Let us know what’s new in your life—not only to share in Northern Magazine (if you wish), but also to help recruit new Wildcats by showing what great things an NMU degree can lead to. Head to nmu.edu/alumni/update. Interested in keeping up on alumni and campus news in between issues? E-subscribe to Northern Today at news.nmu.edu.

Careers and Personal Updates

James Mansfield ‘61 BS, ‘64 MAE was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President of the United States in conjunction with AmeriCorps. He received this award because he has been a courier for his local blood center in Spokane, Wash., having driven nearly ⅓ of a million miles for them over a 23-year period.

Anthony Grudnoski ‘64 BS, ‘76 MAE was appointed to the Dickinson County Fair board and the Dickinson Iron Community Services Agency board in 2023.

Bruce Closser ‘67 BA became the oldest person to bike from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, when he completed the 4,200 mile trek in 109 days this August. 

David Kivela ‘67 BS was inducted into the Greenville (Michigan) Athletic Hall of Fame. He was a middle school social studies teacher for 37 years, middle school boys/girls basketball coach for 40 years, Junior Varsity girls basketball coach for ten years, middle school track and field coach for 30 years and a track timer 40 years.

Frank “Bud” Williamson, Jr. ‘67 BS of Ithaca, Mich., is celebrating his 50th year of practicing veterinary medicine. He continues to own and operate his own practice, which has been open since 1978. He has also worked for clinics a large animal and equine doctor. Frank thanks NMU and the late Dr. Edgar L. Harden for giving him a chance.

Don Stacks ‘71 BA was the recipient of the Arthur W. Page Society 2023 Distinguished Service Award.

James Davis ‘72 BS was elected as a Jupiter Inlet District (Fla.) Commissioner in 2021 and currently serves as secretary/treasurer. In his role, he serves as the Loxahatchee River Preservation Initiative representative and focuses on maintaining collaborative partnerships that improve the quality of life for residents of northern Palm Beach County. He is also involved with numerous civic and political organizations in there and in his native Michigan. He was managing director of wealth management domestic operations with JPMorgan Chase for 40 years. He served as a trustee on the NMU Foundation Board from 2012-2017 and as the Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee. 

George “Josh” Eisenhardt ‘72 BS retired and is working part-time for Callaway Golf as a performance fitter. He was an All American Diver for the NMU Men’s Swim Team 1970-1972. He may still have a team record on the PEIF pool wall. His brother Fred ‘72 BS also swam for NMU at the same time and was an All American.

Richard Peterson ‘72 BS retired after 45 years of teaching in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He taught both English and history but mainly focused on senior history, including for over 25 years the International Baccalaureate. He pursued two post-graduate degrees at Monash University in Melbourne, including a Ph.D. in 2009. He also coached baseball, winning three Victorian championships and took two teams to play in the U.S. His career has enabled him to travel to Europe, China and Vietnam. PHOTO

Rick Comley ‘73 MAE has been inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Steven Fassbender ‘74 BS is now a retired financial advisor, CFP, CLU, registered principal, after 47 years in the industry. He and his wife, Sandi, recently observed their 48th anniversary. He continues to pursue outdoor activities, and operates a charter fishing business in Kona, Hawaii.

Christopher Nolan ‘74 BS was an aviator and Wilderness Survival Specialist Instructor with the U.S. Navy. He was also flew Wilderness Wings for National Geographic and was a TV spokesperson on documentaries in Alaska and Canada. He eventually became a professional speaker for entrepreneurship forums, seminars and television shows, teaching sales, leadership and motivation to audiences worldwide. 

John “Jack” Roesner ‘75 BS, ‘79 MA is retiring from government service after serving 23 years in active duty, commissioned as a surface warfare officer. He spent 20 years with the Department of Defense, supporting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the Pentagon. He has been married to Stephanie for 36 years. While at NMU, he was a resident assistant at Spooner Hall and a hall director in Spooner, Greis and Carey halls.

Mark Murphy ‘76 BS retired from the national security contractor business in the National Capital Area.  Now in Gettysburg, Penn., he can walk the battlefield every day. He is now enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Penn State.

James Swigart ‘76 BS will be celebrating 56 years working in the Department of Defense this year. He had 32 years active duty with the U.S. Air Force as a missile/aircraft maintenance NCO/Officer, ten years supporting Missile Defense Agency as an acquisition logistics engineer, and 14 years supporting USMC as a senior acquisition manager Aviation Command & Control and Ground Based Air Defense programs. He moved from Washington D.C. to San Antonio, Texas to be near grandchildren.

