Class of 2011

September 2012

Greetings Gusties,

We hope this letter finds you well.  The Class of 2011 has been busy the past few months− here are some updates we’d like to share!

Brian Wille took a job this past June at Redwood Valley High School in Redwood Falls, MN teaching high school social studies.  He is currently in his first year teaching there.  Brian is also the assistant football coach for the high school.  Brian and Callie Wiederhoeft ’12, were also recently engaged and are planning a fall 2013 wedding.

Katie Myers is currently living in Madison, WI.  She writes, “I work full time at a group home for teenage girls with disabilities and part time as a server in an upscale steakhouse.  In my spare time I enjoy singing in the Madison Chamber Choir and have been busy crossing things off my bucket list such as skydiving and hang gliding!  I look forward to reuniting with some of my favorite Gusties at this year’s homecoming!”

            Bergit Nerheim just accepted a marketing coordinator position at LifeScience Alley in St. Louis Park.

            Keisha Bates started a new job this September working as a research technician in Dr. Richard Huganir's neuroscience research laboratory at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  The area of research this lab focuses on is neuroreceptors and how they affect synaptic plasticity.  She is now living in Baltimore, Maryland just down the street from another '11 grad, Allie Stehlin.

            Audrey Neal has been working at the Time Out Family Abuse Shelter in Spooner, WI as the sexual assault advocate for Washburn County.

            Keith Linne married Lynn Hillen ’10 (now Lynn Linne) on 7/23/2011.  He currently works as president of GSL Investments LLC, a Real Estate investment company he started in September of last year.  The company focuses on stabilizing communities by acquiring distressed residential properties, remodeling them, and re-selling them to home buyers.

            Lori Kay Thomas is a New York City Teaching Fellow and an elementary school dance teacher at P17X in the Bronx.  It is a District 75 school, which means she works with students with severe cognitive delays and disabilities that prevent them from attending community schools.  She works with students with autism. This is her first year teaching full-time and she loves it!  Lori also attends Pace University to obtain her master’s to teach both general and special education at the elementary school level.

            Nicole Hickethier married Bear DeNucci in August of this year.

            Lindsay Lelivelt is a marketing copywriter at Our World Shops, Inc. and an editorial intern at Paper Darts literary magazine.

            In May Maria Brown started working as a recruiter support specialist at THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC in Edina, MN.

            Laura Russell recently started her second year working as the children's ministries coordinator at Atonement Church in Bloomington, MN.

               Carl Stenoien began his Ph.D. studies at the University of Minnesota in the ecology evolution and behavior program.

            Amanda Hochstatter is doing NYC Teaching Fellows, where she teaches physics/calculus at a small school called The High School of Language and Diplomacy right in the heart of Manhattan.  She writes, “The school is actually A LOT like Gustavus with a very international focus so I'm very excited to be there.”

            In August Tom Greiner accepted a promotion and transfer to Colorado Springs, CO for a sales position with his company.  He writes, “Now that I am in Colorado I have two full time careers:  Selling business software and ski bum.  I hope to be back in Minnesota after one year.”

            Chelsea Bayer spent her summer doing clinical research in psychiatry and she recently started up her second year of medical school at Washington University.

            Denise Stein is pursuing her MFA in dance at Arizona State University, as well as teaching jazz and working as a theatre technician.  This summer she spent five weeks in Vienna, Austria for the ImPulsTanz dance festival.

               Meghan Stromme has been promoted to youth and family ministry and education assistant at St. John's Lutheran Church in Kasson and is still coaching dance.               Andrew Bryz-Gornia finished teaching at Westwood Middle School in Spring Lake Park at the beginning of June, and was recently hired to teach 10th grade geometry at Minnesota Transitions High School.  He writes, “It's been hectic as I was hired less than a week before the first day of school, but everything has been going well for me.  In August, my family and I took a trip to New York, which included visiting Niagara Falls and Lake Placid.  It’s so odd that an event such as the Winter Olympics was held in such a small town!”               Stephanie Hardel has been working at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis as a cardiovascular monitoring technician since March.  She writes, “It has been such an amazing experience working one on one with surgeons, cardiologists, and anesthesiologists.  I moved out and am now living on the border of St. Louis Park and uptown!  I’m loving it so far!”

            Heidi Wensink is an academic case manager of science at Ferndale Public Schools in Ferndale, Michigan.

            Kristin Kennedy is working at HCMC in the surgical ICU.  She still hopes to attend anesthesia school in the future.

