2007 – Spring ’21 Class Letter

Greetings, Class of 2007!

What a year it has been! We hope you and your families are staying safe during this pandemic. Even with COVID-19, Ripon continues to excel by holding hybrid classes and testing students. Congrats to the faculty and staff for being incredibly flexible and ingenious so that students could continue to thrive.

In mid-February you should have received the Ripon Magazine and if you look at page twelve and 15, you will see two of our classmates, NASIF ROGER ’07 and ASHLEY NUTER RUSS ’07, featured for their work. Way to represent Ripon and the Class of 2007! You can always stay up today on Ripon-related news by visiting ripon.edu/news.

If you haven’t done so already, please consider making a donation to Ripon College. Any amount is impactful and our overall participation percentage is vital in so many ways for Ripon. In 2020 our class participation rate was 19.05%. Let’s all work together to get this above 25% in 2021. Ripon’s annual giving day, known as #OneDayRally, will be held on Wednesday, April 28.

Now it is time for some exciting updates from your classmates:

JODI RABAS BURNS ’07 is are expecting baby #2 in May! She also just built an addition on to her office to be able to hire another doctor and take on an intern this fall. Jodi misses getting an “easy riser” for breakfast from The Pub!

MARA EVANS ’07 of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) at SpectrumHealth.

AMANDA LIETHEN GLASS ’07 of Random Lake, Wisconsin, and her husband Michael are expecting an addition to their family in August, joining big brothers Matthew (14) and Theodore (2). To the disappointment of the boys, this addition is not expected to be either a puppy or a pirate. Amanda is the Associate Director of Advancement Services and Data Analyst at Ripon College and has been working remotely since March 2020. While grateful to not have a nearly three hour commute to the office, she misses seeing people outside of Zoom meetings.

KATIE BRAUN JOHNSTON ’07 was the president of the Racine Lighthouse Brigade Band Boosters where she enjoyed over 100 kids flourishing in the marching band and competitions. She recently got out of social services and found a love for residential painting and furniture refurbishing. Also, she recently started selling cars at Frank Boucher and is hoping to help them study consumer psychology to better their training program. In 2013 she was bilaterally implanted with cochlear implants as she lost her hearing altogether. Her daughters will be 17 this coming July. Both have part-time jobs and are straight-A students. One wants to go into biomedical engineering and the other has a love for music but may go into law. Katie’s husband continues to work into his 12th year as a sous chef for Benchmark Hospitality contracted with the Johnson Foundation. In her spare time, Katie and her family foster mastiffs and she volunteers with the dog rescue. Katie is beyond proud of her daughters!

PATRICK KERSTEIN ’07 of Portland, Oregon, is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. His recent research has identified a new cell type involved in vision and was published in the journal Cell Reports.

BEN KONECNY ’07 of Greeley, Colorado, transitioned to the head of staff role in December of 2020 at First Congregational Church in Greeley, Colorado.

ADAM KRUEGER ’07 of Providence, Rhode Island, recently transitioned from Uber to Grubhub where he oversees logistics and restaurant operations. He still works with students and faculty at Harvard Business School. Besides work, Adam enjoys spoiling his niece and nephew, gardening, traveling, and theatre marathon weekends in NYC.

TRACY ENGELMANN LACANNE ’07 started her own dental office in May of 2018. She started out only working two days per week but in three short years, she has gotten so busy that she is in the process of buying and remodeling a building to be able to continue expanding the practice.

TYLOR LOEST ’07 and wife Katie added to their family with the birth of their son, Quincy Charles on October 15, 2020.

LIZ LEACH MORRELL ’07 of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was a recipient of the Fond du Lac Young Professional’s 2020 Future 5 Award. She is currently the Executive Director of The Arc Fond du Lac, a human service organization that empowers adults and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become independent and integrated into the community through advocacy, education, training, and support.

MEGAN PIOTROWSKI MANIS ’07 of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, is the Chief Customer Officer at Roydan Enterprises and has been working hard with her husband RYAN MANIS ’08 to transition the business into an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company this spring. Other than working hard on the business, Megan and Ryan enjoy traveling with both kids for their competitive swim meets and spending more time at their cabin with a flexible work-from-home schedule.

TRACY MATTHIAS ’07 of Green Lake, Wisconsin, is the owner of Lotus Root Yoga LLC (based in Ripon) and is approaching its fifth year! They are now offering online classes in addition to studio classes, special events, and retreats. Navigating the pandemic has been interesting and she is grateful that her small business is located in a tight-knit and supportive community like Ripon! Maintaining or developing a personal wellness practice like yoga has never felt more relevant.

ZACH NORTON ’07 started a new position with Raymond James in November 2019 and Associates as a Senior Registered Client Service Associate. He also passed the FINRA supervisory level Series 9 and 10 examinations late last year. Zach is hoping to purchase a home and resume traveling in earnest later in the year.

