Fall/Winter 2015-16 Mileposts

December 28th, 2015

Faculty & Staff

Marti Eads, professor of English, was among a select group to participate in a summer history seminar at Yale University on slave narratives sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Eads is on sabbatical this semester, involved in a multifaceted project that applies concepts of trauma awareness and healing to literary and personal narratives.

Nancy Heisey SEM ‘94, professor of Bible and religion, has co-written with her sister M.J. Heisey Relief Work as Pilgrimage, Mademoiselle Miss Elsie in Southern France, 1945-1948 (Lexington Books, 2015). Through archival sources and personal narrative, the authors reflect on Elsie C. Bechtel’s work with Mennonite Central Committee and the complexity and significance of pilgrimage and humanitarian service as intercultural exchanges.

Emily Peck-McClain, assistant professor in formation, preaching, and worship, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, has successfully defended her dissertation, “Revealing the Power: New Creation Epistemology for Adolescent Girls.” With its completion, Emily earned a Doctor of Theology degree from Duke University Divinity School.

Adam Posey ‘15 was named pitching coach to the baseball team. At EMU, he was an All-ODAC First Team selection in 2014, as well as earning two All-State First Team and All-Region honors.

Jeff Shank ‘94 is the new director of alumni and parent engagement at EMU. Previously, he was superintendent at Sarasota Christian School in Florida.


John I. Smucker ‘56, New Holland, Pa., published a memoir From Bird-in-Hand to the Bronx (Masthof Press, 2015) about missionary work in New York City.

Ruth Nisly ‘59, Portland, Ore., has published Roads Taken: A Memoir (2015), which chronicles her early years in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, her Mennonite education, and adventures living in five countries where she was an English teacher and social worker. 1960-1969

Ed Bontrager, ‘63, SEM ‘66, and Myron ‘55, SEM ‘58 and Esther Kniss ‘72 Augsburger, Harrisonburg, Va., led a spring Anabaptist heritage trip to Europe. Ed and his wife, Edie Shirk ‘66 Bontrager, have operated TravelVenture Tours since 1970, in conjunction with their pastoral ministry in several states.


Barbra Graber ‘76, Harrisonburg, Va., helped form SNAP-Menno, a chapter of the anti-abuse network Survivor’s Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). SNAP-Menno provides a safe place, independent of institutional structures, for Mennonite-related survivors to seek healing. Barbra is a SNAP-trained survivor-advocate who plans to start a SNAP survivor support group in Harrisonburg this fall. She and other SNAP-Menno leaders are available for anonymous and confidential support. Graber is a former faculty member in the theater department.

Rhoda Reinford ‘76 Charles, Lancaster, Pa., was named 2015 Alumni of the Year for Lancaster Mennonite School in recognition for her exemplary gifts to church leadership, education and the business community.

Dean Stoesz ‘78, Akron, Pa., is the new CEO of Indian Creek Foundation, an organization that provides opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages to live in and enrich the community. For the past six years, he was CEO of Lighthouse Vocational Services in New Holland, a faith-based not-for-profit, and prior to that, a scientist who worked in manufacturing and research and development for pharmaceuticals. He received his MBA from Eastern University. He is a member of Forest Hills Mennonite Church. He is married to Marcia Yoder ‘78 Stoesz and has two adult children.


Sharon López ‘83, Landisville, Pa., has been elected vice president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA). She will become president of the 27,000-member statewide lawyers’ association in 2017. A Life Fellow of the PBA Bar Foundation, Sharon has been president and executive committee representative of the PBA Conference of County Bar Leaders. With the Lancaster Bar Association, she is currently a member of the Employment Law Section and the Judiciary Committee, and has chaired their diversity committee. In 2014, Sharon was honored by Widener University School of Law for her efforts to promote diversity in the legal profession. She is a past recipient of their Alumni Outstanding Service Award (2008).

Lucinda Swartzentruber ‘83, Keezletown, Va., was named educator of the year for Rockingham County, where she has taught for 18 years. She is a reading specialist at Plains Elementary School in Timberville.