Margaret Vainio ‘76 BA translated the book Asahi Nordic Finnish Health Exercise, which was a finalist in the 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. 

Kathleen Brutsche ‘77 BSN is employed through Edustaff at the Calhoun Intermediate School District as a school nurse at Doris Klaussen Development Center for disabled children. 

Patrick Reay ‘77 BS retired from a 37-year technology and telecom sales career, 30 of which were with AT&T Business Solutions. Post retirement, he has been volunteering with Inland Seas Education Association on the fund development committee and as board president. He is still skiing and mountain hopping with his wife, Terry, in their motorhome each winter.

Rick Homkes ‘78 BS has been awarded the status of professor emeritus of computer and information technology upon his retirement from Purdue University. His wife, Darlene (Hoffmeyer) ‘76 BS, had previously retired from the position of lead technologist and blood bank supervisor for the two hospitals in Howard County, Ind. Rick would like to thank the late Robert Aikala, the director of NMU’s Computer Center, for his faith and forbearance in Rick’s first IT work. 

Robert Pavkovich ‘78 BS was a physical education major and taught for 33 years in Hollywood, Fla. He had many classes with Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo, who were also PE majors. He was a bartender at Andy’s Bar from 1975-1978 where all of the athletes would partake in a few Kool Aids after their games. He was also a TKE and had many great memories at NMU.

Gayle Sullivan ‘80 BSN was widowed in 2020 from a wonderful man she met at NMU, Dr. Stanley P. Cahill. She is happily retired and is spending her time traveling as much as possible. 

Nancy Yesney-Spates ‘80 BS moved to Texas after graduation, married and had two children. She worked in speech pathology, as a field representative for Christian Educators Association International and in private clinical settings. She now manages Airbnb property in the Ewen/Bergland, Mich. area and loves travel, genealogy and crafts such as recycling old bowling balls into mosaic gazing balls.

Denise van den Bossche ‘82 BS was awarded Top Producer Solo Agent Production 2022 Arizona and second highest production world wide with Realty Executives International, for residential real estate sales. 

Steven Girard ‘83 BA was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2024 for his expertise in employment law, labor law and labor and employment litigation. He is senior counsel with the law firm of Warner Norcross and Judd in Grand Rapids, Mich. 

Paul Millenbach ‘84 BS was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2024.

Michael Detroit ‘85 BME celebrated 34 years at Playhouse on the Square, a professional resident theatre company in Memphis, Tenn. He has been executive producer since 2018. 

Kurt Person ‘85 BS retired after a 37-year career, with his most recent role as chief engineer with the Two-Wheeler and Power Sports division at BOSCH. 

Colleen Sullivan ‘85 BS, ‘94 MS became the director of the City of Raleigh (N.C.) Employee Health Center in September 2022.

Steven Acker ‘86 BS has retired after 36 years of teaching high school English and coaching. In February, his second novel was published, A Fight for a Gettysburg Farm. He has a third almost done, All in a Year, and outlines for many more. His next chapter of life will include outdoor fun, writing, studying Civil War, and anything fun that comes along.

Katherine Fischer ‘86 BS retired after 35 years as a special education teacher in Hawaii and several Ohio school districts. She and her husband, Rob, celebrated their 23rd anniversary in August.

Aaron VanAlstine ‘88 BS, ‘94 MPA retired after 24 years in the U.S. Army. He is currently an information technology project manager with U.S. Army Cyber Command. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Denise.

Kelly Knight ‘89 BS retired from teaching after 33 years.

Larry Luedeman ‘89 BS recently relinquished duties as the commander of the Central Medical Area Readiness Support Group during a change of command ceremony at the Fort Sheridan Army Reserve Center in Fort Sheridan, Ill. 

Shirley Rebec-Tarvis ‘89 BS has been employed for 24 years as a social worker with Washtenaw County Community Mental Health in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Steve Solinski ‘89 BS was named 6-12 Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023 for the Marquette Area Public Schools.

Brad Grayvold ‘89 BS, ‘95 MAE is in his thirty-fifth year as a teacher, administrator, and coach. He has been an elementary and middle school principal for the past 20 years.

