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In the early 1980s, I got caught up in the emerging fitness craze and participated in three to four Olympic distance triathlons a year over a ten-year period. (They had a Clydesdales division for guys built like me— people over 180 pounds!) Times have changed and we’ve progressed as a society. People have more information on the importance of pursuing a healthy lifestyle. As creatures made in God’s image, it is important that in each facet of our lives we nurture what is good, essential, vital and important. The sweetness of God’s Word (Psalm 19:10) feeds our souls, and the discipline we learn as we “run... the race set before us” (Hebrews 12:1) are key components to well-being and healthful lives. I’m proud that the Northwestern community dedicates itself to intentionally nurturing students toward well-being in all aspects of their lives. We don’t want anyone to have to go it alone, so our professors and staff gather around each student, encouraging and guiding. With God’s help, we want to develop well-rounded practitioners and thinkers, leaders and learners, and people of deep faith who were created for such a time as this. In this issue of Pilot, you’ll meet a few of the people and departments that contribute to the overall well-being of the community. We are always strategizing about the health of the university itself, positioning UNW for the decade ahead. We rely on prayer. We treasure the wisdom of the trustees. We cherish the creativity of our faculty. And we celebrate the dedication of our staff. One of the more exciting developments is in the expanding area of STEM majors (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). As we pursue opportunities, we invite your continuing prayer support! Know that at Northwestern the “why” never changes (mission), but the “how” does (delivery of the mission). We are staying true to our calling. My last triathlon was in 2007, but I’m still running the race! It is a joy to share with you, our alumni, the many ways Northwestern works to create healthy outlooks and outcomes in our students and community.

Alan S. Cureton, Ph.D. President University of Northwestern – St. Paul

12 Primed for the Profession 16 Nurturing Spiritual Health 18 “Be Generous.” 22 An Emotional Health How-To 29 Heartbreak and the Peace of God

The studies can be grueling, but no biology student is left alone and floundering. Through intense mentoring, students get prepped for their hard-won future work in health-related careers.

Dean of Spiritual Formation Nina Barnes believes in the healing power of conversation and the value of addressing points of division directly. Her goal: to foster unity and spiritual health on campus.

PILOT is published by the Office of Alumni & Public Relations University of Northwestern – St. Paul 3003 Snelling Avenue North St. Paul, MN 55113-1598 651-631-5236, Letters and comments may be sent to PILOT STAFF Managing Editors Jim Johnson ’94 Chelsea (Benson ’11) Ordway Director for Alumni & Public Relations Scott Anderson ’84

A professor of business gives students a wealth of information about personal money management—and practices what he preaches.

Photography Josh Stokes University Alumni & Public Relations Team Scott Anderson ’84, Cayla (Yund ’14) Blucker, Alicia (Beedle ’09) du’Monceaux, Drew Elrick ’12, Chelsea (Benson ’11) Ordway

Tired of being a victim of your emotions? Dr. Melissa Mork in the Department of Psychology offers a primer for proactively building emotional well-being.

UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION President Alan S. Cureton, Ph.D. Sr. V.P. for Academic Affairs Janet B. Sommers, Ph.D. Sr. V.P. for Media Jason Sharp, M.A. V.P. for Student Life & Athletics Matt Hill ’89, Ed.D. V.P. for Institutional Advancement Jim K. Johnson ’94, M.A. V.P. for Enrollment Management Mike Moroney V.P. for Business/CFO Douglas R. Schroeder, CPA Associate V.P. of Human Resources Timothy A. Rich, PHR

The devastating loss of a young family headed to missions in Japan shocked family and friends. But even after tragedy, the message of alumni Jamison and Kathryne Pals brings the Good News of the Gospel to the world.

NORTHWESTERN MEDIA FM 98.5/AM 900 KTIS Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN FM 101.9/AM 1090 KNWS Waterloo, IA FM 97.9/AM 1200 KFNW Fargo, ND FM 96.5/AM 1270 KNWC Sioux Falls, SD FM 102.5/AM 1190 WNWC Madison, WI FM 97.3 KDNW/FM 90.5 KDNI Duluth, MN FM 107.1/FM 96.1 KNWI Des Moines, IA FM 88.5 KJNW Kansas City, MO AM 1290 WNWW Hartford, CT Cover photo: Josh Stokes







NCAA President Visits Northwestern

In September, UNW had the rare honor of hosting Dr. Mark Emmert, NCAA president. During his visit to campus, Emmert met with student athletes from Northwestern, as well as administration and student athletes from the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) member schools. President Alan Cureton represents Division III on the NCAA Board of Governors. “In my role first as vice-chair and then chair of the DIII Presidents Council for the past three years, it has been a unique opportunity and honor. I consider working side by side with Dr. Emmert and his leadership team in protecting and enhancing the student athlete experience a privilege—a privilege laced with responsibility and accountability.”

After four months of renovations, the updates to the Totino Fine Arts Center are complete. The renovations created a larger lobby space with updated finishes throughout. The new lobby contains two fireplaces and six 13-foot-high doors that provide a great view of the Campus Green. The inside lighting includes ten large chandeliers and colorshifting LEDs to enhance the experience in the space. Maranatha Hall has been renamed the Beverly & John Lord Knight Performance Hall in honor of Beverly and John’s generous donations which made this renovation possible.


Refreshed Look, New Name

Island Chapel Reopens

On homecoming weekend, visitors filled the tiny Island Chapel perched on the hill overlooking Lake Johanna. For the first time in 47 years, the chapel filled with singing: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” Hundreds of students, alumni and friends of Northwestern turned out to hear the rich history of the building and to be enveloped by its historic splendor. “It was a genuine time of honoring God,” recalled Mark Baden, Ph.D., professor emeritus for the Department of Art & Design who oversaw the restoration process. Work focused on seven stained glass windows that had been destroyed by vandals. The replacement of the rose window was a memorial to Baden’s father, Gerald, who worked as an auto mechanic for Northwestern. The six angel windows were designed by Baden and funded by donations from him and his wife Karen, along with a gift from the university in honor of Baden’s 32 years of service. There is still work to be done. The altar space needs a replacement altar that is stylistically in keeping with the original marble structure. A decorative wooden beam needs repair, and the lighting sconces were removed sometime during the chapel’s history. “When those restorations are complete, perhaps we can begin to have the chapel open during regularly scheduled times for prayer, small Bible studies and other community use,” said Baden.

