Lessons from a Cyber Spy and a Global Language Learner

On Thursday, March 2, we honored two impressive young graduates with the Hope College Young Alumni Award.

Sarah Sanderson Doyle ’03 is a Rotary International World Peace Fellow studying and researching peace and conflict resolution at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. A two-time recipient of highly competitive Fulbright Fellowships, Sarah is a teacher, writer, presenter, language learner and travel enthusiast.

Josiah Dykstra ’02 works within the Research Directorate of the National Security Agency on innovation, infrastructure and analytics for USCYBERCOM. He recently received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States on young professionals in this field.

I had the chance to listen to both of them connect with faculty and students earlier in the week and was struck by an interesting paradox between their two stories.

Sarah’s global experiences have created life lessons through learning where languages become a means to deeper human connection, empathy and potentially global peace. Her lessons included using language to shape your own voice, learn to listen and to speak up for those whose voices aren’t being heard.

Sarah shared from her travels that she has a problem with directions and finding her way around. This is made worse by the fact that in Tokyo she experiences complex labyrinths and tiny alleys that not even Google Maps has penetrated yet. To cope, she started looking up. Tall landmarks like cell phone towers, colorful buildings and the rare tree became a way to retrace her steps and start over again, this time with the confidence of knowing where she is going. She shared that this situation is very similar to the role that Hope College has played in her life.

“Spending four years at such an incredible institution gave me significant landmarks that have directed me in the past and continue to guide me in the future. Whenever I have felt lost, overwhelmed, stressed and afraid I retraced my steps to the framework and foundation that Hope College has laid in my life.”

-Sarah Sanderson Doyle ’03

On the other hand, Josiah’s work deals with languages unseen and unheard, creating networks of a different kind. In this world, peace is maintained through attacks, counter-attacks and threats of retaliation.

During a presentation on “American Self Defense in Cyberspace” with Professor Joel Toppen, Josiah shared some of his expertise with students and community members. Later, as he accepted the award, he sang (yes, the spy sings) a verse from a favorite hymn:

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run,
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

He shared that the sixth and final verse starts “let every creature rise and bring / peculiar honors to our King…” and that he has some peculiar talents of his own to share.

For example, he loves exploring. The unknown, the occasional challenge, those are exciting to him. Josiah also loves to travel and cook. He almost never makes the same thing twice. He liked school because it was an opportunity to learn and think about how the world works. He wrote a book on science in cyber security to help others be better explorers. He became an intelligence officer because that job is about figuring out who’s doing what and why.

“Hope College helped me be a better explorer. I’m glad I took political science, sociology and photography in addition to network design. The more I’ve studied cyber security, the more I value its intersection with economics, psychology and art. I can’t thank Hope enough for helping me develop as an explorer, not only in computer science, but as a laboratory for debating complex, interconnected ideas and questions. Questions like, ‘what kind of a world are we making and what kind of a world should we be making?'”

-Josiah Dykstra ’02

Neither Sarah’s or Josiah’s journey is inherently better or worse than the other. As I recently listened to them share their experiences, I thought that perhaps they are more like two sides of the same coin. It was clear that in both cases, the critical thinking skills, new perspectives and confidence gained at Hope College have empowered them to deal with complexity in a way that has proven invaluable.

View photos of the Young Alumni Award events.

Learn about the Young Alumni Award or make a nomination.

There’s never been a better time to consider attending Hope College. Here’s why.


Alumni & Student Networking Events

Join us at the following events specifically designed for current Hope students to meet alumni and receive advice, tips and tools for successfully finding a job after graduation. Find an event near you!

Living & Working In: West Michigan on Tuesday, March 14 at Founders Brewing Company at 6 pm.

Lansing Alumni-Student Networking Event on Tuesday, March 28 at Lansing Brewing Company at 5:30 pm.

Washington, D.C. Networking Event on Thursday, March 30 at Marriott Crystal Gateway at 5:30 pm.

Living & Working In: Chicago on Wednesday, April 5 at Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant at 6 pm CST.

Living & Working In: Detroit on Tuesday, April 11 at Hopcat at 6 pm.

For more details, including registration information, please visit hope.edu/alumni/events. Did you miss a deadline for an event? Email us at alumni@hope.edu. We are looking forward to connecting with you soon!

Staring down the February Blues like….

By Michaela Stock ’20

View from my dorm room in Gilmore Hall.

