Lunch & Learns

Our lunch and learns offer staff and faculty a learning environment which promotes healthy lifestyle choices by increasing awareness, and supporting lifestyle changes.  Lunch and Learns also offer an opportunity to gather, create connections and build relationships, which helps support your social-emotional well-being. We know that healthier lifestyles among faculty and staff will in turn create happier, more productive individuals who benefit themselves, Macalester, and the greater community.

Our lunch and learns will be held on Zoom until further notice.

Upcoming Lunch & Learns

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Banishing Burnout

Christy Kallevig, Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota Center for Community Vitality

Burnout was prevalent even before the pandemic. We must pay attention now more than ever. In this presentation, we’ll take a look at the drivers of burnout, factors that can increase our wellbeing, the role organizations play and what you can personally do to spark change.

Our presenter is Christy Kallevig, Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota Center for Community Vitality. Christy joined Extension’s Center for Community Vitality in 2016. Christy’s primary focus of work is alumni of Extension leadership and civic engagement programs, MARL (Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership), Vital Connections On Air (podcast series), and teaching and supporting leaders to grow emotional intelligence.

Join us from 12:00 to 12:50 on Zoom.


This event has been postponed.  A new date will be communicated soon.

Connecting Black people to active living opportunities in the outdoors

Anthony Taylor-Theba, Outdoor Activist
Photo credit: The Cultural Wellness Center

Our next lunch and learn features outdoor activist Anthony Taylor-Theba.  Anthony is the founder of Slow Roll Twin Cities and Melanin in Motion through the Cultural Wellness Center.  His work centers on getting communities of color involved in outdoor activities in a safe and welcoming environment.  Anthony believes outdoor activity is vital to physical, mental and even spiritual health, and serves as a tool for healing from racial trauma.

This event will be hosted by WHAM Committee Member and Assistant Professor of Psychology, Ariel James.  


Past Lunch & Learns

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Care for Your Neck & Back

Steve Soderberg, TRIA Neck & Back Strengthening Program

Most of us will experience some kind of neck or back pain in our lifetime. It might be caused by an injury like slipping on ice, or a loss of strength from underuse.  Sometimes, neck and back pain can happen with age or be a symptom of an illness.  No matter the cause, WHAM wants to help you learn how to care for your neck and back, and get back to the things you love. 


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Therapeutic Approaches for Healthy Aging

Laura J. Niedernhofer, MD, PhD, Director, Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism, UMN, and Paul Robbins, BA, PhD, Associate Director, Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism, UMN

The fraction of the world population who will be 65 years old or greater will double between 2015 and 2050. Eighty percent of those individuals will have at least one chronic disease.  We know exercise and diet can have positive effects on chronic diseases, however additional therapeutic approaches are needed to extend the period of healthy aging for the world’s aging population. Join us on November 18 when Drs. Laura Niedernhofer and Paul Robbins from the University of Minnesota present their work on developing therapeutics, targeting the hallmarks of aging, that have advanced to clinical studies.

Photo credit:

Laura Niedernhofer joined the University of Minnesota in July 2018 to direct the new Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism (iBAM) and Medical Discovery Team on the Biology of Aging. She is also a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at UMN.

Paul Robbins is an associate director at the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics. He has served as professor of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

When Your Light Dims and Passion Wanes

Trystan Hoffman, MS, Well-being Product Manager, HealthPartners

We’ve probably all experienced times when our work-related passion has waned.  Engagement drops, fulfillment decreases, ambivalence creeps in. Compassion fatigue, burnout, or “career malaise” (or a combination) could all be the culprit.  Whether dealing with a bad day, or finding it hard to get out of bed, this session will arm you with tangible actions to help brighten the light. 

Trystan uses her education and experience in exercise science and worksite health promotion – and her passion for understanding human behavior – to create digital products at HealthPartners. She has an M.S in Exercise Science and Health Promotion and has worked at Mayo Clinic, BlueCross BlueShield, and HealthPartners. To balance her life, Trystan enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, strength training, reading mystery novels, and volunteering at a local food shelf. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Gardening in the Pandemic for Physical, Mental, and Emotional Wellbeing

Join us on Wednesday, April 28 as we discuss how one community garden offered healing and empowerment during the pandemic. Gardeners Greta Klawiter-Lein and Bex Klafter will describe their experiences working in a community garden in North Minneapolis. Come and learn about starting your own community garden, the importance of food justice, and the magic of kohlrabi. 