A PSEO Partnership

Earning college credits while in high school just became a lot easier for students at Maranatha Christian Academy in Brooklyn Park, MN. In fall 2016, MCA juniors and seniors were able to begin free college coursework at University of Northwestern while still attending high school. These 60 credits serve as a unique, on-site PSEO (postsecondary enrollment options) partnership between the two schools. Students who successfully complete the program will be awarded an associate of arts and Bible degree from Northwestern in addition to their high school diploma. PSEO helps families lower their students’ potential tuition expenses and shorten their time in college.

More Degree Options

Northwestern launched two new program opportunities for students in fall 2016. Business management degree (FOCUS) – Adults completing their undergraduate work can now take advantage of UNW’s first Z-degree (zero-cost textbook) program. Students will access free online textbooks rather than spending hundreds of dollars on printed volumes. Event planning minor – Here’s a career boon for students seeking majors in public relations, marketing, communication studies, business and other fields. The program will prepare them to efficiently manage small and large events.


President Cureton, Beverly Knight and Gayle Cureton 4







Sing Out Strong

Listen. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of excellence. A Northwestern Media station—Life 102.5 FM (WNWC) of Madison, WI—received the 2016 Christian Music Broadcasters award in the medium market category. “Each station was judged by broadcasting veterans,” said Jason Sharp, UNW’s senior vice president for media, “the majority being outside of the Christian radio industry.” Life 102.5 came out on top after judging for on-air sound, ratings, community involvement and industry leadership. Northwestern Media continues to lead people to Christ and nurture believers in their spiritual growth through Christ-centered media.

A Great Success

of their semifinal divisions and advanced to the finals. Although Northwestern singers comprised 13 percent of the total number of singers in the divisions they entered, they represented 18 percent of the semifinalists and 33 percent of the finalists. The auditions include talented singers from numerous other larger universities.

On November 6–8, the UNW School of Education hosted a Minnesota Board of Teaching team of evaluators who conducted a five-year review of Northwestern’s capacity to offer teacher licensure programs. The review involved a broad look at structures and services that support teacher education. The team met with students, faculty, support services, graduates, administrators and cooperating school partners. Northwestern’s School of Education met all 50-plus standards, receiving high praise for the education faculty and Susan Johnson, Ph.D., assistant dean of the School of Education.


At the Minnesota National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) student auditions held in November, 12 Northwestern singers placed in the top third of their age and gender divisions, advancing to the semifinals. Eight singers placed in the top third

Recognition for Radio

NATS finalists (left to right): Jordan Brown ’18, Lydia Grimes ’20, Jonny Miller ’20, Harper Atchison ’20, Corrin Lee ’18, Maggie Benham ’16, Annie Tillotson ’18 and Nathan Potts ’19




Criminal Justice Program Renewal

In August 2016, the criminal justice program received notification from the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training that the UNW program has been renewed for five years. Congratulations to all those who had a hand in this significant accomplishment, especially Ghlee Hanson, MSSW, assistant professor and coordinator of the criminal justice program.

Jordan Cox ’10 completed degrees in music composition and music education at UNW, then went on to graduate school at University of Southern California in the scoring for motion pictures and television program. He’s now working alongside well-known artists in Hollywood. Cox was nominated for the CCCU’s (Council for Christian Colleges & Universities) Young Alumni Award. Today he works as a film composer and orchestrator, writing for feature and short films, documentaries, commercials, television segments and radio dramas.

Making Science Accessible

Carrie Francis, Ph.D. (Engineering), joined Northwestern’s Department of Engineering in the fall. She earned her degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin– Madison, successfully defending her thesis, “Influence of Aging, Falls History, and Neuromodulation-Enhanced Training on Sensorimotor Regulation of Gait and Balance.” In addition to making academic conference presentations and publishing in peer-reviewed journals such as Gait & Posture, Human Movement Science and Journal of Biomechanics, Francis has been involved in youth ministry. She would like to develop a science literacy course to “give youth pastors the tools to talk about science well, so their students don’t feel like they have to check their brains at the door of the church or their hearts at the door of the lab.” As students start taking ownership of their own faith in middle school and high school, she wants them to know that science and faith are not mutually exclusive.

Writing Reality

Heather Walker Peterson, Ph.D. (English), department chair and assistant professor of English, writes a monthly column for Humane Pursuits (, interviewing Christian thinkers on books and applying Christian history and traditions to everyday life. She also writes quarterly for The Well (thewell. Her work has appeared on Patheos ( and in The Curator ( Peterson contributed a chapter to Dating During the Apocalypse: And Other Conversations on God, Sex, and Life (forthcoming from Cru Press), titled “A Letter to My Daughter: Your Femininity Doesn’t Limit You.” She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, an international community of Christian women who create The Redbud Post (

Dissecting Faith and Science

Bradley Sickler, Ph.D. (Philosophy), presented a paper, “Laws of Nature and Natural Theology: Why Probabilistic Arguments From Laws to God Don’t Work,” at the Midwest Society of Christian Philosophers conference in Springfield, Missouri (September 2016). His entries for Pascal’s Wager and Wesley Salmon will be included in Dictionary of Christianity and Science: The Definitive Reference for the Intersection of Christian Faith and Contemporary Science published by Zondervan Academic (2017). His article “Science and Religion” is also forthcoming and will appear in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, a peer-reviewed academic resource. Once per semester, he presents lectures on causation and laws of nature at UNW during the Theology and Science chapel series.





