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Lydia Slattery
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Phone: 563-387-1417

Luther College announces 10 new faculty members for 2017-18

Luther College announces the appointment 10 new faculty members for the 2017-18 academic year.

New faculty include Cindy Bisbey, Nathan Breitenbach-Dirks, Andrew Eastwood, James Hoke, Andy Meyer, Evan Mitchell, Peter Nekola, Mark Potvin, Kayla Simiele and Rachel Storlie.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website:

Cindy Bisbey

Cindy Bisbey of Rochester, Minnesota, has been appointed as a clinical instructor in the nursing department.

Bisbey is currently a registered nurse in the Children’s Rest & Recovery Department at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, as well as a registered nurse in the Gynecology and Urology Department. During her career, she’s been presented the Nursing Scholarships at Rochester Methodist Campus Award and the RN/LPN Individual Achievement Award. She is a certified medical-surgical registered nurse and holds an American Heart Association Basic Life Support certification.

She is a 2012 graduate of Luther College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in nursing.

Nathan Breitenbach-Dirks

Nathan Breitenbach-Dirks of Decorah, Iowa, has been appointed an adjunct faculty member in the computer science department.

Breitenbach-Dirks is the owner, founder, lead designer and developer of Driftless Design, a web design company specializing in mobile-friendly design and development for businesses, organizations and individuals. Previously, Breitenbach-Dirks was a graphic designer, front-end developer and responsive design advocate for the web services team at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota.

Since 2013, Breitenbach-Dirks has worked as a contractor with Luther’s department of Web Content, helping with the mobile-friendly redesign of in 2014 and the visual redesign of the alumni magazine, giving site, home page and academic department landing pages.

A 2004 graduate of,Luther College, Breitenbach-Dirks earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and Spanish.

Andrew Eastwood

Andrew Eastwood of Decorah, Iowa, has been appointed a visiting assistant professor in the social work department.

Since 2008, Eastwood has served as the executive director of WellSource in Mason City, Iowa, where he’s managed a non-profit community mental health center that serves seven counties in north Iowa. Prior to that, he was the director of patient advocacy at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, where he investigated and resolved patient complaints and provided customer service training.

Eastwood has twice taught at Luther. He was an assistant professor and director of the social work program from Sept. 2001 to May 2006. He directed the program, taught courses and completed a successful reaccreditation of the program. He also was a temporary assistant professor of social work from Sept. 1995 to May 1996.

Eastwood earned his diploma in social work and certificate of qualification in social work from Humberside College of Higher Education, Hull, U.K. in 1988 and garnered a master’s in community and social work studies from the University of Bradford, Bradford, U.K.

James Hoke

James Hoke of Madison, New Jersey, has been appointed as a visiting assistant professor of religion.

Hoke has been an adjunct professor in the departments of religion, sociology and general education at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, since January 2016. Prior to that, he was an adjunct professor of Koine Greek at the Theological School at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Hoke was awarded the Rabbi Dr. Shelton L. Weltman Prize for Excellence in Biblical Studies from Drew University in 2017, presented to the best dissertation in biblical studies. In addition, he’s been recognized with the Priscilla Patten Benham Prize in Dissertation Research from Drew University in 2015 and the James McClintock Prize for the Outstanding Student-Teacher Award from Drew University in 2014.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Furman University in 2008 and his Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2011. In May 2017, Hoke received his Ph.D. in the New Testament and Early Christianity from Drew University, concentrating on women’s and gender studies.

Andy Meyer

Andy Meyer of Seattle, Washington, has been appointed as a visiting assistant professor of Scandinavian studies.
Meyer was a Fulbright Roving Scholar in American studies in Oslo, Norway, from Aug. 2015 to June 2016, visiting upper-secondary schools throughout Norway. Since Sept. 2012, he’s taught humanities at The Northwest School in Seattle, Washington. During his time at The Northwest School, he was awarded several Exceptional Professional Development Grants (2012-15), and in the summer of 2013, taught English language and literature at the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A Luther alum, Meyer graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s in English and a minor in music. While at Luther, Meyer was a teaching assistant in the music department (2002-04) and in the department of Scandinavian studies (2001-02). He went on to complete Norwegian, Level III, from the International Summer School at the University of Oslo, Norway, in 2005, thanks to a Foreign Language Area Studies Grant from the University of Washington. Meyer received his master’s in English from the University of Washington in 2006 and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington in 2010.

