5 Waldorf Students Attend the 2015 Alpha Chi National Convention in Chicago

“And up next is Marisa Donnelly, reading three poems for us tonight.”

            I hear my name. I hear clapping. I wipe my sweaty palms on my black dress pants and take a deep breath. This always happens before I read my writing. I always get this bubbly, anxious feeling. My hands sweat, my heart squeezes, and my stomach feel like there’s a tiny hamster inside, running in circles on a little wheel.

            I smile. Take the microphone from the moderator and step to the podium.

            Looking out into the crowd, there’s at least two hundred faces—students, Alpha Chi Sponsors, regional and national delegates and representatives. The room is dark except for a green glowing light behind me—a decorative addition of the Sheraton Chicago Ballroom—and a spotlight directed on my face. I take a breath and speak. My voice fills the room and instantly the hamster wheel stops, the bubbling stops, the squeezing stops. And I’m washed with calm.

            “Hello. My name is Marisa Donnelly and I will be reading three poems from a collection I’ve been working on this past year, entitled ‘Tilted Compass’, which explores the complicated relationships we often find ourselves in. The poems are “Anchor,” “Loving an Alcoholic,” and “After the Fight.”

            I pause for a second, then begin.

alpha chiThe Alpha Chi National Convention, March 19-21 2015, was held this year at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Hundreds of students from both the United States and internationally, gathered from different colleges across the country to celebrate scholarship, academics, networking, and camaraderie. Five members from Waldorf University attended: Marisa Donnelly, Molly Maschka, Tara Kingland, Jenna Tegtmeyer, and Shaye Sutherland.

The Sheraton is located in a prime part of the city, just a walk from Millennium Park, the location of the famous ‘Bean’ and Jay Pritzker Pavilion; the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and Skydeck; and Navy Pier, home of the well-known Ferris Wheel overlooking the city skyline.

The convention began on Thursday afternoon with a gathering related to the theme and national service project, “Harmonious Hemispheres: The Nexus of Science and the Arts.” For the service project, chapters and schools were asked to raise money for the Art Therapy Connection of Chicago, which as their website states, is a “non-profit organization that provides in-school and after-school art therapy and expressive arts programming for at-risk youth who have little or no access to support.” It was asked that each school collected art supplies and donated at least $50, which Waldorf University contributed as a result of the face-painting events and bake sales held on campus earlier this year.

An informal ‘Taste of Chicago’ reception was held following the Art Therapy gathering, which included various favorites from local restaurants: chicken and waffles, beef or barbeque chicken sliders, cheesecake pops, meats and cheeses, breads, and Chicago-style hotdogs. The Research and Creativity Forum was also held at this time. Students who completed poster projects were able to display and answer questions about their work for the chance to win a scholarship award. Senior biology major, Jenna Tegtmeyer, presented at this time. Her poster presentation was entitled, “Insights into the Mechanism of Heme Transfer from PhuS to Heme Oxygenase in P. aeruginosa,” showcasing research on the bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which infects individuals with compromised immune systems. Tegtmeyer completed this research at the undergraduate program in the bioinorganic chemistry department at North Dakota State University.

Following this was Music, Movement & Words, a session dedicated to Creative Writing and Performing Arts. Senior Marisa Donnelly read poetry during this session. “It was so wonderful to see the talent of different people and the emotion that was brought into their work,” Donnelly said. “One student did an interpretive dance in which she contorted her body to reflect the misery her character experienced after her lover’s death. Another student read a non-fiction slam poem, expressing her struggle with parasomnia, night terrors and irrational fears she has while sleeping.”


Student interpretive dancing for the Performing Arts category during Music & Words on Thursday, March 19th.


Taste of Chicago reception


Taste of Chicago reception: chicken/beef sliders and chicken and waffles.


IMG_1938 Taste of Chicago reception: cheesecake pops.

