(graduated more than 50 years ago)
Sidney Rooy ’50 was named the 2020 LeadingAge Florida Resident/Volunteer of the Year by LeadingAge Florida. He coordinates volunteers who make hand-cranked mobility carts for people in developing countries who have lost the use of their limbs, grows orchids for residents and shut-ins, raises and feeds the duck population, and maintains his own garden plots.
To honor his 50 years of service as professor of biology and professor of environmental studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Orin Gelderloos ’61 gave his legacy lecture in conjunction with the 20th anniversary celebration of the Environmental Interpretive Center and the Environmental Study Area which he directed for 40 years.
Karen Baker Stevenson ’80 has recently joined the staff of Trinity School for Ministry as director of curacy and adjunct faculty in the pastoral theology department.
Lyn Boot VanTol ’84 is the new executive director of Noorthoek Academy in Grand Rapids. The school provides access to a college experience for adults with learning challenges and other intellectual disabilities. Noorthoek Academy was the first program in the nation to offer lifelong learning for individuals with special needs and has been recognized for its excellence by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. and W.K. Kellogg Foundations. Lyn has served as a member of the Noorthoek board of trustees since 2013 and as the director of family ministries at Covenant Life Church for the past 13 years.
At the end of June, Kevin Daane ’87 transitioned from his 16-year career as an associate pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, California, to the director of ministry engagement for Engaging Disability With The Gospel, a ministry under the umbrella of Mission to North America, a mission arm of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). His passion for reaching those whose lives have been touched by disability comes in part out of his and his wife Kathy Kros Daane’s ’88 raising of their son with cerebral palsy. Kevin will help equip leaders to start disability ministries in their churches and will work with a team of specialists to develop resources.
SoundOff Signal, a global leader in vehicle LED lighting, controls systems, and electronic warning solutions for the law enforcement, amber, and government markets, has announced Bryan Nyeholt ’87 as its next president. He has been with SoundOff Signal for two years and held the position of senior vice president of operations.
Christopher Holstege ’88 was the recipient of the 2021 Raven Award. The Raven Society, the oldest and most prestigious honorary society at the University of Virginia (UVA), confers an award each year to recognize excellence in service and contribution to the university. Christopher is a professor within the School of Medicine, one of 12 schools at UVA. He has served as an educator, researcher, clinician, and administrator for over 20 years in numerous areas, including toxicology, emergency medicine, pediatrics, faculty governance, and student affairs.
Mayer Brown LLP elected longtime partner Jon Van Gorp ’91 as chair. Jon has spent nearly his entire career at Mayer Brown. A partner in the New York and Chicago offices, he is widely recognized as a leading structured finance practitioner and has earned a reputation for innovation by playing an integral role in many first-of-their-kind transactions.
Dan Poortenga ’92 joined the west Michigan office of the National Christian Foundation as vice president. He helps givers mobilize their resources by inspiring biblical generosity and leverages his training in business and law along with his background in mergers and acquisitions to help donors discover more tax-efficient giving strategies to support their favorite charities.
Lakehead University has announced Mike den Haan ’93 as the university’s new vice president of external relations, located at their Orillia, Ont. campus. Mike will be responsible for providing an integrated, comprehensive approach to communications, alumni engagement, marketing and web development, and advancement and philanthropy and will be in close collaboration with government relations.
Kevin Dykema ’95 was recently named president-elect of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) for a four-year term. NCTM is the world’s largest mathematics education organization and advocates for a high-quality mathematics education for every single student.
Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) chemistry professor Tami Weemhoff Sivy ’97 is one of only three professors to receive the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award from the Michigan Association of State Universities this year. And due to her and her students’ work using rapid DNA testing to detect fecal contamination and its sources at freshwater sites, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy requested Tami’s assistance in adapting testing for the COVID-19 virus in wastewater.
Freelance photographer Steve Carlson ’99 has put together an exhibit of his concert photography titled “Tell Me All Your Thoughts on God… .” It’s an exploration of the intersection of faith and popular music where the images are paired with a lyric from one of the artist’s songs. Artists featured include Twenty One Pilots, Coldplay, NEEDTOBREATHE, Julien Baker, Johnnyswim, Jars of Clay, Bon Iver, Lecrae, Switchfoot, and many more. To learn more, visit stevencarlsonphotography.com.
Jessica Bossenbroek Ronne ’00 is the associate producer for Unseen, a documentary project that her nonprofit The Lucas Project is helping create and market. The documentary will explore the mental health crisis among special needs caregivers, with the goal being that sharing their stories will create awareness that will lead to more resources and support for millions of caregivers and their families. To view the trailer and learn more, visit caregiverdoc.com or thelucasproject.org.
Safe Haven Ministries has selected Rachel Knibbe VerWys ’00 as the organization’s next executive director. Safe Haven Ministries is a Christian nonprofit based in Grand Rapids that is dedicated to empowering all survivors of domestic violence to find freedom. Rachel will work closely with the staff and board to ensure the organization continues to carry out its mission to prevent and end relationship abuse.
