2017 Summer Bridge Class Notes

Tim Brennan ’64, Homosassa, Florida, displayed The Bridge in the square of Saint Peter Basilica in Rome. His southern Mediterranean cruise took him to Rome, Malta, Tunis, Algiers, Sardinia, Valencia and Barcelona.

Kathleen B. (Kerrigan) Horstmeyer ’66, Chester, Connecticut., was presented the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Fellow Award.

Albert (Al) Wilson ’65, Vista, California, displayed the Summer 2016 Bridge by the Great Wall of China.

George ’65 and Vernelle (Hassman) ’66, Malven, Maynard, Iowa, visited New Zealand and Australia in September 2016. The couple displayed The Bridge at Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. They also recently visited England and France.


Jim Mazziotti ’75, Bend, Oregon, a realtor/broker owner and founding partner and certified John C. Maxwell speaker and trainer, recently spoke and presented “How To Become A Person Of Influence” to Exit Realty Corp. International broker/owners in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Jeanne (Joachim) Blaes ’77, Scottsdale, Arizona, was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2016. Along with this honor, Blaes will appear in the Veterans Heritage Project publication as a salute to women in the military.


Daniel (Dan) Hovden ’87, West Union, Iowa, was inducted into the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. As a high school baseball coach, he has earned four trips to the state tournament, six conference titles and five district titles. Hovden has been an active member of the coaches association, including being named NE District Coach of the Year three times.

Vicki (Hanson) Villacrez ’89, Verona, Wisconsin, has been named senior vice president of finance and will continue as the company’s CFO at TDS Telecom.


Karen Blume-Shaffer ’93, Waverly, Iowa, joined Veridian Credit Union as a core systems programmer. She previously worked as a developer for Assa Abloy Door Group.

Kristin (Greiner) Sproul ’93, Waterloo, Iowa, was named campaign director for Cedar Valley United Way in Waterloo, Iowa.

Jordon Dierks, ’93, Des Moines, Iowa, joined the Human Resources Learning and Development team with EMC Insurance Companies as the learning management system administrator. He was previously eLearning director at Upper Iowa University.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, ’95, born in Manchester, Iowa, and raised in Strawberry Point, Iowa, has been selected by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to become deputy adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard.

Chris Neessen ’96, Denver, Iowa, was hired at VGM Group Inc. Neessen will be working for Strategic Imaging as an account manager.

Neil Wilkinson ’99, Oelwein, Iowa, was selected to serve as the president-elect for the National Association for Insurance and Financial Advisors – Iowa. Wilkinson is a current member of the UIU Board of Trustees.


Stephen Arneson ’00, San Bernardino, California, accepted a position as the director of development with the College of Social and Behavior Sciences at California State University – San Bernardino.

Shane Kron ’00, Iowa City, Iowa, was unanimously approved to serve as the Coralville, Iowa, police chief.

Jason ’02 and Tabitha Fowler, San Diego, California, announced the birth of daughter Aaliyah Jayde Fowler. She was born at 3:40 a.m. Sunday, February 12, 2017, and weighed 6 lbs. 1 oz. Aaliyah joins big sister Arianna.

Amy (Peterson) ’02 and Jackson ’02 Hayek, Decorah, Iowa, welcomed their son Wes Milo on January 7, 2017. Wes weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz., and joins big brothers Ray and Vaughn.

Jamie Sullivan ’02 Fairbank, Iowa, was named the Waterloo Exchange Club’s Officer of the Year for 2016. His continued dedication resulted in numerous arrests and solved crimes.

Billy Lawson ’01 and ’03, Long Beach, Mississippi, was named economic development director in Pascagoula, MS. He earned his MBA from UIU while serving in the Army.

Tyler and Chyanne (Kleve) ’05, Kalishek, Cedar Falls, Iowa, announced the birth of their baby girl, Portland Aletta, on December 11, 2016.

Lidra (Xiong) ’07 and Brandon ’09 Schenk, Fresno, California, announce the birth of their daughter, Channing May Schenk. She was born October 10, 2016.