Friday and Saturday of the convention were similar. There were presentations in the morning, meetings with the Alpha Chi Regional Chapters, and informative sessions. Each presentation was fifteen minutes, with a short break in-between that allowed students to travel to different rooms to hear other presentation topics. The genres included American History, Communication, Creative Writing, Art/Music/Dance, Anthropology, Health Sciences, Religion, Education, Molecular/Cellular Biology, and Psychology among others.

Waldorf University senior, Molly Maschka, also presented at the 2015 Convention. Molly’s non-fiction piece was entitled, “Da’s Girl,” which was a short story from a collection of memoir pieces exploring her childhood relationship with her father.


Waldorf senior Molly Maschka presents her non-fiction essay, “Da’s Girl” in the Creative Non-Fiction category at the Alpha Chi National Convention on March 20, 2015.

When asked about her experience presenting, Maschka said, “I was extremely nervous to the point my hands were shaking. I am normally not a person who likes to present in front of people, but I knew I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. Yet, as words started to come out of my mouth, my nerves started to clam down. Presenting wasn’t as bad as I thought. It gave me a huge confidence boost!”

Despite nerves, both girls did a wonderful job.

Other Waldorf attendees at the 2015 Convention were senior Tara Kingland and junior Shaye Sutherland who both plan to attend next year. When asked about her convention experience, Kingland said, “I enjoyed the convention a lot! It was fun seeing fellow students from the nation with the same passion and desire to excel in their fields of study.” She expressed some fears as well, “When I first went, I was nervous that I would be out of place, not just because I am a nontraditional student, but also because I am not a literary student or a science student, rather I am majoring in graphic design. I wasn’t sure if there would be anything in the sessions I would be interested in. I was wrong.”

Both Kingland and Sutherland said that their favorite part of the weekend was meeting new people and building relationships with fellow students.

cody clark

Junior Cody Clark, recipient of the 2015 Alpha Chi Region IV Scholarship for his Waldorf Student Promotional Video.

The Convention also offered Regional Meetings. In the Region IV meeting, in which Waldorf University is a member, delegates met and mingled over continental breakfast. The Alpha Chi 2015 Region IV Scholarship was also awarded to two students, one of which was Waldorf University’s junior Cody Clark for his promotional video showcasing senior soccer player, Andrew Larsen.

Other convention highlights were the Alpha Chi’s Got Talent on Friday night, a talent show of music, poetry reading, and piano playing. Meeting Reuben Ironhorse-Kent, Alpha Chi’s 2015 Distinguished Alumnus, who talked and played music. And the Evening Gala at the Nexus & the Arts on Saturday night, featuring keynote speaker Nnedi Okorafor, award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism.

Okorafor spoke about her young adulthood. As one of the best tennis players in the state of Illinois entering college, a paralyzing scoliosis surgery changed not only her entire life, but also her identity. She turned to writing to both express and define herself. Her speech on that experience was inspiring for both writers and non-writers alike.


Reuben Ironhorse-Kent, Alpha Chi’s 2015 Distinguished Alumnus


2015 Alpha Chi National Convention keynote speaker, Nnedi Okorafor, a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism.


Waldorf senior Marisa Donnelly with keynote speaker, Nnedi Okorafor.

Free time was another important aspect of the convention. Students were given Friday afternoon to explore the city. The Waldorf group took advantage of that, heading to Giradanno’s first to try original Chicago deep-dish pizza, then Millennium Park, Navy Pier and the Ferris Wheel, and finally, the Skydeck to see the city lights at night.


Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park.


Waldorf University students pose at The Bean at Millennium Park. [Left to right: Jenna Tegtmeyer, Molly Maschka, Shaye Sutherland, Tara Kingland]


Waldorf students outside the Sheraton Hotel. [Left to right: Tara Kingland, Shaye Sutherland, Molly Maschka, Jenna Tegtmeyer, Marisa Donnelly]


Chicago skyline view from Willis Tower’s Skydeck

Overall the convention was incredible. From exploring the city, to standing up at the podium with sweaty hands before reading poetry, to meeting Alpha Chi members from Hawaii to Texas, to trying sushi and deep dish for the first time, Waldorf University’s Marisa Donnelly, Molly Maschka, Tara Kingland, Jenna Tegtmeyer, and Shaye Sutherland are excited about the experience and the wonderful opportunities Alpha Chi can offer now and in the future.