Amy Rosenberger ‘85, Philadelphia, Pa., was named a Best Lawyer in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, one of the legal profession’s oldest and most respected peer-review publications. She works for the law firm of Willig, Williams and Davidson. With more than 15 years of experience as a labor practitioner, Amy represents labor unions and individual employees before state and federal courts and in arbitrations, negotiations and administrative proceedings.


Jeffrey (Jeff) Gingerich ‘90, Norristown, Pa., was appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cabrini College.

Matthew (Matt) Tschetter ‘92, Kidron, Ohio, is the new donor relations associate for Ohio with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Matt most recently served with MCC as Connecting Peoples Coordinator for Nicaragua and Costa Rica. He served on the MCC Great Lakes board from 2003 to 2012, and on the national board from 2008 to 2012. After graduating from EMU with degrees in youth ministry and organizational leadership, he earned a master’s in peace studies from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and is completing a master’s degree in community and international development from Andrews University.

Philip Burkholder ‘92, York, Pa., has worked for the last six years at United Zion Retirement Community. He has worked in the profession for over 18 years. In 2013, he married Karen Burkholder.

Robert (Bob) Yoder ’94, Goshen, In., recently published Helping Youth Grieve, The Good News of Biblical Lament (Resource Publications, 2015). Bob is campus pastor and assistant professor of ministry at Goshen College. He and his wife, Pamela, reside in Goshen with their two children, Josiah and Mira.

Lorie Nichols Lucas ’95, Harrisonburg, Va., is an employee relations senior consultant for Wells Fargo. She and her husband Charles and two sons, Cooper and Jackson, attend Grace Covenant Church in Harrisonburg.

Mark Schroeder ‘96, Austin, Texas, was recently promoted to vice president for international operations at Stratfor, a geopolitical analysis and advisory company in Austin. His new responsibilities include managing employees, contractors and information networks globally and integrating this information flow into Stratfor’s analysis and client services product portfolio; he also continues as the company’s lead geopolitical analyst for sub-Saharan Africa.

Jessica King ‘96, Lancaster, Pa., was named to the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Poverty. She is the executive director of ASSETS Lancaster which creates economic opportunity and cultivates entrepreneurial leadership to alleviate poverty and build vibrant, sustainable communities.

April Beck ‘97, Archbold, Ohio, was selected as the Don’s Automotive Group Educator of the Year for 2015. She teaches at Wauseon Elementary School. “She goes beyond expectations to ensure all the children she is responsible for succeed,” wrote the parent who nominated her.

Colleen Rhodes Keller ‘97, Carlsbad, N.M., is a special education teacher in Carlsbad Municipal Schools. She had worked in the admissions department at EMU for nine years after graduation. She and husband Clay Keller have two girls, Cayla and Cassie.


Chris ‘00 and Tanya Siemens ‘01 Hoover, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, recently welcomed daughter Mira to their family. They also have a fiveyear- old son, Leo. Tanya is currently on parental leave from her work as a child and family therapist, while Chris is a warehouse manager at Winnipeg Harvest. They attend Hope Mennonite Church.

Luke Roth-Mullet ‘01, Hesston, Kan., is now vice president of operations at Excel Industries, Inc.

Shanti Martin Brown ‘01, Silver Spring, Md., works as a staff attorney with Ayuda, a social service nonprofit that offers legal, social and language services to immigrants in and around Washington D.C. She is an expert in special immigrant juvenile status.

Mindy Nolt ’01, Lancaster, Pa., is associate pastor at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church in Lancaster. She was licensed to ministry Oct. 18, 2015.

Angie Breneman class of ‘02, Lancaster, Pa., is a discipleship trainer at Eastern Mennonite Missions, where she coordinates training and provides mentoring for young adults who serve short-term missions in the YES program. Angie was the subject of a June feature article in LancasterOnline. From 2009 to 2014, she served with EMM as an English teacher at a university in Southeast Asia. Part of her work was to help build relationships between young Christians and Muslims.

Annie Lengacher Browning ‘02, Englewood, Co., is acting conference minister for Mountain States Mennonite Conference.