Steven Annelin ‘90 BS, ‘97 MS retired from the NICE Community School District in June after 32 years of teaching high school math. He will spend his retirement teaching classes for NMU and doing a bit of traveling with his wife, Ramona ‘88 BS, when she retires in December from UPHS. 

Jon Shaffer ‘90 BS started a new position as assistant vice chancellor for University Housing at the University of Arkansas. 

William Bowerman ‘91 MA was presented the Lowell Thomas Award given by The Explorers Club, a professional society that promotes scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space. He joins such other award recipients as Carl Sagan, Sylvia Earle Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir David Attenborough.

Timothy Corgan ‘91 BS moved his optometry clinic to a new location last year in Marinette, Wis. His son Will ‘23 is a fourth generation grad of NMU. Tim’s grandmother, Elsie Corgan, graduated from Northern State Normal in the early 1900s. His sister, Chris ‘75 BS, ‘79 MAE and his mother, Evelyn ‘73 MAE were also graduates. 

Martin DeFant ‘91 BSN retired from the military as a 22-year veteran nurse corp from Army, Air Force and Navy in 2014. He was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Unified Response support Haiti humanitarian earthquake relief. He relocated to Negaunee, Mich. last summer.

James Thorburn ‘91 BS retired as a detective from the Allen Park (Mich.) Police Department after 28 years. He created a community engagement program for police departments and residents to communicate and have fun. This program has been trademarked and is in use with tremendous success across the country. 

Jeri Hosang ‘92 BS, ‘99 BSN is a clinical nurse educator at Avasure, a cross utilized agent at Skywest and the owner of Jeri’s Consulting LLC. Jeri Lives in Marquette.

Andrea Leonard ‘93 BS is the senior woman administrator, head volleyball coach and the Department of Athletics DEI facilitator at California State University San Marcos.

Craig Schuster ‘94 BFA lives in Broomall, Penn. and works at ETS Company in IT as a social media manager. 

Bob Hendrickson ‘95 BS is the new trail administrator for the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority.

Michael Dittbenner ‘96 BS has been promoted to executive director, thought leader liaison team, rare disease at ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 

Eric Page ‘96 BS moved from Iowa to Wisconsin last November when he became the promotions manager for WBAY-TV. 

Kirsti Brunet ‘97 BS, ‘05 MAE was named K-5 Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023 for the Marquette Area Public Schools.

Robert Schmidt ‘97 BS is the president of Army of Christ Motorcycle Ministry. 

Amy (Emery) Wheet ‘97 BS is the new director of community and economic development for the City of Warrenville, Ill.          

Kim (Bloom) Diamond ‘98 BS has launched a new pillow phone-holder product, Phone Spuds.

Emilie Lancour ‘98 BS, ‘04 MAE recently retired after 25 years of teaching special education. She plans to continue working on her writing and helping others through a business called Calm Water Writing. She has so far published three books which are available on Amazon.

Heidi Schnabel Kattula ‘98 MAE received her National Superintendent Certification in 2023.

Jennifer Hurst ‘99 BA is a supervisor in the DayOne Program at Oakland Family Services. She has completed training to supervise other licensed professional counselors in the state of Michigan and is working towards her supervisor credential for working with substance use disorder professionals. 

Tonya Steinmetz ‘99 BS was awarded the “Best Radio Show - Medium Market” award for 2022 by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association at their recent awards gala. Her broadcasting career has continued to grow since she received her BS in Broadcast Communications from NMU. She goes by the name “Tonya Haze” on the air, and is currently the production director for NRG Media’s 4-station cluster in Wausau/Stevens Point, Wis. 

Brook Hansen ‘01 BS married Michael Hansen ‘00 BS in 2006. They welcomed twin daughters Britta and Mikeala in 2014. Brook was elected to Linden Community Schools Board of Education in 2022 and was a speaker on the keynote panel at FAccT 2023 in Chicago - The Humans Behind the Intelligence: Speaking with Data Workers. She works as an organizer at Turkopticon, a worker-led non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) workers. 

Katrina Conley ‘02 BS is exectuive staff assistant in the College of Osteopathic Dean’s Office at Michigan State University. She has worked for MSU for nearly 18 years, previously as an executive secretary in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and a travel arranger for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

Amalea Karavias Vega ‘02 BS started a new position as senior consulting director at Vizient, Inc.

Nicole Soni ‘02 BS, ‘13 MPA joined the Treffert Way for the Exceptional Mind School Board of the North Fond Du Lac School District in Wisconsin in 2022.