Organized Chaos – Spring Season in the Denny Jerome Athletic Center [DJAC]

Read the article on Waldorf University’s Lobbyist 


Waldorf University’s indoor turf facility, the Denny Jerome Athletic Center, or DJAC, is a second home to many student athletes. Built in 2009, the DJAC is used on a daily basis by men and women’s golf, softball, baseball, men/women’s soccer, and most recently, men/women’s track and field. With this being the first year of Waldorf University having an indoor track and field program, scheduling practice times at the DJAC has become a bit more complex.

As head coach of the Warrior Track and Field program, Kendrick Clay was faced with the difficulty of providing his athletes practice times and locations that would be productive. “We practice at numerous times throughout the day and practices depend on the events the athletes are training for,” Clay said. Currently, the DJAC is being used by jumpers and throwers.

For Clay, having an indoor turf facility is beneficial because it allows for a better, more efficient surface for athletes to train their throws and jumps. However, he expressed his concern about training times in the DJAC, “I will say that any time a coaching staff has to have multiple practice times throughout the day, regardless of the sport, it is a stretch for the coaching staff.” He continued, saying that recruiting, administration, and even team cohesion could be affected by the practice schedules. “When athletes consistently train at different times than their teammates, it can influence team dynamics.”

Currently, the track and field program practices in the DJAC from 1:30-3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, but with differing class schedules and other student commitments, it is clear that this practice schedule might not be ideal. “My personal hope is that if the Track program grows in participation numbers, as well as other programs on campus, that we see the construction of a field house,” Clay said. To Clay, this field house will be independent of the current John K. and Luise Hanson Fieldhouse and will extend to be a multi-purpose facility, complete with an indoor track and gym. “My feeling is that if our athletic teams reach their ideal participation numbers a different indoor training situation will need to be addressed.”

Mark Clouse, head of the Warrior Men/Women’s Golf team at Waldorf also gave his opinion on the DJAC. “Being able to hone our skills inside during the winter months in a climate controlled environment really helps us to be prepared for our spring golf season. We are able to simulate competitive situations for a sport that is played outdoors.”

Currently the golf team uses the DJAC from 3-4:30 p.m. on Mondays, 4:30-6 p.m. or 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays, 3-5p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays, and 1-3p.m. on Fridays with a few times switched on certain dates. In comparison to some other athletic teams, golf practices are a little more inconsistent, but Clouse says that the teams have managed to work together and structure the most consistent schedule as possible.

As for challenges in using the DJAC, Clouse said, “Of course it would be ideal to have a larger indoor facility to accommodate more people at the same time.” In that respect, he agrees with Clay about a potential new facility in Waldorf’s future.

Currently the DJAC is being used every day of the week besides Saturday, and the times range from 7:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. at night. Some student athletes have expressed concern about the early times, others have questioned the weekend practices. However, all teams agree that having an indoor turf facility is extremely beneficial, if not necessary, for productive indoor practice.

In the past year, the DJAC has undergone major construction. A wall was knocked down to open up a second room, allowing for teams to use the entire space. For baseball and softball specifically, this has been a huge help, allowing for pitchers and hitters to practice simultaneously, as well as giving baseball pitchers the ability to throw the full pitching distance.

Though there are some difficulties this year with scheduling and working around eight different athletic teams, the DJAC is a facility that allows Warrior athletes to progress and practice during the difficult winter months.

Directly outside of the entrance of the main doors is a schedule, letting athletes know what teams will be using the facility and when. Right now it shows the month of January with teams and times scattered everywhere. For a passerby, it appears to be chaos, but for Waldorf athletes and coaches, this is life—an organized chaos.