            Katie Lowery is currently attending veterinary school at the University of Minnesota.  Over the summer she traveled to Yellowstone to explore and Montana to celebrate her Grandma's 76th birthday.  She writes, “I have had the pleasure of hanging out with some Gusties at a Twins game, going out for sushi, and general merriment.”

            Mark Petersen just finished an 11 month AmeriCorps service.  He’s been a member of the Minnesota GreenCorps, a relatively new, environmentally focused AmeriCorps program where he does energy conservation work with the City of Red Wing.  He is the assistant cross country coach at Park Center Senior High School in Brooklyn Park and has been transitioning into a job at The Wedge Community Coop in Minneapolis working as the membership and marketing coordinator.  Mark resides in Minneapolis with 5 other Gusties.

Vinai Vang is currently a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Jamaica.  She just started her service back in early March 2012.  She writes, “Though the beaches and nice weather are very cool here, I am here to serve a small community in St. Mary, Jamaica doing various kinds of community development such as environmental education, literacy and numeracy, PE, youth development, adult basic computer learning, watershed monitor/maintenance, business/farming best practices and many other issues related to development.”

              Emily Wendorff is currently in her first semester in the master's in occupational therapy program at the University of Minnesota.  She also works at Sholom Home on their geriatric transitional care unit in the therapy department full time, which fills her already busy schedule.  Emily writes, “I haven't had much time for fun so far but am looking forward to being academically challenged once again!”              Sam Grace just started a master of music program in choral conducting at the University of Minnesota.  He is also working towards his education license there.

            Ana Norell is currently a clinical lab technologist at Mayo Clinic.  This coming August she will be attending Creighton University School of Medicine, so she is “extremely excited for that and is sure that my Gustavus education has prepared me well!”

Laura Jensen works for Rice County Public Health, as family child health and c & tc coordinator.

For the past year, three Gusties, Chris Duhaime '12 - specialist, Martin Barnard '11 - expert and Kristine Overson ʼ06 - manager, have been working together at the Mall of America Apple Store!  They write, “As summer comes to a close, we've definitely seen our share of prospective students making their way into our store for their back-to-school essentials.  One of our favorite parts of our job is meeting future Gusties and helping them find the right computer solution for school!”

Becky Krocak is working toward her MA in English at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, this fall.  She hopes to continue her studies at the Ph.D. level in the future and eventually teach at the college level.

               In July, 2012 Leigh Ann Mason began working as an administrative assistant at The Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment center, in St. Louis Park, MN.  Over Labor Day weekend, she traveled to Boston, MA with fellow Gustie Lillia Benson to visit Haley Carpenter and tour the East Coast.  Megan Myhre, Bloomington, is continuing work for Gustavus at the American Swedish Institute.  She is also a choral scholar at Peace Lutheran Church, and working as a wedding coordinator for St. Stephen Lutheran Church.  Janey Helland is working at Sanford Health in Fargo, ND as a nurse assistant and also the graduate area director in the Residential Life Department at Minnesota State University, Moorhead.  She is taking classes in the pursuit of physician assistant school.  Janey had a little Gustavus track and field reunion with the team this spring when they drove up to Moorhead for the MIAC championships at Concordia College.              Samantha Broderius was married at Gustavus this year to David Nelson.  “The wedding was a blast!”              Katy Sandberg is a training coordinator at Trane-Ingersoll Rand in St. Paul.

Shalanda Staten is a level 2 HVAC technician at Target in the Twin Cities.  She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on April 12th of this year and named him Josiah Azzan Hair.

Please continue to share your updates.  You can send them to both the Alumni Office (for updating) and to the class officers by emailing: or you can email Haley Carpenter, our communications chair directly at:  We’ll be publishing your news in our class letters and the Gustavus Quarterly!


Mark May 18, 2013 on your calendar for a class reunion.  We will have more details for you soon!


Gustavus Homecoming is Saturday, October 13 this year.  On-campus events include:

  • Homecoming Football Game:  Gustavus vs. Valley State University, 1:30 p.m.
  • Women’s Soccer:  Gustavus vs. Augsburg College, 1:00 p.m.
  • The Bend in the River Big Band in Concert:  7:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday Holy Communion - Homecoming Service:  10:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 14  (With Alumni Choir)

For information on reunion registration and the entire homecoming schedule, visit  We look forward to seeing many 2011 classmates at Homecoming!