Ashley Sauder Miller ‘03, Harrisonburg, Va., presented an exhibit titled “Fixers” at Bridgewater College. The exhibition consisted of mixed-media works on paper, canvas and panels that incorporated imagery of chairs. The chair imagery began out of a practical need to fix an heirloom rocking chair Miller received following the death of her grandmother. “Collaged and woven into these pieces are drawings, photography and mark-making of four generations: my late grandfather, late father, my own and my children’s.” Miller earned an MFA in painting and drawing from James Madison University and is director of the Spitzer Art Center in Harrisonburg.

Naomi Gorton ‘03 Jones, Charlottesville, Va., is a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) specialist with Anesthesia Associates of Richmond. Her husband, Randy, is a professor of nursing at University of Virginia.

Hanna Martin ‘05 Reinford, Broadway, Va., is a physician’s assistant at New Market Family Practice.

Erica Kraybill ‘06, College Park, Md., received her master’s in teaching English from the University of Maryland in May.

Paul (Danny) Yoder ‘06, New York City, N.Y., recently completed his master’s degree in city and regional planning from Rutgers University with a focus in transportation policy and planning, where he also received the Mortensen/Voorhees Award for Achievement in Transportation Studies. Since March, he has worked as a project manager with the New York City Department of Transportation. He manages neighborhood transportation studies and a program that builds better bus stops under elevated subway lines.

Nathan Mishler ‘07, College Park, Md., received his master’s in social work from the University of Maryland in May.

Maria Hoover ‘07 Holsopple, Arlington, Va., was named program director of a new master’s degree program at Georgetown University in global strategic communications. The program features online coursework and residency work in cities around the world. “I will be assisting students to make sure they are successful in the program and planning the logistics for the residencies,” she says.

Michelle Kennel ‘09 Shenk, Queens, N.Y., graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University in May with a master’s of education in mental health counseling.

Angela Carter ‘09, Harrisonburg, Va., published a poetry collection, Memory Chose a Woman’s Body (Unbound Content, 2014), and is currently at work on her second full-length poetry collection and a novel. A 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee, she is also an artist and a frequent speaker on abuse and depression awareness. www.angelacarterpoetry.com.

Rachel Ringenberg Miller, SEM ’07, Portland, Ore., began a new position in September as pastor to Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas.

Jarem Sawatsky, MA ‘01 (conflict transformation), Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, has started a blog called “Dancing with Elephants: A Beginners Guide to Going Insane” (www.dancingwithelephants. net/) to chronicle his experiences of living with Huntington’s Disease. Jarem reports, “I am stumbling (literally) my way into learning about loving, letting go and living in the now. My blog tells the ongoing story of trying to use the tools of peace-building and nonviolence to approach dementia in a healing way.” Jarem is emeritus professor of peace and conflict transformation studies at Canadian Mennonite University.

Ali Gohar, MA ‘03 (conflict transformation), West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, presented a session on reintegrating ex-prisoners using restorative justice practices at the first international conference on restorative justice at Dhaka University, Bangladesh, in August. Jeremy Simons, MA ’02 (conflict transformation), who works with the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute, also presented, as did M. Asadullah, MA ‘11 (see next page).

Elena Huegel, MA ‘07 (conflict transformation), Talca, Chile, has published The Earless Man from Chile (Chalice Press, 2015), a book of testimonies and stories from Chile and Paraguay, with proceeds from the sales supporting the work of Global Ministries.

Marie-Jose Tayah, MA ‘08 (conflict transformation), Genève, Switzerland, is working with the International Labour Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. She focuses on the migrant domestic work sector and global migration governance.


Boris Ozuna, ‘11, Harrisonburg, Va., is the new director of the Harrisonburg International Festival. A native of Columbia, Boris worked for literacy and homeless centers in Washington D.C. after graduation. He is currently working on a master’s in conflict transformation at CJP.

Jennifer Blankenship, ‘13, Harrisonburg, Va., is teaching health and physical education at Charterhouse School in Edinburg. She is also a health fitness specialist/ personal trainer at the Rockingham Memorial Hospital Wellness Center and coaches girls’ varsity basketball at Eastern Mennonite High School.

