I lived in Grand Rapids for 4 years after graduating Calvin and then took a travel nurse position in Denver. I've been living in the Denver area since 2006 and absolutely love it! I'm part of Mile High Vineyard church because of staying in touch with my friends Bobby and Missi (DiVozzo) Erskine. I've had the opportunity to travel to Nimule, South Sudan a couple of times to support the children and staff at Cornerstone Children's Home. I never thought I would live in Africa, but it's a very great possibility I am considering. When I'm not out of the country,I love getting into the Rockies and have even gone hiking with my Calvin Band director, Derald DeYoung, who retired to Estes Park with his wife Marti. I'm thankful for the wonderful opportunities and experiences I've had since graduating, especially my love for travel since going to Eastern Europe in 1999 and 2002 with Calvin Band. Many blessings to you all as you reminisce and remember 'the good old days!'
After graduation, I stayed in Grand Rapids for two years and served as the worship director at a 125-year-old Christian Reformed Church. I also managed Calvin’s Fish House at this time, working for residence life. In 2004, I moved to Seattle to help start a new church called Sanctuary. Two other members of the Class of 2002 were on our staff, and we also started a non-profit coffee shop called The Green Bean. Both church and coffee shop are thriving today. I received my master’s degree in divinity at the Seattle campus of Fuller Theological Seminary in 2006. In 2004, while managing the Fish House, I had begun conversations with a former resident director, Mike Wooten, about his experiences living and working in New York City. God used those conversations and prayers tremendously, and my fascination with NYC grew through the years. In 2010, my wife, Lily, and I decided to follow God’s call to plant a church in downtown Manhattan. We are living along the Bowery, NYC's original skid row. The neighborhood is an intriguing mix of down-and-outers, artists, creatives and yuppies. So is our church plant. I go from preaching to the homeless community at the Bowery Mission to a Bible study with presidents of companies and professional athletes. We have a committed core of friends and contacts (including some other Calvin students) as well as lifelong New Yorkers and friends from the community. We will begin worship services later in 2012. It has been an incredible journey of trying to discern God’s will and bring His renewal to the cities He’s called us to.
Katie Brinks Bonner
After Calvin, I went to grad school at Western Michigan University and got a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. I married my best friend, Mark Bonner, and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After two years and many hurricanes, we moved back to Michigan. We now have two beautiful daughters, Lexi and Chloe. I love working part time in early intervention and being home the rest of the time with our girls.
After graduating from Calvin in 2002, I wanted nothing more than to move away from Grand Rapids. In true Calvinist fashion, my prayer was answered—and I’ve lived in six different places since leaving Calvin: Columbus, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Princeton, N.J.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Philadelphia, Penn.; and finally Dallas, Tex. I completed a master’s degree in history at Ohio State in 2003, and I realized I’d rather be doing public policy, so I moved to Washington, D.C. for a job. I then married my wife (Susan Sytsma ’03), who was attending graduate school at Princeton Theological Seminary. Once she finished school, we moved to Ann Arbor, where I completed my master’s in urban and regional planning in 2008. Susan completed a two-year Lilly Residency at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia in 2010, and we now live in Dallas, where she is an associate pastor at Northridge Presbyterian Church and I work at the City of Dallas in the city manager’s office. If the past ten years have bought a lot of movement and education, my hope for the next ten years is for God’s continued grace in my life. I’m thankful for all that Calvin gave me ten years ago and continues to give me today.
Since I have left Calvin, I have earned a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (2008). I am currently an assistant professor of psychology at The University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. I have also married my amazing wife, Kelly. Tulsa allows me to teach small, engaging undergraduate classes in the same way I learned at Calvin while also working with graduate students on interesting research questions about personality, job attitudes and training in the workplace.
Since graduating from Calvin, I married fellow classmate Leah Richert ’02. We have been blessed with two beautiful children, William and Ryan. After law school, we returned to West Michigan, where I currently serve as district director for U.S. Representative Justin Amash.
Kristine Stivers Carlson
When I was a sophomore at Calvin, I took Dr. Vander Woude’s class “Intro to Communication Disorders.” I loved the class so much that one day I approached her and said, “I want to change my major. I think I will be a good speech pathologist.” She started jumping up and down agreeing with me saying that she had been praying for me. I changed my major that day and never looked back. Despite my GPA being less than stellar, Dr. Vander Woude provided me with extra opportunities and encouraged me to apply to competitive graduate schools. I ended up attending University of Virginia and have now been working at Stanford University Medical Center for the past five years. I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for the constant encouragement, support and guidance from Dr. Vander Woude, Ms. Jill Bates, and Dr. Peggy Goetz, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever grateful to Calvin and the speech pathology department for their impact on my life. I can truly say I love what I do. Thank you, Calvin!