As you Michiganders may have noticed, it was fifty degrees in February two weekends ago. Seeing the sun alone was a Michigan miracle in itself. However, to be sprawled out on Hope College’s Pine Grove with The Beach Boys blaring in the middle of winter was the best, most unexpected surprise during this midterm season. My name is Michaela Stock, and I am a freshman here at Hope studying Art History, Management, and Music. Although the warmth and fun didn’t do much to assist my studies (did I mention it’s midterm season?), it was a joy to see campus come alive with outdoor action again. During this time of year, when winter is swampy and classes intensify, it can be tough to keep one’s head up as a full-time student. Hope kids have a reputation for being overcommitted, and although I swore I wouldn’t be like the rest, I’m currently nodding off to sleep with the blink of my curser as I write this post.

Writing in Manistee National Forest over Mid-Winter Break.

All of that to say, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else while the February blues are in full swing. As I emerge into March and look back on the semester, I cannot believe the incredible things that have swarmed through the hours and days of the past two months. As you may remember, I work for Hope College’s Concert Series. A mere two days ago, we finished up our show season for the semester. HCCS hosted Hiss Golden Messenger, a classic rock influenced folk band, The Japanese House, an ambient alternative group, and a double headlining show with Christian artists John Mark McMillan and Josh Garrels, just to name a few. A highlight for the team and artists was selling out a few shows. Seeing the Hope and Holland community come together under the strobing stage lights and art of music never, ever gets old.

Getting ready for the Folk Ensemble Performance!

Continuing on with news in music, the Hope College Folk Ensembles had a showcase this past Sunday. We did a tribute to Bob Dylan. Dylan’s poetic lyrics and rambling melodies were a blast to work with, and I had a great time finding ways to twist my voice into his songs and create something new out of his music with the rest of the ensembles. One of the best parts about being a music student is the amount of “jam sessions” that occur after class hours. Despite days that drag in the sterile, white-walled practice rooms, we still find ourselves slumped on the glossy, black piano benches belting out our favorite songs with one another. I’m finding that long hours are the name of the game when your creative outlet is also your area of study, and I’m grateful to be in an environment that allows me to study my passions. The tears on my fingers from steel guitar strings and cramps in my shoulders from slinging my instrument over my back for hours at a time are all very worth it.

Staring down the February Blues like . . .

Despite the copious amount of time I spend making music and running shows, I’m still working in Hope College’s Alumni Office. It has been a little slower around here this semester. The office has recently been rearranged, though. This event may sound minuscule, but it’s actually quite exciting. The student desk has been moved to the center of the lobby area, and our seating arrangement is much more inviting and cozy now. I have loved seeing everyone’s reaction to the new look as well as the office environment change ever so slightly because of it. As people, we often look for the big, life-changing events to catch us off guard and transform our lives. However, it’s the little things that accumulate daily and morph us into who we are. It is a personal mission of mine to be as observant as possible and not let the little things go unnoticed, because it is the small stuff that shapes us. Alright, I’ll hop off my soap box now.

All in all, second semester is off to a great start. Although my brain is fuzzy with the mist of Lake Michigan that coats campus and the information overload caused by midterms, my heart is so full. Hope College is unique as it has a support system built into its atmosphere. The February blues may put up a fight, but they won’t win here. As the year closes in quickly, I’m cannot wait to make the most of my last little bit on campus until summer sweeps me out of Holland until August.

Introducing the Orange & Blue Fund

Soccer player Mallory Beswick, having just completed her freshman year at Hope, sat amongst a crowd of older Hope student-athletes and experienced community leaders at the 2015 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit and felt a simultaneous wave of gratitude and nerves. There she was, all of a 19-year-old and a mostly substitute player, being asked by pastoral giant and author Bill Hybels to consider why she loves to do what she does, why she believes like she believes. It seemed daunting to consider but her resulting epiphany spoke volumes, not only about herself but also about the ways the Hope College athletic department seeks to provide its student-athletes with transformative experiences and competitive excellence.

In reflecting on Hybels’s call to dig deep, Beswisk put her pen to paper and wrote:

“I am Mallory Beswick — a strong, passionate, genuine, loving child of God. I am His hands and feet on Earth. Yes, I’m here to play soccer, a game I’ve loved since I was three and a game that has tied my family together. But, I am here for reasons larger than myself. I’m here for others I know that wish so badly they could have this opportunity. I’m here because I’m making memories that will last forever with some of the most humble, passionate, hardworking, servants of God I know. And ultimately, above all else, I am here to glorify God by using the gifts He has blessed me with.”

