2015 – Spring ’21 Class Letter
Greetings, Class of 2015!
What will 2021’s story be?
We’re all looking for solutions, but the thing is… we don’t know.
And that not knowing what’s next is okay. Sometimes, not knowing results in not doing anything. We hold onto old experiences, relationships, stuff, or ideas of what we were “before” the pandemic (or any situation, for that matter). We hold onto what we know because it is known, even if it’s not particularly comfortable. Because even a little uncomfortable feels better than unknown, right?
But I urge you to consider change, for yourself and for society. The unfamiliar is scary, absolutely. The lack of control of how you or others will feel is a very real feeling. Sometimes not knowing the results can result in peace. This year, COVID-19 forced many changes to my routine. From attempting to sit still with meditation to daily exercise, I focused on personal change. I try to give positive energy. Life is breath, after all.
For society, we have to get better at change. The Zoom routine feels like an inescapable vortex where days are dripping from one to the next. We’re all in this vortex. Once we acknowledge this shared experience, we can examine the truths of this era: it’s been scary for pretty much everyone. Regardless of who is doing well and who is not, which we should always keep in mind if we don’t start embracing change, we’re not going to get anywhere.
We still have so many choices. There’s the intentional choice of letting go of the pandemic. There’s the choice of showing up, too, to make a change.
We have good news regarding Alumni Weekend and our 5th Class Reunion! 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.
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 including our 5th Class Reunion, 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.
RAYMOND ALLEN ’15 of Durham, North Carolina, writes, “I am excited to announce that I was awarded one of the inaugural 2020-21 Race and the Professions Fellowships! This is a new Duke fellowship created to “explore [the] challenges of racial inequities and the work of anti-racism in the professions.” My Tribal community has taught me to always bring my Native perspective to everything I do, and to be proud of it. I’ve been talking about race inequities in science and academia for a long time now, and it’s refreshing to have the work I’ve been doing for it be recognized! I’m also delighted to bring a Queer Indigenous perspective to the cohort!” RAYMOND is also featured in an article in the 2021 winter edition of the Ripon Magazine.
ZACH BEEK ’15 and NIKKI WEICHBROD BEEK ’12 of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, welcomed a baby girl, McKinli, to the world on September 16, 2020.
CAT CARBAJAL OLIVER ’15 and AUSTIN OLIVER ’14 moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, in November and were married in January.
ANDREW CARBALLO ’15 of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is engaged to the woman who will mother his and her children. They will be married in Milwaukee in 2022. Throughout the pandemic, Andrew has not improved at Call of Duty War Zone.
ZACH CONNERS ’15 of Madison, Wisconsin, works as recruitment coordinator at Raven Software which is part of Activision Blizzard studio. He recently celebrated the release of Call of Duty: Cold War in November. Zach has taken on recruiting for another studio called Vicarious Visions. He hopes to plant a garden this spring!
KORRINE PETERSON COVALT ’15 and STEPHEN COVALT ’17 and of Crystal Lake, Illinois, welcomed their son, Carson, into the world on February 24, 2021.
CHRISTIAN ERTEL ’15 of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, got a new job at Chicago Title as an account executive focusing on residential real estate transactions.
WYLIE GAHART ’15 of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is currently working as an Elementary School Counselor in the Elkhorn Area School District and obsessing over her golden retriever puppy, Wren.
CHELSEA GRAHN ANDREWS ’15 of Maryville, Illinois, completed her Ph.D. in Psychology from UW-Madison in May 2020. Chelsea and her husband, Callon, rebooked their Alaska vacation for May, in hopes of finally celebrating her graduation.
TEAGAN FORD ’15 moved to Jackson, Minnesota, in October 2020. She has been working for Daktronics as the North Central Live Events Project Coordinator. The company manufactures large LED/scoreboards, so she helps the coordination of getting large displays installed at venues, colleges, sports, arenas, etc. She’s currently getting the Kansas City Royals an LED Live Video scoreboard. Ripon is in her region!
PETER HAYES ’15 of Chicago, Illinois, is working as an investment product manager at Envestnet. He is currently in a part-time MBA program at DePaul. Peter loves to take his pup Mac on long walks.
SAMANTHA KAY ’15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, continues to work as the Global Outreach and Advocacy Manager for the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. She manages programs focused on increasing access to potentially curative gene therapies in low and middle-income countries such as India, Brazil, and South Africa. Sam volunteers as an election worker because it’s the last line of defense against voter suppression. She was vaccinated in February and March and would highly recommend it.
ANDREW KLINE ’15 of Chicago, Illinois, has been working as an Account Executive at Copado, which is a Salesforce Developer Operations platform for the past two years. During the pandemic, he has been binge-watching TV and doing a puzzle here and there with his girlfriend. Andrew is planning to travel to Europe once that is safe.
CHRISTIAN KRUEGER ’15 of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is plugging away on her Ph.D. at Marquette!
SAMMY LARSON ’15 of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, got another promotion, to “QRC Project Coordinator” at Kimberly-Clark, and it appears she’ll be moving back to Wisconsin. In addition, she’s also pursuing a sustainable management master’s degree, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. afterward in green plastic science and development!
ARIEL LEE ’15 moved to San Antonio, Texas. She currently works as an author’s assistant with her own brand/business where each day is different.