Bex Klafter (she/they) grew up in New York City yearning for the outdoors. After attending Carleton College in Northfield, MN, they began their work at Redeemer Center for Life (RCFL), a small. Black-led Northside organization. Following her passion for food justice and the outdoors, Bex works in the Redeemer Community Garden, in addition to her work as Director of Donor Development. She loves building community by growing, cooking, and eating food together!

Greta Klawiter-Lein grew up outside of Northfield, MN on a small farm, with chickens, wildflowers and a substantial garden run mostly by her neighbors. Being around people, in a garden, were the pillars of her childhood. She attended college at Gustavus Adolphus in St Peter, MN, and studied Psychology. After college she, like many, struggled to find meaning and purpose in my life, so she left her serving job and traveled. During her travels, Greta did work exchanges at a handful of farms across North and South America. It was a combination of her travels, working on farms, and reconnecting with her roots that lead Greta back to Minnesota in 2018. She started volunteering as Garden Coordinator at Redeemer Center for Life that spring. She says, “It has been 3 years of adjusting, learning, growing, and the excitement of being in the city. Living in an urban setting is difficult at times, but bringing people into the garden to grow food, to celebrate, and to connect is my greatest joy, and makes it worth it.”

This spring, Greta and her partner launched their new business, Sovereign Starts Seedling Company, with the goal of supporting other community gardens in growing food together! Their motto is: “Grow food, grow community!” 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Transforming your Life through your Space: Using your home as a tool for well-being, with Susan Shehata

Your space reflects your life. All your goals and obstacles are present in your surroundings. This may include career, family, relationship and financial goals. This talk is designed to give you tools that help you recognize what parts of your home and life keep you stuck and how to create positive change.  By creating awareness and supplying concrete tips, Susan educates and empowers you on how to use your home to transform your life.

  • Learn how your home is reflecting your personal challenges
  • Learn what the key rooms in your home symbolize
  • Identify your biggest problem area and what it says about your life

This talk will coincide with our four-week Home Harmony activity that begins on March 22.  Please visit our Well-being Activities page to learn more.

Susan Shehata is a Wellness Educator and Social Entrepreneur, who specializes in helping you Unstick your Story, by releasing the limiting beliefs that keep you stuck. She does that through speaking, writing, wellness services, educational programs, business masterminds and events.

Susan has been a certified wellness professional, facilitating and educating on transformational healing with an emphasis on trauma recovery, for eighteen years. She is also a credentialed mediator (Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice), and a trained Conflict Coach through the Conflict Resolution Center (Minneapolis).

Susan is a connector who is passionate about supporting other entrepreneurs, community building and inspiring individuals to take action in ways that benefit themselves and humanity.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

COVID Vaccine Questions and Answers

Please join if you’d like to learn about how the COVID vaccines work and the effect vaccination will have on our community. There’s a lot of talk about the COVID vaccines. If you’ve wondered what an mRNA vaccine means, how the COVID vaccines were able to be developed so quickly, or what the public health impact of vaccination will be, we’ll address these questions and more. 

Macalester chemistry professor Leah Witus has made an educational video for science communication with the broader public to explain the biochemistry of the COVID mRNA vaccines. Dr. Steph Walters, MD, MPH is the medical director of the Hamre center and co-chair of the Infectious Disease Task Force. She has extensive experience in public health and has been instrumental in guiding our community through the pandemic. 



Thursday, February 4, 2021

Stress, Mood and Immunity

Join us for a presentation connecting the dots between stress and the immune system, presented by Dr. Sara Jean Barrett of Wellness Minneapolis. We will cover everything from mindset, sleep and stress eating to vitamin D! This presentation will focus on practical tools you can use to keep your immune system strong and manage your stress response.

Dr. Sara Jean Barrett is a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Minnesota.  She received her B.S. in Biology with highest honor from The Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Barrett graduated first in her class with a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona.

Dr. Barrett co-founded Wellness Minneapolis, an integrative clinic located in the Kingfield neighborhood of Minneapolis. Dr. Barrett believes that integrative care is the future of medicine and is dedicated to creating an environment where patients and providers thrive.

In her private practice, Dr. Barrett specializes in treating patients with autoimmune disease, chronic illness, digestive concerns and hormone imbalances. She takes pride in the relationships she establishes and works to empower everyone she encounters to make those important changes that will enhance their lives.

Dr. Barrett is also the President of the Minnesota Association of Naturopathic Physicians, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Naturopathic Medicine in Minnesota.