Dwelling Place, a nonprofit housing developer, has selected Jeremy DeRoo ’01 as its next CEO. Jeremy will work with the staff and board to continue to support and revitalize neighborhoods across west Michigan, continuing the work he started as part of his personal mission. He has also served as executive director of LINC UP, a Grand Rapids nonprofit that works to increase community power and expand affordable housing, for over a decade.
After getting his PhD at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2006, Eric Hansen ’01 began working at Pfizer Inc. in Connecticut as a senior research scientist. And after two promotions in 2012 and 2015, he became director in October of 2019.
Megan Feenstra Wall ’02 is a newly named principal at the architecture firm Mathison | Mathison Architects. She was also elected as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Grand Rapids Chapter president this year, the first woman in that role. Megan states, “Women are quite underrepresented in leadership in our profession (minorities even more so), so while I don’t relish being a first, I take seriously this role of raising the visibility of women in the field.”
(201) Magazine honored Tanganyika “Tang” Barnes ’04 as one of 14 COVID-19 Heroes for her leadership as director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Englewood Health, one of New Jersey’s leading hospitals and health care networks.
The Michigan Department of Education has named Shantel Harms VanderGalien ’04 this year’s Regional Teacher of the Year for Region 3. Shantel is an eighthgrade teacher at Wyoming Junior High and has been teaching English for Wyoming Public Schools for the last 17 years.
In an effort to change how health care is delivered, Nathan Baar ’09 developed a concierge-style health care delivery system that offers highly personalized care while remaining cost-effective for both businesses and schools. In May 2020, Nathan launched his company HealthBar under this model. HealthBar, and the licensed clinicians it employs, fulfilled the need for continuous support that many business owners had during the pandemic and is now focused on changing the landscape of health care delivery postpandemic. Learn more at healthbar.com.
On March 20, Elizabeth Ross Wake ’09 gave a TED Talk at the University of Illinois in Springfield at their TEDx event. Titled “Are You Paying To Perpetuate Poverty?” Elizabeth’s TED Talk challenges people to change how they fundraise to solve poverty, to promote progress rather than exploit the poor. Watch her talk for yourself on the TEDx Talks YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/tedxtalks.
In January, Eric DeKorne ’10 joined the economic development arm of the Greater Green Bay Chamber as their business retention and expansion manager. The Greater Green Bay Chamber helps the Green Bay, Wisconsin, community thrive and prosper by helping businesses succeed. Eric has also received a 2021 Bob Ady Scholarship through the Mid-America Economic Development Council.
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed Mike Troupos ’12 to serve as one of five members on the Utility Consumer Participation Board for a term that commenced February 10, 2021, and will expire January 12, 2023. The board provides grants to qualified applicants that represent the interests of Michigan’s residential energy utility customers.
This fall, Ryan Martinie ’13 is joining the faculty of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, as an assistant professor of chemistry. He will teach biochemistry and conduct research with students. Ryan received his PhD in 2018 from Pennsylvania State University, and since then, he has been a postdoctoral scholar at Princeton University. His research interests concern how microbes utilize the chemical power of metal atoms to build complex molecules.
Bryan Powell ’13 has joined the Red Arrows as Lowell High School’s new boys varsity basketball coach. He is also director of basketball for the Michigan Basketball Academy, where he coaches a national-level travel team while also leading both coaches and student-athletes in basketball development and organizing consistent programs of camps, clinics, tryouts, and tournaments.
In 2020, Josh Nelson ’14 graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School. And Josh has been the school’s associate director of regional outreach for MBA admissions since July of 2020.
Prein&Newhof engineer Julie Swierenga Feria ’15 recently became a certified geographic information systems professional (GISP). At Prein&Newhof, Julie has used her background in engineering and GIS to build and analyze hydraulic models of storm, sanitary, and drinking water systems for communities throughout Michigan.
As special assistant at the Senate of Canada, Benedicta Arthur ’16 provides legislative, administrative, research, and strategic support to Sen. Colin Deacon, an Independent senator from Nova Scotia. This job allows Benedicta to use the skills she’s gained to work on important issues of public policy that affect lives every day.
Katelyn Bosch VerMerris ’16 has been hired as the Zeeland Historical Society’s first full-time executive director. She oversees the society’s marketing, new initiatives, and fundraising and manages rentals and the growing programming at the New Groningen Schoolhouse, a restored 140-year-old schoolhouse in Holland Township, Michigan.
Daniel Wartella ’19 is currently in training to become a naval aviator. After recently completing fixed-wing aircraft instruction, Daniel is now training as a helicopter pilot with a long-term goal of becoming a naval test pilot.
Chelsea Bayles ’20 co-founded a startup called guudguuds with her family. Through her time at Calvin, she became passionate about entrepreneurship and using business for good. Her company’s website, guudguuds.com, is a place where people can shop and interact.