Luther Alumni Magazine

Class Notes, 2000–2021

2000–2009 / 2010–2019 / 2020–2021


Soo Goh of Raleigh, N.C., is assistant professor of clarinet at Appalachian State University and a co-coordinator of the music performance area.

Kara Sabatke of Minneapolis is program manager for the Judge Group.

Jason Steward is chief financial officer and vice president of finance and operations at Frontier Hospitality Group in Bettendorf, Iowa.


Amanda (Jack) Alwy is the CIO–North America region for ManpowerGroup in Minneapolis.


Kirsten Kumpf Baele is a German lecturer at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where she teaches a course called Anne Frank and Her Story. From the Anne Frank Center and Mutual Respect USA, Kirsten requested a sapling chestnut tree derived from the same tree Anne Frank often saw from the window of the secret annex she and her family were hiding in during the Holocaust. The tree will be planted on the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest.

Gayle Tucker was pastor at Plymouth Congregational UCC in Madison, Wis., for six weeks last summer while their pastor was on sabbatical.


Josh Cinnamo was one of 61 athletes representing the US at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Josh, who was born with a congenital limb deficiency of his right arm, captured gold medals at both the 2019 Parapan American Games and 2019 World Para Athletics. He is the current world record holder in the F46 shot put category.

Joshua Visser is a financial assistance specialist for Dakota County in St. Paul, Minn.

Nathan Voight of Mount Vernon, Iowa, earned an MBA from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business. He is general manager of the avionics product line at Collins Aerospace.


Vanessa Abbe of St. Louis Park, Minn., is vice president of strategic initiatives at UnitedHealth Group.

Bob Boerschel is senior vice president and senior company counsel at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Brandon Fields is a homicide detective for the Cincinnati Police Department.

Sam Yamoah of Eden Prairie, Minn., is the chief strategy and innovation officer at Cambia Health Solutions.


Rebecca Tumm is development director at the Lift Garage in Minneapolis.


Amanda (Lynch) Howe is relationship manager for private-label customer financing at Wells Fargo in Des Moines, Iowa.

Andrea (Trimble) Tuomi of Denver is production data coordinator at Validus Energy.

Christina (Alderson) VanderBeek of Brandon, S.D., earned an MA in clinical mental health counseling. She is a clinical coordinator at United Health Care.

Rachel Ware Carlton of Kiel, Wis., is the dean of the Kellett Program at Lakeland University.


Sarah (Bane) Olson earned an MA in children, youth, and family ministry from Luther Seminary. She is the children and family faith formation coordinator at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn.


Abby (Oitzman) Chavez is a real estate agent at Exp Realty in Chandler, Ariz.

Grady Jensen of Munich, Germany, earned a PhD in neuroscience from Ludwig Maximilian University. He works at Brainlab AG.

Kristen (Learman) Stengl of Valdosta, Ga., had her photography selected for the cover of the “Explore Fairbanks” 2021 visitor’s guide to Alaska.


Laura Dickson of Northfield, Minn., earned an MA in addiction studies and is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor at Hazelden Betty Ford in St. Paul, Minn.

Ashley Johnson is associate director of wealth strategy at Ascent Private Capital Management of US Bank in Minneapolis.

Justin Madsen of Inner Grove Heights, Minn., is the director of investor relations for the Target Corporation.

Felix Malpica of Janesville, Wis., was elected to a six-year term as bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Dana (Harney) Teske is an educator mentor and academic learning coach for the Stoughton (Wis.) Area School District.


Bethany (Nicoll) Barnes of Lincoln, Neb., is an operating room nurse at Bryan Health.

Sky Macklay joined the composition faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. As a fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris, she is collaborating with French ensemble 2e2m. As a 2021 Guggenheim fellow, her next project is a chamber music album that will synthesize her work as a composer and her raucous, multiphonic-rich oboe performance practice.

River Cook Needham earned a ThM from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Jacob Reitz is associate corporate attorney at Entrust Datacard in Shakopee, Minn.

Sarah Sprecher is a registered nurse at MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.


