CarinnaIf you live in Wisconsin or Michigan and are interested in attending UMD, then Carinna Nikunen has you covered!

Carinna works with both incoming freshmen and transfer students coming from Wisconsin and Michigan. She also works with UMD’s military/veteran students, which she’s incredibly passionate about.

Before working at UMD, Carinna attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Public Health in 2014. She was a student worker in UW-Superior’s admissions department, which quickly led to a passion to work in higher education.

She began her career with UMD’s Office of Admissions in June of 2014, and has been rockin’ and rollin’ ever since. 

We asked Carinna a few questions and enjoyed every one of her answers. Read on! 

What’s your favorite thing about UMD?

Carinna’s sense of humor and positive outlook are just a few of the qualities that make her a wonderful and helpful Admissions counselor.

“It HAS to be the location; it’s the best of both worlds for students in every way! If you’re someone who likes to be outdoors and enjoy nature we have lots of awesome opportunities, as well as TONS of fun activities right in the city as well. It’s also the best of both worlds when it comes to UMD’s campus size. We’re considered a medium-sized campus as part of a major university system, but it feels more like a private school in many ways. Mostly because we have smaller class sizes and really focus on the personalized learning experience of each and every student.”

What’s your favorite thing about working with transfer students?

“My favorite thing about working with transfer students is they all have a unique story! I love sitting down with students and hearing their stories about their previous institutions, their families, their life goals, etc. It is always a fun puzzle to help them transfer their course work and help them plan their future here at UMD. I just love seeing their faces when I can tell them how their courses come in and how UMD can help them obtain their life goals!”

Carinna, her husband Austin, and Austin’s son Liam enjoying a beautiful fall hike in Duluth!

What’s your favorite thing to do in Duluth?

“I LOVE to be out in nature and can honestly say there is SO much to do outside in the Duluth area. I love going hiking with my fiancé; it’s an activity we both love and has been a huge part of our lives since I moved to the Duluth area. We actually found our dog (he was a stray!) while out on a hike in Duluth and adopted him into our lives! We’re always looking for a new adventure, whether it’s exploring the state parks in the area, rock climbing, sitting on the beach, or walking our dog! I have lived here for five years and I can honestly say that there are still so many more adventures to be had!”

Carinna and Austin also love hiking in Duluth with their dog Russell, especially if it involves rock climbing to get the best view.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Duluth and why?

“My favorite restaurant in the Duluth area is Canal Park Brewery in Canal Park. Not only does it have an amazing view of Lake Superior but it has amazing food! My favorite food there is the Gourmet Grilled Cheese, which has three types of cheese with a fig jam on toasted sour dough bread…need I say more? I highly recommend it!”

What piece of advice would you give to transfer students to help make their process/experience better?

“The best advice I can give is to get in touch with your transfer admissions counselor as soon as you are thinking about transferring. Here at UMD, we can help a student plan courses to take at their current college that will help them when they attend UMD, whether that is in a semester or in a year. I also recommend touring the campus before you finalize your acceptance; this will help to make sure that UMD is a great fit for you and that you will be successful!”

Questions? Contact Carinna via email at or give her a jingle at (218) 726-8804.