A reader reached out to us with this fun story of EMU connections. We’d love to share other accounts of how relationships at EMU or encounters with EMU-connected people are a part of your life. We’ll work with you to tell the story on EMU News and in our Crossroads alumni magazine. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reach out.
Stashia Davis Nolt ‘02 cherishes the friends she made at Eastern Mennonite University. Her husband, Dr. Geoff Nolt ’02, found similar connections at both EMU and Lancaster Mennonite High School, where two of their sons attend, and one has graduated from. Whether friends they still vacation with or people who can help when difficult situations arise, Stashia wants her children to see the value of these lifelong connections.
“I am a big community fan, and I think that that’s something that LMH and EMU do extremely well,” she said. “You never know what kind of connection you’ll have because you went to school there.”
One such connection arose when Stashia and Geoff returned to EMU for their 15-year reunion and met Mark Mast ’15. When Stashia was a student, she would often pick up Mark and his brother, sons of then EMU soccer coach Roger Mast, from the school bus in the afternoon.
After catching up, they made another surprising connection: at the time, Mark was in dental school at Temple University, the same place Geoff had earned his medical degree.
Stashia and Geoff both work at the family business, Nolt Dental Associates in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. It was founded by Geoff’s parents, Dr. Marvin and Delores Nolt in 1978. Geoff and Stashia first contributed to the practice as a young couple after their marriage in 2002, using the transition period to help the business modernize and digitalize. In 2006, Geoff joined the practice full-time and Stashia began as office manager. Marvin Nolt is now retired and the younger Nolts have taken over full ownership.
“You need to come work with me when you are ready to move to Lancaster,” Geoff told Mark.
Mark’s wife, Rachel Kennel Mast ‘14, is also from the Lancaster area (she attended LMH), which made the couple’s move to Pennsylvania more likely. Stashia kept in touch, reaching out when Marvin was retiring and the practice was hiring another dentist. At the time Mark was practicing at another Pennsylvania clinic, and in February 2022, he was hired at Nolt Dental Associates. His first day seeing patients was September 1.
The practice is unique and special, Stashia said, because of these family connections and other close relationships among employees.
Even Stashia’s family is represented. Her mother, Carol Davis ‘78, now retired, worked for the practice for 14 years.
One of the Nolts’ teenage sons, Adam, is assisting and helping with design work this summer to see if he wants to be a dentist.
At one point, Stashia said, one of her front desk workers had two daughters working as hygienists at the practice.
“I know what it’s like to work and have to juggle when you want to be at that kid’s parent-teacher conference, or the class party. We work very hard here in the office to let our employees have that flexibility to go to those events and come back,” Stashia said.
The Nolt family helped a Slavic family that immigrated many years ago, and ended up employing several family members. The practice has several Russian and Ukrainian employees.
“Things that our employees are interested in and their families are a part of, we try to help out with. One of those things was the Ukraine fundraiser,” Stashia said.
In April, a team of current and past employees and family members put together 144 relief kits for Mennonite Central Committee to send to Ukraine. They took donations from area churches, organizations and individuals for weeks prior in preparation.
Nolt Dental has a culture of celebrating one another and getting involved both in the community and in doing good in the world. The practice’s facebook page often posts staff introductions, information on the practice, and encouragement of local sports teams and other organizations. They often fundraise for their employee’s children’s sports teams. One of their employees just started a school called Crossroads, a hybrid homeschool, which they helped promote.
Additionally, they serve MCC and International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) participants that are in the area needing dental work, even hosting an IVEP participant once.
All of this makes for a family-focused and supportive environment that both employees and patients appreciate.
One of the only drawbacks, Stashia reported with a laugh, is when an employee wants to take a family vacation.
Do you have an interesting story of EMU connections? Share it with us. Email email@example.com.