Kyla Betts of Janesville, Wis., graduated from the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Food Systems Leadership Program in 2020. She is the quality assurance manager at Jones Dairy Farm.

Libby (Dahms) Brunner of Appleton, Wis., is a business analyst at SECURA Insurance Companies.

Amy Dorman of Centerville, Minn., earned an MPP from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is a PhD candidate in social work at the University of Minnesota.

Kiersten Fevold earned a DVM from Iowa State University and is an associate veterinarian at Bristol Veterinary Services in Salem, Wis.

Michaleen Melby of Ashland, Wis., is the head baker at Wonderstate Coffee in Bayfield.

Kelly (Bandman) Scocchera of St. Paul, Minn., is junior project manager at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

Kirsten Strandjord and Jay (Dewitt) Strandjord live in Shoreview, Minn. Kirsten is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota and will be starting as a tenure-track professor in the aerospace department in the fall of 2021. Jay is an attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Jordan (Meyer) Zahrte is assistant supervisor of early childhood family education for the St. Paul (Minn.) Public Schools.


Kim Larson of Fitchburg, Wis., earned an MS in nursing from Marquette University.


Mariel Kise of Edina, Minn., earned an MS in speech-language pathology from Western Kentucky University.

Alison Toal of Philadelphia earned an MBA from Georgetown University and is an associate at Sandbox Advisors.


Matthias Broner of San Francisco is product marketing manager at the DFINITY Foundation.

Brooke (Johnson) and Ryan Eppen ’16 live in Chatfield, Minn. Brooke earned an MSN in leadership and management from Western Governors University. She is a nurse manager at Mayo Clinic. Ryan is facilities director and assistant activities director at Chatfield High School.

Charles Martin-Stanley II earned a PhD in higher education and student affairs from the University of Iowa. He is director of diversity, equity, and inclusivity at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Victória Müller Ewald of Iowa City is the winner of the 2021 Rex Montgomery Dissertation Prize, which recognizes the most meritorious dissertation by a doctoral student conducting research in the prevention of disease and/or the translation of research into clinical practice.

Angela Stancato is associate content writer for the Milwaukee Art Museum.


Ryan Castelaz is owner of Discourse Coffee in Milwaukee.

Carly Ellefsen is public relations representative for the Minnesota Rural Electric Association in Maple Grove.

Amanda Johnson is a preschool teacher at New Horizon Academy in Rochester, Minn.

Katelynn (Richman) Knipper is a physician assistant intensivist at UW Health in Madison, Wis.

Matthew Knutson of Janesville, Wis., is the vocal music director at Scott Highlands Middle School.

Alexandra Kokkinen earned an MS in business intelligence and data analytics from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is data and reporting analyst at Banner Engineering in Plymouth, Minn.

Katherine Kust is a school social worker at Lionsgate Academy in Minnetonka, Minn.

Matthew Scheidle is a behavior specialist for the Council Bluffs (Iowa) Community School District.

Shelby (Babcock) Shuster earned an MS in biomedical sciences from the University of Milwaukee. She is science communications manager at Executive Directors Incorporated in Milwaukee.

Jonathan Williams earned an MA in political science from Colorado State University. He is public policy director of the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyo.


Rachel (Wiebke) and Brian Bellrichard live in Maplewood, Minn. Rachel is a lab technologist at Diversigen. Brian is the senior financial analyst at Abbott Laboratories.

Kalla (Galyon) and Jordan Boekhoff live in Kasson, Minn. Kalla is a sales assistant at McNeilus. Jordan earned a master’s degree in integrated curriculum from American College of Education and is high social studies teacher and department head for the Byron Public Schools.

Makayla (Marinack) Dahleen was ordained in the ELCA and is a pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sterling, Ill.

Coriann Dorgay of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., earned an MPH from Yale School of Public Health. She is a population health fellow at the Wood County (Wis.) Health Department.

Lydia Eager of Austin, Texas, is the senior business development manager at JetClosing.

Hailey (Johnson) Fields of Centennial, Colo., is a student success advisor at 2U.