Erin Dreher ‘04 BS started a position in May as the academic advisor for the School of Arts & Sciences and School of Health Professions at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich. 

Robert Rustman ‘04 BS completed his Ph.D. in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources.

Stacy Stefaniak Luther ‘04 BS is now one of four owners of a behavioral/mental health group practice located in Wisconsin and officially became a licensed psychologist in October 2022. 

Sarah Davy ‘05 MPA is one of two recipients of the 2023 Bay College Outstanding Staff Award.

Angela Pohl ‘05 BS has purchased Traverse Bay Internal Medicine in Traverse City, Mich. She is a board-certified internist with over ten years of experience.

Thomas Brown ‘06 BS was featured along with Kyle Ruff ‘11 BS at the 2nd Annual International Comedy Festival at the Comedy Chateau in Los Angeles, Calif. What are the odds of two comics who went to NMU, living in vastly different parts of the country, being accepted to a comedy festival and placed on the same show?! 

Andrew Contois ‘06 BS is the associate head coach of the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms, which recently claimed its first Clark Cup title by sweeping the Fargo Force in the best-of-five series.

Amber Duchaine ‘06 BS recently accepted a job at Colorado State University, a dream she has had since graduation day. She is so glad to be back on a college campus. She has been married for almost 16 years to her spouse whom she met living in Spooner Hall, Jeff Duchaine ‘05 BS

Jessica Nelson ‘06 BS, ‘16 MAE is in her 14th year of teaching in Escanaba. Eight of those years were special education and the last six years in kindergarten.

Jason Wickstrom ‘06 MS has been promoted to post commander at the Calumet Post of Michigan State Police.

Colleen Dawe ‘07 BS is a senior account executive on the Advanced TV team within Experian Marketing Services. With 15 years of experience, she works with clients to support their objectives in the areas of data, identity, activation and measurement. She was recently awarded Experian NA SalesPerson of the year.

Kristy Harris ‘07 BFA had a major career change after 13 years as a graphic designer. She became a high school art teacher in 2020. She still does freelance graphic design through her business, Kristy’s Kreatives. 

Steven Miller ‘07 BS, ‘09 MS is helping to get a nonprofit started that will be focused on supporting men experiencing infertility and/or miscarriage. They are not trying to discount the woman’s experience, but adding support for men going through the emotional toll of this journey. He and his wife had gone through IVF to conceive their twin boys. The experience opened his eyes to the lack of mental health support for men. There are less than ten men in the country who specialize in reproductive mental health. He is going back to school for his master’s in social work at UW-Madison to become a therapist that specializes in this field.

Rachel Rowan ‘07 BS is traveling the world one week at a time, having recently visited all Simply Self Storage locations within a three-week period, creating one of the largest storage acquisitions. She created a new service, assists with onboarding and training internal auditors and works to increase corporate efficiencies for improved revenue.

Christopher Paluch ‘08 BFA is a group art supervisor at FCB Health New York and lives in Chicago, Ill.

Jennifer Bergin ‘09 BS finally acknowledged her queerness! She married her wife, they bought a house and she started a job she loves, as a dispatcher for a private ambulance company. 

Lucas Domitrovich ‘09 BS works as a portfolio manager and in business development for Bank of Ann Arbor. 

Kate Kellner ‘09 BA is director of client services for FEDlogic. 

Allison Land ‘09 BS is coalition team lead and coordinator for the Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP) Coalition. She coordinates both OSAP and their Stop Child Abuse and Neglect Council for Ottawa County, which requires a lot of community collaboration. She had her daughter, Chloe, in 2023. 

Samantha ‘09 BS and Steven Losiewicz ‘09 BS just moved back to Gwinn after living in Racine, Wis. Steve is the new elementary music teacher for Gwinn Area Community Schools and Stephanie was hired by MARESA and placed in Gwinn as a school social worker. 

George Ernst ‘08 BS is an IT manager at National Vacuum Equipment. 

Kimberly Smith ‘09 BS a doctor of physical therapy, certified vestibular and concussion specialist, was promoted to assistant manager of clinical programs for Athletico Physical Therapy. 

Betsy Hadel ‘10 BS is the Escanaba Jr. High secretary. She previously worked with multiple theatre programs, was a substitute teacher, ran a nutrition program for pre-K - 5 students and was a Soo Locks Boat Tours narrator. 