Last spring, three UNW Biblical & Theological Studies students transcribed biblical texts as part of the Museum of the Bible’s Greek Paul Project. Blake Franze ’16, Joshua Weber ’16 and Wade Weeldreyer ’16 were selected by the department to apply their facility in New Testament Greek to this scholarly undertaking. After learning to read Greek minuscule script, the form of writing used in most manuscripts of I Timothy, these gifted UNW students—along with students from select universities and seminaries around the country— transcribed texts to make an electronic file of the contents. During the project, they joined in webinars with internationally renowned textual critics. The Institute for New Testament Textual Research (Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung) in Münster, Germany, provided manuscript images and data, and students worked under the tutelage of UNW professor of New Testament Studies and Greek W. Edward Glenny, Th.D., Ph.D. In exchange for their work, they received course credit and the satisfaction of knowing they contributed to an important collaborative project. The Museum of the Bible chose Joshua Weber to attend the two-week “Logos in Oxford” seminar at Oxford University last summer. While in England, Weber participated in lectures and classes to learn more about textual criticism.

Hats off to FORCE (the Fellowship of Reconciling Cultures Everywhere). At the Minnesota Campus Compact Awards Luncheon at Macalester College on April 7, the student-led organization received the 2016 Presidents’ Student Leadership Award. The award was bestowed in recognition of FORCE’s commitment to civic responsibility and leadership as shown by its initiative, innovative and collaborative approaches to addressing public issues, effective community building and integration of civic engagement into the university experience. FORCE is open to all students who wish to learn about different cultures and build cultural awareness and reconciliation.

It was a record-setting fall on campus for UNW Athletics as three Eagles sports teams advanced to NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) postseason play. Northwestern volleyball, football and men’s golf all received the UMAC (Upper Midwest Athletic Conference) automatic bid to their respective championships. The volleyball team did something no other program has ever done at Northwestern: they played in the NCAA Final Four. Highlighting the historic season were Lindsey Peterson ’18 and Beth Wilmeth ’02 who were named the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Division III National Player and Coach of the Year, respectively. The football team captured the UMAC title to punch its first-ever NCAA Playoff ticket. Head Coach Kirk Talley was honored as the UMAC Coach of the Year after he guided the Eagles to a 9-1 regular season record. UNW saw its memorable season come to a close against the third-ranked University of St. Thomas in the first round of the playoffs. The men’s golf team took home the UMAC crown and will compete at the NCAA Championships in Florida in May. Mac Saby ’18 earned medalist honors for the Eagles at the UMAC Championships. Additional updates on UNW Athletics can be found at



Multicultural Student Organization Stands Out

A Stellar Season for Athletics


Cole Birkeland ’19, a history major and leader of Northwestern’s College Democrats group, and Nick Solheim ’18, a political science and public relations major and leader of Northwestern’s College Republicans group, were interviewed by The New York Times in a series of Facebook Live interviews. In the livestreamed interviews they discussed their strong friendship despite opposing political views and shared their political positions and thoughts going into the presidential inauguration. There were more than 400,000 viewers of three separate interviews (one with Birkeland, one with Solheim and one together). Viewers were able to comment in real time, posting questions that the reporter posed to the students. Birkeland and Solheim’s friendship is fueled by a mutual interest in public policy. “When you’re having respectful discussions, I think that’s where you can most benefit,” said Birkeland.

Hands-On Experience


Live from The Times









Northwestern nurtures. That feature makes this community distinct. Students bask in it. Alumni remember it fondly four and five decades later. UNW has a long head start in its pursuit of health and wellness as a community. Developing a sense of well-being in students and on campus requires attention to the many facets of human life—academic competency…physical and emotional wisdom…spiritual wholeness…professional strength and more. Staff and faculty devote themselves to building these characteristics in every student. Even with the best habits, no one has complete control over their own physical or mental health, but at Northwestern, students find the support they need to grow in their sense of good health, wellness and fulfillment. 10




Primed for the





Biology students headed into healthrelated careers blossom with caring mentorship When Bruce Simat, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, talks about teaching, he uses the metaphors of a biologist. “I just plant seeds and see what grows.” In reality, growing young biology students to serve in fields related to physical health takes years of his painstaking mentoring and rigorous coursework. Simat turns motivated students into scholars and graduates into sought-after health care professionals, researchers and graduate students. His investment of time in protégés has roots in his own lonely experiences as a college student. “I loved science,” he recalled. “Coming out of high school, I knew that the human body was more important to me than physics or chemistry, but I didn’t know what to do with that. I hadn’t been coached.” That sense of being lost and hunting for direction without the help of mentors followed him through a master’s degree, a Ph.D. in physiology (and nearly a second one in biochemistry) and a successful career in medical diagnostic research and development. When he left the corporate world and came to Northwestern 23 years ago, he vowed to give his students what had been missing in his education: personal attention and a helping hand. continued— 12




Drilling for success Simat and an associate developed the Department of Biology from the ground up, and they built that solar focus on the individual directly into the curriculum. Back then, incoming biology students numbered a cozy six or seven which made one-on-one mentoring nearly inevitable. Nobody came through the department without receiving individual attention and direction. Today, however, incoming freshmen classes are 100+ and growing. To keep the intimacy that helps students succeed, Simat often invites subgroups of students in his fall freshman biology course to stay after class for 30-minute group advising sessions. He also hand selects and trains juniors and seniors to mentor and tutor younger students. Struggling students only have to text or call. Mentors will meet them on campus. Three times a week, tutors stage review sessions right in the dorms. Biology students walk down the hall to a meeting of minds. Tutors are anticipating their own professional graduate entrance exams, so they welcome the practice—and the small hourly fee they receive. It’s a win for everyone. Then there are the practice interviews before anyone ventures out for the real thing. “After four years of preparation, it all boils down to one 30-minute period,” said Simat. “My motto for them is ‘Never leave an interview with regret.’” Headed into health care The majority of UNW biology students—about 80 percent—are interested in jobs or continued studies in health-related fields: medical doctor, dentist, pharmacist, veterinarian, chiropractor, physician assistant, occupational therapist, physical therapist and more. Northwestern boasts a 95 percent placement rate of biology grads. Simat also serves as an advisor for pre-nursing students, who are required to take six science courses in the biology department. (Ginger Wolgemuth, Ph.D., chief nurse administrator/assistant dean, School of Nursing, appointed him to the Nursing Advisory Board.) “They are really cooking,” said Simat. The program “is growing by leaps and bounds. There’s so much interest and so many jobs out there.” Future landscape The scholars who emerge from the biology program will be the caretakers of health care in a world of need. “Based on government statistics,” said Simat, “it looks like we’ll have 20–30 years of continual growth. The research field is even more expansive. There are never enough people to fill the positions. There is a tremendous need for people to go on and get their masters’ or Ph.D.s.” Mission-hearted grads After having life poured into them, UNW students are pouring their lives into others. Whether in hospitals, clinics, missions or corporate settings, UNW graduates have the heart and mind for the work. For Simat, who prepped the soil that contributed to the growth of those flourishing students, it’s thrilling. “I love developing people’s lives. I can’t retire. This is too much fun.”



