Class of 2008 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017                                                                                                                                    

Hello, Class of 2008, 

Sarah here. Some of you may have seen my post on the Luther College Class of 2008 Facebook page. I was fortunate to make it back for Homecoming, and it got me very excited for our 10-year reunion next Homecoming. Mark your calendars and start making plans to get to Decorah October 26-28, 2018. Lodging information is available here:

If you have Facebook and haven’t yet joined the group, search for “Luther College Class of 2008” and click to join. Right now the group photo is a picture of the new blue football field, Legacy Field. In addition to the new blue football field, several facilities have been updated, so if you haven’t been back for a while, there is definitely some change to see. 

The main thing I want to mention in this class agent letter is the new Luther Alumni Ambassador Program. You may have seen information in the recent Alumni Magazine or in an email from the college. The Cliff Notes version is all current high school students you refer to the Admissions Office will receive a $1,000 scholarship (in your name!) each year, for four years, if they enroll at Luther. 

It takes very little of your time. Here are some more details: You may refer family members, neighbors, friends, children of coworkers, and others. Children of Luther alumni will receive the Legacy Scholarship ($4,000 total over four years), but may also receive this scholarship if referred by someone other than a parent. Each student is eligible to receive one Alumni Ambassador Scholarship. 

There is no limit on the number of students you may refer, but high school seniors (class of 2018) must have been referred by December 1st to qualify for this scholarship opportunity. 

Do you know a high school student to refer? Refer them at and help support them throughout the college search process, recommending campus visits and encouraging them to submit an application. In addition to referring a student, that web page has additional ways in which you can help with recruitment. 

One last thing, the next Giving Day will be March 8, 2018. It’s a fun day to see what’s happening at Luther and give back in the way that best fits your interests and the college’s. 

I hope this letter finds you well as we head into this holiday season and we hope to see you next October on campus for our 10-year reunion! 

Soli Deo Gloria and Go Norse!

Sarah Carnes

2008 Class Agents:

Sarah Carnes
[email protected]

Cale Nelson
[email protected]

Ashley Solsrud-Beckman
[email protected]



Kadra Abdi is a communications and program associate at Legal Rights Center in South Minneapolis, Minn.

Karl Amlie is owner/business developer for Express Employment Professionals in Forest Lake, Minn. He was named the 2015 New Business of the Year and 2016 Volunteer of the Year by the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jordan Anderson is the personnel security team lead for U.S Customs and Border Protection in Phoenix, Ariz.

Maren Beard is the assistant director for the Center for Sustainable Communities at Luther College. She recently traveled to Northern California with her husband, Tom, where they took a four-hour cooking class at Mugnaini Imports. While there, they purchased an oven to bring to their rural pizzeria on Luna Valley Farm near Decorah.

Molly (Schumann) Bauman of St. Paul, Minn., is an academic advisor at the University of Minnesota. 

Julia Blackmore of Houston earned a Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular biology from Baylor College of Medicine.

Dawndra (Thompson) Broge teaches fourth- and fifth-grade literacy for the White Bear Lake (Minn.) School District.

Alexandra Burrows is a hospital social worker at Johnston Willis Hospital in Richmond, Va.

Tess (Putnam) Cody earned a master’s degree in community development and a certificate in public management from Iowa State University. She is violence prevention coordinator at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kathleen (Lunsford) Durbin earned a master’s degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University and an executive coaching certificate from the University of St. Thomas. She is senior human resources consultant for Allstate Insurance Company in St. Paul, Minn.

Matt Field of Cordova, Tenn., is a surgery resident at Memphis Veterinary Specialists. 

Kacie (Clement) Garver is nursing house supervisor at Boone (Iowa) County Hospital.

Anne (Karlin) and Ryan Gibbs live in St. Louis. Anne is the school social worker at Webster Groves High School and an adjunct facility member at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Ryan earned a master’s degree in teaching middle school education (mathematics), at Webster University and teaches eighth-grade mathematics at Hancock Place Middle School.

Drew Haefner is senior staff accountant at Central Bancshares, Inc., in Muscatine, Iowa.

Katie (Curran) Hallman is executive director of Theatre Cedar Rapids (Iowa). Katy (Fiedler) Hammel earned a master’s degree in education from Concordia University. She teaches second grade at Countryside Elementary School in Edina, Minn.

Marcus Hendrickson of Blanchardville, Wis., was named director of player personnel for Minnesota Gophers Football at the University of Minnesota by head coach P.J. Fleck.

Tyler Hendrickson was awarded an Iowa Performance Assistantship with the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and is a doctoral student in music at the university.

Mary Ites is administrative and operations manager at Ampersand Families in St. Paul, Minn.