Holly Kasberger ‘10 BS, ‘13 MBA was recently appointed president of the Sheboygan Rotary Club in Wisconsin.

Amber Libby ‘10 BS is the recipient of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan - Tip of the Mitt Region 2023 Emelia C. Schaub award.

Alex Parins ‘10 BS changed jobs a year ago to Precision Installations after working for Home Depot for eight years. He was married in Vegas in 2020, moved into a new house in 2022, and had his first child in April.

Matthew Brooker ‘12 BS has been working, for the last two years, as the senior director of player health for the NBA, where he is responsible for developing and implementing health and performance policies and protocols for the NBA, WNBA, G League, and BAL teams. He is also responsible for overseeing the NBA, WNBA, and G League anti-drug programs.

Elizabeth Thomas ‘12 BS had her third boy, Nolan Joshua, in July, and is entering her 11th year of teaching.

Ben Argall ‘13 AAS joined the cast of HGTV’s Battle on the Beach. He has been a realtor in Ishpeming for nine years. He owns the Argall Real Estate Group and has been flipping houses for the past six years.

Erin Comer ‘13 BS is education and collections manager of the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Wis. Previously she worked at Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Green Bay. She graduated with a MEd from Concordia University in 2019. 

Sara Franklin ‘13 BSN received the Munson Medical Center’s Outstanding Patient Care Coordinator Award for 2023. 

Ashton Hay ‘13 BS landed her dream job with Cochlear Americas in 2022. Her sister received her first cochlear implant from the company in 2000 and has been thriving ever since. Her sister’s hearing history is also the reason that she became an audiologist. Her territory spans the southeast Gulf region.

Julia McLean ‘13 BSN graduated with her MSN from the University of Michigan in April. She is working as a nurse practitioner with cardiac surgery at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. 

Kelsey Potes ‘13 BS, ‘22 MA celebrated her two year anniversary with The Fire Station and was promoted to chief marketing officer.

Emily Feaster ‘14 BS recently accepted a job as head of school at The Greenspire School after starting her journey there during her student teaching. She thanks the NMU education program for letting her student teach at a non-traditional school and setting her up for future success.

Kylie Humble ‘14 BS is a marketing coordinator for EJ Company and lives in East Jordan, Mich. 

Cassandra (Hastings) Jang ‘14 BS recently started a new job as a pediatrician at North Bend Medical Center in Coos Bay, Ore. Her husband, Kevin, will also be practicing medicine alongside her as the new ophthalmologist at Bay Eye Clinic. They are looking forward to the many joys of being able to serve the community.

Carissa Lipple ‘14 BS graduated with a degree in health and fitness management. She is now going back to NMU to study Learning Disabilities. She is so pleased with the program and the professors. Her husband, Mark, also went to NMU where they started dating and married three years later. 

Dominica Manno ‘14 AAA, ‘16 BFA accepted her dream job as a graphic designer for Disney last year. 

Laura Napralla ‘14 BS is an RN care manager for My Choice Wisconsin.

Adam Papin ‘14 BFA has been promoted to sports editor at the Minot Daily News in North Dakota.

Morgan Raether ‘14 BA, ‘20 MAE started her tenth year teaching high school English at Jeffers High School in Painesdale, Mich. 

John Sperry ‘14 BS is a quality specialist at PAR Pharmaceuticals in Rochester, Mich. 

Danielle Thoune ‘14 BS, ‘18 CER has spent the last five years as a nurse and last year went on a non-traditional track to obtain her teaching license. She is now teaching English and Special Education to 8-12th grade and is working on her masters’. NMU opened many doors for her and she has been able to move mountains to reach her goals.

Janel Vizina ‘14 BS, ‘15 MAE  is a teacher at the Pulaski Community School District and lives in Green Bay, Wis. with her husband and two sons. 

Ashley Wilcox ‘14 AAS is an operating room nurse and became a travel nurse in 2021. In 2022, she and her husband got married in Marquette and hiked Sugarloaf in their wedding attire. They live in Fenton, Mich. 

Kira Budzban ‘15 BA is a front end development team lead at Dealer Inspire.

Arika Egan ‘15 BS earned her Ph.D. in May in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She worked on a small satellite that launched in low Earth orbit in 2021. It studies the atmospheres of Jupiter-sized planets orbiting stars within our Milky Way Galaxy. She is now heading to the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to work in the Space Exploration Sector.

