I went to seminary later in life. Now I am a pastor of a prison church in Newton, Iowa.
Rose De Young Admiraal
From Calvin I went to Rehoboth, N.M., to teach and there I also met my husband, Rick Admiraal. After several years in Rehoboth, we returned to West Michigan and started a family. Seven years ago, Rick went to Calvin Seminary with my full blessing. After much prayer we followed God to Pella, Iowa, where we have planted a church within the walls of the Newton Prison. I am actively involved in the church behind walls as office manager, prayer coordinator, praise team leader and volunteer.
The summer after graduating, Deanna Hutt and I were married just before I started medical school in Portland, Ore. I then did my surgery training in Portland as well. After finishing my residency, I joined a group of general surgeons in Spokane, Wash., and have worked here with a special interest in laparoscopic surgery and esophageal diseases. During residency our first son was born, and the second came after moving to Spokane. The boys are now 9th and 12th graders. Most of my non-work time has been spent coaching or watching both my boys in soccer and basketball. We attend Colbert Presbyterian Church, and the four of us went to Costa Rica with the high school youth group last spring break. I continue to be thankful for the high quality education, Christian world view and most importantly the critical thinking skills I received at Calvin, and now I am leaning on my son to choose Calvin as well!
I have been a teacher for the past 25 years and a vice principal for the past 15. Teaching has been a tremendous joy, and I have been blessed my the preparations at Calvin College for the teaching profession. I have come full circle recently, as I have enrolled in Calvin’s master’s program for educational leadership.
After Calvin, I attended Western Michigan University for an M.S. in occupational therapy. I worked in clinical practice full-time until 2007, when I started teaching full-time. I attended Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions to obtain my doctor of occupational theraphy degree, which I received in 2012. I am currently an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Concordia University Wisconsin.
I have been married for 26 years to Lori. We have two sons; Tyler is a 2013 Calvin graduate, and Aaron is a 2013 Unity Christian High School graduate seeking a degree from Michigan State University in landscape design. I am a self-employed business owner currently designing, building and selling vacation homes on Lake Michigan through Cottage Home as well as fixing homes all around West Michigan with Dwelltech Solutions. I have served on many boards, including local CRC, Habitat for Humanity, Home Building Association, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy and Michigan Maritime Museum boards. I’m currently in search of quiet water to stand-up paddle on.
Bert Bowden and Julie Last Bowden
God’s faithfulness is present every day in our lives. We recently welcomed Miles Colago ’12 into our family as he married our daughter Sarah Marie ’13. They have started their journey together teaching at Santiago Christian School in the Dominican Republic. Our son, Reed Waters, is a junior at Calvin and is majoring in business with a minor in French. Outside of classes he enjoys his time with fellow junior Annaliese Vander Baan and playing soccer for Calvin. Julie and I look forward to whatever God puts in front of us each day. Calvin College continues to build up the Kingdom here on earth, proclaiming Christ through their students and faculty.
Cheryl Garvelink DeKoekkoek
After graduating from Calvin I went on a work exchange program to Munich, Germany. In the fall of 1989 I started an MSW program at the University of Michigan. I graduated in May of 1991 and began employment for the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health center where I had done my internship during my master’s program. I did some counseling work but primarily worked in residential case management, first for mentally ill adults and then for developmentally disabled adults. I took a break from social work in 1996 to start a family and, four children later, have yet to go back. I am enjoying this stage in my life as a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Lisa Stuive DeVries
In the past 25 years, I would say that I have learned that God has a real sense of humor. I left Michigan after Calvin and moved around the country—North Carolina, California, Washington—and four years ago I moved back to Michigan. I really thought I would never return, but God had different plans. I have been blessed with two great kids. I love to be with them and watch them develop into amazing people. Calvin taught me a few things that I carry with me. First, my job is to reflect Christ in all that I do. Second, I really can do anything I put my mind to. Third, where ever God leads, be ready to follow (even if you don’t want to).
