Class of 2002
December 2006

5-Year Reunion ― October 12 &13, 2007

Dear Gustie Classmates,

Greetings from Washington, D.C., where politics are hot, and the weather’s hot too (well, at least warmer than frigid Minnesota!)  We are your “guest authors” of the December 2006 Class Letter, Emily Dale, and Toby Stalter.  You can look forward to letters from other guest authors from around the country over the next year as we approach our Gustavus five-year, Class of 2002 Reunion!  You’ll be hearing from many of us on the Reunion Committee over the next few months, to get you pumped up for the reunion.

There are lots of changes taking place in Washington, D.C., after the outcome of the November elections, so we thought it would be timely to check in with our classmates in the D.C. area and see what kinds of changes are taking place in their lives.  We present updates on these six classmates in the spirit of our entire class as we begin our celebration!

Mitch Harrison spent two years in the Peace Corps in Honduras, and then one year in D.C. where he worked for a small non-profit that supports infectious disease research in Uganda.  Mitch recently started graduate school for urban planning and international development at Cornell University in New York.  When asked why he thinks his Gustie classmates should attend the Class of 2002 Reunion next year, he said “well, they probably haven’t been to Willy’s or Patrick’s in awhile!”  Mitch is also excited to see his friends whom he hasn’t seen since the day our graduation was rained out.L

Another returned Peace Corps volunteer who served as a community health and sanitation advisor in Jamaica is Katja Ericson.  She then went on to travel in India, and moved back to the D.C./Baltimore area where she has family and attended high school.  Katja is currently a case manager for an emergency shelter in a domestic violence center, and hopes to eventually get back into international development.  When asked how often she wears Gustie gear, Katja replied, “I have two of the most comfortable sweatshirts in the world and a great baseball hat that allow me to represent often.  But unfortunately, people here will read your Gustie gear and look very confused as they try to pronounce it and end up saying "Ga - what?"  Every once in a while you will run into a unique soul who knows what Gustavus is―those are good days.”  We can all relate to the associated pronunciation issues with our sweatshirts, but also have run into people who are well aware of Gustavus.

Another Gustie exploring international development is “guest author’ Emily Dale (does anyone see a pattern here?!)  After receiving her master’s degree in public health (MPH), focusing on international health promotion, from George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in 2004, she moved back to Minnesota for one year, spent time in Ecuador on a diabetes-project, and in Russia for an HIV prevention-related fellowship, and then came back to the D.C. area for the past year working in health and international development at numerous government agencies.  When Toby asked her if she misses the snowy Minnesota climate, she replied, “After spending time in Southern Siberia during the winter, I have to say that even Minnesota pales in comparison to the snow and cold of Russia!  But, here in DC, it is a bit dreary without snow during the holidays.”  Emily looks forward to taking a picture at the Gustavus sign on College Avenue, and seeing many of you at the reunion next fall.

Another internationally-minded classmate is Melissa Barkalow, who studied abroad through SIT in Toulouse, France, in an intensive French training program, where she lived with a host family who spoke virtually no English.  She then attended American University's School for International training in D.C.  She went to school full-time for about two years, with another study abroad experience in Trento, Italy.  For extra income, Melissa began working full-time as a Realtor and is now part of the top-producing team for Coldwell Banker in the Mid-Atlantic region.  When asked what she misses most about Gustavus, Melissa said, “I miss how close the gym was to the dorms and classrooms.  Now that I am out in the ‘real world’ I have to go and hunt out the gym and make it a destination rather than just a stop along the way.”  Melissa looks forward to visiting Lund to see all the changes.

