Area Representative (AR) Spotlight – Katherine Cusick

What is your job title?

Program Coordinator


What area of campus, building and department do you work in?

Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, College of Social Science, North Campus, Berkey Hall


How long have you been at MSU?

I started my career at MSU in November of 1994.


How long have you been an Area Representative?

Since 2014


Why is being a member of the Union important to you and what value does it bring?

Being part of the APA and the MEA. Being an active member of the union is important to me because I believe unions are instrumental in creating healthy work environments for employees! History has been proven that there is power in numbers and unions typically represent a large number of people.

Furthermore, I came from a union family. My Grandfather was active with the unions in Pittsburgh, PA, during the time Pittsburgh was in its hay day.


So as you see, I learned early on the many protections unions provide hard working Americans. More often than not, unions have proven that if employees are provided with good working conditions they are much more likely to work hard and exceed expectations. History has also proven that unless employers are required to provide employees with good wages and good benefits it likely will not happen. Unfortunate as it may appear, we need unions to mandate or require employers to go the extra mile. Unions hold us all accountable and help us to prioritize in favor of the greater good.


What words of advice do you have for the new hires at MSU?

A few pieces of advice I wish someone had given me when I hired in at MSU are as follows:

  • Get involved in your union and get involved Early! There are so many Union activities and events I missed out on in my early years and because of that I had a lot of missed opportunities.


  • If you want to know what the union can and is doing for you, get active! Maximize your union benefits. You need to know the value of your membership. Know the discounts, the college benefits, the reduced insurance rates, great credit card rates, free financial advice, free life insurance.  KNOW YOUR BENEFITS, then you will know the true value of being a unionized employee at MSU!


  • Attending the union meetings is incredibly important. These meetings provide a greater understanding of what the union offers to employees. The meetings are a means of becoming informed on the union’s impact on campus.  Union events and activities also allow employees to connect with one another. As issues arise on campus you may want someone to vent to or some clarification on an issue. Fellow union members offer that to each other.


  • Being an active member of a union will help you have a better understanding of the volume of issues the union deals with on a daily and monthly basis. It will allow you to see how the union makes work-life better for so many MSU employees.


  • I would encourage new hires to make time to get familiar with all areas of campus. It is easy to get busy and stuck in your building or region of campus. It is a big campus with a lot of intelligent and interesting people. Only you can expand your reach and expand your experience at MSU! 


  • Last but not least, look out and encourage your fellow co-workers. Support him or her. Remember…”When the tide rises all the ships come in”! 


What do you love about working at MSU?

What I love most about working at MSU is watching the student’s journey from their freshman to their senior year. Students are filled with wonder and excitement. This positive energy resonates throughout campus and keeps many of the staff still feeling youthful!  Furthermore, working at MSU has been a great opportunity to grow professionally and personally. There is always a lot of personal and professional development available to employees. With the encouragement of the unions, MSU continually promotes an atmosphere that “people come first”. This is not just a slogan at MSU, this is the culture of MSU. People truly do come first! 


Over the years, I have often commented to my colleagues that we are so fortunate to work at MSU. To work in a healthy work environment that provides good benefits, good wages and just an overall great environment to start and end our day! Thanks to the hardworking members of the APA my career at MSU has been a pleasant and rewarding experience!


What do you like to do when you are not at work?

When not at work I enjoy hanging out with my 96 year old father. He is still mobile so weekends are full of wonderful moments. Spending time up north have been some of our favorite fun times!

Recent Community Based Events

We saw some new APA faces at the September 28th event when the MSU Volleyball team took on the Nittany Lions of Penn State.    This event was free to APA members and it was nice to see families in attendance.   Thanks to Tim Woods for getting there early and saving a spot for our APA family to sit together.

We got lucky during the MSU Homecoming Parade, as despite the forecast of rain, it held off until after the event.   It was extra special this year as we walked by the judging

stand and as Sheri Jones from WLNS TV was announcing our entry, to hear Terry Braverman, her co-Master of Ceremonies who worked for 38 years as a Sports Radio and TV Broadcaster at MSU say “Hey, I was an APA.”  We hope to have even more APA members and their families join us next year.