Zachary Gentner ‘15 BS is pursuing a career in software development and rental property management. He had previously owned a packaging and shipping store, which he greatly expanded and sold. He and his wife welcomed a son in 2021. 

Jordan Paquet ‘15 BS is leading the marketing strategy and communications at Bergen Engines (formerly Rolls Royce Bergen) in western Norway, focusing on the green energy shift, the world of future fuels, and learning about power generation in hybrid renewable microgrid solutions. He and his wife welcomed their third son in December. 

Anna Solberg ‘15 BS graduated with her Ph.D. in geography from Kent State University in August 2022. She did her dissertation on community perceptions of environmental change in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. In the same month, she got a new job working as the Pocono Region Field Coordinator for Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. In September, she married Patrick Houlaha.

Jenna Thompson ‘15 BS Joined The Pali Institute, in Running Springs, Calif., as assistant director of outdoor education this year. It hosts over 50,000 middle school students each year providing an outdoor experiential opportunity to middle schoolers from all over the southwest.

Alexander Colon ‘16 BS became a journeyman operator in the IUOE Local 324 working at the local mines and gravel pits in Marquette County. He is married and hoping to start a family. 

Julie Curtis ‘16 BS, ‘18 MA earned the FAAC designation through the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Certified Financial Aid Administrator Program. She was awarded the 2023 New Professional of the Year through the Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Kimmy Gilbertsen ‘16 BS is a 1st grade teacher in Spring Valley, S.D. In her seven year career, she has taught 5th/6th grade reading intervention, kindergarten, and 1st grade. She is beginning her master’s in elementary education. 

Benjamin Johnson ‘16 BS is the new assistant golf coach at Northern Michigan University.

Chantel (Wolff) Luetkemeyer ‘16 BS is starting a new career in the mortgage/real estate industry in Colorado. She got married in June. 

Marcus Tucker ‘16 BS is the new varsity football coach at Westwood High School in Ishpeming, Mich.

Melissa Cavill ‘14 CER, ‘17 BSN is the new executive director at the Trillium House in Marquette, Mich.

Chase Hull ‘17 BS graduated from veterinary school. 

Andrea Krieter ‘17 BS earned a Ph.D. in pathobiology from the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, Ill. in May.

Amy Abel ‘18 BS, ‘23 MS is now teaching our future scientist cellular and molecular biology at Fort Lewis College, only a few months after graduation. 

Kendall Plapp ‘18 BA is a graphic designer at Morgan & Morgan, PA in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Christina Saily ‘18 BFA works in the early childhood mental health program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital with children 0-6 years with early childhood trauma. She has enhanced her NMU art and design/digital cinema degree with a double masters in art therapy and clinical counseling. 

Shannon Darby ‘19 BS is a zookeeper at the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Ind., where she witnessed a sloth birth. She has also worked at the Indianapolis Zoo with reptiles and meerkats, in Kansas with giraffes and rhinos at New Jersey’s Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey, in Philadelphia with little blue penguins.

Mary “Gertie” Mulier ‘19 BS is a Dearborn Public Schools teacher, this year with third graders and last year as the fifth grade bilingual teacher. In the summer she is busy with her passion of gardening and working for a local company in Grosse Pointe. 

Tristan Ruiz ‘19 BS graduated in May from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. In June, he became a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and started his family medicine residency training at Eisenhower Army Medical Center on Fort Gordon in Augusta. 

Scott Benhart ‘20 BS, ‘20 CER is a hatchery specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

Gianna Ferraro ‘20 BS, after graduating, became gallery manager at Graci Gallery, owned by Joe Graci ‘07 BFA and Tina Graci ‘14 BSN. Working with the local art community opened a new door as a marketing and communication specialist at Edge Partnerships, a marketing and PR agency with offices in Lansing and Chicago. To accomodate her love for the U.P., Edge expanded to Marquette and over the past three years, she has been deeply involved in the vibrant arts and culture scene of the city. 

Jacob Moore ‘20 BS, ‘22 MBA obtained his Certified Public Accountant certification from the State of Michigan.

Alycia Schenk ‘20 BS is a prep cook for Chowgirls Catering in Minneapolis, Minn.

Caro Tripp ‘20 BS, ‘22 MS has been named the first full-time assistant strength and conditioning coach at Northern Michigan University.

Megan Milliron ‘21 BS joined the staff at the University of Wisconsin as an assistant director of brand communications.