Looking back now on those words and that experience, Beswick’s sentiments have not changed but she does see with greater clarity the profound opportunity she was given by her Coach Leigh Sears and the entire Hope athletic department to attend the summit. The lessons she learned were brought back to impact her team, yes, but they also enlightened her calling to become a physician’s assistant one day, too. Beswisk sincerely hopes that leadership training can be afforded to other Hope student-athletes for years to come.

“I was honored as a freshman to get to go on a leadership retreat,” she says. “It was a blessing to be surrounded by other Hope athletes from different sports and different levels of experience. We shared stories and were honest with each other about our teams and our faith. The fact the Hope athletes were given the chance to dig deeper with each other, regardless of gender or sport, was amazing.”

By making a gift to the Orange and Blue Fund, you ensure that more Hope student-athletes, eager to be difference makers, Lord lovers, and committed athletes like Mallory Beswick, have future opportunities to reflect and lead, play and compete for transformational experiences. Your gift supports leadership training, culture development, service opportunities and more.

Make your gift today at crowdfunding.hope.edu/athletics.

The Beginning: A Semester in Washington, D.C.

2017 has been a whirlwind of events thus far.

Inauguration Day 2017

Within the first week of January, I moved to Washington, D.C. for the spring semester. Before I knew it, I was launched into a new type of world, so it seemed. D.C. natives refer to the District as the “bubble” because it is remarkably easy to be wrapped up in the happenings of the District, while unusually difficult to see outside of it. D.C. has brought about challenges and discoveries. Inauguration Day revealed the tipping point of how both sides of the aisle perceived the new administration, and it was full of celebrations as well as protests. And when I had the opportunity to attend the Michigan Inaugural Gala through my internship later that night, I saw Democrats and Republicans dancing and laughing together, as one. While there are numerous things to discuss, there is one positive ideal that has stood out to me so far. People are intensely passionate about doing good here.

People are intensely passionate about doing good here.

Often times, Congress, organizations, and D.C. in general manage to obtain a skewed reputation from the public viewpoint. Whether it involves politics or not, there are controversial topics and far-reaching decisions discussed each day in the district. However, I am able to see that each of these organizations, representatives, senators, companies, etc. truly attempt to make this nation a better place. Though they may have contrasting ideas on how to go about change in this country, the partisan lines are easier to look past once realizing that these people simply care about others and the country they live in.

Every Wednesday, our class meets with different organizations or companies and we are able to catch a glimpse of what each one does. For example, we have met with organizations, such as World Vision, as well as think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation. Each of these organizations want to do good for those around them, and it is refreshing as well as motivating.

As I continue to learn and explore the city, I am captivated by it more and more. Walking past the neoclassical architecture, the White House, and more has yet to get old. I am challenged to my core in copious ways that I had not imagined, but am growing immensely because of it.

Cheers to new adventures full of learning!

On the steps of the Library of Congress, with the Capitol building and the Washington Monument in the background.

Elly Jordan ’04: The Path Ahead for Refugees and Immigrants

Join us this afternoon for an important lecture at 3:00 p.m. in the Maas Auditorium on “The Path Ahead for Refugees and Immigrants.” Lecturer Elly Douglass Jordan is a 2004 graduate of Hope College. She received her law degree from Michigan State Law school, where she currently is an instructor at the Immigration Law Clinic.

Dr. David Ryden, Chair, Political Science Department, says “This timely talk will help us better grasp the complexities of our immigration policies as well as the implications of recent actions taken by the administration. Please do not miss this opportunity, and be sure to bring a couple friends.”

Need clarity on the immigration issue? This presentation will provide a basic overview of refugee, asylum, and immigration law and the refugee process in light of the recent executive order. There will be time for questions after the presentation.

Elly Jordan is an Adjunct Professor of Refugee & Asylum Law and a Supervising Attorney in the Immigration Law Clinic at MSU College of Law. Elly’s work includes a special focus on unaccompanied immigrant children, from legal screenings to representation before Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Young Alumni Awards 2017

This year’s Young Alumni Award recipients are Sarah Sanderson Doyle ’03 and Josiah Dykstra ’02. The Young Alumni Award recognizes extraordinary achievements for professional endeavor, research, volunteerism and/or involvement within the local or global community made by alumni who have graduated within the past 15 years. You are invited to learn more about the recipients, attend their workshops and help us celebrate their achievements at the Young Alumni Award dinner on March 2.

Sarah Sanderson Doyle

Sarah Sanderson Doyle ’03 is a Rotary International World Peace Fellow studying and researching peace and conflict resolution at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. A two-time recipient of highly competitive Fulbright Fellowships, Sarah is a teacher, writer, presenter, language learner and travel enthusiast.

Read more about Sarah on her blog.

