Alumni 2014-15 News

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Recently, our alumni and alumni parents joined forces to tackle a few campus projects!

ALA alumni, together with alumni parents, have helped fund new scoreboards for the gym. 

Alumni track record-holders, together with alumni parents, have funded the purchase of a new track record board!

Alumni and alumni parents have completely funded a remodeling project for Mr. Gray's science room. A volunteer architect designed the plans and our own building and grounds staff, together with Mr. Gray, completed the work in summer 2014. What a blessing!


Thanks to all who've given a gift to one or more of these projects!

> Donate online here. (Choose "other" and make a note in the comment section.)

You'd be amazed at the number of alumni who volunteer at ALA. Many thanks to the ALA graduates who've assisted this year or in previous years. We love seeing you and we're so thankful for all of you.






Captain Troy Merkle, ALA Class of 2007, is one of just three elite Army officers that have been chosen to attend the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Virgina. Notable MCWC attendees include Rt. Gen. Colin Powell, Major Gen. Arnold Fields, as well as other Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

David Becker, ALA Class of 2011, graduated from Martin Luther College on May 16, 2015, with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree.  He has been assigned to teach at St Paul Lutheran School, Onalaska, WI, grade 6 and athletics.


Jenna (née Wagner) Brogdon, 
ALA Class of 2006, writes, "The Lord blessed me with a wonderful Christian man and we were recently married on March 1, 2015 on a beautifully rainy day in Phoenix. I am now blessed to be called a step-mom to his two children!"

Kristen Schulz, ALA Class of 2010, graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College on May  16, 2015. She is shown here with Wisconsin Lutheran College President, Dan Johnson, ALA Class of 1984.

Kristen Schulz, ALA Class of 2010, and senior center on the Wisconsin Lutheran College ladies basketball team (Safford, Ariz.) is the first athlete (male or female) in the history of Wisconsin Lutheran College athletics to have her number retired. WLC Athletics 5.7.15

Kristen was also named 2015 Capital One Academic All-American.  Read more.   
Bethany Unkefer, ALA class of 2011, and Kristen Schulz, ALA 2010, starters on the Wisconsin Lutheran College women's basketball team, win fifth straight Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Tournament championship title. 2.28.15. View photos.


Sam Gray, ALA class of 2012, won the Drake University School of Business Outstanding Junior Community Service Award and the Undergraduate of the Year award for his fraternity, AKPsi.

Sam served an internship for Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee, WI in the summer of 2014. He recently accepted an internship with New York Life and will spend the summer of 2015 in Manhattan. Sam is studying actuarial science at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.


Adele Koutia, ALA Class of 2011, was awarded a summer internship at a neuroscience research lab in Trondheim, Norway. Adele is studying at the University of Arizona, and she will be working in the lab of Drs. Edvard and May-Britt Moser, winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. 

We enjoyed seeing a great crowd of alumni for the 1980s State Basketball Champions Reunion on Jan. 30, 2015. The event recognized team members, managers, coaches, cheerleaders of the ’80 ’81 ’84 ’85 girls teams and ’82 ’83 ’85 boys teams. Thanks to Amy Unkefer and Taunya Solofra for organizing. View photos.

On Dec. 27, 2014, ALA alumni gathered for a day of 3 on 3 basketball. Graduates spanning the last 25 years were represented so it was a day where alumni could spend time with both new and old friends. Participants also got a sneak peek at the new scoreboards. Thanks to Jeff Weinstein for organizing the event! 

Congratulations to Nate Jaehnig, one of "Arizona's top entrepreneurs, 35 and younger!" Nate, pictured in image #16 of the article, is the owner of AZ Bounce Pro and ALA Class of 2002.

Each year, The AZ Republic honors 35 entrepreneurs who are identifying unmet needs and creating successful solutions for them. As risk-takers, they develop and test ideas, map out business plans and overcome challenges, all while building their ventures.
Tiffany Walters, ALA class of 2013, spent the fall 2014 semester at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, the British Campus of the University of Evansville. While there, she took courses in British Studies, Ancient Christianty, and psychology, plus enjoyed travel, arranged by the school, to Scotland, Ireland, the Lake District, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Cambridge and other European areas.