Susan Wagner DeVries
I am married with four sons (one at Calvin!), and we recently went to China to get our fifth son. God nudged us to adopt, and we were glad to add another boy to our family. I currently work as the director of Grace Place at Providence Church in Holland, Mich.
Darren De Zeeuw
After Calvin, I married Sue Timmer and moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., where I got a PhD in aerospace engineering and scientific computing from the University of Michigan. I have worked at U of M since then as a research scientist in space physics. I have three kids, one graduated from Calvin, one at Calvin now, and one that will be at Calvin soon.
Sharon Bennink Dykhouse
After graduating from Calvin, I started my career at Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor. I worked there for almost 20 years before transitioning to Morgan Stanley in 2009. I create comprehensive financial strategies for individuals as well as corporations. I beleive that smart planning starts with asking the right questions, as well as understanding the financial needs and goals of my clients. I have also been blessed with a loving husband and four children. My stepdaughter recently started her career in California, while our three children attend Ada Christian. We keep very busy with their school and sports activities. I stay involved in church, school and community events—I am currently the president of the Ada Christian School Foundation, on the Foundation board of Wedgewood Christian Services and on the board of inForum (an executive women’s networking organization in Grand Rapids).
Daniel C. Holtrop
After a year of graduate school I married Julie Brinks in 1989. I earned an MA and ABD in U.S. foreign relations history from Indiana–Bloomington, and then researched in Germany in 1993-94. Between positions from teaching assistant to assistant professor in Indiana, at Northwestern College (Iowa), at Grand Valley State University and in Hawaii, I also served as a U.S. Army Chinese linguist. More recently I joined the U.S. State Department, where I have been a foreign service officer in Taipei, Guangzhou and Washington, D.C. I enjoy giving lectures in English and Chinese to students in Taiwan and China about the American Dream, American history and current events. Volunteering as Scoutmaster of Boy Scouts of America troops in Taipei and Guangzhou, including founding the latter one, has been a great honor. Another highlight in China was programing and hosting the Calvin Capella choir in 2012. Currently I am the political military officer on the Taiwan desk at the State Department in D.C. Julie and I have three children, one who is a Calvin graduate, one currently there and one who is predestined to consider going there. We find that across the country and world, people generally welcome a Calvin education that integrates an analytical Christian world and life view including respect for other image-bearers in everything we do.
Kris Honderd Grimm
After I graduated from Calvin I began teaching second grade at Hudsonville Christian School. After my first year of teaching I married Eric Grimm, who teaches at South Christian High School. I taught three years full-time as a second grade teacher and then have been teaching part-time in third grade at Hudsonville Christian School. Eric and I have three kids. Tyler is 23 years old and graduated from Calvin in 2012. Laura is 20 years old and is a junior at Calvin. Kelli is 16 and a senior at South Christian High School. As a family we love to travel, play board games and go out to eat.
Since Calvin College God called me into student services, now enrollment management. I worked various entry-level positions across time at several different colleges and universities. I currently have the privilege of leading other Champions for Christ professionals at the world’s largest Christian university—Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. I consider this work a ministry as we look to recruit and retain college students looking for God’s direction in their lives. My wife, Christine, and I are raising three Modern Day Knights. Our sons, Charley, Teddy, and Oliver, are learning how to become men and our prayers are that they will become the greatest men of [the Christian] faith of their respective generation. We enjoy camping, traveling, gardening and sports—yes, I still love to play basketball!
After graduating from Calvin I went to Michigan State to receive my MBA. Then I married Amy Waanders and we have four children, the oldest of whom is now at Calvin. I run my family metal forming company. We live in Brookfield, Wis., and attend Brookfield CRC.
Following Calvin, I attended law school at DePaul University in Chicago. I graduated in spring 1991. I have served as in-house counsel to Auto-Owners Insurance in Lansing since 1997. In 1988 I married Jill Helder ’87. We live in Ada with our two children, Laney (16) and Quinn (13).