Sarah Sikma Cupery
I met my husband, Darren, during our junior year at Calvin. We were married in 2003 and have three sons: four-year-old Ben and two-year-old twins, Sam and Josh. I served as director of music and worship arts at Kelloggsville CRC in Grand Rapids for six years before Ben was born. I am currently home with our boys. I still volunteer as a worship leader and elder/clerk of Council at our church. Darren works at Farmers Insurance as a HelpPoint supervisor. He volunteers on the tech team at our church. We're looking forward to seeing some of our Calvin classmates at the reunion!
Since leaving Calvin with my social work degree, I have gone on to nursing school and attained my bachelor’s and master’s in nursing. I currently practice as a cardiothoracic nurse practitioner at Duke University Medical Center. I have had personal tragedies come my way but feel that my time at Calvin prepared me for the road ahead.
Kari Sieplinga Dykhouse
After graduating from Calvin, I taught 7th and 8th grade social studies and Bible for three years at Calvin Christian Middle School before my husband and I moved to Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., where I served as a resident director and later as the assistant director of alumni and parent relations. In 2010, we moved back to the Midwest and now live north of Chicago where I get to stay home with our two-year-old, tutor math on the side, serve on Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) leadership and prepare for baby #2. I’m excited to see what each new chapter brings family-wise and career-wise. And wherever we’re led, I’ll track down any Calvin alums I can. It’s sparse in Lake County, but I’ve found a few!
Johana Marich Franklin
I have been very happily married since 2003 to my best friend, Michael John Franklin. We moved to Las Vegas, Nev., in 2005 and joined Mountaintop Faith Ministries church under Pastor Clinton House, Sr. My husband is currently a deacon at the church and I am the leader of the praise dance ministry, Spiritual Movement. I finished a master’s degree in education in 2009. I currently teach hands-on science to 6th-8th graders at St. Viator Catholic School and also coach the girls’ JV basketball team. I am looking into going on a mission trip to Africa in the near future. My husband does psychosocial rehabilitation with families across the valley and is currently working on his master’s degree in counseling. God is great and constantly up to new things! May His name always be praised!
I have a beautiful wife, fellow alum Kirsten Talbert, two amazing kids, Shadden and Kealana, and I’m currently a neonatal intensive care RN residing in northern Virginia. Life couldn’t be any better.
After graduation, I worked for an outpatient mental health clinic in downtown Grand Rapids. I earned my master of social work degree from Western Michigan University in June 2011. Since then, I have been working for Community Mental Health in Ionia. I am renting out my Grand Rapids home and recently bought a home east of Greenville. I married Laura Meisch in May 2012, even though she is a Hope grad. She is a school psychologist for the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District. We enjoy biking, kayaking, running, walking and snowshoeing. I am grateful for my Calvin education as it made graduate school quite simple. It also taught me to work hard, helping me to manage multiple responsibilities with ease.
Upon finishing my degree at Calvin, I worked for five years in the field of clinical laboratory science. My first job was with Michigan Blood in their Human Leukocyte Antigen Laboratory doing genetic bone marrow matching to support the transplant team at DeVos Children’s Hospital. After working for two years at Michigan Blood, I accepted a position in the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Spectrum Health. The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory is responsible for aiding physicians in disease diagnoses that can be made through interrogation of DNA or RNA. After working for just over three years at Spectrum, I applied to graduate school and accepted a fellowship in the Van Andel Institute’s graduate program. I completed a master’s in cell and molecular biology there in May 2012 and anticipate finding a laboratory manager position or teaching clinical laboratory science at the college level. In addition to a career in science, I have pursued a career as a freelance trumpet player in the West Michigan area. After graduating from Calvin I continued to study trumpet with Charley Lea of the Grand Rapids Symphony, studying regularly for a year and taking isolated lessons to prepare for specific performances since then. In the last ten years I have been invited to do baroque solo work with the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys and the Calvin College Oratorio Society, pit orchestra work at Civic Theater, substitute with the Holland Symphony and play in the Hark Up Horns Big Band, and I have become a regular member of the Cathedral Brass at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. I have also played principal trumpet in the Calvin Community Symphony for ten years and play in many area churches, including Plymouth Heights CRC, Calvin CRC, and LaGrave CRC, for worship services and weddings. In 2012 I launched a website to support and promote my work as a trumpet player, www.jonathankarnes.com. In 2005 I met my wife, Thea Woodnorth, a 2001 Calvin graduate, and we got married the fall of 2006. Thea and I live in Grand Rapids with our daughter, Nora, who is four, and our son, Liam, who is one. Thea has worked in the past as a chaplain at Spectrum Health and plans to return to graduate school for a master’s degree in psychology in the next few years.
Bethany Tanis Kilcrease
I started a PhD program in British history at Boston College the September after I graduated from Calvin. I lived in Boston for seven years and worked as a teaching assistant and fellow at Boston College while I completed my degree. The summer after I graduated from BC (2009) I returned to West Michigan to marry my husband, the theologian Jack Kilcrease, and begin my new job as an assistant professor of history at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. It's great to be back in GR!
I went to France and back to Grand Rapids, which is now my base for seeing the rest of the world.
