Editor's Note — This is part of a Women’s History Month series featuring women who make a positive impact on the campus community through their work as office/service employees. The Women of Service series is organized by the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Stories will run in Nebraska Today through March 30.
Mikki Sandin’s passion to help others is a beacon helping guide student success — particularly for international Huskers — in the College of Business and across the institution.
Sandin, who has served for three years in the college (six total on campus), is the international business and inclusion coordinator for Nebraska Business. Her work includes working with the college’s international team to offer meaningful interactions abroad, forging intercultural connections on campus and supporting experiential learning and internships.
“Mikki is the living embodiment of the statement, ‘every person and interaction matters,’” said Kasey Linde, associate director of the college’s teaching and learning center. “She is incredibly intentional when it comes to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for students and that begins with the individual relationships she creates with students.
“Her genuine interest and care for those around her is refreshing and inspiring.”
Sandin goes above and beyond in her role by taking the lead on workshops; collegewide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; award competitions; and student events.
She is committed to connecting with students — from assisting them in the office, taking them to lunch, and sometimes inviting them into her home during weekends and long breaks — helping them in their journey to earning a degree and gaining meaningful experiences along the way. That commitment is reflected in her work as an adviser to the Rwandan Student Association.
— Mikki Sandin (@mikki_sandin) February 20, 2022
She became the adviser to the Rwandan Huskers in 2018 — a year after developing a friendship with a Rwandan student through the university’s Dinner in a Nebraska Home program. Her work with the students continues to expand and includes co-developing a virtual study abroad to Rwanda in summer 2021.
“I just love working with students and building community, fostering inclusion and belonging among all students, and finding ways to connect and grow relationships,” Sandin said. “This is what drives most of what I do.”
The Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women reached out to get to know Sandin and learn more about her dedication to students, faculty and staff at Nebraska U. Her interview follows.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am the international business and inclusion coordinator for the College of Business. I graduated from UNL in 1992 with a degree in family and consumer sciences and began working here in 2015. I've worked at Confucius Institute, Procurement Services, and College of Arts and Sciences, prior to starting in College of Business. My passion is connecting with students, sharing stories, and helping create meaningful experiences. My husband and I have three adult kids and we love to travel, camp and spend time with friends.
My specialty is international family studies with a focus on U.S. educational satisfaction. I am committed to providing strategies for successfully navigating the challenges of cross-cultural acculturation and fostering an inclusive community for all students.
What do you look forward to when you come to work?
Seeing my students. I love working in the (Diversity and Inclusion Gathering Space) where students come to hang out or find someone to talk to. My office is always open and I welcome this interaction and a safe space to ask questions or just find someone who will listen and care about what is happening in their world.
What is your favorite memory on campus?
Rwandan Night 2020! This was a celebration of the beauty and culture of Rwanda, showcased by extremely talented and energetic students who were proud to share their pride in being Rwandan. I love advising the Rwandan Student Association and supporting such an amazing group of students.
What is your life like outside of work?
I love to provide opportunities for people to connect and hosting picnics, camping trips, dinners and games nights where students, young professionals and families can all enjoy time together. I also love to read and am in several book clubs, love to travel, and support my husband's hobby of remodeling our home.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I was a high jump champion in junior high! I aspired to a great high school career but tore both of my ACLs and never got to jump in high school.