At MinuteClinic in Maple Grove, MN, Tiffany Hall ’05 (B.S. in biology) does “everything— insurance, vitals, history, exam and treatment.” She loves her job as a physician assistant, “a rewarding profession where I get to help people feel better and get healthy.” She was well prepared after graduation to compete for a spot in the master’s program in physician assistant studies at Des Moines University, IA. “Dr. Bruce Simat was my advisor and the one who first introduced me to the PA profession,” she said. After getting her degree, she worked in an endocrinology practice before taking her current position. “Biology is such a wonderful and exciting field of study. You can go in so many directions with it depending on your interest.”

Gabriel Jefferson ’12 (B.S. in biology) received a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Des Moines University, IA. He is now a PA at Autumn Ridge Family Medicine in Lincoln, NE. “I have begun to develop lasting relationships with patients as I help care for their entire family,” he said. “A portion of my responsibility is educating patients. I know I make a difference when I can educate [them] about their risks for developing a particular illness, then recheck in the next several months to see that they were empowered to take their health into their own hands. Sometimes the healthier choices they have decided to make overflow into their family and friends as well.”

Mark Petry ’96 (B.S. in biology) says, “My undergraduate work at Northwestern was paramount for improving my knowledge base, study skills and personal goal development through a Christ-centered education.” He later completed an EMT course, graduated from University of Minnesota Medical School (Duluth and the Twin Cities) and completed residency training at the Duluth Family Medicine Residency Program. Today he serves as a family medicine physician at Gateway Family Health Clinic in Sandstone, MN and two hospitals (Essentia Health/Sandstone and Mercy Hospital/Moose Lake). “I have the opportunity to share God’s love while helping with physical, mental and spiritual health,” he said. But his greatest opportunity to make a positive impact occurs as he works with critically ill and dying patients and their families, sharing education, quality care and compassion.

Daniel Plack ’14 (B.S. in biology) is now a third-year medical student at University of Minnesota Medical School. He’s not sure yet what his focus will be, but he calls the opportunity to become a physician “a tremendous joy and responsibility,” adding, “Patients confide in doctors many things no one else may ever know about them. We need more doctors who are like Jesus, who demonstrate love to ‘the least of these,’” even those some would call their enemies. “We need unbiased doctors who will love their patients regardless of what they do or say. To me, that is showing the love of Christ.”

After attending Northwestern, Erik Starr ’14 (B.S. in kinesiology), received his doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree from University of Western States in Portland, OR. Today, he serves as a chiropractor at Team Health Care Clinic, PC in Champlin, MN. Classes at UNW, especially those that were hands on, had a “big impact in preparing me for graduate school and the chiropractic profession. What I like most about my position is the time I get to spend with patients. I get to use my spiritual gifts to listen, care and serve with my hands every day. While it’s a joy to help someone get out of pain and function better in life, it’s even better to leave a lasting impression on a deeper level.”

Alyssa Temte ’14 (B.S. in biology [pre-med] & B.A. in Spanish) believes “True health is not merely a lack of disease but holistic wellness in body, mind and spirit.” After graduating from UNW, she earned a master’s of public health in global health and is now working on her doctorate of osteopathic medicine at Liberty University. “Physicians have the opportunity to demonstrate the Gospel in a tangible way by providing hope and healing to people who are in need and hurting.” Her primary passion is the underserved. “Access to health care is a human right regardless of race, gender, religion, economic status or geographic location. I am excited to one day be an osteopathic family physician who positively impacts my community and the world with the light and love of Christ.”






Spiritual Health

Nina Barnes brings a tender heart and deep desire to help students nurture their Christlike selves

Nina Barnes has a vast and vital presence at Northwestern. It’s not her long silver braids or her position as dean of spiritual formation that make her well known. Instead, it’s her love for each student. Some know her as the “chapel lady,” but her role is much more expansive than that.

Recent changes, new position A few years ago, the Student Life office reorganized. As part of the reorganization, the former Campus Ministries department was absorbed into Student Life, creating a new position in leadership: dean of spiritual formation. Enter Nina Barnes. She encourages intentional conversations and decisions to draw the community together. One UNW Student Life statement provides a goal for Barnes’ position: Spiritual formation is the process of responding to the love of God and humbly participating with the Holy Spirit in being transformed into the likeness of Christ. Spiritual formation reveals God’s glory, enriches our lives and empowers us to express love within the world. Transformation in action “Spiritual formation is happening all around campus,” said Barnes, “in residence halls, Bible studies, hall meetings, the classroom, mission trips, local outreach and clubs.” The idea of spiritual growth involves much more than daily chapel, especially for Barnes as her role as a dean expands beyond chapel and into daily meetings with students. “My meetings with students are ways to dig into what’s really happening in their lives,” she said.



It’s in these meetings where she is able to truly use her gifts. “I’m wired in a strange way. I lean into conflict,” stated Barnes. “I enjoy bringing understanding to a situation that’s fragmented.” A student body comprised of different ethnicities, theological backgrounds, ideals and political opinions is bound to see conflict. But Barnes uses her gifts to bring understanding to situations of division. She encourages students to see and hear one another for the glory of God. “I remind students that conflict—differences in views or opinions— is inevitable, but division is a choice.” The ultimate goal For Barnes, the heart of her work is true unity. She dreams of unity within the body of Christ, just as Jesus prayed in John 17: 22–23, “That they may be one as we are one…so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”




A business professor helps students develop healthy attitudes and practices toward money Philip Vierling, MBA, came home from work one night in 1998, put his hand on the outdoor grill and was blasted violently back by the massive force of a propane explosion. His survival, which he calls God’s providence, became a point of gratitude and an object lesson for his future business students. “Life is full of unforeseen circumstances—be ready.”