Kim Van Valkenburg Klein
I have had such an amazing career journey since graduating. I started out teaching art and English at Highland Christian School in Highland, Ind., followed by a brief stint doing public relations and event planning for Borders Books and Music. After that—while trying to devote as much time as I could to my young children—I did wedding planning, secret shopping and babysitting. I re-entered the work world as the director of communications for the Grand Rapids Christian Schools. A move to Kalamazoo brought me to work in the non-profit field for several years doing public relations, fund development and event planning, and now I am a communications specialist for the Stryker Corporation, managing internal communications for our 24,000 employees worldwide. I can’t imagine having a job that didn’t allow me to do something creative every day. I am married to John, an elementary school principal in Three Rivers, Mich., and have two kids, Jack (15) and Sara (8).
I met my wife, Nancy, literally on the way out the door after my graduation—she was the history department secretary, and I wanted to check on my senior thesis archiving. I began a U.S. tour of Reformed seminaries starting at Westminster in Philadelphia, then Westminster in California (master of arts in religion) then ended up back in Grand Rapids at Calvin (M.Div. ’94) and was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church for 10 years. We have two kids, one son now at Penn State majoring in mechanical engineering and a daughter who began at Calvin this fall. We’ve ended up in northern New Jersey where Nancy’s family is from originally. I have a day job with a large multi-line auto dealer group selling OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts in bulk but also am in ministry with a traditional Anglican church and am helping out with new clergy training in biblical studies.
Dianne Slotegraaf Pennings
During the summer of 1988 I finished two classes for graduation, married Brent Pennings on August 20 and began teaching for the Christian Learning Center. Brent finished his final year at Calvin Seminary and was ordained into ministry in 1989. My first year of teaching was in a self-contained classroom for individuals with developmental disabilities. My second year of teaching was at Zeeland Christian School as we began the inclusion program. I was responsible for students in grades three through five and each year I “moved up” with the students until the program was in all grades. The program was needed at Holland Christian High School, so my next challenge was to develop the inclusion program for high school students. Holland Christian Schools then expanded their inclusion program to the elementary and middle school levels. Once again I made a transition and began teaching at Southside Middle School. My responsibilities expanded to include students with learning disabilities, and my colleagues and I formulated a great team approach to meet the needs of diverse learners in the classroom. In the midst of a satisfying and enriching professional life, God blessed Brent and me with three children: Kendra (1992), Breanna (1995) and Adam (1996). All were born at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., and therefore consider Michigan their home even though our family roots are in Cambridge, Ont., and Orange City, Iowa (Brent). In April 2003, God led us to Terra Ceia, North Carolina. We ministered there for five years, and I was able to start a special education program and teach in the Christian School. In August 2008, God called us to Baldwinsville, N.Y. I am presently the director of children services for the Learning Disabilities Association of Central New York. God has sustained us as a family through many valleys and mountaintop experiences: “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord…is my strength and my song…” (Isaiah 12:2).
Trinka Schelhaas Psellas
After staying home for 13 years with our three children, I went back to school and received my bachelor of education. I have been teaching in a French immersion school for the past four years and am loving it.
Erin De Meester Reynolds
After Calvin, I attended graduate school at the University of Denver where I earned my doctorate in communication. I have held jobs in marketing/communications, human Resources and teaching. I taught at Fuller Seminary for a while under former Calvin professor Richard Mouw. It is fun to connect with fellow Calvin alumni wherever I work, live and travel.
After Calvin I attended Princeton Seminary where I met my best friend and eventual wife, Linda. After we married we moved to Jersey City, N.J., and ended up starting New City Kids, a combination kids church and non-profit for youth leadership development. The stories of pain and brokenness the kids faced were (and still are) horrific. But we found two things penetrated this brokenness: music and trust. We offered drum, bass guitar and choir lessons, and the kids lit up and came out in droves. Then we offered leadership opportunities, asking teens to lead a weekly kids church worship service. What grew from this is now 65 teens leading about 130 kids in two after school centers, a music school, a summer camp and a sailing program. With the teen-job as leverage, and with the help of an incredible staff (several Calvin grads), we’ve been able to create a holistic development program model that for the last eight years has sent 98% of our teens to college. Next year, after 20 years in New Jersey, we’re heading back to Grand Rapids and I’m excited to reproduce our ministry model in Michigan and beyond. This is not what I expected to do when I left Calvin and it’s probably not on the philosophy department’s brochure of career opportunities, but it kind of makes sense. I am very thankful for the intellectual and theological foundation Calvin gave me for seminary and for life. I am also very thankful for the community of Christ-followers who inspired me to take risks.
