • Learning more about University resources and benefits

Seventeen mentors have recently completed their training; about two-thirds of these trained mentors are members of the AFSCME and UAW unions. The overall goal of the Staff Mentoring Program is to provide staff with an opportunity to work with a trusted colleague to help with career growth and development here at Michigan Tech.

Questions? EMail worklife@mtu.edu or call Ann Kitalong-Will, Staff Mentoring Program Committee Chair, at 7-1809. See also the 2016 Staff Mentor List.

New Mothers’ Room in University Library

We are pleased to announce that a new lactation space, the Mothers’ Room, has been added in the J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. The Mothers’ Room is located in room G01B on the Garden Level of the Library. Users may stop at the Library Service Desk for directions to the Mothers’ Room.

Michigan Tech currently has nine lactation spaces for nursing mothers on campus. These spaces are available for faculty, staff, and students who are breastfeeding and who need a quiet, comfortable, and private space to pump breast milk or to feed your baby.

“I was contacted by Carol Makkonen from the Library to let us know they were interested in converting a single bathroom on the Garden Level into a new lactation space,” said Ann Kitalong-Will, Chair of the WorkLife Advisory Committee. “University Librarian Ellen Marks was very supportive of the project. I was happy to be able to collaborate with the Library to add this space.”

“Our newest mother has been using the space daily, and she loves it,” added Makkonen.

Visit the WorkLife Connections Lactation Support page for information on all our lactation spaces.

Intro to Qigong and Tai Chi Lunch and Learn

WorkLife Connections and Employee Wellness invite you to join them for an interactive Lunch & Learn with Darlene Basto, North Star Qigong and Tai Chi, from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 in Memorial Union Alumni Lounge A.

Interested in learning about Qigong and Tai Chi?  Find out how these ancient Chinese arts can help relieve stress by promoting circulation, balance, and alignment.  Wear comfortable clothing for an interactive demonstration.

Register here. HuskyPAW members may claim 100 bonus points for attending. Bring your lunch. Beverages will be provided. Email Shannon Brodeur with questions.