And yet another Gustie exploring the international world (D.C. is a great place to do that!), is guest author, Toby Stalter.  Toby traveled Asia, and is now working as a congressional analyst at the Embassy of Japan (p.s., did you know that one can trick-or-treat at the Embassies on Halloween?!)  Toby is in Washington, D.C. for his love of politics and to be close to family out here.  The first thing Toby will do when he returns to Gustavus for the reunion is check out the new Old Main elevator after climbing those wretched stairs to the political science department for four years!  When asked if Toby still uses the “Minnesota, heavily accented ‘O” in conversation, he said, “it is hard not to use one after learning to match vowels in the G Choir at GAC!”

Let’s move along to a Gustie in D.C. exploring a different field, Jenny Schiebe.  Jenny worked in Minnesota for a year for a biotech company, and for a year as an aide for a child with disabilities.  She then moved to D.C. to attend George Washington University to pursue a dual master’s degree in the physician assistant (PA) program, and public health.  When asked about her biggest upgrade since Gustavus, Jenny replied, “as a student, I’m still living on loans―no money for any upgrades yet!”  We feel your pain Jen.  I many times wonder when the upgrades will start appearing!

So there you have it!  As you can see, these classmates have been busy since our days at Gustavus (and now you know whose couch to crash on when you’re in the greater D.C. area!).  We know that many of you have similar accomplishments, memories, and stories to tell.  Whether you have changed careers, hair styles (we hope!), surnames, or diapers, we look forward to hearing about them in upcoming letters and the October reunion.

Emily Dale & Toby Stalter

2002 Guest writers

And now for the updates…


  • Lisa Abdo and Matthew Cisewski were married in August in Centerville.  Lisa is teaching second grade in Spring Lake Park, MN.
  • Mary Dahmen and Jason Lundquist were married on October 14, 2005.
  • Burnedette Dybvik and Brian Petersen were married August 12 at Gustavus.
  • Amy Ellingson and Nick Itzin were married May 5.
  • Jessica Fredrickson and Jeff Bamford were married June 24.
  • Amber Grefe and Jeremy Adam were married June 17 in Hibbing, MN.  Amber is a teacher/naturalist at Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul.
  • Tracy Grefsrud and Christopher Jons were married July 1 in Pelican Rapids, MN.
  • Wade Laughlin and Emily Dahlquist ’03 were married August 3 at Enger Park in Duluth.  Wade is teaching English and journalism at Shakopee High School.
  • Nikki Lindstrom and Bill Warner were married in St. Paul on September 9.
  • Nissa Peterson and Brady Fougner were married on June 10 in International Falls.
  • Linda Reuter and Jon Tripp ’03 were married July 8 at Minnetonka Lutheran Church.
  • Alison Routh and Jesse Nelson were married April 8 at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Richland.
  • Jayne Sommers and Matty O’Reilly were married June 24 in Minneapolis.
  • James Montague and Amanda Smith ’03 were married in January 2006 in Hawaii.
  • Steve Stauff and Kelly VanNorman ’04 were married on January 14 in St. Paul.
  • Rachel Turzynski and Daniel Zimmermann were married June 6, 2004.
  • Matthew Wakefield & Beth Kasid ’03 were married on April 22, in Eden Prairie, MN.  Matthew is a web developer at Internet Broadcasting Systems.
  • Amanda Webb and Jeremy Rubin were married on October 7 in Duluth.  Amanda is pursuing a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. 
  • Katie Weiss and Matthew Erickson were married in August of 2005.