Maria Nagel ‘21 BA is a senior healthcare economics analyst with United Healthcare.

Erica Rubick ‘21 BS is a 6th grade teacher at Lineville Intermediate School in Green Bay, Wis., and loves teaching and creating relationships with her students. 

Jessica Selissen ‘21 BS separated from the military after eight years of service in the Air Force, and landed a fantastic job working for Emmet County as a veteran service officer. She loves helping veterans and their families.

Liam Pierobon ‘22 BS started a new sales position at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) branch in NYC.

Nicholas Rappuhn ‘22 BS is director of communications with Augustana University.

Nevaeh Bertrand ‘23 BFA started as a sales associate at Five Below in Saginaw, Mich., and enjoys attending craft fairs. She got married in July. 

Alexandra Johnson ‘23 BS is a software engineer with CDW. It is a fully remote job which has given her the opportunity to live out of a camper and travel the country with her boyfriend and their new puppy. 

Douglas Keeley ‘23 BS went back to college during the pandemic to complete his degree after being out for 31 years. Once he graduated in May 2023, new doors opened at work for him. He was moved into a managerial position and given building responsibilities.

Elayna Male ‘23 BS is working for Douglas Photography All Events in Kent County, Mich. and is starting her own business, Elayna Male Photography. 

Amy Munes ‘23 MS was accepted into a Ph.D. program with the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Forestry and Wildlife Ecology Department. She will be researching trophic ecology of barred owls around cannabis farms in Northern California, looking at how rodenticide use on cannabis farms is impacting non target, higher trophic level species. The work she did for her masters at NMU, researching how methylmercury impacted common loon telomeres with Dr. Alec Lindsay and Dr. Kate Teeter, made this possible. It has always been her dream to further her education in the department that housed Aldo Leopold. 

Madison Spychalla ‘23 BS is a program assistant for Student Support Services at NMU. She will pursue her master's degree and feels incredibly fulfilled in this job. 

Garrett St. John ‘23 BS is currently at Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Sill, Okla. Upon graduation, he will be stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. as a Field Artillery Officer for three years. 


Marriages & Births

Melissa Lau ‘05 BFA and Kimberly Lau were married on December 31, 2019.

Cassandra (Hastings) Jang ‘14 BS married Jefin Jang April 29, 2023. They celebrated with many close friends and family, many of whom attended NMU and were one the Ultimate Frisbee Team. They even had the pleasure of being photographed by two NMU friends, Sabrina Langdon '14 BS and Grant Langdon '10 BS, '23 MA. Top Row (left to right): Molly Snow '16 BS, Kendra Norton '16 Cer, Eric Leinonen '14 BA, Eric Martin '16 BS, Adam Noel '14 BA, Jessica (Ulrich) Flessner '14 BS. Bottom Row (Left to Right): Nicole Turner '15 BSN, Stephanie Heise '14 BFA, Jefin Jang, Cassandra (Hastings) Jang '14 BS, Katie (Canfield) Melland ‘15 BS, Abby Purmal '15 BA, Gretchen Spoelman-Delong '15 BS, Samantha (DeNeef) Martin ‘14 BS. Not Pictured Stefan DeLong '15 BA. 

Kaila Mathews ‘19 BA and Zyggy Arledge ‘19 BS were married on November 21, 2021. 

Michaela McIntosh ‘20 BS and Carter Nielsen ‘19 BS both NMU OTS (National Training Site) athletes, got married October 21, 2022.

Sydnee Gifford ‘22 BS and Zackery Thomas were married on August 5, 2023.

Kimberly (Malechek) Smith ‘08 BS and husband Adam welcomed daughter Mildred “Millie” Amelia on January 15, 2023.

Adelle ‘12 BS and Matthew Wellens ‘07 BS welcomed their second child in July.

Stephanie (Rogaczewski) Kaufman ‘12 BS and husband Aaron welcomed daughter Baylee Drew on Feb. 25, 2023. 

Natalie Neal ‘15 BSN and husband Jordan Neal ‘13 welcomed daughter Isabel on September 27, 2022.

Samantha (Steinman) Sharpe ‘15 BSN and husband Josh welcomed daughter Isla James on May 14, 2023.

Kaitlin (Fitzpatrick) Arteaga ‘16 BA and husband Diego welcomed their second baby girl, Paloma on February 27, 2023. Big sister Guadalupe is two years old. 

