Staff spotlight: Katie Michela

Meet Katie Michela, who is the assistant teacher at Preschool at the Park.

When did you start working at UMD?

I have been working at UMD since the fall semester of 2009.

Why did you choose to work at UMD?

I started working at UMD with the dream of fulfilling my unfinished goal of earning a degree. I started in the catering department working there for two years. During that time I learned the layout of the campus. It seemed like we even catered to the closets we were so busy! 

Learning the layout of the campus helped me direct visitors when they came to the parking booth in the pay lot. I switched roles to have a set schedule for my family and to be able to pursue a bachelor’s degree using the Regents Scholarship. I used the quiet mornings in the pay lot to do my homework.  

I am so thankful for my supervisors Cheryl Love and Lisa Norr who were supportive, allowing me to take some classes offered only during my work time and covering the booth during that time. My major was Environmental & Outdoor Education with a minor in Environmental Studies. After completing my coursework, the pandemic emerged. I stayed in my role during my kid’s distance learning honoring myself and my limits. I knew that I could not handle taking on a new job and helping my kids navigate their new learning situation. 

At the beginning of the fall 2021 semester I began looking for a role to use my degree on and off campus. I landed the role at Preschool at the Park, a nature based preschool, before it was reopened after being closed due to the pandemic. It was very challenging to start. 

What do you like most about your job? 

At the start of my second year in this position I am happy to be here at UMD working with some of the youngest learners on campus. 

Do you have any advice for students? 

My piece of advice for current college students: know your limits; persistence and patience pay off; never lose sight of your dreams. Those tidbits may sound cliché, but they have worked for me.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to do anything outside! Duluth happens to be the perfect location for this.