Lindsay (Norland) Johnson teaches fifth and sixth grade for the Iowa City (Iowa) Community School District

Amanda (Van Wechel) Long is music tour coordinator for Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. 

Aaron Lurth of Decorah is director of visual media and staff instructor at Luther. He worked on the color in the documentary film Ironhead, by Luther assistant professor of communication studies Thomas C. Johnson and Neal Abbott ‘15. The film was one of 13 independent short films selected by Iowa Public Television and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for The Film Lounge. The film has been an official selection of 15 film festivals worldwide and is currently on the film festival circuit.

Kjersten Mathsen is job developer and employment program manager at Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains Refugee and Asylee Programs in Albuquerque, N.M. 

Emily (Workman) and J.P. McGinnis ‘10 live in Overland Park, Kan. Emily earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in music education and teacher education/curriculum studies from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and is adjunct professor of music education of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program at UMKC. She also conducts her local band, New Horizons, and supervises student teachers in the Kansas City metro area. J.P. completed a Ph.D. degree in molecular and integrative physiology and is currently in medical school at University of Kansas Medical Center.

Cale Nelson of St. Paul, Minn., was awarded the fellow designation by the Casualty Actuarial Society (FCAS).

Danielle (Chinander) Reitsma is professor of neuroscience at Azusa (Calif.) Pacific University. Her research focuses on disease/disorders of the nervous system.

Godson Sowah is a senior manager in the advisory services practice of Ernst & Young, LLP, in Minneapolis. He was appointed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to the Minnesota Board of Accountancy for his mentorship and support for the community in order to help build a culture of diversity and inclusivity. Recent awards include a 2016 St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professional of the Year Award, and as a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Titans of Technology honoree. 

Genevieve (Mussman) Van Osdel is project engineer for Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Neb.

Becky (Stiger) Williams of Fort Worth, Texas, is a consultant at EMIT Strategies & Solutions, LLC.

Benjamin Yates earned a doctor of musical arts degree in trombone performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa. He is assistant professor of music at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.

Nathanial Youngquist earned a master’s degree in special education, academic behavioral strategist, from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.


BRITTA ANDERSON and Drew Hughes, Oct. 22, 2016.

ALEXANDRA BURROWS and Michael Watterson, Dec. 12, 2012

Ali Deneen and ANDREW ODEAN, Oct. 1, 2016

Deanna Dvorak and NATHANIAL YOUNGQUIST, Dec. 10, 2016

Chelsea FitzSimons-Diaz and MATTHEW FIELD, May 15, 2015

SOPHIA JOHNSON and Tyler Jones, June 20, 2014

ANGIE PIDDE '11 and JACKSON FELDE, June 24, 2017

MEAGEN SCHUMACHER and Nathan Spreeman, June 4, 2016

DAWNDRA THOMPSON and Tim Broge, March 19, 2016

KYLIE TOOMER and Anthony Gougler, May 20, 2017

BRYNNE ZINNECKER '11 and TIM EISELE, Jan. 30, 2016


KATHERINE (GRADO) and Zachary Booth welcomed a son, Harrison, in October 2016.

MEGAN (STONER) and Seth Crosby welcomed a daughter, Sophia Noelle, in March 2017.

NICOLETTE (De HAAN) and Nathaniel Kelley welcomed a son, Luke, in April 2016.

AMANDA (VAN WECHEL) and Matthew Long welcomed a daughter, Emma Grace, in January 2016.

MEGAN (CRAVEN) and Michael McCreesh welcomed a daughter, Elena Christine, in October 2016.

EMILY (WORKMAN) and JP MCGINNIS '10 welcomed a daughter, Ella Jane, in January 2017.

Paige and JOHN MEYER welcomed a daughter, Margot Lou, in November 2015.

JUSTINE (ALLEN) and Chancy Nordick welcomed a daughter, Violet Elise, in April 2017.

ALLISON (BOUSLOG) and NIC SEELEY welcomed a daughter, Josephine Marie, in February 2017.

CATHY (GILROY) and JACE SENSKE welcomed a son, Henry James, in April 2017.

ELISE (MOORHEAD) and Josh Shaw welcomed a daughter, Emersyn Ann, in January 2017.

DANIELLE (KNEALING) and Raymond Swanson welcomed a son, Oliver John, in September 2015.

GENA (MUSSMAN) and Aaron Van Osdel welcomed a daughter, Isabel Laura, in September 2016.

LAURA (MONSON) and TONY VANDEN HEUVEL '06 welcomed a daughter, Evelina Emmy, in February 2017.

BRIANNA (HELLAND) and SAM WEYERS welcomed a daughter, Nora Aili, in June 2017.

MINDY (SEPSTRUP-SORENSEN) and Jonathan Wuebker welcomed a son, Tobias, in December 2016.