It is always fun to see former coworkers, neighbors and friends sitting along the sidelines of the parade shout out greetings as they are surprised when they look up and see someone they actually know in the parade.  Next year, that could be you! Mark your calendars now for September 27, 2019, the date of next year’s parade. APA provides the candy and all it takes are members to help walk with the banner, smile and wave. There are even shuttle buses to take you back to the shuttle parking lot near where the parade started so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of getting back to your car.

A special thanks to those who helped with the winter coat drive.  All total we collected over 600 winter apparel items including: coats, snowpants, hats, gloves, scarves and boots. Whether it be donating items, hosting one of the bins, staffing one of the drive thru locations, dropping off/picking up the donation bins around campus or sorting the donations afterwards, we appreciate the efforts of everyone. This is very much a team effort which benefits the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and the Lansing School District students.   Last year we had 14 locations and are pleased to report we increased to 22 this year. A special shout out to the MSU Flint Campus who participated for the first time with a collection bin hosted by George Harris.

Kandy Slack, APA Volunteers and CAMP students sort coats.

Member Input Needed

The CBE and Membership Committees would like your input as we look at future event planning.  Since we have a culturally, professionally and personally diverse membership base, we have typically offered a variety of events focusing on three different areas:

  1. Community based such as a coat drive
  2. Social events for members to network
  3. Employee/personal development training

Give us your suggestions on CBE and social events. Plus we welcome topics for future training. Most of the employee development events such as the More You Know training occur over the noon hour, but let us know if there are topics you would like to see on an evening or weekend that are important enough for you to come back to campus on your own time. If there is enough of an interest we can try to make that happen.

Send your suggestions to


APA/MEA Endorsed Candidates Win Two Seats on the MSU Board of Trustees

Democratic candidates Brianna Scott and Kelly Tebay won election to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees having edged out their Republican counterparts Mike Miller and Dave Dutch. Scott and Tebay will replace Republican trustees Mitch Lyons and Board Chair Brian Breslin who opted not to run for reelection. The board has been split evenly among Republicans and Democrats but will swing 6-2 in favor of the Democrats come January. 


Scott is an MSU graduate who became the first African American assistant prosecutor in the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office. She now runs her own law firm, Brianna T. Scott & Associates, PLLC, in Muskegon. Tebay earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MSU. She works as the director of corporate relations for the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.  


Both Scott and Tebay were endorsed by our state affiliate, the Michigan Education Association, and actively engaged APA members and leadership throughout their campaign for trustee. In addition to handling everyday affairs on campus and addressing the continued fallout from the Larry Nassar case, the Board of Trustees will continue an intense focus on selecting the next president of MSU by the middle of 2019.


APA members and leadership have provided input to the presidential search committee and spoke extensively with Scott and Tebay during the APA hosted MSU Board of Trustee candidate forum held at the Kellogg Center on July 24, 2018.


Maury Koffman, MSU APA President, said “APA members look forward to having a significant voice in the selection process for the next president of Michigan State University. I am confident we will continue to work closely with the two newly elected members of the Board and the continuing members of the Board on all matters that impact members careers and the students we serve.”


The current composition of the MSU Board of Trustees including outgoing trustees Breslin and Lyons will host its final public meeting on December 14, 2018.


APA Trivia


This month’s question: Where on campus can you find this sculpture?


Email your answer to Sue Brandt at by December 14, 2018.  Limit of one guess per person.  Two members who correctly answer will be randomly drawn to win various prizes.  Winners will be announced in the next newsletter.

Congratulations to the last newsletter winners: Sean Carey and Marci Hicks who won specialty cookies from MSU Bakers. They were drawn at random for those who correctly answered that Passport Services are available on campus in the Main Library for MSU students/faculty/staff and their families, as well as any public/community members to go to apply for a new passport.  For more information visit

Must be an APA member in good standing to win; however, APA Board Members, APA Area Representatives and Communications Committee Members are not eligible to win.

