Kids Bring Excitement to MSU for Take Your Child to Work Day 2023

Article by Mark Johnson | Photos compiled from across campus | May 3, 2023

Alexis Travis with her children, Aleya and Asher.

Alexis Travis and her children Aleya and Asher spoke at the midday Certificate Celebration. 

More than 1,600 Michigan State University faculty and staff brought their kids to campus Thursday, April 27 to explore everything that MSU has to offer as part of Take Your Child to Work Day.  

Take Your Child to Work Day events returned to MSU after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 1,610 people registered to participate in events on April 27, including 642 employees and 968 children. They visited locations across campus to learn about the vast variety of research, programs and athletics that MSU has to offer. Other employees across campus brought their children into their offices and workspaces. Different colleges and units supported these employees and families in a number of different ways. 

"Take Your Child to Work Day is a chance for kids to experience a slice of life at MSU, to understand the importance of the work that we do and to positively identify with the university as a place to learn and work, as well as a vibrant space for recreation, exercise, art, nature and science,” said Dr. Alexis Travis, assistant provost and executive director of University Health and Wellbeing. “Connecting with kids opens our eyes to new perspectives, fuels conversations, and builds relationships with future students, employees and educators. Kids bring energy and excitement to the workplace."

Kid putting magnetic balls in a PVC tube above his head. Mom stands behind him and both look amazed.
Father pointing at a screen with protons to show three kids.

A “smashing” good time at the FRIB

MSU employees and their families had the opportunity to participate in 39 different events across campus. The events provided learning opportunities on an array of subjects, ranging from astronomy and physics, to learning about insects at the MSU Bug House or touring the Breslin Center, home of the Spartans men’s and women’s basketball teams.  

At the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, employees and their children were able to work with a model nucleus made of magnetic marbles, dropping them down a PVC pipe and into a container where they would smash into smaller pieces, simulating the acceleration and smashing of nuclei to make rare isotopes that happens at the FRIB, a world-class nuclear laboratory.   

Michelle Trierweiler, from the MSU College of Human Medicine, brought her two sons, Aidan and Brody, to smash isotopes to expose them to the world-class Facility for Rare Isotopes and to take advantage of the hands-on opportunity to learn about science.  

“The events that have been offered are great,” she said. “There’s a wide variety. They’re interested in science, but also in sports, and being able to take them on campus to be able to tour many facilities and show them what we have to offer here at Michigan State has been great.”  

Child learns to use an ultrasound machine.
Stuffed animal puppy is used to show how to do an ultrasound on an animal.

Learning to study animals

The College of Veterinary Medicine offered tours and taught participants how to study animals.  

Models of cows and horses were on display, showing the process of birthing calves. Megan Bowen, a veterinarian technician/nurse helped children use an ultrasound machine for a pregnant animal simulation and explained how veterinarians are able to put a tube up through a horse’s nose to help relieve stomach problems.  

Jolene Alto, who works in IT services, brought her two daughters to campus with her for Take Your Child to Work Day, giving her older daughter Helena the chance to explore her dream of becoming a veterinarian and allowing her youngest daughter, Alexandria, the opportunity to learn more about astrophysics and physics.  

They went from exhibit to exhibit, eagerly working with the items on display, learning how to study animals and learning about treating sick animals, like dogs, cows and horses.  

“We did the FRIB, the tour and the breaking of the nucleus,” Alto said, adding that they wanted to visit the College of Veterinary Medicine for her oldest daughter. “They keep running around and getting super excited!” 

Boy meets Sparty, who shows off his bicep.
Kids were asked to write what they wanted to be when they grow up on a piece of paper. These pages were taped to the wall in Shaw Hall. More than 90 children told Jaimie Hutchison what they wanted to be.

Participants earn certificates, meet Sparty

Toward the middle of the day, the hundreds of children who participated told a crowd what they wanted to be when they grew up before receiving a certificate to celebrate MSU’s 2023 Take Your Child to Work Day events.  