She wrote during her stay, "This is Harlaxton Manor, where I have classes, meals and even live! In fact the window to my room is on the very top floor, so I have a very nice view of the countryside. The building is absolutely beautiful inside and out, and the gardens are quite peaceful! 

The second picture is from our trip this past weekend to London. It's the first bit of traveling of the semester and we spent two full days there. My friends and I saw many of the standard touristy things like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Tower Bridge, but my two favorite things were going to the Broadway production of Matilda the Musical and visiting Borough Market. At the market, there were so many different kinds of stands with street food available and many culturally unique things to try. I sampled countless different types of cheeses!

Also, I have enrolled in the Meet a Family Program where another student and I have been placed with a couple who live in the area. On Wednesday we met them for the first time and had a formal dinner at the Manor to get to know them a little. They are so sweet and are very excited to include us in their activities. They love to go ballroom dancing and are even taking us to a night out dancing this weekend.


Jordan Burmeister, ALA class of 2008, and his band, The Middle Ground, an alternative pop rock band, are up and coming in Milwaukee, WI. They played at SummerFest in Milwaukee in June 2014.

Sarah (nee Bruce) Freni, ALA class of 2006, and husband, Rob, welcomed baby Charlie on Feb. 8, 2014. He was baptized at Calvary in Dallas, Texas on June 15, 2014. Congratulations!


Andrew Taylor, ALA class of 2012, is working for Oasis Construction as a video producer. He is a one man video team, thus responsible for all pre and post production videos to advertise the construction of a high performance home. He also has created a tv spot for a film that was shot in a local town. It released recently and was aired on charter cable. It's available on the official movie website at


Rachel (nee Schuelein) Braun, ALA class of 2003, and Branches Band has just released Let the Children Come to Me, a collection of 15 original Christian songs for children and those young at heart! Learn more at


Joshua Krohn, ALA class of 2000, designed the artwork for Branches Band's Let the Children Come to Me CD.


Congratulations to Bryan Dude, ALA class of 2013, who received his appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point!



Three of our alumni are studying science at the University of Arizona. 

Carl Buchholz, ALA class of 2011, is double majoring in Physiology and Molecular and Cellular biology at the University of Arizona and is a member of the Undergraduate Biology Research Program through which he will be performing primary research in biochemistry un
der the supervision of Dr. Indraneel Ghosh. In his research he is specifically investigating new ways to regulate the activity of protein kinases in a time-controlled fashion in order to facilitate further studies regarding specific protein kinase function and help understand and cure diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimer's. Through his research he has been selected as a Beckman Scholar, a program that awards a grant to 2 students yearly at the University of Arizona and which is given to roughly 20 students nationwide each year. He will continue his research supported by the Beckman foundation over the next 2 summers and academic year.

Adele Koutia, ALA class of 2011 and current student at Uof A writes: "I am a Neuroscience Cognitive Science major, Physiology Major, and Music minor. I am currently working as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Carol Barnes, an award winning researcher in the field of Neuroscience. In my lab we study how the normal brain ages and how we can apply this knowledge to a pathologically aging brain such as in Alzheimers. The current project I am working on involves spatial memory and how the ability to navigate in space is impaired in the elderly. In the lab I work with rats in mazes and histology which involves cutting and staining very thin slices of brains and mounting them on microscope slides. Right now I am also creating a digital 3D atlas of a rat brain which will replace the commonly used spiral-bound book version and make animal brain models more easily accessible to neuroscientists. This summer I will be conducting further research in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) which is a summer research program that ALA alumni, Carl, Megan, and I have all been accepted to." 

Megan Neeb, ALA class of 2011 and current student at Uof A writes: "I've been accepted into the UBRP program, and I am also a finalist for the Translational Genomics Institute's summer Helios Scholars Internship program. If I end up working with UBRP I will be working with Drs. Felder and Kris at the small start-up company Nuvogen. The project's focus would be developing technologies that will help screen for cancer. If I end up working with TGen, the focus will also be on cancer research. 

For the last year, I've been working in the lab of Dr. Laurence Hurley, which has been my favorite learning experience so far. The focus of my project is the discovery of a drug that targets specific cancers by regulating expression of a gene, essentially targeting cancer via DNA secondary structures called G-quadruplexes and i-Motifs. It's been fascinating, and has really inspired me to go to grad school in the hopes of becoming an independent researcher."



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