2016–Fall ’18 Class Letter


Sara Driebel

[email protected]

Elizabeth Konieczny

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Zachary Peterson

[email protected]

June, 25 2018

Dear Classmates,

As I pen this letter to you all a trip that has taught me many things is coming to a close. TYLER SHIMEK ’16 and myself, over a week ago embarked on a road trip cross country, seeing sights in the upper northeast including Niagara Falls, New York; Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We have seen how diversely different parts of our county truly can be and yet how we still  all share common bonds that make us who we are as a nation. There have been moments that have made us laugh and ones that have made us use are our “liberal arts” knowledge discussing how they affect who we are as Americans and individuals.


Stopping to see Tyler’s great aunt on the way out of Boston in rural Massachusetts, she imparted a few pieces of wisdom on us. “What I think you two are doing is great,” she stated, going on to say that this is the time in your lives that you make some crucial decisions that affects the rest of your life. Through the many differentiating life adventures that we are all currently experiencing and have been since we left our “little nest” that is Ripon College, we have to do everything we can to continue to break the  boundaries of comfort zones, to be the best version of ourselves.


An unexpected stop put this all into perspective. Yesterday we were on our way to Fremont, Ohio, the final resting place of our 19th President, Rutherford B. Hayes, and his home, Spiegel Grove. After a long tiring drive through the unforgiving  mountains of southwest Pennsylvania, a travel plaza with a Starbucks was god sent, it just happened to be right out of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Longing for that extra strength cold brew, something caught my attention immediately as I went for the plaza door: a plaque saying “Flight 93 National Memorial-15 miles.” I knew about it well as all of us from our generation do, being the plane that was headed for Washington D.C on 9/11 that went down in a rural Pennsylvania farm field, but it never crossed my mind that we would be close to it. I guess the rawness of the event still contributes to us not seeking out sites like these.


Grabbing our caffeine we exited the interstate and made the 30 minute detour to visit the memorial in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Upon arriving you wind along a over 3 miles prairie like road, as if you’re entering the most peaceful place you could ever imagine. It down poured as we entered the grounds, and clearing only when we reached the site, a bisque sunny just like any other day that 9/11 started out as. From the visitors center, a trail snakes down into the common farm field which become the site of  unbound-able courage, marked now by a marble memorial wall, to the forty victims. The diverse group of flight crew and passengers did what they had to do that day to protect the values of country, so that each and everyone of us are able to take advantage of every opportunity. Our country may have it’s but we need to do our best to be the best person we can, valuing the gifts that those who have come before us have given us.


All My Best,




Class Notes:


GARRISON ANDERSON ’16 graduated from Colorado State University with a Masters in Communication Studies.


HOPE BELL ’16 is a certified English as a Second Language teacher in South Korea.


COURTNEY BLOOMER ’16 is moving to Toledo, Ohio to get her Masters in nursing at the University of Toledo!


KARI BROWN ’16 has adopted her second dog: a Shepard/Husky mix named Bailey! She is going into her third year as an area coordinator at St. Norbert.




JANEMARIE ERICKSON ’16 is currently touring with the Hampstead Stage Company, performing Treasure Island and American Folk Tales and Songs. Next she will be performing with the National Theatre for Children.


SIDNEY BLODGETT DEMASTER ’16 has gotten married since college and became a teacher. She is currently teaching second grade in Waupun, Wisconsin and lives in Ripon. During the summers she and her husband have been traveling the United States in their van camper!


SAMANTHA DEY ’16 has a new turtle named Ollie and is looking to get a pet hedgehog as well!


SARA DRIEBEL ’16 is settling in to her new job with the City of New Berlin and has been searching for a job for the weekends to save up for her own place where she can have chickens and other creatures! Her dog Archy just celebrated his tenth birthday with some pina colada puppy treats and a long game of fetch.


MINH DO ’16 is currently in Vietnam working as a sale executive for a Japanese company.


ALI FINKEN ERBES ’16 got married on July 7th, 2017 – coming up on one year! She is currently half way done with her Master’s in Social Work from University of Wisconsin – Madison. (As she writes this, she is at an International Social Work Conference in Linz, Austria). She also has a sassy 8 month old kitty named Winnie.


LAUREN GOTTSHALL ’16 is in medical school at Penn State College of Medicine and recently presented an abstract at Digestive Disease Week in Washington D.C. She will be traveling to Amsterdam in August to present at the Federation of Neurogastroenterology and Motility Conference.


JAYDEE KELLOGG ’15 and AKASH SEN ’16 are engaged and both moved to Oklahoma City with jobs at Boeing. Their dog, Apollo, turned two this year!


JEN KELLER ’16 has had a bit of a beserk past six months, but life will stay crazy from here on out because things are not slowing down! This past May Jen graduated from the Public Administration Master’s program at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and has continued working full-time as an Administrative Staff Member for the Village of Richfield. She has moved to her new home in Mequon, Wisconsin. So far, there have been several life lessons regarding home maintenance, and there are likely many more to come. Luckily, a little Youtube and forty trips to Menards can fix most things. For now, she is staying dog-free but y’all have been inspirational this last year with dogs of insta, so who knows, maybe she’ll have an update about that next time!


ALYSSA KENNEDY ’16 has moved to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois and has started her third year medical rotations at Advocate BroMenn hospital.


TY KETZ ’16 has had a few changes. He was named the head girls basketball coach at St. Croix Central High School and is still teaching in Baldwin at the same elementary school. He has moved to Baldwin as well.