Sparks Making Waves at Waldorf University

Audrey SparksThe camaraderie was amazing. The trust between riders and community members filled the air like some type of euphoric helium lifting everyone’s spirits,”

This is a quote from one of Audrey Sparks’ award-winning articles on the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). Sparks, a thirty-eight year old non-traditional senior at Waldorf University, has been making waves this year.

In December 2014, Sparks was awarded one of the two Alpha Chi Grants for Undergraduate Research which funded her attendance at the Associated Collegiate Press Convention in Minneapolis in February. Sparks also ran Women’s Cross Country this 2014-2015 year at Waldorf, turning the top time for the women’s team at 13th place for her 37 minute, 25.06 second 6K in the Buena Vista Invitational in September, and leading the Warriors with a 27 minute, 58 second 5K at the Fighting Bee Invitational in October. Currently, Sparks holds a Secretarial Assistant position at the University’s Admissions Office, and is working on obtaining her Bachelor’s in Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. But even with this impressive list of accomplishments, that is not all for Sparks.

In February 2015, The Des Moines Register was named as the Iowa Newspaper Association’s 2015 “Newspaper of the Year,” and Sparks’ three articles on RAGBRAI, published originally in the Lake Mills Graphic, a local newspaper of Lake Mills, Iowa, were awarded first place for the Best Series, Weekly 2 category.

When asked how she felt about this accomplishment, Sparks admitted that she originally didn’t think anything would come of submitting her articles. However, when she got the news at the Associated Collegiate Press Conference in Minnesota, she was thrilled to hear the good news.

As for Sparks’ professor, Dave Damm, Professor of Communications at Waldorf University, he is also extremely proud of Sparks’ award. “Audrey is an excellent writer and also very good at finding stories. What I like about Audrey’s approach to reporting is that it’s very personal. She asks the right questions and sees angles to stories that others might miss.”

Sparks’ articles were a three-piece set on RAGBRAI, in which, for the first time in July 2014, Sparks herself was a participant. “Sixteen miles, eight mile, sixteen miles,” she quoted as the opening to her personal article, a reflection on her experience as a rider.

Sparks captured the event and scenery quite beautifully. When talking about her trip through Clear Lake, she wrote, “Heading north out of Clear Lake we were once again greeted by gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery. If you don’t know, north Iowa is lovely when the corn fields are tall, the sun is shining and the clouds are floating through the sky like something you would see in a painting.”

Sparks also included personal reflection. Being a first time rider, she had a few tips and tricks to give, “Here’s the next surprise,” she wrote, “the final miles weren’t as easy as the first few. Note to self: next time get more time in the saddle to get your seat prepared because, even a few miles will make you realize how tender your backside can get!”

At the close of her personal article, Sparks wrote, “All in all the experience was full of surprises. I’ve never been a part of something so large that seemed to flow so smoothly. In the end we began talking about how to be involved again next year. Ideas of riding the entire thing were instantly in my mind.” She continued, “It’s addicting. Even if you’re not an avid rider this event sucks you in. I think the reason it does this is because far too often in the times we live in you can’t find the amount of acceptance and camaraderie like you encounter in RAGBRAI. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend you do.”

In addition to writing about her personal experience, Sparks also wrote two highlight pieces. One on Roger Solomonson, a Lake Mills local who’s been riding RAGBRAI since 1996. This year was a special ride for him, as it was the first year he and his brother would ride with their wives. They even bought tandem bikes to share the experience. “A tandem is the best way to go as a couple,” quoted Solomonson in Sparks’ article, “It keeps you together.” Solomonson’s wife would pass away two months later, making this 2014 riding experience even more memorable.