CHRIS REED-WADDELL ’07 and spouse, Yuliya, are finishing their tour of service in Shenyang, China in July with the U.S. State Department. They will then be returning to the U.S. for training before their next assignment in Moscow, Russia this fall.

ASHLEY NUTER RUSS ’07 was featured in September on the photoblog Humans of New York and shared on social media. A snippet from a Ripon College news story states, “Russ shared her experience of growing up deaf and the isolation and rejection that she felt. She met her husband, STUART ’07, at Ripon, and in her interview, she tells the poignant story of how they met and communicated by writing notes to each other.”

JORDYN RUSH ’07 of East Norriton, Pennsylvania, left the 9-5 world and now runs The Fussy Cutting Quilt Shop where she creates custom quilts and other sewn creations. Jordyn also serves as Operations Coordinator for Gateway Horseworks, a non-profit organization that provides Equine Assisted Psychotherapy services. She lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her partner, Nick, and their puppy, Arlo.

JOLENE RUEDEN SCHATZINGER ’07 of Ripon, Wisconsin, continues to work at the best College with the best alums, which of course is our alma mater, Ripon College, where she is the associate director of engagement. Since this past April, she has been serving on Ripon’s City Council helping to strengthen town-gown relations. She is looking forward to our 15-year Class Reunion next summer, where she hopes as many of you as possible will make it back home to Ripon to celebrate together. Lastly, she is happy to have recently celebrated her spouse, Henrik’s, American citizenship.

HILARY SMITH UYHELJI ’07 is the co-author on the following publication: Davis, J.T. and H.A. Uyhelji. 2020. Aviation and the Microbiome. Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance 91: 651–661.

LINDSAY SPINDLER ANDERSON ’07 of Saint Croix Falls, Wisconsin, recently took a position teaching 6th-grade math and public speaking at St. Croix Falls Middle School in St. Croix Falls, WI. She also coaches Forensics and is the director of the middle school plays/musicals.

We are not sure where the time has gone, but it is time to start planning our 15-year Class Reunion! After all, kids born in 2000 can now legally drink. YIKES! If you are interested in volunteering or have ideas for activities, please reach out to one of us. We are forming a Reunion Volunteer Committee, and we would love to have all interested classmates involved! Please contact one of us, your Class Agents, if you want to be involved. More information will be coming, but get excited for our Class Reunion in June 2022!

Good news regarding Alumni Weekend! Alumni Weekend 2021 will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen with two distinct summer weekends of Ripon alumni programming for us. No matter how you’d like to connect, virtually or in person, the Office of Constituent Engagement is developing a variety of activities to continue to follow CDC, Fond du Lac County and College guidelines in both June and August. Full schedules, lodging, and programming details will be posted soon to www.ripon.edu/alumni-weekend.

JUNE 2021

  • In honor of our June Alumni Weekend traditions, virtual alumni programming will be held Tuesday, June 22 through Saturday, June 26, and will include: an alumni town hall, R Connections webinars, affinity socials, a summer book club, and special recognition of the 2020 and 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees.

  • The only in-person event, the Doc Weiske ’50 Memorial Golf Scramble, will be held off-campus on Friday, June 25.

A combination of virtual and in-person Alumni Weekend programming will be held the first week of August. We will continue to evaluate the state of COVID-19. If circumstances change at the local and national level and we need to cancel in-person programming, that decision will be made and communicated by July 1, 2021.

  • Virtual programming will be held Tuesday, August 3 through Saturday, August 7 and will include: a reunion-focused alumni town hall that also previews the new academic year, additional R Connections webinars, the summer book club capstone, and the traditional “That Was Then” storytelling session.

  • In-person, on-campus programming will be held Friday, August 6 through Sunday, August 8, and will focus on alumni awards recognition, 2020 and 2021 reunion celebrations, and other outdoor events such as Rally Run and prairie walk.

  • Additionally, the Class of 2020 will officially be welcomed to our alumni community with a special commencement ceremony.

Thank you for all the updates, classmates! Please keep sending them to one of us at any time throughout the year. We are now very sad to share the news of the passing of one of our classmates who was taken from us much too soon.

MATTHEW R. “NIGEL” KENNY ’07 of Orland Park, Illinois, died Jan. 29, 2021. At Ripon, he majored in politics and government and participated in Student Senate, football, and as president of Phi Delta Theta. He worked at Xtra Lease in Chicago and was a White Sox fan. He enjoyed political debates, yard work, and motorcycles. Survivors include his wife, Kate; one son and one daughter.

This sobering news helps us to realize how important keeping our connections strong really is. We do hope you can join us for next summer’s 15th Class Reunion.

Be well, and we look forward to seeing you all very soon!

(857) 389-8617

(952) 944-7528

(920) 345-1048

(920) 279-0779