Jeffrey Perry ‘22 BS and wife Taylor welcomed daughter Clair Darling on April 26, 2023.

Alumni In Memoriam

Margaret Dennis ‘55 BA, April 16, 2023, Traverse City, Mich.

Thomas LaLonde ‘58 BS, Aug. 3, 2020, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Thomas Gregoire ‘59 BS, Nov. 7, 2020, Escanaba, Mich.

Charles Kovala ‘61 BS, ‘67 MA, Aug. 10, 2020, Winona, Minn.

John Bayerl ‘62 BS, July 14, 2023, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Ann Marie Lawrence ‘62 BS, May 20, 2023, Sterling Heights, Mich.

Ernest (Sonny) Longtine ‘62 BS, ‘67 MA, July 13, 2023, Marquette, Mich.

Marijene Swanson ‘62 BS, Nov. 23, 2021, Manistique, Mich.

Stella Fassbender ‘63 BS, July 10, 2022, Marquette, Mich.

Julie Silc ‘63 BS, ‘82 MAE, Jan. 1, 2022, Ironwood, Mich.

Phyllis Toyra ‘63 BS, ‘69 MA, May 25, 2023, Manistique, Mich

Susan Klemas ‘66 BS, April 28, 2023, Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.

Dennis Korowin ‘66 BS, May 6, 2023, Bartlett, Tenn.

Paul Hoppe ‘67 BS, Nov. 19, 2020, Chapin, S.C.

Thomas Luckey III ‘67 MA, Dec. 20, 2022, Munising, Mich.

Walter Clair Lambert ‘68 BS, Feb. 26, 2022, Atlantic City, N.J.

Russell MaGee ‘69 BS, April 20, 2023, Boyne Falls, Mich.

William Matchinski ‘69 BS, Aug. 29, 2023, Appleton, Wisc.

Mahlon Horwitz ‘71 MAE, Jan. 29, 2019, Norway, Mich.

Janice Hafeman ‘72 BS, ‘75 MA, May 1, 2023, Carney, Mich.

Marvin Ruspakka ‘72 BS, ‘86 MAE, April 18, 2023, Humboldt, Mich.

Charles Seguna ‘72 BA, April 10, 2023, Hudsonville, Mich.  

Judith Hesterberg ‘73 BS, ‘81 MAE, May 27, 2023, Hancock, Mich.

Lois Craig ‘74 MAE, Feb. 16, 2023, El Cajon, Calif.

Gregory Hanson ‘74 BS, July 13, 2023, St. Joseph, Mich.

Douglas “Bugs” Beddow ‘75 BME, Sept. 12, 2023, West Bloomfield, Mich.

Gary Hughes ‘76 BS, Sept. 13, 2022, Lake City, Mich.

Thomas Huffman ‘79 BS, June 5, 2023, Marquette, Mich.

Betty Stevens ‘79 MAE, June 16, 2023, Petoskey, Mich.

Michael Kowalko ‘81 BS, June 15, 2023, Swartz Creek, Mich.         

Timothy Birdsey ‘83 BS, Sept. 1, 2021, Alpena, Mich.

Cheryl Runyan ‘83 BSN, Dec. 5, 2022, San Diego, Calif.

Brian Smolich ‘83 VOC, Dec. 24, 2021, Ishpeming, Mich.

Deborah Cain ‘89 BS, July 12, 2023, Midland, Mich.

Corrine Brownell ‘91 BS, Sept. 9, 2023, Marquette, Mich.    

Susan Minckler ‘99 BSW, May 13, 2023, Big Bay, Mich.

Bernard Stanaway Jr., ‘02 AAS, ‘04 BS, Nov. 29, 2021, Glendale, Ariz.

Peter Rutkowski ‘09 BS, Aug. 7, 2023, Clarkston, Mich.       

Jeremy Moran ‘10 BA, ‘12 BFA, May 26, 2023, Marquette, Mich.

Friends In Memoriam

James Carter ‘67 MA retired NMU news director. April 14, 2023, Marquette, Mich.

Kevin Clifford retired NMU plumber/pipefitter. July 9, 2023. Marquette, Mich.

Robert Myers Jr. emeritus from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Sept. 21, 2023, Marquette, Mich.

Mark Smith retired NMU English Professor. Feb. 8, 2023, Marquette, Mich.

Carole Suksi friend of NMU. April 25, 2023, Marquette, Mich.