Sparks’ other highlight piece was on Ruth Anderson, a woman whose decision to join the 2014 RAGBRAI was motivated by her desire to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

After notice of the award, Sparks reflected on her experiences both riding in RAGBRAI, and writing about the event. “I don’t have a favorite part,” she said, “The entire experience was my favorite part. Nothing can describe seeing the tears of a loss as a man recalls his final moments riding with his wife on RAGBRAI, hearing the struggles of a woman who changed her life in order to be healthier and now would be taking on one of her biggest challenges by riding the entire event for the first time, and experiencing the camaraderie of riding alongside so many others who just enjoyed the experience of being out in the sunshine on a beautiful Iowa day.”

As Sparks’ senior year comes to a close, she is excited about her future plans which potentially include graduate school. “I hope to pursue a life which will always involve writing,” she said. As for those who know Audrey or have read her work, we wouldn’t wish for anything else.

Faculty Inquirere 2015


Dr. Cynthia Ryder, presenting “Sex Role Stereotyping of Athletes Who Are Participating In Selected Intercollegiate Sports”

“We are taught from a very young age how to be boys or girls,” said Dr. Cynthia Ryder, the first speaker at the Faculty Inquirere presentation on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. The topic of her presentation, entitled Sex Role Stereotyping of Athletes Who Are Participating In Selected Intercollegiate Sports, was focused on gender biases and stereotypes in modern day society—how society judges both men and women based on skills, looks, or what is typically seen as ‘ideal’ for that gender.

Her research focused on college students, specifically full-time undergraduate athletes at larger universities in comparison to non-athletes. What she discovered through her research is that male college varsity athletes had “the most positive perceptions of all categories of male and female athletes,” which essentially meant that this group was the least biased, perhaps due to confidence, Ryder explained. Male college non-athletes on the other hand, had more “narrow or rigid stereotypic perceptions.”

When asked what the most surprising component of her research was, Ryder responded, “The most pleasant surprise was seeing how accepting those male college athletes were of all various types of female athletes. That was a gratifying, happy surprise.” Due to her research, Ryder is now encouraged to expand her study to either universities in the Midwest or smaller/liberal arts colleges.


Dr. Paul Bartelt, presentating “Occupancy Estimates for Eastern Tiger Salamanders Among Restored Wetlands in Winnebago County”

The second presentation of the evening was Dr. Paul Bartelt, Occupancy Estimates for Eastern Tiger Salamanders Among Restored Wetlands in Winnebago County. “I’ve been studying frogs and toads for 30 years,” said Bartelt at the opening of his presentation. With a colorful slideshow in the background, he started speaking, showing the audience a collection of pictures, photographs, and full-color maps.

Bartelt’s research focused on the different breeds of frogs and salamanders, beginning by outlining the differences in breeds and habitats. The specific salamander he studied in this project was the Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum, or the Tiger Salamander, which is a native salamander of Iowa. His interest in the subject stemmed from the fact that Iowa has determined the Tiger Salamander as “highly vulnerable to future declines,” or in other words, on the brink of becoming extinct.

In summer of 2014, Bartelt began his study on salamanders with a specific objective: to estimate the occupancy of salamanders among 19 restored wetlands and 45 ponds in the Forest City, Thompson, and Lake Mills area. The results that he and his student assistants discovered were that the Tiger Salamanders were very present in Northern Iowa—salamanders were trapped in 24 of the total 45 ponds in the local area.

When asked about future research, Bartelt said that the future plans are to “Estimate movement patterns through telemetry.” He explained further, “Students will be tracking the movements of frogs and salamanders through radios that are fixed to the animals. These fixed radios will send frequencies that can be monitored and recorded in order to track their movements and whereabouts.” Another component of future research is biophysical models. Bartelt explained further, “These are artificial animals that simulate heating and cooling properties. This will help to estimate habitat selection as well.”  This further research will be a student project, he said, not wanting to explain too much, but regardless, the research is something that he is very excited about.


Dr. Mitchell Berger, presenting “The Flipped Classroom: Empowering and Engaging the Student”

Dr. Mitchell Berger presented next, The Flipped Classroom: Empowering and Engaging the Student. The beginning slides of his presentation defined the flipped classroom—using in-class time for problem-solving, application of material, collaboration with peers, interactive activities, and feedback from the teacher, and home-time for refining skills and reviewing through videos/online material/media.

