Class of 2011

December 2012

Dear Class of 2011,

The Holiday Season is here and your class officers have been keeping busy.  Hereʼs what weʼve been up to:

Emma Strand has been busy working as the lead intern for Santa up at the North Pole.  She’s developed phenomenal toy making skills and has even crafted King Gustav action figures for the stockings of future Gusties.

Bergit Nerheim spends her time designing wrapping paper patterns for department stores and uses her down time to carve Dala horses for the Bookmark.

Hailey Carpenter has won seven Extreme Gingerbread House Competitions on the Food Network just this December alone.  She has plans to enter the Ultimate Cupcake Wars:  Easter Bunny Edition early in 2013.

Phil Helt has been staying busy as usual balancing his apprenticeship with a world-renowned sled dog trainer, practicing for the U.S. Snowshoeing Team, and baking Christmas cookies for the less fortunate.

Justin VerMeer is a seasonal reindeer trainer and has been spending his free time training Prancer to ride a unicycle (this spectacle is all your Class Officers want for Christmas).

But is also sounds like many of you have also been busy with news about marriages, jobs, and graduations:  Erik Huemiller is in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign working as a research assistant and coaching Ultimate Frisbee.

Natalie Oleson is living in Minneapolis, doing a masterʼs of social work program at St. Kateʼs/St. Thomas.

Alex Legeros was recently promoted to executive assistant at The Musical Offering, a professional chamber music ensemble in the Twin Cities.  In 2013, Alex will take a semester off from his graduate studies in arts and cultural leadership at the University of Minnesota to complete basic training in Jackson, SC and attend the U.S. Armed Forces School of Music in Virginia Beach, VA as part of his commitment to the U.S. Army Reserves as a bassoonist in the 451st Army Band stationed at Ft. Snelling.

Ana Norell is currently an M1 at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, NE.  Next summer she will be going to Romania for a month on a mission trip with some classmates to volunteer in several free clinics and an orphanage.

Emily Johnson just started a job at Massachusetts General Hospital as an RN on a neuro-surgical unit.  She is engaged and getting married September 7, 2013 in Gloucester, Mass.

Kristin Brown and Wes Jones were married September 8.  They live in sunny Pensacola, FL.  When not at the beach, Kristin is a 2nd grade teacher and Wes is finishing Naval flight school to be a Coast Guard helicopter pilot.

This fall Rima Kharbush moved back to her original home of Madison, WI.  She started vet school at UW-Madison.

Tom Greiner is living in Colorado Springs, selling business software, and living the mountain life.

Lindsay Sawatsky recently got a job working as a technology specialist at Belle Plaine Public Schools supporting faculty and students in the district.

Sara Yungner is currently living in Uptown, Minneapolis and is finishing her first semester of medical school at the University of Minnesota.

Denise Stein has been spending the semester deep in study at Arizona State University, working on an MFA in dance.  She teaches jazz and spends her free time dancing with friends like fellow Gustie Britta Peterson ʼ08.  In October they went to a conference in Los Angeles where Denise presented a paper on myths about cultural dance.

Amy Hassenstab recently moved into an apartment and is now working as a registered nurse at Childrenʼs Hospital in the Cardiac ICU.

In December, Chaz Brown is graduating with his M.A. in international studies from Ohio University.  After graduation he will be moving to Mexico to begin working as a language instructor at the Costa Grande Technological University in Petatlan, Mexico, St. Peterʼs recently developed Sister City and community partner.

Anna Ahlbrecht is currently living in her hometown of Gibbon, MN where she is a paraprofessional in the GFW school district.  She has her own photography business, Annie A. Photography & Design, where she mainly focuses on weddings, couples, high school seniors, and families.  Anna is one of the newest members of the Gibbon Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, where she will be a firefighter and EMT.

On October 27, Radonna Gasior married Andrew Griesman ʼ12 and they currently live at Luther Seminary in St. Paul where Andrew is pursuing his masters of divinity.  She will be graduating with her master’s of business administration with an emphasis in accounting on Dec. 20.  In January, Andrew and Radonna will be honeymooning in Greece!

Alayna Osborne moved to Mankato for a job within the Mayo Clinic Health System as a home medical administrative assistant/customer service rep.

Sean Skjerping is working at a supply chain management firm in Minneapolis called SPS Commerce as an integrated account analyst.  He works with fellow 2011 graduates Chris Wiens, Sean Tessmer and Mike Hicks.

Laura Jensen is still working at Rice County Public Health as a public health nurse. She was recently trained into WIC along with doing my other responsibilities.  At home, her husband and father-in-law are fixing up the house they bought two years ago.  “The projects are so close to being done,” she writes.

Heather Duncanson Dumke is currently a senior direct support coordinator of a retirement center for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.  The facility is the first of its kind in North Carolina.  She loves what she does and continues to learn and be fascinated by her work more and more each day.  Heather was recently visited by Danika Anastasia ’12 who, along with her husband, Kevin Dumke, enjoyed exploring Durham and the surrounding areas.

Korrina Pope is working for Shiloh's Hope, Inc. in St. Peter as the staff development director.  She does all new staff training for direct support professionals working in the seven group homes that Shiloh's Hope provides for people with mental disabilities.  She recently got engaged to Brad Haack and is planning to get married in fall 2013.

Emily Wendorff is currently wrapping up her full time position as a rehabilitation aide at Sholom Home in St. Paul and also making the final push through her first semester of the masters in occupational therapy at the University of Minnesota.  She is looking forward to spending the holidays with her family and friends by celebrating Christmas FOUR times!  “The best time of the year!” she writes.