Again, Vierling draws on his own experiences to make an impression, telling students about his seven-year-old grandchild who was born four months premature. “My grandson is alive because of insurance,” he said, sharing about the baby’s long stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, tracheotomy surgery, lung issues and follow-up care.

Tackling the business of business Today, in addition to serving as the CEO of Plumb Line Vision and Liver Cell Technologies, Vierling is an assistant professor and assistant dean of the School of Business. In this position, he has an opportunity to shape young business students just starting out, as well as graduate students looking for unique insight into the corporate world from a Christian worldview.

Through a biblical lens He challenges students to learn about money from Jesus who spoke plainly and boldly on the topic. He invites them to ask the hard question: “How much [money] is enough?” Financial responsibility is a focus. “I tell business students, ‘You’re going to make more money than some of your classmates. Find a ministry that you are passionate about. Invest your time, skills and money. Be generous and spontaneous.” He encourages students to act in emergencies—for example, when someone needs a new car or help with schooling. Spontaneity springs from preparation and openhearted generosity. His students, he says, can practice the lifechanging habits of having gratitude for simple things and becoming friends with people of different income levels. “There’s a danger in having friends only in your social class.”

The basics first Vierling teaches personal money management to all of his undergraduate students. “For many students, it’s the first time they’ve thought about building a personal budget and plan. We help them think about what that first job will be, expenses, rent and even insurance.” Why do invincible college students need insurance? He points out that they already have an iPhone, iPad and other material possessions. Insurance helps protect them from the unexpected. 18


“Be Generous.”



The value of a mentor Many of Vierling’s views on financial wellness and wisdom come from his business mentor. “He’s 96 right now and still pushing me,” said Vierling. “He challenged me to give 30 percent of my income away. He’s giving 60 percent! He also challenged me on stock options and stock grants, saying, ‘Rather than using your stock options as a way to balance your tax bill, let God have the gain before you balance your stock options.’” They are specific suggestions and rules of thumb that invite a healthy attitude toward money into students’ lives. He encourages them to start now. Expected unpredictability Life assures everyone unforeseen circumstances. Vierling’s theology of financial well-being stresses preparedness and Christlike generosity.




Creating Connections and Community





April Stensgard challenges alumni and students to find and fulfill their calling “It’s imperative that everyone discover their divine design by identifying their gifts, talents, strengths and values.” This is the message April (Fichter ’93) Stensgard enthusiastically communicates in her work as director of the Center for Calling & Career. “When you offer [these things] you become the blessing other people need. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s creativity.” Stensgard is new to her position at Northwestern, where she leads a team of career development specialists to help students and alumni discover and develop their strengths. She is passionate about empowering and serving everyone looking for guidance and resources. “My role and responsibility at Northwestern is to cultivate a culture where personal and career development is inherent in all we do,” she said. Stensgard hopes to expand ways to engage and equip alumni personally and professionally. She has the support of the UNW community. “I have been overwhelmed by the collaborative nature of all departments. They partner to equip and empower our students and alumni in every aspect of career development.”

The Center for Calling & Career is a resource to help Eagles past and present discover their divine design, create professional communities and make purposeful connections with others. This is accomplished through assessments, events, programs, webinars, LinkedIn and other online resources. In addition, there are several opportunities for alumni to be a resource for students by offering internships, expertise and connections. Stensgard and her team continually challenge students and alumni to rethink the question: “What am I called to do?” Yet she believes a calling isn’t what we do; rather it is who we are. “We are called to be children of God and a light to the world.” Students and alumni are encouraged to contact Stensgard and her team with questions regarding career development. Email or call 651-631-5265.




An Emotional Health



Melissa Baartman Mork, Psy.D., department chair and professor of psychology, does more than instruct her students in the field. She teaches emotional well-being. Just as people can proactively maximize their physical health, she says, they can cultivate good habits to increase their emotional health. “Practice emotional flexibility.” If you wake up on “the wrong side of the bed, realize you don’t need to stay there.” Even deciding “enough of that” can begin to break the hold of an emotional rut. The push-button technique is a therapeutic exercise created by Dr. Harold Mosak in 1985. Simply put, it is a way of choosing between two options— one negative, one positive. She advises students to consciously select a brighter outlook rather than a bad attitude. “Exercise your emotions for increased strength.” Think of the saddest moment in your life—who was there, how it felt. Then dwell on the happiest memory. Stop and go back to the unhappy thought. Flip between the two. “You’re developing emotional muscle.” “Recognize and name strong emotions.” When we fail to identify a powerful emotion, Mork said, “it stays neurologically clustered in the right side of the brain.” Take a break and admit, “I feel angry/afraid/ frustrated/indignant.” That brings the emotion into the analytical brain for examination, which Mork said “helps to diffuse the intensity.”



“Ground yourself.” Mork advises her students not to get so lost in their emotions that they forget to Whom they belong. “Develop an eternal perspective,” she advised. “Ask yourself, ‘In the scope of eternal life, will this really matter?’” “Volunteer.” Social contact, said Mork, gets you outside your own head, reduces isolation and builds a strong social support network that contributes to emotional wellness. “Involve the body.” The body and brain are inextricably connected. Practice deep breathing for relaxation. Incorporate physical activity. Aerobic exercise is recommended for everybody but especially for people experiencing emotional difficulty—one way of “sweating out the cascade of chemicals” that come with emotional distress. “Recognize mental illness.” Clinical depression is different from situational sadness. Seek help from qualified professionals when appropriate. “Build a support system.” Surrounding yourself with dependable, mature people who will walk by your side creates a barrier to hopelessness. We do not experience emotional difficulties alone. Mork helps her students see that Jesus was immersed in human life too, experiencing frustration, disappointment, fear and abandonment. We needn’t be victims of our emotions. We have hope.