Based on his research, the benefits of the flipped approach are better assessment results, engagement by students, and encouraged interaction between students/peers and students/professors.. Drawbacks, he said, were limited internet access, issues in student motivation, and extra planning time. “Last semester I had a student that lived off campus with limited internet access,” he said, “That proved to be a challenge.”

As for his personal classes, Berger said that in the fall of 2014, he had the highest class average when he gave his students online quizzes and homework. Currently, in the spring of 2015, he has no students with grades ‘D’ or lower.

When asked what got him interested in the flipped approach, Berger said, “I’ve been looking for a way to stop talking in class.” This brought laughter from the group. He continued sarcastically, “After a while, I get tired of the wonderful, encouraging, knowledge-seeking stares in the classroom.” He laughed, “But everyone knows that if you talk more than seven to eight minutes straight, you start losing people.”

Berger found himself interested in the approach because he wanted to change and improve his chemistry classes. When asked about his biggest personal challenge, he said, “Making my own videos will be the biggest challenge. The other challenge will be putting together a process that forces the students to watch the videos and prepare them for the classroom. The object is not to make it a pure penalty. You want them to be motivated.”

For Berger, there is still room to grow with this flipped approach. His future plans are to lecture less, prepare targeted problem sets, and create his own videos for students.


Dr. LeAnn Nash, presenting “Planning the Unexpected: Words, Pictures and Critical Skills for the Liberal Arts”

The final presentation of the evening was Dr. LeAnn Nash, Planning the Unexpected: Words, Pictures and Critical Skills for the Liberal Arts.

“We all know that many of our freshman just don’t read,” Nash said to open her presentation. Her topic was centered on the importance of reading—that students should be reading not just for a grade, but reading for understanding.

Nash began by showing a slideshow of color illustrations. “No talking,” she said to the audience, “Just look at this pictures and think about the meaning.”

The illustrations told a story, but what was interesting, was that when the audience turned to whole-group discussion of the pictures, each member had a different interpretation. “You made meaning of these pictures out of your own experience,” Nash said, “Students do the same thing. They draw on what they know to explain what they are seeing.”

Nash discussed the importance of picture books, comic books, and graphic novels in the classroom, even in older grade levels. Different forms of reading, specifically reading of pictures, allows for dual-processing; studying pictures lends to a deeper, more critical understanding as well as encourages memory.

“We are a very visual society,” Nash said, “and we want to engage our students in a visual way.” She talked about how using pictures helped students in her composition classes—students were encouraged to make predictions and to connect meaning between pictures and text.

Nash talked about picture variations, that they might be symmetrical: telling the same story, complimentary: which adds to the story, and contradictory: the idea that the words and pictures seem unrelated. She said that students could analyze pictures to make more meaning of the text, which is her main focus in the classroom.

At the end of her presentation, Nash read “The Water Tower,” the picture book inspiration for the topic and what she uses in her composition classes. For the audience, this proved to be a refreshing, youthful ending to a highly educational night.

Featured Image Credit: Waldorf College

Belize Bound

BelizeSpring Break is just days away and the students and faculty/staff involved with the annual March mission trip at Waldorf University are thrilled to be traveling—however, this year is even more exciting as they are headed out of the country!

On Friday, March 6th, ten students and six faculty/staff members will be heading to Belize, a nation-state located on the eastern coast of Central America. The group plans to depart from Forest City at midnight on the 6th and return the following Friday, March 13th.

Group members include students from New York, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois: Antione Cummins, Delroy Nichols, La Wanda Garrett, Taylor Cullen, Karissa Vetsch, Shaye Sutherland, Jaci Olson, Kellie Schmidt, Sami Holman, and Katie Wilcox.

