Finlandia University held its second annual Shark Day on Wednesday with teams of high school juniors and seniors from Calumet, Baraga Area and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College’s career technical education program. Students competed to win a $2,500 scholarship to attend Finlandia University.
A play on the hit T.V. show Shark Tank, Finlandia’s Shark Day teaches students about entrepreneurship, creativity, working in a team and public speaking. Hosting the event was Lauren Huested, education partner manager and dual enrollment advisor with FinnU’s admissions office.
“What I love about this event is it’s a college visit, but they get to do more than that,” Huested said. “So, instead of your typical presentation, tour and food, they get to do an activity and learn about business and creativity and how to be innovative and have a little bit of competition while at the same time doing the tour and the free food and the typical college stuff.”
Throughout the morning, faculty and staff served as mini-sharks to inspire creativity and promote critical thinking through basic marketing principles. It was a special day for Calumet alumnus Nathan Perreault, assistant professor of management, who worked directly with students from his alma mater. One such student was Nora Harmala, a junior from Calumet High School.
“It was great working with Nora, she’s a hard worker, and I’ve been pleased to be able to coach her in track for the last two years. She’s a hard worker, and she’s somebody that puts an extra amount of time in every little detail,” Perreault said. About the event, he added, “It’s been extravagant. Talk about local high schools coming to Finlandia and getting involved and getting to see what our programs are about. Not just in business but in arts and sciences and health sciences, seeing what we have to offer is what we really want for this event. We’re here; we want people to know the different programs and that we care about our students.”
Harmala, whose team pitched a universal outdoor resource kit, said working with Perreault was helpful, especially in alleviating some of the pressures of public speaking.
“It was fun. It was good that I saw some people that I knew. I recognized quite a few people, so it made the day a little bit easier, but it was fun. “He [Perreault] was very helpful, which I knew he is, knowing him as a coach. He gave us a lot of great ideas and helped us in a lot of ways.”
A group from Calumet won the competition after pitching an all-terrain electric wheelchair to increase outdoor recreation accessibility for people with health restrictions or impairments.
A photo gallery of the event will be posted at finlandia.edu/news.
Amanda Makela, owner of 2nd Sandbar Productions
Clay Hilman, owner of K.C. Bonker’s Toys & Coffee
Daniel Yoder, senior business consultant with Michigan Small Business Development Center
Jason Mack, VP of business development at MTEC SmartZone
Shana Porteen, owner of Black Ice Comics & Books