EMILY FISHER LENSMIRE ’15 of Reedsville, Wisconsin, is living her best hermit life with her husband and two children. She knows there is a God out there as Disney Plus has been a blessing to preoccupy the munchkins as VHS’s are starting to get a bit obsolete and crackers in the old VHS player aren’t exactly good for it even if the girls insisted it was hungry. As if raising two children, working full time at Lakeland University, and farming with her husband wasn’t enough, she decided to start a photography business as well. Shameless plug for that. Overall life is good!
KAYLIE LONGLEY ’15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is writing a book on the opportunity cost of behavior change. If you’ve committed and omitted habits, reach out to her! She’s still working at Bardon Bowling Centers and Ebenezer Stone Ministries, a southeastern Wisconsin food pantry. Food insecurity is real, but there is help! Call 211 to get help finding food, paying bills, and locating other resources near you.
EMILY MENGERT ’15 of Maricopa, Arizona, adopted a corgi named Luna and got a promotion from payroll to Case Resolution Associate.
NATE SIUDAK ’15 and BRI MILROY SIUDAK ’15 got married in December 2020 in Michigan. Bri is working as a school counselor in West Allis, and Nate is working at Titus Talent Strategies as a recruiter.
CHELSEA MOLDENHAUER ’15 of Ripon, Wisconsin, graduated from the National University of Health Sciences in Chiropractic Medicine.
NICOLE MALLI ’15 of Washington, D.C., has been exploring her hobbies during the pandemic: painting, cooking, crying in the shower. Nicole also got a Discover + subscription to watch 90-day fiancé and murder shows.
ALEXANDRA PATZA PAULSON ’15 and BEN PAULSON ’14 of Ripon, Wisconsin, celebrated their son, Theodore’s, first birthday recently.
CHLOE PIEPHO COREY ’15 and her husband, Luke, of Rochester, Minnesota, welcomed their daughter, Ava Rae Corey, on October 10, 2020.
MADDIE POULLETTE ’15 moved to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and is the proud aunt to a fifth generation Ripon legacy, baby Owen Poullette (son of SAM POULLETTE ’13 and MARA JENSEN POULLETTE ’14). She is working from home in HR consulting.
JESSICA SKIBA MORGAN ’15 of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, got a new job. She is working as a social media manager for Alliance Bible Church and The Student Union. LUKE MORGAN ’15 and Jessica bought a new house and are really excited. They are close to the Kettle Moraine and have upcoming summer plans to go backpacking and camping!
BRISTOLE RYFF ’15 of Orland Park, Illinois, moved into her first apartment with her boyfriend, Mike, and his son, Leo. She will be graduating in May 2021 with a Master’s in Special Education from Purdue University. She is currently completing her student teaching rotation in eighth grade during a pandemic, who would have thought? But all is well, and she is excited to graduate and finally have her own classroom!
LAURA SHIVELY ’15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, left Premier Real Estate Management LLC in November to join the Client Concierge team at Accunet Mortgage. She continues to try a new recipe every week. Laura enjoys sharing the spoils, so that her boyfriend doesn’t feel obligated to eat an entire cake every week. She has been able to continue doing yoga at home and will be participating in a virtual 5K run this spring. Her weekends continue to have time dedicated to exploring take-out from local restaurants. This spring, she hopes to expand her plant family to have a small vegetable and herb garden on her balcony.
BRIAN SCHUMACHER ’15 and KATIE DREW SCHUMACHER ’14 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are enjoying watching their son, Mason, grow up and develop new skills. They are looking forward to warmer weather so they can all spend more time outside.
ANTHONY TAUSIG ’15 of Chicago, Illinois, celebrated three years at Broadspire. He was the best man in TIM SINKOVITZ ’13’s wedding in 2020. Anthony has entered into the world of homeownership and paying Chicago property taxes and now spends a lot of time at Home Depot and Menards. He and ALLISON MACKNICK ’17 have been together for six years this April.
CASEY VERCAUTEREN ’15 of Chicago, Illinois, married Allison in October 2020.
ROB WATERS ’15 and KAMELLE VAN DER LEEST WATERS ’15 of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, have been enjoying working from home with their Weimaraner, Jake. Kamelle celebrated five years at Dean Health Plan in February. Her current work, as a Grievance & Appeals Specialist, is in the office every other day. Rob spent a large part of 2020 renovating their home. He is starting a new job in the green industry in March. They are both very excited to take a week off and celebrate Rob’s sister’s wedding in August in Gulf Shores, Alabama. They have been thankful for many video happy hours spent with fellow alumni and look forward to the day we can all visit with friends again in person.
KAITLYN WELZEN ’15 of Kenmore, Washington, got promoted to ‘Sustainability and Purchasing Manager’ at the zoo, so she now runs two departments and gets to focus on general sustainability and waste.
CETONIA WESTON ’15 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is planning to open Niche Book Bar in May 2021 in the historically Black neighborhood of Bronzeville in Milwaukee. The business will offer Black literature in all genres, wine, tea, and coffee service, cozy spots for reading, and a place to sponsor book clubs, author events, and storytimes. More information on this news note can be found in the 2021 winter edition of the Ripon Magazine.
Cheers, classmates! Hope you to see you at our 5th Class Reunion celebration this summer!
SAMANTHA KAY ’15
KAYLIE LONGLEY ’15
Your 2015 Class Agents