Faculty/staff members include Anne Marie Werthmann, LeAnn Smith, Jennifer Steinford, Kristen Paul, Sheila Willms, and Rob Willms.

Sheila Willms, Circle Scarves/Vests

Sheila Willms, Waldorf Professor of Education sporting a circle vest, one of her handmade creations for the Belize fundraiser.

In preparation for the trip, each member raised $1,100 out of pocket, plus additional costs, such as passports, travel insurance, vaccinations, and personal spending money. The rest of the trip cost was supported by a variety of fundraisers: selling of fleece circle vests and scarves—a product designed by Waldorf Professor of Education, Sheila Willms; a Pancake Breakfast at Immanuel Lutheran Church; selling of Krispie Kreme donuts on campus; a Pampered Chef online event assisted by Waldorf’s Criminal Justice Department Chair Kristin Pickett; and donations from Student Senate and the Waldorf Foundation.

When asked about the fundraising, freshman Karissa Vetsch said, “The last fundraiser we did was the breakfast at Immanuel Lutheran Church. It was a free-will donation held during their fellowship time after the service. That event was the reason we ended up reaching our goal, which was very exciting!”

pancake breakfastAnne Marie Werthmann, Waldorf’s Campus Ministry Coordinator, said that the Pancake Breakfast was her favorite fundraiser, “I loved being able to talk to the people of Immanuel Lutheran about what we would be doing during the trip while we all waited in line for pancakes.”

The Krispy Kreme selling, an idea created by the students attending the trip, was another successful fundraiser and a tasty hit for everyone on campus! The Belize group sold ahead of time so that the donuts would be on campus during Valentine’s week. A box of a dozen donuts was sold for $10 with options for either glazed or chocolate glazed.

“Selling the Krispy Kremes was my favorite,” said Waldorf junior, Shaye Sutherland, “Every college student loves donuts and Krispy Kremes are something that we normally can’t get in Forest City.”Krispie Kremes

The theme of this year’s trip is “Love Your #Selfie,” focused on loving each individual as God has created him or her. The goal, once arriving in Belize, is outreach to the community. The group plans to spend time at the local church working with small and large groups, leading Bible study and discussions with both children and adults, playing games, visiting an orphanage, visiting a nursing home, talking with people, sharing personal testimonies, and building relationships and connections with all ages, thus crossing international differences. The group will also have a free day which will give them time to explore and even go snorkeling! [To see a full itinerary, click here.]

Attendees are very anxious heading into the final days before departure. Werthmann commented, “I am excited to see the relationships that students build with other students that they may not have known well before leaving. I know for myself, I am excited to have the chance to try something new and out of my comfort zone which allows for personal growth.”

Vetsch said that the trip to Belize will be her second international trip, but first mission trip at Waldorf. She is excited, but slightly nervous. When asked to elaborate, she said, “I am most nervous for the international barrier. Even though they speak mostly English, there are still huge cultural differences! I am excited to get to know a different culture, but I am still worried a little about the transition.”

When asked about her feelings on the trip, Sutherland said, “I am most excited to be going outside of the country and experiencing a part of the world I have never been to. I know God is going to work in our lives and all of the lives of the people we meet.”

The group can be tracked online through Praying Pelican Missions, under the tabs ‘Trip Journals,’ ‘Trip In Progress,’ ‘Belize,’ and ‘Waldorf,’ which can all be found at www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/journals. Anyone viewing the website can add a comment using the password ‘SERVE’ and is then able to keep in touch with the group while they travel.

To sum up the trip as a whole, Sutherland said, “This will be such an amazing experience to see the group of us from Waldorf create memories, and a bond we will have forever, as we act as the feet and hands of Jesus Christ.” Sutherland continued, “There is no better feeling than giving back to the beautiful creations God has made.”

The Man Behind the Mask

spencer“What I love about hockey is my teammates…the speed of the game, and the unbelievable skill and hard work it takes to excel in the game,” said Spencer Johnson, the sophomore Spotlight Athlete of the Week from Burnsville, Minnesota.