Since Calvin my wife, Sara Veltkamp ’01, and I spent four years in Ann Arbor while I was in medical school. We were blessed with identical twin boys at the end of my third year. We then went onto Madison, Wis., where we spent the next four years while I was in residency. Our daughter was added to the mix during our time there. In 2010, we moved back to West Michigan. I have joined a fantastic group of people at Macatawa Anesthesia and practice primarily out of Holland Hospital.
I taught Spanish at Grand Rapids Christian High School (2002-2003) and Ada Christian School (2003-2009). I coached softball at Grand Rapids Christian High School (2003-2008) and Cornerstone University (2008-2010). I worked at a Salvation Army camp during the summers of 2001-2004 where I held various positions including counselor, support staff, and R.A./Chaplain. In the summer of 2005, I led a group of college students to Hong Kong as they taught English to middle and high school students. I earned my master’s degree in sports studies in 2009 from Western Michigan University. Currently I am working on my PhD in sport psychology at the University of Tennessee. I work with UT athletes, teams and coaches to help them with their mental training.
Rachel VanElderen Malstaff
After graduating, I moved to Texas and worked at a wildlife sanctuary for 2 years. This involved caring for orphaned and injured native wildlife as well as permanent residents, including primates, bears, and jaguars. After leaving the sanctuary, I started working at the San Antonio Zoo where I remain today. I am a senior keeper in a mammal department. I work with a variety of animals, including rhinos, tigers, kangaroos, and warthog. It's not an easy job but working with God's creation is amazing and very rewarding. My husband Adam and I have been married over 4 years and have a beautiful daughter who's almost a year old. God is good!
I moved to Chicago after graduation (spurred partly by the Chicago Semester internship program that I participated in my last semester). I then worked in a ground-level social work position with inner city youth. After that, I moved back to Grand Rapids with my husband, Jon ‘01, and started a master’s in education at Grand Valley State University. I finished that with an internship in the student academic services office at Calvin and was hired soon afterwards—and that was almost five years ago. I now work with students with disabilities and students on academic probation here at Calvin. In the midst of all that, my husband and I welcomed two wonderful children into our family, Evelyn (3) and Emerson (1). We are truly blessed.
Life since Calvin has been blessed and filled with rich experiences. I am doing case management work with developmentally disabled adults, and I love it. My clients continue to teach me new things, and I have amazing opportunities to learn about the legal system and the medical system. Every day brings new challenges, and every day, I know that I am doing the work that God called me to do.
Since graduating Calvin I wandered from job to job, trying to find my vocation. I wanted to find a career that united my passion for God’s creation and people. I held onto the philosophy of integrating my faith in to every aspect of my life. Conversations I had had with fellow students and professors about agriculture and environmental conservation during my studies in biology continued to ruminate in my mind during my various jobs. Calvin was the first place that I learned about an environmental ethic and stewarding creation. Making new friends and rediscovering authors I had read in college, such as Wendell Berry, started me thinking of a career in sustainable agriculture. Here was a chance to be a part of the change I wanted to see in the world, to work to change our destructive relationship with the environment into a stewarding one, and to honor the gift of God’s creation. I started out working for other sustainable, organic farms, and now 2012 will be my fourth year running my own organic vegetable farm, Wild Goose Farm. The farm is named after the fact that my life has often felt like a wild goose chase and after Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese.” The poem is about finding your place in the world, and I believe that through farming I have found my place in this world.
I married Laura Lanser shortly after graduation. We then moved to Colorado Springs where we currently reside. We have three children: Caleb, Brooklyn and Kinley. I started with Capin Crouse in January 2003 and am currently an audit manager with the firm. We work exclusively with nonprofit organizations, focusing on churches and ministries.
I live in my hometown of Austin, Tex., with my husband, Steve Visser, and our two sons, Nels (4) and Karsten (2). I work in the tech industry with a focus on eBooks.
I was a civil engineer for about seven years. Now I lead an urban ministry in Grand Rapids called the Bridge Street House of Prayer.
Life has brought me many places since Calvin. It brought me to a wife, to grad school and New York City, to backpacking around Asia, then eventually winding up in England. I found more grad school, and we eventually wound back up, oddly enough, as home owners in Grand Rapids. So far so good.
After college I was a youth and education director in Illinois for three years. After that I traveled full time for two years in the United States and Australia playing bass guitar in a ministry band called Captive Free, which was sponsored by Youth Encounter. I am now the lead event director at Youth Encounter in St. Paul, Minn. I plan conferences around the country that church youth groups attend. In 2012 I will graduate from Hamline University with a master’s in non-profit management.
After leaving Calvin, I moved to the Detroit area for a brief time but then felt called back to West Michigan. I started working for a small local company here in Grand Rapids and I’m still employed there today. I am currently working in sales as an account executive. I was married in June of 2006 and currently reside in Jenison. My wife and I now have two beautiful children; our daughter is four and our son is two.