Nels Åkerson ‘13, Jamaica Plain, Mass., is working as a referral service coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital. Prior to this, Nels taught Spanish to high school students in Mississippi for two years and is currently studying for his Massachusetts teacher certification exam.

Daniel Shenk-Moreno ‘13, Nashua, N.H., is the operations director at Proactive Travel, an international travel and sports tours business.

Jack Payden-Travers, Grad. Cert. ‘10 (conflict transformation), Lynchburg, Va., has been the executive director of the Peace Tax Fund since 2010. After a summer of studying Spanish with his grandchildren in Nicaragua, he is transitioning to a “new phase of life,” he says. He serves as the secretary of the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

Saundra Levitz, MA ‘10 (conflict transformation), San Marcos, Calif., has a new job as health education teacher, specializing in restorative practices at Pueblo High School.

Asadullah (Asad), MA ‘11 (conflict transformation), was a speaker at the first international conference on restorative justice at Dhaka University, Bangladesh, in August. He is a PhD student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. He also spoke at the Bangladesh Society of Criminology’s annual general meeting and to graduate students at the Institute of Social Welfare and Research, University of Dhaka.
Scott Kim, MA ‘13 (conflict transformation), Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada, is a resident dean at Rosthern Junior College. By request from the Korean Anabaptist Centre, he is currently translating the book Healthy Organizations into Korean. This past summer, he instructed a course on conflict transformation in organizations at Northeast Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) in Mongolia.

Jean Claude Nkundwa, MA ‘14 (conflict transformation), Kigali, Rwanda, has been nominated by a Christian organization called Tearfund as an Inspired Individual. Tearfund seeks to identify, support and resource social entrepreneurs. Until he and his family moved to Burundi to escape political unrest, Jean Claude was working in Rwanda with churches and local and international organizations to support groups intervening and promoting violence prevention.


Stephanie Horst ‘99 to Pete Ruggieri, Sept. 27, 2014.

Marsha Kanagy ‘10 to Jonathan Stanley, May 30, 2015.

Brittney Wenger ‘13 to Brad Garber, July 24, 2015.

Nels Åkerson ‘13 to Kristin Bell ‘10, July 18, 2015.

Bhara Nassar, MA ‘14 (conflict transformation), to Kiersten Rossetto ‘14, Oct 12, 2015.

Births & Adoptions

Bethany Spicher ‘00 and Micah Schonberg, Huntington, Pa., Daniel Thomas, Feb. 2, 2015.

Amy Sauder ‘00 and Ted Lehman, Alexandria, Va., Salley Rose Hurst, Mar. 12, 2015.

Chris ‘00 and Tanya Siemens ‘01 Hoover, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Mira Grace, Jan. 2, 2015.

Naomi Gorton ‘03 and Randy Jones, Charlottesville, Va., Evangeline, Sept. 3, 2015.

Peter ‘05 and Karalyn Derstine, Lansdale, Pa., Nolan Francis, July 20, 2015.

Michael ‘05 and Lindsay Kisamore ‘09 Horst, Harrisonburg, Va., Elizabeth Suzanne, July 11, 2015.

Amy Stutzman ‘05 and Chad King, Hoover, Ala., Ava Brielle, Sept. 1, 2014.

Jason ‘06 and Alexis Sauder ‘06, MA ‘11 (education), Rutt, Harrisonburg, Va., James Micah, Feb. 26, 2015.

Paul ‘06, MA ‘11 (education), and Katrina Martin ‘07 Yoder, Harrisonburg, Va., Isela Joy, May 23, 2013.

Shannon Yoder ‘07 and Brandon Roth, Harrisonburg, Va., Tegan Laine, May 29, 2013, and Declan Kinnick, Feb. 10, 2015.

Michael ‘09 and Rachael Clemmer ‘09 Charles, Lancaster, Pa., Meredith Olive, June 22, 2015.

Jason ‘10 and Jennifer Christner ‘09 Godshall, Sarasota, Fla., Nathaniel Glenn, Oct. 4, 2015.

Joel ‘10 and Mikaela Bender ‘08 Landis, Pasadena, Calif., Beckett Wade, May 6, 2015.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Shock, MA ‘08 (conflict transformation), and Matt Stewart, Beaver, Pa., Adeline Pearl, July 18, 2015.