APA Members Eligible for Complimentary Life Insurance and other Discounts!

As an APA, you are automatically part of the National Educational Association (NEA). One of the benefits of the NEA is the complimentary life insurance. Trusted protection for your family. All at no cost to you.  


The complimentary coverage includes:

  • Up to $1,000 of term life insurance
  • Up to $5,000 of accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage
  • $50,000 of AD&D insurance for any covered accident that occurs on the job
  • $150,000 of life insurance for unlawful homicide while on the job.


Coverage is issued by the Prudential Insurance Company of America.


A few quick steps and you are ready to go

  1. Determine who you want your beneficiaries to be.
  2. Go to


To find out what other NEA benefits you are missing out on, go to  If you have not already done so, you will need to register to see the benefits.


Plus do not forget about the Michigan Education Association (MEA) member discounts so visit,  


Firmin Charlot one of our APA members shared with us a money savings tip.

“After attending a ‘More You Know’ lunchtime session by the MEA, I learned that a member saved hundreds of dollars. I was happy with my insurance company and felt no need to get quotes and go through a messy process of changing insurance companies.  I decided to give it a try particularly after the passing of the East Lansing income tax.  To my surprise, getting a quote from MEA Financial Services was really easy and I found out if I were to switch, I would save about $800 on home and auto. I then switched my rental property for an additional savings of $472.60 – for a total savings of $1,272.60 wow! I checked my numbers twice. BTW: Along with the savings, I am also enjoying much better coverage. I am now exploring other areas to save with MEA Financial Services.”


Contact MEA Financial Services for information at 800-292-1950.

APA Changes

The APA extends its thanks and best wishes to Dennis Seybert, who has retired from MSU after 16 years of service.  He worked initially for University Printing and then moved to Purchasing. The last few years he has played a vital role as Vice President for the APA and as chair of the membership committee. Dennis served as the first point of contact to welcome new members to the university or those who transferred from another labor union.  He was behind the scenes setting up member and AR training and community lunches to increase communication with members. His efforts to create a better work environment for APA/MEA/NEA members did not go unnoticed and we thank him for everything he has done.

Kandy Slack has been appointed as the new membership committee chairperson.  That’s Kandy with a “K”. Kandy has filled a couple different leadership roles with the APA, first as an Area Representative when she worked in FRIB and she is has been on the APA Executive Board since October 2016.  Thanks to Kandy for taking on this new responsibility to serve the APA.

Your 2018-19 APA officers include: Maury Koffman, President; Martin McDonough, Vice President; Erica Phillipich, Treasurer and Sue Brandt, Secretary.

Your Fellow APs

Meet Fellow APA Amy Fowler

What is your job title?

Student Events and Activities Coordinator


How long have you been at MSU?

Eleven years


Have you been a member of the APA the whole time?

Nine years


What department do you work in, and can you tell me a little bit about what you do?

I work for the College of Human Medicine both out of Grand Rapids and the main MSU campus. I help plan all the major events that the college participates in: Commencement, Awards Banquet, White Coat Ceremony, Medicine Ball, AOA Banquet, and Prematriculation.  I also assist the Student Council and handle all the room requests for the Office of Student Affairs.


What brought you to your job at MSU?

The travel agency that I worked at for 17 years closed. My mom raised my sister and I to be avid Spartan fans and it just seemed like a fun place to work.


What do you love about working at MSU?

I love working with the Office of Student Affairs team. Everyone enjoys the energy from the students.


What do you like to do when you are not at work?

When I am not at work, I am hanging out with my husband, Dave, and three children: Maria, Christopher and Morgan. I love being outdoors and working in my garden.

Amy Fowler (left) and daughter Morgan working at the Student Orientation Fair at Munn Ice Arena August 2018.