Evan Mitchell

Evan Mitchell of Melcher, Iowa, has been appointed as an alumni guest lecturer in the music department.

Mitchell is the former director of music ministries at Central Presbyterian Church and assistant music director at Northwood Christian Church in Eugene, Ore. He has previously served in soloist, organist and directorship capacities at Montreal West Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Lanesboro, Minnesota, and at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Knoxville, Iowa. Mitchell was a section leader and member of the Luther College Nordic Choir from 2011 to 2014 and was a four-time finalist for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competitions from 2010 to 2014.

In 2014, he was the recipient of the Alan R. and Sally J. Brudos Family Opera Prize and was a Graduate Excellence Award recipient in 2014-15.

Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree in music from Luther in 2014. He received his Master of Music in vocal performance from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 2016.

Peter Nekola

Peter Nekola of Chicago, Illinois, has been appointed as a visiting assistant professor of philosophy.

Since the beginning of 2017, Nekola has been a research associate at the MacLean Collection and a scholar in residence at The Newberry Library, both in Chicago. Prior to that, he was the assistant director of the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at The Newberry Library from July 2012 to December 2016. Before that, he held a dual appointment in history and philosophy at the Pratt Institute in New York City, New York, where he worked to build a program in environmental studies. He has published copious peer-reviewed articles as well as public and digital scholarship.

Nekola is an associate editor of the multivolume History of Cartography project, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the summer of 2018, he will serve as co-director of a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar on visual thinking and cartographic literacy.

Mark Potvin

Mark Potvin of Princeton, Minnesota, has been appointed as a visiting instructor of music and conductor of Norsemen.

Potvin is a vocal music instructor at Princeton High School in Princeton, Minnesota. He served as the vocal music instructor from 2001-2008 and again from 2010 to 2017. Beginning in 2003, Potvin served as the artistic director for the All City Choir Festival and theatre director at Princeton Public Schools. From 2002 to 2008 and again from 2014 to 2017, he was the kindergarten-eighth grade drama camp artistic director and instructor for Princeton Community Education. Potvin served as a conductor at St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, from 2010-2011 and was a graduate assistant at St. Cloud State University from 2008-2010.

An alum of Luther, Potvin earned his bachelor’s degree in music, with K-12 teaching certification, in 2001. He went on to earn his Master of Music in choral conducting from St. Cloud State University. He’s currently working toward a Doctor of Musical Arts in Musical Education from Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Kayla Simiele

Kayla Simiele of Decorah, Iowa, has been appointed as an adjunct faculty in the nursing department.

Since 2013, Simiele has worked as a registered nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She received the Individual Achievement Award at Mayo Clinic in 2017 and has been a Bronze Mayo Quality Fellow since 2013. Since 2015, Simiele has been the safety committee chair for the Francis 6C Safety Committee at the Mayo Clinic and has served as the Francis 6C charge nurse. She’s a Francis 6C surgical II Division Mayo Nursing Council representative and is a Francis 6C Coordinating Council Member.

She is a 2012 graduate of Winona State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She earned a Doctorate of Nursing Practice – Health Innovation and Leadership Health Care Design and Innovation Certification from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 2017.

Rachel Storlie

Rachel Storlie of Spring Grove, Minnesota, has been appointed as an alumni guest lecturer in music.

Storlie completed her Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in May 2017. Since 2015, she’s been a graduate assistant in vocal accompanying at the University of Northern Iowa, accompanying the undergraduate and graduation diction class, collaborating with undergraduate students for the music theater fundamentals course and rehearsing with voice majors and accompanying their lessons and juries.

In addition to her master’s degree, Storlie garnered an Association of Applied Science in music production from McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2002. She completed her bachelor’s degree in music from Luther in 2010, with a minor in women’s and gender studies.

Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417