Zoe Johnson of Mound, Minn., earned a DNP from the University of Minnesota.

Katherine Kovacovich of St. Paul, Minn., earned an MSW and EdM from Boston University.

Sarah (Eckhert) and Blake Moen live in Decorah. Sarah is the customer success manager at Rave Mobile Safety. Blake is the superintendent of recreation and aquatics at the Decorah Parks and Recreation Department.

Corrina Slings of Des Moines, Iowa, is a clinical lab analyst at the State Hygienic Lab of the University of Iowa.

Tia Stenson is an archivist at Deadwood (S.D.) History.


Jessica (Morrill) Andrade is a quality assurance supervisor at Whitehall (Wis.) Specialties.

Grant Holsinger of Rochester, Minn., is mobile department lead at Marketsource and a member of Rochester’s Choral Arts Ensemble.

Adison Riley of Parker, Colo., is founder of the construction company 5280 Crew and part owner of apparel brand 5280 Cowboy.

Alexa Schroeder of Eau Claire, Wis., is a teacher at Wildlands School.

Jessica Skjonsby of Saint Anthony, Minn., is the preschool development grant project coordinator at NorthPoint Health and Wellness.

Leah Williams earned an MD from the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is a resident physician at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.


Derek Barnhouse is a teacher at the Waukee (Iowa) Community School District.

Emily Dirks of Decorah is a voice instructor at Luther College.

Jeffrey Lackmann of Detroit Lakes, Minn., is a master’s degree student studying tropical ecology at North Dakota State University. He is a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow and a graduate consultant for the NDSU Graduate Center for Writers.

Abby Mark of Watertown, Mass., is an associate scientist at Pfizer.

Lydia Nelson is a social worker with Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Paige Putnam is a financial analyst at the HON Company in Muscatine, Iowa.

Sam Tollefson works in patient services at Planned Parenthood in Minneapolis.

Zach Withers earned the master of arts degree in business with a specialty in intercollegiate athletic administration from the University of Nebraska. He is a donor experience officer at the University of Nebraska Foundation in Lincoln.


Alex Aakre of Onalaska, Wis., published an article on Norwegian-American altar-pulpits in the Journal of the Lutheran Historical Conference. The article also received a 2020 A.R. Wentz Prize in American Lutheran History honorable mention.

Becca Buse is an English teacher at the Sogang Language Program in Gwangju, South Korea.

Janet Irankunda is assistant director of residence life at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Lily Kime of Spirit Lake, Iowa, is a teacher in the Harris–Lake Park Community School District.

Haley Nelson teaches second grade at Stewart Elementary School in Washington, Iowa.

Jacob Noble of Plymouth, Minn., was coauthor—along with Luther professor of psychology Kristy Gould and colleagues at Knox College—of “Gazing for Permission or Gazing for Help? The Effects of Encouragement and Handler Familiarity on Problem-Solving by Owned Dogs,” presented at the Canine Science Forum virtual international meeting July 6–9, 2021.


Jackson Churchill of Duluth, Minn., is pursuing an MA from the University of North Texas, where he played in the Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. He was also an alternate finalist in the International Trombone Association’s Carl Fontana and J.J. Johnson competition.

Lizzy DePrenger of Iowa City, Iowa, is a digital gift officer at Buena Vista University.

Sophie Lamo of Sandy, Utah, works at Optum Health Bank.

Shannon Lunn of Farmington, Minn., is a clinical research coordinator nurse in the clinical trials office at the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

Kendra Peterson of Madison Wis., is the retail support team coordinator at Ward-Brodt Music.

Madeleine Ross is a program manager at Tree Trust in St. Paul, Minn.


Connor Hopkins of Decorah works at Driftless Multimedia.

Mackenzie Zenk of Minneapolis was awarded the Collaborative Research Award from the North Central Council of Latin Americanists Conference for her research paper titled “Destabilizing the Binary Rhetoric of Migration in Yuri Herrera’s ‘Señales que precederán al fin del mundo’ (Signs Preceding the End of the World).”