Rather than suppressing feelings, Dr. Melissa Mork suggests dealing with them in a healthy way and developing habits of self-soothing.







Paul Twist ’51 retired from Lakes Community Church in Clitherall, MN, which he helped organize and pastored for 19 years. He pastored three other churches—65 years in all. Paul and his wife Patricia (Ciminski ’51) live in Henning, MN. (His first wife, Dolores, died 11 years ago. He and Patricia have been married two years.) One of his five children, Marilyn (Twist ’81) Johnson, graduated from UNW, as well as four of his grandchildren.

1964 Dick Schirmacher ’64 was awarded the Caregivers of Minnesota Volunteer of the Year Award. Now retired after 33 years as a music teacher at Carl Sandburg Junior High, he volunteers at Good Samaritan Society playing piano and interacting with residents and at the Bibles for Missions thrift store in Robbinsdale.

1977 Anthony G. Arends ’77 was ordained into ministry in 1978 and retired in 2012. He and Erma celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary in December and live in Trinity, FL. They have four children and four grandchildren. They often reminisce about the students they loved as dorm parents during their years at Northwestern. 24




Major: Psychology Career: Police officer, City of Hopkins Hometown: Golden Valley, MN Current home: Shoreview, MN A desire to serve others Leland Coleman began his college career in kinesiology but changed his major to psychology because he wanted to help people. Eventually, with the guidance of Northwestern staff, he discovered the field of law enforcement. After graduation, Coleman served as a corrections officer with Ramsey County for two years and is now a police officer with the City of Hopkins. He spends most of his time in a squad car doing traffic enforcement and meeting with community groups or schools. He has received two Lifesaving Awards for intervening in life-threatening situations for two people while on duty. These incidents made a significant impact on Coleman and have served as reminders of why he went into law enforcement. Positive and helpful Coleman says the climate of law enforcement has been challenging with recent tensions, but he continues to focus on the positive moments. “The thing I most enjoy is being able to help people, whether I am helping to keep a community safe by catching a criminal or just talking to a kid who made a bad choice and trying to help them to see they have other options.” He considers each day an opportunity to show kindness and be the hands and feet of Christ to those he comes in contact with.






Jeffrey Evensen ’81 and his wife Laura started the Elk River House of Prayer in 2005. They now spend many months each year in Ukraine and neighboring Slavic countries encouraging the Church to know Jesus in every way, inviting them to “pursue the genuine relationship for which they were born.”

Scott ’89 and Julie (Pettman ’89) Nelson celebrated the marriage of their son Joshua Nelson ’16 to Amy Nyquist ’15 in June. Many of the Nelsons and the Nyquists are alumni or current students at Northwestern. The groom’s uncle (Scott’s brother-in-law) is Mark Baden, former art professor and dean of faculty. Scott is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Two Harbors, MN.

James Komoszewski ’96 was named president and chief executive officer of Investment Centers of America, Inc.

Christopher Schaefer ’89 has been the pastor of American Reformed Church in Woodstock, MN for two years. Before that, he was a youth pastor for 27 years. He currently works as a substitute teacher in five different school districts and also leads Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) groups in four area high schools. His wife Cheryl works with him at the church. The Schaefers have four grandchildren. Cheryl and Christopher met at Northwestern during a dorm Bible study, were married by Dr. Harvey Martin in Nazareth Chapel in 1987 and have been happily married for 29 years.

Anne Michelle Bolsem ’97 earned her master’s degree (education in reading and literacy) from Walden University in 2003 and completed her doctorate of education in teacher leadership in 2013. She currently teaches kindergarten at Garlough Environmental Magnet School in West St. Paul, MN where she has worked since 1998. Anne currently serves as a site mentor for new teachers, a negotiator for the teachers’ union and a representative on the leadership team.

Shereen (Kramer ’00) Wolters taught high school math in the Anoka-Hennepin School District for five years until the birth of her first child. She and Lynn Wolters ’00 have seven daughters: Elliana Joy, Madeline Grace, Abigail Hope, Violet Mercy, Clara Peace, Mabel Faith and Hazel Charity. She wrote, “Our latest additions were our twins, born in August 2015. Now I teach my girls! Recently we moved to the countryside, south of the Twin Cities.” They enjoy the acreage and their animals.

1982 Gary ’82 and Ann (Simengaard ’82) Keeler are moving to downtown Minneapolis from their suburban home to be part of Harvest Bible Chapel, a church plant there.

1987 Stephen ’87 and Kristie (Friesen ’87) Lindskov welcomed Ruth Xinting, born on September 1, 2014, in China and adopted in March 2016. She joins big brothers Noah (17) and Isaac (14), and big sister Hadassah (4). Ruth Xinting Lindskov

1992 Juliette (Parker ’92) Reiland and her husband Paul have been called into stateside missions with Time to Revive/reviveMINNESOTA. They are in the support-raising process and eager to complete 22 years of real estate work and launch into revival full time.

Rachelle (Stanger ’96) Tesser relocated to Longview, TX where her husband Dave is an instructor in the aviation department at LeTourneau University.


1999 Ryan Simat ’99 is the new general manager at Octane Fitness. He was previously the vice president of sales (since 2003).

William ’00 and Jenevieve (Aune ’00) Rannow welcomed Noah Charles on March 22, 2016.

The Wolters

2001 Nathan and Alison (Fontana ’01) Hakseth welcomed their third son, Jude Nathan, on April 15, 2016.

Education for Every Stage of Life UNW has programs for everyone, from high schoolers seeking free college credit to adults wanting to advance in their jobs. EARLY COLLEGE | UNDERGRADUATE | ADULT UNDERGRAD | GRADUATE STUDIES

Find your program at!

1-800-692-4020 651-631-5100




Kathleen (Winger ’01) Lindeman and her husband Bruce are serving overseas in a sensitive area of the world. They write, “Pray for our work, the people we are discipling and reaching in a country where it is illegal to become a follower of Jesus.”