Stephanie (Crosser) Rottinghaus ’08, Fairbank, Iowa, was promoted to marketing manager at Advanced Heat Treat Corp. in Waterloo, Iowa. She worked as the marketing specialist there for nearly six years.

Steven ’08 and Nikki Fellhauer, Northville, Michigan, welcomed their second child, Ian Richard Fellhauer, on April 28, 2017.

Gregory Bartz ’09, Oelwein, Iowa, joined the clinical staff at Cedar Valley Hospice. He will be working as a nurse in the Independence, Iowa, office.

Brock ’09 and Kristina Spangenberg, Elkhorn, Nebraska, announce the birth of their daughter Elle Jean. She was born November 18, 2016, and joins her 3-year-old brother Zachary.


Kelly (Kinley) Balvanz ’10, Marion, Iowa, joined the Waterloo – Cedar Falls Courier as a recruitment specialist.

Ben Curran ’11, Fayette, Iowa, was named wide receivers coach for Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. He was previously the assistant football coach at UIU from May 2009 to March 2017.

James Ebert ’11, Nicholasville, Kentucky, was named police chief in Richmond, Kentucky. Ebert was previously employed as a Frankfort police lieutenant and assistant night shift commander.

Jerome (Wei Mun) ’12, and Isabel (Sze Wei Sin) ’12 Chong, were wed on January 19, 2017. They met at UIU Fayette Campus, and both served as work-study students for the Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Development.

Heather Hillman ’12, Cedar Falls, Iowa, was hired at VGM in their Homelink division. She previously worked at Lutheran Services for Iowa.

Paul Hunter ’12, Memphis, Tennessee, has published a new book, No Love, No Charity: The Success of the 19th Child. This autobiographical book describes how Hunter has overcome the odds and achieved success. Hunter has been featured on “The Travis Smiley Show,” “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” “The Maggie Linton Show” and the “Johnnie O Gospel Show.”

Allyssa Joseph ’12, Aurora, Colorado, received a promotion to associate director of major gifts at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Prior to accepting this position, Joseph worked as the director of annual giving for MSU – Denver.

Justin ’12 and Leslie (Willson) ’12 Marchant, Shell Rock, Iowa, announced the birth of their baby girl Ava on December 16, 2016. She joins her big sister, Lilliana.

Chaney and Jason ’12 Waddell, Franklin, Tennessee, welcomed baby girl Sadie into their family in the fall of 2016. Waddell is the current Upper Iowa University Alumni Association president.

Darin Wecker ’13, Rockton, Illinois, was named Belvidere Bucs head football coach. Prior to this position, Wecker was the offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator for the team. He helped coach the team that broke 24 school records and seven NIC-10 records.

Ty Grunder ’14, Durant, Iowa, was hired as assistant director of development in the School of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Grunder had been a development officer at Upper Iowa University since graduating in 2014.

Nicholas Linde ’14, Madison Lake, Minnesota, was named senior director of administration at Minnesota State University – Mankato Foundation.

Kathryn (Mertens) Gisleson ’15, Cedar Falls, Iowa, was named the 2017 Registered Dental Hygienist of the Year by the Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association. She is an instructor at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa, and practices dental hygiene in Manchester, Iowa, during the summer.

Christine Jury ’15, Ankeny, Iowa, was hired to teach preschool at Bright Beginnings Preschool in Ankeny, Iowa.

Tyler and Lauren (Buck) ’15 Thoms, Fayette, Iowa, are excited to announce the birth of their son Paxton Michael Thoms on April 25, 2017. He was 7 lbs. 13 oz. and 21 ¼ inches long.

Montana Van Sickle ’15, Johnston, Iowa, has been hired to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) at South Union Elementary School of Des Moines Public Schools. She previously split her education career teaching ESL at both Howe and South Union elementary schools.

Kaitlin Courtney ’16, Des Moines, Iowa, will be teaching special education at Waukee High School in Waukee, Iowa.

