Thank You Spartans for 2021-It takes a community

Jaimie Hutchison and the WorkLife Office interns and support team

By Jaimie Hutchison, MA, LPC

In a year when countless work-life issues have been in the spotlight, including: working remotely from home, working in person during the unknow and navigating risks, navigating childcare, navigating eldercare, navigating well-being at home and at work, navigating isolation and extraordinary changes, you have stepped up. I know how much you have overcome and how much you are still navigating. I have been inspired by the commitment and resilience of our Spartans. Our faculty and staff have risen to the occasion of navigating a global pandemic the best they could. I feel grateful for having led the WorkLife Office and a team of students who have stepped up to help us keep our programs going over the past 5 months and assisting in the leadership the 7 months prior of 2021. Thank you, Spartans.

The WorkLife Office has been functioning since March with reduced staff. Thanks to the support of the Provost’s Office, we are now in the process of hiring two of these positions back. Our student employee, interns and volunteers were the unsung heroes of 2021. Our students, led by Megan Lee, have demonstrated a high level of preparedness for the professional world, commitment, dedication, willingness to learn, collaborative skills, a commitment to DEI and to excellence. I am proud of each of our students for stepping up to meet their educational goals and to strengthen their skills while supporting our Spartans. 

One of the highlights of leading the student team has been mentoring them as they navigate the next steps in their life. These students have learned critical skills, in no small part due to our faculty and staff who taught and supported them at MSU. So, thank you for helping to develop these students. Each of these students are entering the world as work-life warriors, they will bring their Spartan values into the workplace. Doing this, they will change the world for the better. 

There are several other Spartans who have stepped up to support the WorkLife Office, and me personally. I would like to thank them for being the type of colleagues and collaborators who make me proud to be a part of this Spartan team. There are so many people to thank, but I want to point out some of the most consistent and impactful collaborators:

Maranda Holtsclaw from Michigan HERC (Higher Education Recruitment Consortium) for taking on career consultations, for pitching in on WorkLife Office (WLO) tasks outside of your job description and for those sweet treats you have sprinkled throughout the year. Your heart and professionalism let me know I was seen.

Erica Venton and Kelly Mazurkiewcz from the Provost’s Communications Team for not only guiding the WLO in our communications efforts, but for being the type of humans who work hard and support hard. I have felt so much support from you both, caring about the mission of the WLO and for caring about me.

Dr. Suzanne Lang Associate Provost and Associate Vice President of the Office for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs for diving in to learn about work-life, believing in me to lead the office into 2022, and for your confidence in the work that we do to support Spartans.

Kathy Lewless from the Office for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs for your support for dual career couples at MSU, and for your compassion and listening ear regarding the WLO and my family life.

Nancy Allen and Lisa Laughman from EAP and Health4U for your support and collaboration regarding well-being. You have both provided the WorkLife Office and our programs collaboration and support. You also let me know personally that I was not alone.

Julianne Fent, April Meersdom, Sarah Blanck from the Provost’s Office for being truly responsive, knowledgeable, and encouraging during our staff shortage. Without your expertise, I would have been lost. Your patience and professionalism are top-notch.

Kim Steed-Page from the Student Parent Resource Center for your collaboration on the Fatherhood Forum, hiring committee, and a number of other things. Your values are inspiring, and you lead from a place of centeredness and ethics. 

Jake Lathrop from Human Resources for being one of the most responsive and level professionals on campus. Thank you for always taking the time to collaborate.

Todd Bradley and Carrie Galdes for being WLO volunteers and the type of presenters who come into the room with the skills and relationship that keep people coming back for more.

Kendra Pyle for your leadership of the white anti-racist affinity group. It has been a needed brave place to continue anti-racist work and accountability with others who demonstrate allied values and actions.

Dr. Jabbar Bennett, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, for being an accessible and steady new administrator. I appreciate your willingness to listen, collaborate and lead.

IDEA Coordinators CORE Team: Dr. Kevin Brooks, Melissa Del Rio, Dr. James Lucas, Tina Alonzo, and Ed Tillet for showing up to lead IDEA when there are so many other things on your plates. Thank you for your commitment and dedication. 

WACSS (Women’s Advisory Committee to Support Staff) Thank you for your collaboration and innovation!

WNA (Women’s Networking Association) Planning Committee Thank you for your time and expertise to bring top notch programming to women at MSU. 

Shannon Davis and Lynn Lee, my HR guru friends and colleagues who helped me so much through many HR related issues.

My family Wayne Hutchison and Haiden Hutchison (and Leia our yellow lab). Thank you for being the best supporters (and co-workers for a while when we were all at home). Your encouragement and support allowed me to be my best for my job and my family, and when I wasn’t you were there, too. Thank you, Team Hutch. 

Thank you 2021 Students!

  • Megan Lee: December 2019-present, BA in Human Capital and Society, minor Leadership of Organizations, graduated spring 2021, MA in Human Resources and Labor Relations, graduating spring 2023. My right hand and partner in success since 2019.
  • Adriana Prieto: August 2020-May 2021, BA in Human Development and Family Studies, minor in Leadership of Organizations, graduated spring 2021
  • Julia Shine: August 2020-May 2021, BA in Social Work, minor in Leadership of Organizations and Human Behavior and Social Sciences, graduated spring 2021
  • Aminda Clark: December 2020-May 2021, MA in Social Work, graduating spring of 2022
  • Reed Howell: May 2021-August 2021, BA in Psychology, minor in Youth & Society, graduated summer 2021
  • Olivia Walters: May 2021-August 2021, BA in Psychology, minors in Youth & Society and Dance, graduating spring 2022
  • Ian McDonald: May 2021-August 2021, BA in Philosophy (cognate in Psychology), graduating spring 2022
  • Martin Lee: May 2021-August 2021, BA in Psychology, graduating spring 2023
  • Bella Berns: August 2021-December 2021, BA  in Human Development and Family Studies, minors in Youth & Society and Educational Studies, graduating winter 2021
  • Jessie Byelich: August 2021-present (ending May 2021), MA in Social Work, graduating spring of 2023
  • Emily Littleton: August 2021-present (ending May 2021), BA in Human Development and Family Studies, minor in Youth & Society, graduating spring 2022
  • Mara Johnson: August 2021-present (ending May 2021), BA in Political Science, minors in Spanish and Race & Ethnicity
  • Hailey Peguero: August 2021-present (ending May 2021), BA in Human Development and Family Studies, minors in Human Behavior and Social Work

Workplace well-being is crucial to recruitment, retention, and well-being. I am proud to be a part of a team working on and living out these important values. I wish you all a healthy new year. 

Jaimie Hutchison, MA, LPC
Pronouns: she/her/hers
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Deputy Director
MSU WorkLife Office
479 West Circle Drive
Linton Hall, Suite 116
East Lansing, MI 48824