What is community engagement?
Community engagement is a broad category that includes:
- Service and volunteering in any community, at home or abroad
- Projects and research in partnership with community members and community organizations
- Addressing issues affecting a community in a way that is mutually beneficial to all participants
Who participates in community engagement at Michigan Tech?
Students in many majors and aspiring to diverse careers choose to engage with communities.
- Students in pre-health programs get involved in the EMS program at Michigan Tech or volunteer at a local hospice or hospital
- Students interested in youth and STEM education volunteer to work with Tech Tutors, Young Women’s Leadership Program, youth programs abroad, the Western UP MiSTEM Network, or other opportunities
- Students in environmental fields (Forestry, Biology, Sustainability Science and Society, Environmental Engineering, etc.) collaborate with the Keweenaw Land Trust, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, local K-12 schools, rural communities in Panama for iDesign, and the Green Campus Enterprise team
Can I do international community service?
Interested in international service?
- Join Peace Corps Prep, a program that helps you gain technical and cultural skills to be successful working in cross-cultural service
- Students in Peace Corps Prep typically integrate a study abroad and/or community project into their Pavlis experience
- Peace Corps Prep is an official partnership between Michigan Tech and the U.S. Peace Corps. It prepares students to serve in another country in the Peace Corps or other community service opportunities.
- You can earn a certificate from the Peace Corps, a minor at Michigan Tech, and honors recognition from Pavlis by completing Peace Corps Prep
What kinds of work have Pavlis students done?
Here are some stories of Pavlis students who focused on community engagement in their honors program.
- Elise Cheney Makens designed a Science Fair Mentoring Program for 4th and 5th graders, and volunteered at a Ronald McDonald home during a research summer experience at Mayo Clinic. She earned two Michigan Tech awards for Community Service and is now in medical school at Michigan State.
- Addie Saltarelli coached basketball and designed a greenhouse and gardening course at Jeffers High School. She was awarded the Exceptional Community Service Project Leadership Award from Michigan Tech for this work. Also highlighted in this video is Lydia Savatsky, who has managed low-income housing projects with the Appalachian Service Project for two summers. She also has worked extensively with K-12 students, including helping to found a new virtual tutoring group during the pandemic, TechTutors.
- Quite a few students have used the International Senior Design Program in Panama, faculty-led study abroad, and/or European Project Semester for part of their honors experience and Peace Corps Prep.
Who should I contact to learn more?
Kari Henquinet (firstname.lastname@example.org) can help you find the right connections for a community-engaged immersion, project, or leadership/mentorship experience. Other Pavlis faculty and
staff also have great connections, such as Dar Slade, Mary Raber, and Vienna Leonarduzzi.
Huskies Serve as Virtual K-12 Tutors During the Pandemic
When the Covid-19 pandemic began this spring, it rapidly affected every facet of life including the lives of K-12 students and families across the country when schools began closing. Schools changed gears to provide virtual and remote education almost overnight, a major challenge for teachers, students and parents alike. At the same time as universities closed, Michigan Tech students also found themselves stuck at home with plenty of their own on-line class work, but still wondering how they could help the community. As Tech students, faculty, and alumni brainstormed and connected with local educators for advice, Tech Tutors – a free, virtual tutoring program for K-12 students – was born.
Connecting on Zoom, Elise Cheney-Makens (alum and Community Engagement Coordinator for the Pavlis Honors College), Lydia Savatsky (undergraduate), and Charles Fugate (alum) worked together to quickly roll out the Tech Tutors program in a matter of weeks. By early May, the program was up and running.
Tech Tutors allows Michigan Tech students to volunteer while staying home to keep their families, friends, and communities safe. Volunteer tutors and K-12 students meet virtually through programs like Zoom. Participants range in age from first grade up through high school, and tutors help their students with everything from solving basic math problems to learning the principles of acids and bases by dipping oranges in baking soda or diving into the complex scientific and social implications of the pandemic. Currently, participating students come from throughout the Western U.P., and tutors are able to work with any students and families interested in tutoring.
The benefits of Tech Tutors extends far beyond helping with subjects like English, science, and math. While completing schoolwork and traditional learning are essential parts of the program, equally important is tutors mentoring and building connections with their students. At a time when many people – K-12 students, families, and college students alike – have had their normal routines and lives interrupted, building connections with new people, supporting one another, and learning from new perspectives is more valuable than ever before.
Created by students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the Pavlis Honors College, the Tech Tutors program will begin operating this fall under the Center for Educational Outreach at Michigan Tech and the program will continue to help K-12 students – and provide opportunities for Michigan Tech students to give back – as we navigate what school and life look like during the ever-changing Covid-19 world.
More information about Tech Tutors and how to get involved is available on their website.