Amanda Morningstar, MA ‘14 (conflict transformation), Breezewood, Pa., Dietrick Oliver, July 31, 2015.


Archie Bontrager ‘38, Harrisonburg, Va., died, Dec. 16, 2014 at the age of 96. He was a self-employed carpenter who enjoyed farming and singing gospel music. He and his wife, Erma Greene Bontrager, attended Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene. He is survived by three children and their families who all live locally.

Paul Lauver, class of ’42, LaGrange, Ind., died Oct. 10, 2013 at age of 90. He served with his wife as the first missionaries in Puerto Rico under the Mennonite Board of Missions from 1945 to 1957. In 1957, Paul became pastor of Marion Mennonite Church in Howe, Ind., where he served for over 27 years until his retirement in 1985. Additionally he taught high school Spanish and English and worked as a custodian at Howe Military School.

Ruth Arlene Shue Weber ‘51. Lancaster, Pa., died Aug. 19, 2014 at the age of 86. Ruth volunteered with Mennonite Central Committee working with migrant laborers in New York during college. She and husband Elvin Weber ‘51 did several years of I-W service at Fairfield State Hospital in Newtown, Conn. Ruth devoted countless hours to community service through the women’s group at James Street Mennonite Church.

Grace Mumaw ’54, Harrisonburg, Va., died July 8, 2015, at the age of 84. For 50 years, she worked in administration at Rockingham Memorial Hospital and Sunnyside Presbyterian Home in Harrisonburg; St. Joseph Hospital in Lancaster, Pa.; and George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C. Grace enjoyed singing in the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society, and crocheting and quilting items for the Mennonite Central Committee sale. She was a member of Lindale Mennonite Church.

Calvin Shenk ‘59, Harrisonburg, Va., died Sept. 18, 2015, at the age of 79. With his wife, Marie Hershey Leaman ‘59, SEM ’98, he taught in Ethiopia for 14 years. After earning a PhD in religious education from New York University, he joined the EMU faculty in 1976 and taught until his retirement in 2002. Marie, who also worked for the university, preceded him in death in 2010.

Ruth Ellen Hartzler May ‘63, Broadway, Va., died Sept. 30, 2015. Ruth taught elementary school at Franconia Mennonite (now Penn View Christian School) and Greenwood Mennonite School before moving back to Harrisonburg. She worked at Mennonite Broadcasts and Rockingham Memorial Hospital for 34 years as a certified cardiograph technician.

Mildred Thomas Lam ‘71, Elkton, Va., died Oct. 6, 2015. She taught third grade for 30 years in Page and Rockingham counties. She was one of the last Virginia teachers to receive the Special Teachers’ Certificate while earning her degree.

Raymond H. Denlinger ‘74, Ronks, Pa., died Aug. 25, 2015, at age 81. He was employed as a real estate agent for 55 years, retiring in 2014 from Kingsway Realty. He was a member of Neffsville Mennonite Church, where he sang in the choir and acted as song leader. He was also a member of the Lancaster Red Rose Barbershop Chorus, the Catalina “4,” the Lancaster Youth for Christ Quartet and the Heraldaires Quartet.

Clara Bernice Miller, class of ‘84, Kalona, Iowa, died Sept. 26, 2015 at the age of 90. She and her husband, Wayne, lived for 27 years on a farm in southern Iowa. She was active in gardening, writing children’s books and served on different boards including the Decatur County Red Cross. She was active in later years at Kalona Mennonite Church.

John H. Lapp ‘82, Port Allegany, Pa., died Sept. 30, 2015 at the age of 83. John was pastor from 1976 until 1997 at Birch Grove Mennonite Church. He then served as an interim pastor from 2004-2012 at both Chenunda Creek Mennonite Church and Birch Grove. John also owned and operated Lapp Farm from 1959 until 1993.

Degree Key

CLASS OF – attended as part of the class of a given graduation year
HS – high school degree from era when high school and college were one
MA – master of arts
MDiv – master of divinity
SEM – attended the seminary

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