2002 Luke ’02 and Kathryn (Gozola ’02) White welcomed triplets born on April 3, 2016: Asher John, Elliott Graham and Grace Elizabeth. They also have two older children, Landon Andrew (6) and Bennett Tucker (4). Jesse GrothOlson ’02 recently costarred in a feature film Manifest Destiny, a musical comedy about Lewis and Clark. He received his master’s of fine arts/theatre from Roosevelt University in Chicago and is currently an assistant professor at Houston Baptist University.

2004 Jonathan ’04 and Jessica (Lawton ’04) Day welcomed their second child, Finn Alexander, on July 1, 2015.

2005 The Lindemans

Abbie (Norris ’05) Montermini opened her own Christian dance studio, Northeast Dance Center, in New Brighton, MN. In June the studio staged its first end-of-year performance (recital) in which 35 local students danced in a variety of styles. “It’s been a joy to use my experience and learning from Northwestern to start a new business as well as see how the business world has changed since I graduated 11 years ago.”

Lori and Greg Johnson ’05 welcomed Cameron Ruth on November 30, 2016.

Cameron Ruth Johnson

The White triplets

“Welcome home.”

These are the words often spoken to our alumni as they come back to Northwestern to visit and reminisce. Those words became even more real to me last fall when I walked onto campus, this time as a staff member. It’s been 32 years since I walked this campus as a student, and now I have returned as the director for Alumni & Public Relations. What brought me back? I realized the impact Northwestern had on me as a student. The relationships I made all those years ago helped mold me into who I am today—and I’m so grateful. It was a time when my faith in God truly became my own. Within the Alumni & Public Relations department, I am part of a team that reconnects those relationships and gives our alumni a reason to come back home. If you are on campus, please stop by the alumni office. I would love to see you. And please send information about what’s going on in your life. Scott Anderson ’84, director for Alumni & Public Relations Don’t miss out on UNW news or events! Update your alumni profile at (Choose “Stay Connected” then “Update Your Profile.”) If you include your email you’ll receive our monthly Alumni E-news in addition to Pilot. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.



Ryan and Julie (West ’05) Olson welcomed Sylvie Marie on February 1, 2016. She joins big brother Rylan. Sylvie Marie Olson

EAGLE Michael Lanser ’06 recently accepted the position of program director at 89Q radio in Wausau, WI. He and his wife, Amy (Strandquist ’04) Lanser and family moved from Iowa to Wisconsin over Labor Day weekend.

Sam Anderson ’06 is one of the band directors at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, SD. The school’s 260-member marching band performed in the 2016 Hollywood Christmas Parade—a three-mile route.


2008 Major: Psychology Career: Health coach Hometown: Elk River, MN Current home: Willmar, MN Family: Husband: Dan; Children: Saryn (15), Samuel (13), Kazia (11), Ezra (9)

Olen Ernest Olson Aaron ’08 and Michelle (Satren ’08) Olson welcomed a new addition to their family, Olen Ernest.





Ben ’01 and Amber (Jacobson ’01) Dahl adopted their first child, Ava Joy. They have fostered many children over the last five years, and currently have two older boys in addition to Ava. They are still “praying for the boys’ adoptions to come in God’s timing.” Amber is a full-time mom, and Ben is selfemployed as a residential builder (Ben Dahl Construction). They reside in Moorhead, MN.


Alissa (Steele ’09) Bauer is a resident physician at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis and gave birth to her first child, Nevin Bauer, on July 13, 2016. Serena Joy Kmoch

Battling to be Strong Fourteen years ago, Jill and her husband sat down to write their goals in life. “I’m the dreamer of the pair of us,” said Jill. Her goals included having five kids by the time she was 27; a certain amount of money in the bank; and to be a contestant on a reality TV show. Over the years, Jill sent in applications to shows, but a year and a half ago, her determination increased. “I started browsing through the casting pages of the different networks, and I saw an ad for this new show.” The NBC show Strong showcased ten ordinary women paired with professional trainers with the goal of building muscle and getting strong. She applied and was informed only two weeks before filming that she was accepted as a participant. She joined in the challenge, participating in each week’s training and physical challenges. At the end of every episode, one team was eliminated. Jill and her trainer came out victorious, claiming a cash prize of $300,000 to split. Using her degree From her experience on Strong, Jill has found a career as a health coach—encouraging and challenging others to be their best selves. “A lot of my training with clients has to do with the mind,” she noted. Her psychology degree has become an integral part of helping her clients be successful physically, mentally and emotionally.

Nick ’06 and Amber (Wilson ’06) Kmoch welcomed their fourth child, Serena Joy, on July 1, 2016. Nick is attending UNW, working on his M.Div. degree. UNIVERSITY OF NORTHWESTERN WINTER 2017 PILOT



Matt ’10 and Amanda (Kaiser ’09) Kramer welcomed Otto Matthew, a “rich gift of God” on January 8, 2016 at 12:50 p.m. (10 pounds, 22 ½ inches long). His dad hopes Otto will be an Eagles football player someday.

2011 Jacob ’11 and Kristen (Scott ’11) McLellan are moving back to the U.S. with their son Gabriel after being stationed with the Army in Vicenza, Italy. “We will be transitioning down to Fort Benning,” Jacob writes, “where I will start the Maneuver Captains Career Course,” a six-month school. Garrett ’11 and Amy (Rahn ’11) Zaffke welcomed their first child, Zoey, in July 2015. Amy works for Bethany Global University in Bloomington, MN, helping others prepare for a life of missions overseas.

2012 Sam ’12 and Kelsey (Johnson ’13) Lepa welcomed Everly in November 2016. The Lepas


Anna Rask ’12 graduated summa cum laude with a master’s of divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. In September 2016, she began work on her Ph.D. in theology with an emphasis in Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary.

2013 Jake Fletcher ’13 and Michaela Gibas were married on July 22, 2016. Maxwell Rymer ’13 won the Republican endorsement and ran for the Minnesota State House of Representatives in District 49B in the 2016 election. Since graduating, he has started two companies specializing in digital marketing and professional development.