And they were able to meet the one and only Sparty.  

After Dr. Travis addressed the crowd, her own children, Aleya and Asher, shared their hopes for future careers. Asher and Aleya were able to participate in events at the Abrams Planetarium and the College of Veterinary Medicine. When he grows up, Asher wants to become an entrepreneur. Aleya wants to become an orthodontist.  

“Teeth have always been super important to me,” she said, reminding everyone to be sure to brush and floss their teeth. “And I always liked braces. When I was at the age of 3, I was really obsessed with braces, and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since then. But now that I have them, not so much.” 

Stella Wojcik, daughter of MSU Gender and Sexuality Campus Center Director Grace Wojcik, wants to become a fashion designer. Grace started at MSU in February, and she and Stella were among the many employees and children experiencing Take Your Child to Work Day at MSU for the first time.  

It feels really nice to have a day to be able to show her what MSU is all about,” Wojcik said.  

Jade Garred, who works in delinquent receivables at the Hannah Administration Building, took her daughter Lily to visit the Breslin Center, the MSU Police Department and she received her official MSU ID card.  

Jade and Lily were also first-time participants and took in much of what MSU has to offer before coming to meet Sparty. Lily wants to become a famous soccer player.  

“I think that it’s important for them to be able to see what we actually do here and explore campus and see how awesome it is,” said Garred. 

chalk drawing on the sidewalk that says Take Your Child to Work Day 2023


Jaimie Hutchison, director of the MSU WorkLife Office, thanked a list of people who contributed to the return of Take Your Child to Work Day, including: 

  • Dr. Travis and her children, Aleya and Asher 
  • University leadership 
  • The Take Your Child to Work Day Planning Committee, including Rachel Perez, Erica Venton, Liz Fuller and Vanessa Nguyen  
  • WorkLife Office staff and student interns, including Ebony Lucas, Alaina Charette, Emerson Stehlik, Tess Bond, Bella Berns, Chahat Sharma and Vanessa Nguyen 
  • Certificate ceremony volunteers, including Work Life Office families and the planning committee 
  • Shaw Hall facility supervisor and facility team, and Facilities Manager Dan Giggy 
  • Demmer Center, Munn Ice Arena, Gifted and Talented Education Program, School of Social Work and MSU Information Technology for providing giveaways  
  • All participating units who created memorable activities for MSU employees and the special children in their lives 
  • Supervisors and managers who supported their employees in participating in this amazing day to build pride in MSU 


"Thank you to every one of you for making this day such a success for so many families. Everywhere I looked, you all were HELPING and working as a team. Thank you to all of your family members, or significant others who helped us make this day a success. It was a HUGE turnout. The largest I have ever heard about, and everyone jumped in to keep things moving. We helped people make memories and we learned a lot! What a great show of community!"

Planning for next year’s event will begin in the fall. If you’d like to participate on the planning committee, contact the WorkLife Office This event will be held again in late April, and we look forward to another successful year.  


Send us your photos to add to the page with subject line: TYCTWD and where you were.

Visiting MSU athletics.
Mother and daughter sit on a bench relaxing during the day.
Mother and her two children pose in front of the James Madison College logo background.
Beaumont Tower carillonneur selects a sheet of music to play
Child drawing yellow flowers with chalk
Ebony Lucas smiles with her daughter at the check-in table. WorkLife team and their kids welcome attendees to the Certificate Celebration.
Sparty mingles with guests at the midday celebration
Two young kids look eagerly over the counter as their names are entered into the computer for their ID badge.
Smiling group in front of Beaumont Tower
Learning to use an ultrasound machine
Sparty poses with Jaimie, Haiden and Wayne Hutchison
WorkLife Office students, staff and their kids decorate the sidewalk outside of Shaw Hall.
Emerson and Alaina smile and chat with attendees selecting coloring pages.
Family with Sparty Image

If you missed the midday Certificate Celebration you can print your own certificate to commemorate the day.

View the media coverage of the event: 

See you next year!