Campus Closeup: Phyllis Zaenglein


As a child, Phyllis Zaenglein (Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences) wanted to be a nurse. Her career has followed a different path, but she is still in the service profession as the senior secretary of her department, the surgical technology program and the nursing arts lab.


“My personal goal is to do whatever I can to make life easier for the faculty and students,” she said.


In addition to normal secretarial duties, Zaenglein keeps track of clients and their payments for Northern’s Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic. The clinic screens for hearing problems – mostly in children – and assists with accent reduction for international students.  


Zaenglein thrives on the student contact her job provides. ““I really think I have the greatest job because I can’t imagine anything that would be more fun than helping the students. I try to keep them out of the Northern shuffle because they have enough stress in their lives.” She also initiated the practice of sending birthday cards to students in the department.


In her spare time, Zaenglein is the assistant editor of The FLAME, the monthly newsletter for the UAW 1950, the clerical/technical union. She compiles and edits all of the content and occasionally writes a story herself.


Zanglein has worked at NMU for 18 years. She started out in the “Book Rush” at the beginning of the semester when students buy textbooks. This experience prompted her to join the secretarial pool on campus. She worked with secretaries in Meyland and Magers Halls. The colleagues enjoyed each other’s company so much that they formed their own social club, the M&Ms.


The M&Ms hold monthly dinners and birthday luncheons. Each member has a different color. Zaenglein’s is orange and she has decorated her work space with M&M collectables. The women enjoy spending time together whenever possible.


Zaenglein likes to knit as both a hobby and a community service. She knits hats for the nursery at the local hospital. These hats typically take two hours apiece and she tries to knit at least one per week. She also knits afghans and sweaters for loved ones. “I’ve been knitting since my mother first taught me in junior high,” she said.


Zaenglein also enjoys biking, playing bridge and traveling. Her dog, Molly, has been certified as a therapy dog. She plans to take her to Peter White Public Library for the children’s reading program there. She is always in the middle of a book and prefers to read family generational sagas.


She said she tries to make the most of her time both in and out of work.


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Updated: November 13, 2006

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