2015 Jessica Blatchley ’15 accepted a job as development coordinator at The Salvation Army Northern Division in Roseville, MN. Brianna Lietha ’15 got the chance to follow her dream and become a missionary with Youth for Christ in Düsseldorf, Germany. She will be working with international youth leading youth clubs and mission trips around Europe, sharing the gospel of Christ with third culture teenagers. She is excited to begin this journey and share it with UNW!


The Pals Family: The Nyquist-Nelson wedding (left to right): Erik Nyquist (current third year student), Lee Nyquist ’87, Kris Nyquist ’87, Amy (Nyquist ’15) Nelson, Joshua Nelson ’16, Julie (Pettman ’89) Nelson, Scott Nelson ’89, Elizabeth Nelson ’13, and Linnea Nelson (current second year student). Amy Nyquist ’15 and Joshua Nelson ’16 were married on June 11, 2016. She works at 180 Degrees in St. Paul, MN as a social worker, and he works for Elite Medical Scribes in Minneapolis, MN. Josh is planning to pursue training to be a physician assistant. The couple lives in St. Anthony.

2016 Meagan Kemp ’16 and Benjamin Struck ’16 were married on September 24, 2016 in Lake City, MN. They reside in St. Paul. Meagan and Benjamin Struck

In Memory The Northwestern community offers condolences to the families and friends of these alumni who passed away. Ruth (Gustavson ’45) Dyer on August 1, 2016. Clayton Pyche ’49 on August 14, 2016. Layton Brueske ’51 on July 1, 2016. Shirley (Johnson ’51) Almen on July 14, 2016. Joan (Plaisted ’55) Cook on July 28, 2016. John Gold ’99 on August 27, 2016. Jamison ’08 and Kathryne (Engel ’09) Pals on July 31, 2016, along with their children, Ezra, Violet and Calvin.

Heartbreak and the Peace of God “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25) Jamison ’08 and Kathryne (Engel ’09) Pals dreamed of a life dedicated to missions. In the summer of 2016, their dreams were close to coming true. They had given away all of their furniture and were planning a trip to WorldVenture in Colorado for a five-week language immersion and culture assimilation training. From there, they’d return home for a month, then fly to Nagoya, Japan, to begin their mission work. On July 31, they packed Ezra (3), Violet (23 months) and Calvin (2 months) into the family van to begin their trip. They didn’t make it. While delayed in a highway construction zone in Nebraska, a semitrailer vehicle driven by a distracted driver slammed into the back of their van. Both vehicles




exploded in flames. Everyone in the Pals family died at the scene, along with the driver of another vehicle. The semitruck driver survived and was taken to a local hospital. At home in Minnesota, their parents received the terrible news: “…no survivors.” Overcome with anguish and grief, they almost immediately felt supernatural comfort. “It was only a few minutes after I heard the shocking news,” said Kathryne’s mother, Nancy Engel, “that the Lord spoke to me. God was going to turn this for good.” The memorial service held on August 6 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis was livestreamed. About 1,500 people

attended and another 1,856 watched remotely in the U.S. and countries around the world. The story of the Pals’ life and death spread. “Some young families who were considering mission work contacted WorldVenture and committed to go to the field,” said Kathy Pals, Jamison’s mother. Letters arrived, confirming that Jamison and Kathryne’s blog site ( was still affecting lives and creating a passion for the Lord. The parents have shared their testimonies at churches, Twins games, Teen Challenge, radio shows (KTIS included) and TV news programs. The death of their children and grandchildren strengthened their faith. “Ask yourself,” said Jamison’s

father, Rick Pals, “‘Is Jesus worth it?’ Jamison and Kathryne answered ‘Yes, He is worth it.’ The Pals family answered, ‘Yes, He is worth it.’ The Engel family answered, ‘Yes, He is worth it.’” Through it all, the Engels and Pals have maintained hope and closeness. “We’ve had sadness and tears,” said Gordy Engel, Kathryne’s father. “But this is about victory. It’s not about death because they are alive.” An endowed scholarship has been established to honor the memory of the Pals family. Please contact Jim Johnson ( or Kirby Stoll ( for more information. Or call 1-800692-4020, ext. 5378.







Daniel Bernstrom ’10 One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016)

Bill Fisher ’55 When God Stepped In: 51 Encounters that Showed Me God is Real and I Can Trust in Him (LifeRich Publishing, 2015)

Holly (Aunan ’12) Holt with contributors Heidi (Stoltz ’10) Anderson, Courtney Bobko ’13, Amanda Jass and Chelsea Ritchie In the Wait: A Six-Week Study on Waiting (Holly Holt Design, 2016)

Enjoy a day of golf at TPC Twin Cities, Minnesota’s only private PGA TOUR-owned course, while supporting UNW students through the Northwestern Fund and Wade Wahl Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Monday, June 5 More info at

A Legacy of Excellence and Value Children of UNW alumni receive a special scholarship for traditional undergraduate programs. Contact Admissions for more information. 1-800-827-6827 651-631-5111

Janell (Butler ’83) Wojtowicz Embracing Hope (Discern Products, 2016)

The Northwestern Fund:

Change Students’ Lives for Good Addie (Eclov ’04) Zierman Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark (Convergent Books, 2016)

We’re raising $1,275,000 to assist UNW students with scholarships. Want to change lives and give talented students a chance? Join the effort. Give now at Questions? Contact Matt: 651-286-7525




Save the date for this year’s Homecoming! Come home to see the people and place that had an impact on you while you were a student.







University of Northwestern’s Production of


A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney Film Original Music and Lyrics by

Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman Book by

Julian Fellowes New Songs and Additional Music and Lyrics by

George Stiles and Anthony Drewe Co-Created by

Cameron Mackintosh March 16–18, 22–25 / 7:30 p.m. March 18, 25 / 2:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online: Call the Ticket Office: 651-631-5151 Visit the Ticket Office window: M–F, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

University of Northwestern – St. Paul: Equipping Christ-centered learners and leaders to invest in others and impact the world. Learn. Lead. Invest. Impact.

University of Northwestern | PILOT Spring 2017  

Pursuit: Health & Wellness as a Community

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