Josiah Dykstra

Josiah Dykstra ’02 works within the Research Directorate of the National Security Agency on innovation, infrastructure and analytics for USCYBERCOM. He recently received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States on young professionals in this field.

Learn more about Josiah’s book.

Young Alumni Award Workshops

Sarah Sanderson Doyle ’03 will present “Life Lessons from Language Learning” on Wednesday, March 1, at 3:30 p.m. in the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

Josiah Dykstra ’02 will present, along with Professor of Political Science, Joel Toppen, a timely workshop on “American Self Defense in Cyberspace” on Thursday, March 2, at 3:30 p.m. in the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

The Young Alumni Workshops are open to all students and members of the community.

Young Alumni Award Dinner

You are invited to meet Sarah and Josiah at the Young Alumni Award Dinner on Thursday, March 2, 2017, at 6 p.m. at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center. This complimentary event is brought to you by the Alumni Association and the Career Development Center. Please register by February 28.

From Michigan to Vienna: Beaver Brewing Company

Photo Credit: Beaver Brewing Company

David Beaver ’98 is working to take craft beer in Vienna, Austria to a new level. David established Beaver Brewing Co. in 2015 after being inspired by another alumni owned company,  New Holland Brewing in Holland, Michigan. He helped out at NHBC in the early days and is trying to take what he learned to Vienna after noticing what he sees as a missing aspect of microbrewing in the city. David recalled about New Holland, “Theirs was the first craft beer I ever had and I learned a lot about beer through their beers.”

NHBC and BBC glasses, pictured together. Photo Credit: David Beaver

With a grand opening in 2015 at Liechtensteinstraße 69, Beaver Brewing’s mission is to produce quality beer and food at a reasonable price. They aim to bring the microbrewery experience to Austria through an American menu, craft beer, and events hosted weekly, including live music and local artists.

David first connected with Vienna as a student on the Hope College Vienna Summer School program, founded in 1956 by the late Dr. Paul Fried ’46, who was a member of the Hope history faculty and Hope’s first director of international education. The program has been led since 1976 by Dr. Stephen Hemenway of the English faculty. Nearly 3,500 students from more than 200 colleges and universities have enrolled in the summer school since its beginning.

David Beaver Doc Hemenway Vienna
David Beaver ’98 with Dr. Stephen Hemenway at Beaver Brewing Company in Vienna.

For more information on Beaver Brewing Co. check out their Facebook page or website. For more information on Vienna Summer School check out Hope’s opportunities to study off campus.

When Aaron Goodyke ’16 Saved Christmas

Have you noticed the newly redesigned News from Hope College in print and online? The print editions should be making their way to your mailboxes. If not, go to hope.edu/update to make sure we have your current mailing address. The web edition is ready for you to read now.

There’s a great story in the News from Hope College archives about the time Aaron Goodyke ’16 saved Christmas for Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville, Illinois. Aaron was, at the time, a senior vocal music education and organ major here on campus. A friend of his called him and asked if he was willing to play the organ for her church’s Christmas concerts on Christmas Eve 2014. We hope you enjoy the story as much as we did.

A Gift of Time and Talent

Originally published: News from Hope College April 2015

It’s not the sort of early-morning phone call you want to receive when you’re the minister of music and your church’s multiple Christmas Eve services—carefully planned, conscientiously rehearsed and eagerly awaited by so many in the congregation—are only hours away from beginning.

The organist is too sick to play, and there’s no back-up. Yikes.

Grace United Methodist Church of Naperville, Illinois, was in a bit of a bind on December 24, but fortunately Hope junior organ student Aaron Goodyke of Zeeland, Michigan, also answered the phone that day. With a giving heart and no small amount of talent—and just two hours’ notice—he leapt in his car, made the trip to Naperville, performed during the church’s three evening services… and then drove back to West Michigan, arriving brief hours before he was scheduled to play during his own church’s Christmas-morning service.

Dan Wagner, Grace United’s aforementioned minister of music, didn’t know what he was going to do after taking that first, challenging call. He quickly made some inquiries, but without success.

It happens, though, that Hope parent Lynn Leitzen is worship leader and director of children’s choir ministries at the church, and her daughter Claire, a Hope junior, was in the room when Lynn received a text from Dan about the dilemma.

Photo courtesy of Grace United Methodist Church of Naperville
Photo courtesy of Grace United Methodist Church of Naperville

“I have been friends with Aaron since my freshman year at Hope and know how truly gifted and talented he is,” said Leitzen, who is studying in Barcelona, Spain, this semester. “I texted Aaron that I needed him to come to Naperville as soon as I found out we were looking for an organist, mostly kidding at the time. As 20 minutes passed and my mom had spoken with Dan Wagner and he said that he was having a very difficult time finding another organist in the area on such short notice, my texts to Aaron became more serious.”