Martha Blauwkamp Topp
I’ve only had two employers in the last 25 years! I started at the Citizens Insurance Grand Rapids branch part-time before graduating and then stuck around in various positions for another 10 years. It was there that I was encouraged to go back to school, and I received my MBA in finance from Western Michigan University in Grand Rapids. After our daughter arrived I switched to part-time and later moved to a part-time position at Grand General Insurance Agency in Grandville, Mich. That’s where I’ve been for the last 15 years. It’s a small company so I get to handle all the aspects of accounting and human resources. Unfortunately, my marriage ended a couple of years ago, but I’m now dating a great guy that I met online. Along the way I’ve enjoyed being a mom, teaching Sunday school, leading youth group, traveling and reading.
Julie Vander Slik
Since graduation from Calvin I taught for a while in my field, taught preschool for over 16 years and now take care of infants for Spectrum Health employees. I have become much more active in my church, serving as a deacon, catechism teacher and Vacation Bible School director. In my role as a deacon I work to inspire my congregation to serve and care for our community.
David Van Haitsma
After graduating from Calvin I married Julie Rottman, who had also graduated from Calvin. We moved to Prinsburg, Minn., where I took a job as the social studies and Bible teacher at Central Minnesota Christian School. I also coached the boys’ soccer team, the girls’ softball team and the Knowledge Bowl teams. Julie got a job as an administrative assistant in the school office. In November of 1991 we had our first child, Carissa, and in 1994 we added a son, Jackson. Carissa will graduate from Calvin in May 2014. Jackson started at Calvin in September 2013. Following our ninth year at Central Minnesota Christian, we moved to McBain, Mich., where I took a job at Northern Michigan Christian School teaching social studies. In 1999 we added a daughter, Grace, to our family. In 2001 I received a master’s degree in education from Grand Valley State University. For the last five years I have been a half-time career and college counselor and a half-time teacher. My coaching career has continued at NMCS as I have coached primarily softball and soccer, with brief stints in track and volleyball. In the meantime, Julie has worked mostly for NMCS and recently as a website coordinator for Last Bid Realty.
Julie Rottman Van Haitsma
Since my graduation, I have “fallen” into several different work positions based on where my husband has taken teaching positions. I spent the first 24 years since graduation working in Christian schools—sometimes as an art teacher, other times in administrative assistant work. My longest position was at Northern Michigan Christian School in McBain, Mich., where I served as the assistant athletic director and fundraising coordinator. As is often the case in the Christian school system, I wore many different hats in my job. Last August (2012) I left working at the school and began a new position as website coordinator for LastBidRealestate.com, an online real estate auction company that is an arm of Miedema Asset Management Group. My education at Calvin has assisted me in every position that I have held, mostly because of the writing and learning skills that I acquired while there. My English major has given me the ability to do many different jobs that require writing skills. Finally, one of the highlights in my life (other than my family) has been the opportunities that I have been given as a drama director for high school plays and musicals. I have directed 22 different plays and musicals as well as several one act plays over the past 25 years. I thoroughly enjoy every minute of putting on these productions, working with high school students and presenting quality shows for the communities in which I have lived.
Steve Van Haitsma
Although never part of our original plans for our lives, my wife, Kristin (Erickson) ’89, and I have melded her biology and my business/psychology degrees into one business. We are farmers who specialize in growing hydroponic greens year round. We have slowly grown from one grow bed for her to play with into now four full heated greenhouses, and we supply many of West Michigan’s finest restaurants and a thriving CSA (community supported agriculture) as well. We’ll never be rich, but we feel very blessed.