Kenny Harrington Jr. ’16, Des Moines, Iowa, was hired as K-3 reading interventionist at South Union Elementary School of Des Moines Public Schools.

Leslie Hildebrand ’16, Waterloo, Iowa, accepted the intake patient care coordinator position at VGM – Homelink division.

Robin Hunt ’16, Cedar Falls, Iowa, was hired as a construction administrator at Lockard Cos. in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Amanda Kalb ’16 accepted the position as director and preschool teacher at Rainbow Land Preschool/Daycare in Fayette, Iowa.

Brent Keemle ’16, Rock Island, Illinois, was hired as a sixth grade social studies teacher at Bettendorf Middle School in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Erica Kirgan ’16, Polk City, Iowa, accepted a graphic design position at Rock Communications in Newton, Iowa.

Emily Marvin ’16, Alta Vista, Iowa, will be teaching preschool at West Handcock Schools in Britt, Iowa.

Dustin Osier ’16, Greene, Iowa, accepted the earth science and fundamentals of physics teacher position at Tipton High School. He will also be the freshman and sophomore baseball coach for the Iowa school.

Jessie Perry ’16, Battle Ground, Washington, was hired as a first grade teacher at Tukes Valley Primary School in Battle Ground.

Carly Pagel ’16, Hawkeye, Iowa, was hired as the marketing manager at Larry K. Fox & Associates in Waterloo, Iowa. It is a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

Susan Pettinger ’16, Burnsville, Minnesota, accepted the third- and fourth- grade reading and math teaching position in Burnsville.

Rebecca (Sides) Studer ’16, West Des Moines, Iowa, was hired as a second-grade teacher at Howe Elementary for Des Moines Public Schools.

Kayla Arnold ’17, Davenport, Iowa, accepted a position as a prekindergarten teacher at Buffalo and Buchanan Elementary Schools in Davenport.

Michele Clayton ’17, Clive, Iowa, was hired to teach AP/IB biology at Central Campus with Des Moines Public Schools.

Bridget Dolan ’17, Strawberry Point, Iowa, was hired as the sixth grade science and sixth- through eighth-grade reading teacher with the Allamakee School District in Waukon, Iowa.

Tracey (Francis) Gibson ’17, Ankeny, Iowa, will be teaching fifth grade at Park Avenue Elementary Schools of Des Moines Public Schools.

Shannon Jacobsen ’17, Clermont, Iowa, accepted a K-3 special education teaching position with the Northwood-Kensett School District in Iowa.

Kelsey Hinrichs ’17 accepted the K-8 art position at North Linn School District in Iowa.

Ashley Lahr ’17, Fayette, Iowa, accepted a K-12 special education position with the Postville (Iowa)Community School District.

Anastasia Lavrenko ’17, Postville, Iowa, accepted a teaching position for the talented and gifted program at North Fayette Valley schools in West Union and rural Elgin, Iowa.

Cathy Lewis ’17, Clive, Iowa, will teach fourth grade at Dexter Elementary in the West Central Valley Community School District in Iowa.

Trey MacTaggart ’17, Manchester, Iowa, was hired as the physical education and life skills teacher at Forest City (Iowa) High School.

Elizabeth (Davis) Martinez ’17, Norwalk, Iowa, was hired to teach high school business at North High School of Des Moines Public Schools.

Sarah Pisney ’17, Cresco, Iowa, will be teaching secondary art at North Fayette Valley Community School in West Union, Iowa, beginning in the fall.

Katie Sammons ’17, Ottumwa, Iowa, accepted a kindergarten teaching position at Cardinal Community School in Eldon, Iowa.

Kelly Sullivan ’17, Des Moines, Iowa, accepted a Level 3 Behavior Disorders teaching position at Roger’s Elementary in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Gabriel Wittenburg ’17, Readlyn, Iowa, accepted a 2/3 multi-age teaching position at North Fayette Valley Middle School in rural Elgin, Iowa.

Jamie (Buehler) Vargason ’17, Oelwein, Iowa, was hired as K-12 art teacher for the West Central School District in Maynard, Iowa.

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