  • Eric Bell reports that he is self-employed, a jack-of-many-trades.
  • Brian Bergstrom is a football assistant/defensive coordinator and HES Instructor at Gustavus.
  • Emily Brekke is a regional account manager for AIM Healthcare.
  • Andrew Bussey is working with Terra Firma Construction and living in Wheaton, IL.
  • Jennifer Cannon is employed as a paralegal at the Sprenger Lang Law Firm in Minneapolis.
  • Heidi Fryer is teaching math and is the head gymnastics coach at Southridge High School in Kennewick, WA.
  • Marne Gulley is an English teacher at Mapleton Public Schools and just completed her master’s program in curriculum and instruction:  language, literacy, and culture from the University of Colorado at Denver.
  • Brita Hansen is an RN at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA.
  • Ryan Jensen has been traveling as a catastrophe team claims adjuster for Farmers Insurance.
  • Bob Logan is an admission representative for Rasmussen College.
  • Brittany Miller works for Whole Food Corporation in leadership and management.
  • Diane Moberg Aikin is a music director at Hanover Presbyterian Church in Hanover, IN.
  • Eric Mueller was recently promoted to electronic marketing coordinator and web designer for the Science Museum of Minnesota.
  • Joshua Prues is a tech director for the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts.
  • Irfan Rasiwala is a buyer for Target Corporation.
  • Michelle Schaefer is a health coach at StayWell Health Management in Eagan, MN.
  • Kelly Simon is a merchandiser for The Founders Golf Club in Sarasota, FL.
  • Toby Stalter is working for the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
  • Cory Starkweather is an ACS internal auditor for Honeywell.
  • Erin Theroux is a transplant coordinator for the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
  • Marit Vagstad is a marketing manager for Houghton Mifflin Co. in Boston.
  • Kelly Wavrin is a librarian at the Alaska Resources Library and Information Service (ARLIS) in Anchorage, AK.
  • Anna Larson Weispfenning is an assurance senior associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
  • Andrea Wentzel is a music therapist with the Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City.
  • Rachel Zimmermann is a clinical laboratory scientist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center - Fairview.


  • Jake Anderson is in a graduate program for cognitive psychology at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM.
  • Kevin Bergeson is pursuing his master’s of divinity at Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
  • Amy Brown graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in May and began a pediatric residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital in June.
  • Jennifer Grabow has begun her second year of dental school at the University of Minnesota.
  • Luke Johnson is a journalism graduate student at the University of Columbia.
  • Misti Koop is attending the University of North Dakota to pursue a two-year master’s degree in theatre performance.  This summer she starred as Maria in The Sound of Music at the Frost Fire Theatre near Walhalla, ND.
  • Dan Lewer is a graduate student in veterinary school tracking in zoo veterinary medicine.
  • Karle Trethewy Lewer is a pediatric nurse at Oregon Health and Science University.

Little Gusties

  • Clark Ross, born to Jake Heilman and Erin (Larson ’01) on August 1.  He was even delivered by a former Gustie!
  • Ella Weiss, born to Matt and Kathryn (Weiss) Erickson on April 26.
  • Taryn Riley, born to Matthew and Robyn (Borre) Winner on June 13.

News from the Hill…

Gustavus Designated an “All Steinway School”

Steinway and Sons, makers of what many would say are the best pianos, has added Gustavus to its “All Steinway Schools” list.  This is an exclusive list of just 66 colleges, universities, or conservatories in the world.  To be considered for the Steinway designation, a school must first have at least 90 percent of its performance, practice, and teaching pianos be Steinways.

Gustavus Excels in Fitness and Dining

Men’s Fitness magazine has named Gustavus as one of the top 10 colleges in America for fitness.  Among the things considered in the rankings were nutrition and dining choices, whether physical fitness is included in the curriculum, and availability of workout equipment.  They also examined individual student responses to questions on topics such as alcohol consumption, tobacco use, fast-food indulgence, and exercise habits.  On a related note, the Gustavus Dining Service was listed in the top 10 in a U.S. News and World Report survey on the best campus food in America.

Gustavus Alumni Professional Apparel

Check out the two new oxfords on sale online through the Gustavus Book Mark.  The Book Mark is offering a women’s and men’s long sleeve shirt in a variety of colors and sizes.  The shirt features an embroidered three crowns and Gustavus.  A great idea for holiday shopping for your favorite Gustie.  Check them out online only at

Upcoming Gustavus Events

  • Jacksonville Chapter Gathering – February 11
  • Orlando Chapter Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Chapter Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Chapter Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Chapter Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Chapter Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Chapter Gathering – March 18