Rachel Hansen is doing great and enjoying life in the Twin Cities.  She has been working as a chemist at Apex International for two years this February.

Kyle Rains was newly hired at Lifetime Fitness in Plymouth as a full-time personal trainer.  Also, he moved into a townhome in Plymouth with Kristin Kennedy who is working at Hennepin County Medical Center in the Surgical ICU as a registered nurse.

Lauren Johnson has been working in technical support at R&D Systems, a cell biology research company in Minneapolis, since March 2012.  She is currently taking a couple pre-requisite courses and planning on applying for physician assistant school this spring.

Marnie Luke is currently teaching 5th grade at a charter school in St. Paul and getting ready to be the pool manager next summer at Woodhill Country Club.

Nicole Kwapick is attending physician assistant school at Butler University in Indiana.

Andy Sharp is currently living in Mankato, MN and attending Minnesota State University-Mankato.  At MSU, he is pursuing his licensure in health education/physical education/developmental adaptive physical education and a master’s in teaching.  In the spring, he will be student teaching in the Saint Peter Public School System.

Katie Lowery is attending veterinary school at the University of Minnesota.  “Over the summer I traveled to Yellowstone for some exploring and Montana to celebrate my Grandmaʼs 76th birthday.  I have had the pleasure of hanging out with some Gusties at a Twins game, going out for sushi, and general merriment.”

Laura Baden, Baxter, is employed at St. Cloud Centracare Hospital.

Keisha Bates started a new job this September working as a research technician in Dr. Richard Huganirʼs 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.  “I am now living in Baltimore, Maryland just down the street from another 2011 grad, Allie Stehlin.”

A few Gustie music majors, Brit Barkholtz ʼ12, Abbie Johnson ʼ11, Ashley Tibbetts ʼ10 met up for a mini-reunion in St. Paul!  All three have been active in the St. Paul music scene, subbing in orchestras, teaching lessons, and playing for local churches!

Paige Hays, Hopkins, is an RN with a foot and ankle specialist.

Andrew Setterholm writes, “Iʼm working for a newspaper in Pinedale, Wyoming, the Sublette Examiner, editorial staff of three.  Pinedale (pop. 1,400) is in the least populated county in the least populated state in the U.S.  Obviously I wasnʼt expecting to have any Gustie encounters.  The other day I was doing an interview for a feature profile with an author, a native of Pinedale, Kate Neely Meadows ʼ06.  She just published her first two books and is now living in California.  I called to do the interview on my cell phone, and Kate recognized the 651 area code.  She asked if I was from Minnesota.  I said yes.  She said she had gone to school in Minnesota, at a small college called Gustavus.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but replied that I too had graduated from GAC.  As it turned out, Kate graduated in 2006 and recalled having classes with my older sister Dana, a 2007 graduate.  Kate and I chatted about the great profs we both had, including the phenomenal Joyce Sutphen, the unforgettable Phil Bryant and (the best advisor ever) Baker Lawley.  Kate is coming to Pinedale to promote her two books.  Can’t wait to meet and chat about life on the hill.”

Lacey Squier is currently working as a graduate assistant in the Office of Campus Activities at Bowling Green State University.

Kelly Myers Moyer, “I married my sweetheart of six years, Drew Moyer (St. Thomas '11), on October 27, 2012 in our hometown of Lakeville, MN.  We now live in Arden Hills as I attend Bethel Seminary for my masters of divinity and Drew works in Minneapolis as a tax accountant for Deloitte.”

Trent Frisch, Wheaton, is attending the Northwestern Health Science University, Chiropractic School.

It is always exciting to hear updates about all the changes in your lives!  No matter how far away you are from the Hill, we still have our favorite holiday memories of the annual Festival of St. Lucia, Christmas in Christ Chapel, and C.A.B.-sponsored Midnight Express to keep us warm.  Help keep the memories alive by making a contribution of $5.00 to the support Campaign Gustavus today.  Gustavus would not exist without the generous support of our alumni.  Please consider making a gift today by visiting:

Until next time, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Go Gusties!

Emma Strand, Bergit Nerheim, Haley Carpenter, Phil Helt, and Justin VerMeer
2011 Class Officers

Campus News

Alumni Travel Opportunities

2013 Friends of Music Salzburg Choral Tour

Gustavus Friends of Music has arranged for a Gustavus Alumni choir tour to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague June 23 – July 5, 2013.  Singers and non-singers alike are welcome.  Once in Salzburg, the singers will join the Mozart International Choral Festival and perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass in the Salzburg Cathedral on June 29.  Not a singer?  There is space available for non-performers as well.  For more information contact Jackie Neeck Peterson ’77 at or 800-726-6192.

2013 Pearls of Central Europe

Experience Central Europe with Gustavus professor emeritus of history Dr. Tom Emmert from September 10—21, 2013.  This 12-day Gustavus study tour combines learning, exploring, leisure, lecture, food, and arts with special touches, all led by a faculty expert.  The journey is focused around three showpiece cities of Central Europe:  Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.  For more information, contact Tom Emmert at

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.

January 16 – Kathy Lund Dean – Distinguished chair of Leadership and Ethics

February 20 – Philip Brunelle – Artistic Director, VocalEssence

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.  Time and location details will be forthcoming:

Jan. 29 – Phoenix

Jan. 31 – Tucson

Feb. 3 – Los Angeles

Feb. 4 - Palm Springs

Feb 13 – Tampa

Feb. 15 – Naples

Feb. 28 – Seattle

Mar. 2 – San Francisco

Mar. 9 – Madison

Mar. 12 – Denver

Mar. 14 – Chicago

Apr. 4 – Atlanta