Do you remember how it felt to think about life after Gustavus?  Imagine if you would have had someone to answer your questions, help you create a network, and share their professional experiences with you.  Now you can be that someone for a current Gustie with the Gustavus Alumni Mentor Program.  To learn more about this program or apply, contact Amy Pehrson ( or visit the website:  People from all careers and majors are welcome to apply!

You can also help current Gusties by…

  • Providing student internships or job shadows.  Contact Vince Thomas in the Center for Servant Leadership at
  • Be a mock interview evaluator.  Observe and critique a student in person or view a video of their efforts on “Interview Stream.”  Contact Cynthia Favre at


It might seem like it’s far off, but our five-year reunion is going to be here before we know it!  If you’re interested in playing a part (big or small) in planning our reunion please let Bergit Nerheim know.  You can help in a variety of ways—calling classmates to spread the word, planning event logistics, looking into potential venues, creating photo boards for the reunion…the list goes on and on!  We are trying to gather a “Reunion Team” by the end of October.  We’ll hold somewhat regular meetings in the Twin Cities−but if you live out of state, we can Skype you in or communicate via phone and email.

Also, if you have any suggestions or ideas about our reunion, I’d love to hear your thoughts!, or you can add them to the Class of 2011 Facebook page.


Bergit Nerheim, Emma Strand, Haley Carpenter, Phil Helt, and Justin VerMeer

2011 Class Officers

Become a member of our Facebook page:

If you want to write for a future class letter, please contact Emma ( We want to feature news and stories from everyone in our class!

Campus News

Alumni Career Exploration

Where Dreams Meet Reality: Alumni Networking and Transition” will be offered again with support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Catherine Beyer Breet (  This program is designed for anyone who is unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed.  It takes participants through the process of naming gifts, talents, and passions and finding where to use them in the world.  This event is scheduled at St. Mary’s University this fall on Tuesdays Sept. 25, Oct. 9 and 23, and Nov. 6, from 6–8 p.m.  This four-part classroom series includes full access to the Online Job Hunt Coaching System.  The series is being offered for $199 (Gustavus alumni $149).  Live outside the Twin Cities metro area?  The series will be offered in webinar format for $149 (Gustavus alumni $99).  Register at:

Nobel Conference – “Our Global Ocean”

October 2-3 – Nobel Conference 48 examines, “Our Global Ocean” as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  The conference will examine our oceans as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  We know less about our own oceans than we do about the surfaces of other planets hundreds of millions of miles away.  Top researchers in biogeochemistry, oceanography, deep-sea biology, molecular genetics, and coral ecology will discuss the most relevant topics concerning our mysterious oceans.  Tickets for this year’s Nobel Conference are available at:

The Royal Visit

Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will visit Gustavus in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the College by Swedish immigrants in 1862.  The Royal Visit to Gustavus will be Friday, October 5, 2012.  For the full schedule of the day’s events, visit visit.  Many events require tickets.

Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has selected nine individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2012 class of inductees include Rhonda Gorseth Alberts ’93 (Gymnastics), Brian Brekke ’95 (Football),Kara Bloomquist Drekonja ’96 (Cross Country),Brett Gross ’96 (Track & Field),Brock Guettler ’92 (Basketball),Mark Kruger ’86 (Tennis),Jason Lesteberg ’96 (Hockey),Scott Stoneking ’96 (Soccer), and Donald Swanson ’55 (Benefactor).  This group will be honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which will be held in Alumni Hall at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, following the Hall of Fame football game between the Gusties and Hamline University, which is set to take place at 1 p.m. at Hollingsworth Field.

Gustie Breakfasts - Twin Cities – New time and place

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Twin Cities Gustavus alumni breakfast.  Please join us at the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis), on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 a.m.  Cost is $10.  Gustie breakfasts are also being held on campus the second Wednesday of each month.

October 17 – Nobel Conference Recap

November 21 – Donald Ostrom – November elections

December 19 – Terry Morrow – Minnesota Vikings stadium

Upcoming Chapter Gatherings

National Chapter events for alumni, parents and friends are scheduled for the 2012-13 academic year and will focus on the College’s pillar of “Teaching and Learning.”  Please save the date for the event in your area.  Tim and location details will be forthcoming

Nov. 8 – New York City

Nov. 10 – Boston

Nov. 10 – Dallas

Nov. 11 – Houston

Nov. 13 – Washington, DC

Jan. 29 – Phoenix

Jan. 31 – Tucson

Feb. 3 – Los Angeles