Since graduating from Calvin, I have lived in Japan teaching conversational English and have lived in Hong Kong teaching at an American school. I am married to Julie Oskarson VanNoord ’89 and we have two daughters. We live in the house in which Julie grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, where I am currently teaching reading and writing in a public middle school. In 2009, I wrapped up a 20-year career as a wedding and portrait photographer in which I photographed over 700 weddings.
Amy Van Zanten
Recently I was at a flea market in Rhinebeck, N.Y. I spotted a beat-up Calvin College sticker on the back of a car. I shouted out, “Hey, I went to Calvin.” The car immediately stopped, and I had a pleasant discussion with the pastor from the local Dutch Reformed Church. Just when I start forgetting where I came from, God throws a reminder in for me. Calvin definitely helped shape my path. After a long and bumpy journey, I now have settled in as a literacy coach and fifth grade teacher in Montgomery, N.Y. Both of my daughters, Chloe and Sabrina, will be attending college next year.
I received my law degree in 1995 from Indiana University–Bloomington, and I have been a deputy prosecuting attorney since that time. I have lived in Indianapolis, Ind., with my family for the last 13 years.
Lynn Kolk Veltkamp
I left Calvin with a teaching job in Ripon, Calif., where I planned to spend a few years before moving to various other parts of the country and ending up back in West Michigan, where I belonged. God had other plans. He gave me my amazing husband, two awesome children (the older is now at Calvin beginning her second year as a fourth-generation Calvin student), and a job I continue to love.
Nancy Wigboldy Wolffis
After graduating, I had hoped to teach in the West Michigan area. My husband had a year of college left to complete his teaching degree and we hoped to settle in the area, as our families lived in Michigan, too. I was unsuccessful in finding a teaching job, but I did get hired in the placement office at Calvin. As I tell my fifth grade students every year, working in that office was providential. This enabled my husband and me to apply all over the country for teaching jobs together once he graduated. As a result, we had many offers throughout the country and ended up settling in Lynden, Wash. We imagined ourselves moving back to Michigan, but it never happened. This gracious little town has become home to us and our four children. I taught sixth grade for 13 years and switched to fifth grade 12 years ago. I have loved every minute of it and each year gets better! The children come from families who know how to raise kids right! I am so grateful for my own Christian education, from grade school through Calvin College. Through my education, God trained me to be a teacher and trainer to both students and sometime their parents. I am so grateful to be working in a place that is not a job, but a calling; not just a school, but a community and family; not just a classroom, but a mission field where I am permitted to daily express my love for Christ!
Anita Kraal Zuidema
I’m retired after a fulfilling 15 years as a resource specialist at Calvin Christian Middle and High School in Grandville, Mich. For two years prior, I taught music at The Potter’s House in Grand Rapids. By God’s grace, all this, starting at the young age of 42!
After graduating from Calvin and passing my state boards I worked in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at Bronson Hospital for seven years caring for many babies and their families. The highlight of my career as a nurse was when my mother-in-law called me instead of 911 to resuscitate my father-in-law. He was 70 years old when he wouldn’t “wake up” and after 25 minutes of CPR and many family members’ prayers, he not only survived with no brain or kidney damage, but he lived another 15 years without heart problems and fully aware he was a living miracle. It was the most amazing thing I have ever been a part of and was one of the reasons the Lord called me to be a nurse. My husband and I have been blessed with five wonderful children, two adopted from Guatemala. I continue to work at Bronson, but I have now obtained my International Board Certified Lactation Consultant title and work in supporting new mothers with breastfeeding. I continue to serve the Lord in every area of my life and am grateful for the Christ-like atmosphere I had when at Calvin. A few professors stand out when it comes to how they impacted me and my faith journey: Professor Pete Tigchelaar (biology) and Professor Larry Louters (chemistry). “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men” (Col. 3:23).