KAY LULING ’16 celebrated her two year anniversary at the end of May working for ABD Direct, a direct mail marketing agency geared toward fundraising for national non-profits and progressive advocacy groups. Earlier this year, just months before the two-year mark, she was promoted from assistant to Account Coordinator – as she have been taking on larger clients and responsibilities within the company.  In January 2017 Kay started Irish dancing again, joining the Milwaukee Irish Dance Company at the invitation of an old friend. Performing for various venues across the Midwest, it has been so great to be dancing again, and with such wonderful and talented women. And, saving the best for last, in September, Kay became engaged to her long-term boyfriend Kyle Senglaub – not a Ripon grad, but they met thanks to a friend during her time at Ripon. Their wedding will be held with close friends and family in January 2019.  Kay’s summer will be spent hiking around state and county parks in the Southeastern Wisconsin region and traveling to visit family, including a trip to Boston in late July!


JOSHUA LUNA ’16 is in graduate school for occupational therapy and is traveling to Ecuador in July to volunteer at a clinic for a couple of weeks.


NICK LUEDTKE ’16 has successfully completed the oral PhD candidacy exam as part of the University of Iowa’s chemistry doctoral program. He has been granted an outstanding teaching award for his efforts as a graduate teaching assistant for organic laboratory. Additionally, he was fortunate to receive a fellowship from The University of Iowa’s Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing. This is important to help fund his studies in answering the scientific question: what protein features are found in the human version of the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase, but are absent or changed in the phylogenetically ancestral E. coli version of the enzyme? In his free time, he has been running competitively and qualified and competed at The University of Iowa Musco Twilight Track and Field meet in the 800m run with fellow Ripon College Track and Field Alum and training partner, MIKEY ALLEN ’17 (see photo).


MEGAN MAREMA ’16 started her orthotic residency in Milwaukee for prosthetics and orthotics. She will spend the next two years there learning from clinicians and preparing to take her certification exams.


ALEX MORIARTY ’16 moved out into her own apartment in January and has begun her third year at her job in the insurance field. She had a Ripon roommate live with her for a few months and is doing well!


ZACH MUENCH ’16 is still in PA school at Marquette.


JENNIFER NIGGEMEIER ’16 is still looking for a job that utilizes all the skills she gained at Ripon. She has a winning personality that would benefit any company. Help a fella alumna achieve her dream!!


ALYSSA NYCZ ’16 is a year away from hopefully finishing med school, which means one year away from the “real world.” Her goal? Learning to cook something besides scrambled eggs for dinner.


ELIZABETH PETERS ’16 substitute teaches in six school districts during the school year, teaching swim lessons and lifeguarding. She is considering going back to school for American Sign Language and possibly becoming an ASL Interpreter – she’s looking for some classes in her area! This summer Lizzie is co-teaching Elementary Woodshop at Horizon’s Elementary in Appleton, Wisconsin. It’s been an amazing experience with a great co-teacher and kids that love the class. She also manages, lifeguards, and teaches swim lessons at Plamann Lake, manages swim lessons at East High School through Appleton Parks & Recreation, and teaches swim lessons at the local Y on Saturday mornings. She donated 13 inches of her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths for cancer patients as well!


ZACHARY PETERSON ’16 is currently finishing his last academic year in the Masters in English Writing Program: Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a thesis focus on rhetorics of institutional mental health.  He is currently applying for Ph.d programs in rhetoric and composition and will be presenting at with colleagues at from UWEC at the International Writing Center Association Conference this fall in Atlanta, Georgia.


JORDAN POLK ’16 is working for Contemporary Services Corporation as an Event Manager at Lucus Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. He helps run and organize major events, such as Colts games, the NFL Combine, Big 10 Championship, and Monster Jam!


PERRY POULOS ’16 is currently in the Master of Biomedical Sciences program at Midwestern University.


ERIKA RIEBE ’16 married ZAC NELL ’15 on June 10th. They are loving the dog parent life and are exploring the dog-friendly Twin Cities.


STEPHANIE ROSENOW ’16 has been busy at work, but is enjoying the summer by going to the zoo and hitting up high cliff – working on that exercise!!


MATTHEW SCHULTZ ’16 just returned from two and a half weeks in Ecuador and Peru and is very excited about finally having seen Kuzcotopia or Machu Picchu as it’s more commonly known. He is still living in Madison as a Certified Nursing Assistant and is trying to resist getting a dog. Matthew is stoked for a summer of concerts including Kesha, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Queen Lizzo, and Florence and the Machine. He is also looking forward to planning a trip to Europe to see a friend in Germany.


TYLER SHIMEK ’16 went on a cross country road trip with ZACHARY PETERSON ’16 in June to the the upper east coast including stops in Niagara Falls, New York (Ontario, Canada);  Portland, Maine; Massachusetts’ North Shore; Boston, Massachusetts; and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.


LIZ SIGSWORTH ’16 finished up her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy program this August and  moved back to the Minnesota/Wisconsin area after that, and is planning a wedding for next spring.


KELLI WALSH ’16 is still living the dream.


AMY FELS’S ’16 Ripon senior seminar paper (Beyond the Pines: The Socioeconomic Development of Oconto: 1850-1950) was published in the Winter/Spring 2018 issue of Voyageur Magazine. She also had an article (Oshkosh on the Home Front: Activities and Attitudes During WWI) published in the spring 2018 issue of The Muse, the Oshkosh Public Museum quarterly magazine.