Wagner admits that he initially had some doubts. That was no reflection on any specific person, but instead stemmed from his thorough understanding of the enormity of the task: services with multiple components, challenging music, each program unique, practically no opportunity to rehearse and an intense pace.

“Nothing was the same from one service to the next—it was just ridiculously complicated,” Wagner said. “From my perspective, it was a huge leap of faith: can someone of this age handle something like this—and he’s [three hours away] in Michigan.”

Goodyke didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked—he was glad to help. A vocal music-education major, he has been playing the organ for four years and the piano for more than twice that, and performs at area churches. He had even been featured in Hope’s Christmas Vespers services in Dimnent Memorial Chapel just a few weeks earlier.

But, as he made the drive to Naperville, he began to think a bit about what he had committed to doing, and to have some doubts of his own. He had never even seen the church’s organ before.

Neither Wagner nor Goodyke need have worried.

“It was just a fantastic experience,” Wagner said. “He had great confidence and poise, and stayed calm under tremendous pressure and really did a terrific job.”

The three services ran at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. More than once, the first time Goodyke saw some of the music was when it was time for him to perform it. Leitzen, who participated herself as a vocalist earlier in the day (there were four other services previously), sat at the organ with Goodyke as “page-turner.”

“It was just a fantastic experience. He had great confidence and poise, and stayed calm under tremendous pressure and really did a terrific job.” – Dan Wagner, minister of music at Grace United Methodist Church of Naperville, Illinois

“He sight-read almost 40 pieces of music perfectly,” she said. “I think I messed up more than he did!”

When the last service concluded at 12:30 a.m., Leitzen drove back to Zeeland with Goodyke so that he could rest during the trip. The pair arrived at Zeeland at 5:30 a.m., with Goodyke due at his church in two hours. Claire subsequently caught the Chicago-bound Amtrak in Holland at 8:30 a.m. and returned home to celebrate Christmas with her family.

Goodyke credits his Hope experience with preparing him for his contributions in Naperville. In fact, he notes that Hope’s organ program and the opportunity to study with Dr. Huw Lewis were major factors in his decision to attend the college. “I was very capable of being part of it and making it happen because of my training through the music department here,” he said.

Leitzen and Wagner both credit Goodyke with giving a meaningful gift to a church family that will long remember him and what he did.

“He received many gracious ‘thank yous’ after the services were over, from choir members and congregation alike,” Leitzen said. “It was a wonderful evening for all, as many could not imagine a Christmas at Grace Church without an organ. It truly was the act of a person with a servant heart and a love for the Lord.”

Wagner agreed. “It was absolutely the most enthusiastic response that I’d ever heard from the congregation,” he recalled. “It was just enthusiasm and gratitude from the congregation, and it was really memorable.”

Learn more about Aaron on his website.

70 Years and Counting: Arcadian Homecoming

image3Brotherhood, memories, and friendships were celebrated at this year’s Homecoming for the Arcadian fraternity. October 21st through the 23rd was a time of reflection and happiness as active members connected with Chi Phi Sigma alumni. The brotherhood is made up of diverse backgrounds and experiences, and they were able to all come together as one group to celebrate the fraternity.


It has been 70 years since the fraternity was founded in 1946, and Jerry VanHeest was one of the founding members. He described his favorite part about this year’s Homecoming was being able to meet new brothers, and though they were different, they all shared one common thing. One of his favorite memories during his time as an active member was coming up with all of the songs, the crest, and the many activities that go into making a fraternity. VanHeest recounts that the friendships and the brotherhood are the aspects of the fraternity that he will always enjoy.

Paul Kieffer is an active member in the fraternity and gave his insight into what it meant to have the alumni back for Homecoming weekend.

“My favorite part about Homecoming is seeing Alumni that were in the fraternity with me and meeting alumni that have contributed to the fraternity in the past. It is a great way to make connections and get in touch with remarkable people I normally would not meet. This past homecoming we worked with the alumni to organize events such as a foosball tournament, a tailgate for the Hope football game, and a dinner celebration for the Arcadian Fraternity’s 70th anniversary.”

The alumni are extremely involved and continually contribute towards the improvements and events that the fraternity holds. As the fraternity continues to progress, the friendships and connections made between actives and alumni are friendships for a lifetime.

Make sure you check out their video.