Each week, the Waldorf University Athletic Department honors an outstanding student athlete on the Warrior athletics page and through a campus-wide email. This past week it was Johnson. This recognition was due to his assist and two goals, one being the game-winner during a 5-2 win over No. 9 Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on January 17.

In the 2014-2015 season, Johnson has scored five goals and contributed five assists. Not only is he a valuable asset to the team as both a defenseman and forward, but he’s also a great friend and teammate on and off the ice.

When asked about his season, Johnson said, “The team this year is unreal. We are all so close. I truly call the guys my brothers. We’re a big family and we play for each other, putting the team before ourselves.” He defined the team’s main goal for the season: to win a national championship. “That’s the one goal that’s on the board in the locker room,” he said. Having the goal posted is a constant reminder of what he and his teammates are working towards. Johnson said that it helps to bring them even closer together.

Johnson has been playing hockey since he was five, and skating since he was two years old. When asked about what influenced his love for the game, he said having three older brothers and one older sister who played really shaped his and his family’s passion for the sport. Being able to not only watch, but practice with his family members, helped him to be comfortable on the ice as a young child.

It’s obvious that Johnson is passionate about his sport, but hockey isn’t always fun and games. “One thing I hate about hockey is how expensive it is. Equipment, training, and ice time burn a hole in anyone’s pocket,” Johnson said. True to his positive character, Johnson ellaborated, “But my love for the game makes me look past the money.”

On the ice Johnson is dedicated, determined, and a team player, but in order to get a real sense of the January 19-26 Spotlight Athlete of the Week, it’s important to get to know who Johnson really is—the ‘man behind the mask.’

“When I’m not playing hockey I’m a huge gamer,” Johnson said. “I love the Xbox one and my favorite game is either Halo or NHL 15. I also play games like Forza, Far Cry 4, Assassins Creed, and Destiny.” Johnson continued, saying that during his free time he’ll either be gaming or spending time with friends and family, specifically his girlfriend Lynea Lindstrom and best friend Colten Galligan.

When Johnson’s not on the ice, he can be found taking the dogs on walks, going out for dinner, or just spending time with Lynea. “I also love to fish with Colten,” Johnson said. “Ice fishing, fishing off the dock, or even in his 14 ft. aluminum boat. Fishing gives me peace.” During his summers off, you’ll find Johnson umpiring baseball games or finding other ways to stay busy. “When I’m not on the ice, I’m just another kid at heart, living and loving his life, and making the most of it,” he said.

When asked about the best thing that ever happened to him, Johnson couldn’t pick just one moment. He talked about both his decision to attend Waldorf University, and a time when he was fishing with Colten and caught a six pound bass. For Johnson, being a student athlete was a dream come true. “I almost gave up after my last year of junior hockey,” he said, “But then Coach Shelanksi really pursued me to play here and before you know it I’m in my fourth semester here.” When asked about the six pound bass, which he caught off a beach in Orchard Lake in Lakeville, Minnesota, he said with a laugh, “I felt so accomplished after I reeled that monster in.”

It’s obvious that Johnson has a humorous, fun-loving side, but he is also serious. “I think my biggest fear is not being free in a country that is based on freedom. The way the U.S. Is headed concerns me a great deal and I feel as if liberty is slowly being taken away from us,” Johnson said.

Finally, Johnson was asked to share one thing about him that not everyone knows. “One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is I have a great faith in Jesus Christ,” he said. “I believe he died for my sins and everyone else’s.”

Spencer Johnson, a 22-year-old from Burnsville, Minnesota, is a talented hockey player. His place as the January 19-26 Spotlight Athlete of the Week is well deserved, but there is more to him than the number ‘4’ jersey on his back. Beyond Johnson’s stellar performance on the ice, he is a positive teammate and loyal friend who takes pleasure in the simple things—fishing, walking the dogs with his girlfriend, or kicking back and playing video games.