Campus Closeup: Linda Riipi
With plush microbes decorating her office, one could only guess that microbiology is Linda Riipi’s (Clinical Laboratory Sciences) passion. One would be absolutely right. Riipi teaches courses in clinical, diagnostic and advanced microbiology, clinical hematology and coagulation, and advanced clinical hematology.
When asked what her favorite subject to teach is, she laughs and easily replies, “Definitely microbiology because it’s always changing. I love teaching it because it’s relevant and part of our world. I enjoy the students’ involvement in the discussion of the different types of infectious diseases,” she said.
To Riipi, teaching isn’t just a job. “Most of my working, and some of my nonworking life, revolves around students. I love the classroom, I love the students. I enjoy working at Northern because it puts such high emphasis on teaching.”
In addition to her service at NMU, she’s also involved with the Marquette Area Public Schools Education Foundation, which provides grants to teachers and students in the district so they can pursue alternative means of learning activities. The foundation also provides scholarships for graduating seniors. Riipi is involved in reviewing grants and building up the endowment fund. “I feel very fulfilled in doing that role for the community,” she says.
Another passion in Riipi’s life is golf. She belongs to a golf league and country club. She also enjoys more season-specific activities such as cross country skiing and walking in the woods. One year-round hobby of Riipi’s is travelling in the United States and abroad. She is hard-pressed to think of her favorite place, but after awhile she decides on Aix en Provence in Southern France. “You just can’t beat the lifestyle,” she says with a smile.
When asked what others might be surprised to know about her, Riipi served up the following response: “I don’t cook. I don’t go to the grocery store,” she says. “I’m fortunate enough to have someone in my household who does, but I don’t do it.”
Although she is incredibly passionate about her line of work, it wasn't her first career goal. She originally wanted to be a psychologist before earning her bachelor’s degree in human medicine.
After her undergraduate studies, Riipi became a medical technologist and worked at several hospitals in Michigan before earning a master’s degree from NMU in human biology. She also holds a doctorate in microbiology from Michigan Tech. “It wasn’t a preordained plan; it just happened,” she said.
Preordained or not, Riipi is fortunate enough to have a job that she loves. Microbiology isn’t for everyone, but she is grateful and excited to begin work each day.