My Summer Experience at Mason Street Warehouse

ToriThis summer I have the exciting honor to be working at Saugatuck’s Center for the Arts as a spotlight operator for their theatre, Mason Street Warehouse. Mason Street just closed the show Million Dollar Quartet with record ticket sales and we can look forward to their upcoming shows Murder for Two (July 22 through August 7) and The Great American Trailor Park Musical (August 12-28).

Murder for Two consists of two actors, one who plays the leading detective in a classic “who done it” mystery while the other actor plays a multitude of different perpetrators. The show covers a plethora of genres and iconic references from film noir to Scooby Doo. Tickets are going fast and I can not talk up the amazing talent of the people working at Mason Street enough! You can either call their box office at 269-857-2399 or visit their website, for tickets and more information. Here is also a word from their director, David Eggers, about the show.

As a theatre student, this opportunity has been nothing but rewarding. I am still narrowing down the specific area I want to specialize in and internships at local theatres like this where I can apply what I’m learning at Hope and get hands on experience is truly a gift. Working with lighting for the first time in a production has been a beautiful new way for me to see how I can still perform without standing on the stage. I’ve had to learn the actor’s physical cues and how to anticipate their next move almost through a silent language. It only strengthens the warm family dynamic that Mason Street supports which recognizes each and every person it takes to make a production possible. But aside from being welcoming, it is also an Equity theatre, so I am getting a chance to see what professional theatre is like from the inside while learning and working alongside the stage manager and master electrician.

Summer Send Off: Then and Now

Rewind to July of 2014. 

As an incoming first-year student at Hope College, I was a ball of nerves and excitement. Being the type of person that needs planning and order, not knowing what was to come when I stepped onto campus in the fall was a rattling concept. Thankfully, Hope College does a picnic called a “Summer Send Off” in four different areas: Naperville, Mid-Michigan, Southeast Michigan, and Southwest Michigan. Since I am from the Lansing area, I went to the picnic held at Patriarche Park in East Lansing in the summer of 2014. About 10 of my high school friends were also coming to Hope, so we all arrived together. Even though I was with the people I felt most comfortable around, I couldn’t help but be nervous. I was moving away from an area that I had lived my entire life, to a town where I had visited only a couple of times. Coming to Hope was more or less a leap of faith for me, as I hadn’t even gone on an official campus visit. From the very beginning of the picnic, I knew that this was where I was supposed to be. The people from Hope College that hosted the picnic were friendly and I didn’t feel completely clueless anymore. I had no idea how to do this whole college thing, considering how I was a first-generation college student, with no real guidance in this adventure. But after the picnic, the countdown was set for August 24, move-in day, and I couldn’t have been more excited.


Fast forward to now: July of 2016. 

Packing up the orange and blue Gatorades into the cooler and putting everything into the Hope van, I would soon be on my way to the first Send Off picnic of the summer. Ever since August of 2014 (Yes, two weeks after I stepped onto campus!) I have worked in the Alumni and Family Engagement Office, the very office that hosts the Summer Send Off picnics. I couldn’t help but look back on the time that I was so nervous about a simple picnic. Now, I am greeting the incoming students as they arrive, and making them feel at home before they even come to campus. Hope College has a way of doing that. As I stood under the pavilion, looking at all of the students that were listening to the Orientation Directors, I couldn’t help but look back on the time that I was sitting in their exact place. A feeling of peace and thankfulness washed over me. The leap of faith that I once took in 2014 brought me to a state of joy, contentment and peace in 2016.

If only these freshmen knew what they were in for.

At the Breakneck Pace of Life

Well it has been a LONG time since I’ve posted…but I promise I can explain. In the past two months I have…

  1. Raced a triathlon
  2. SURVIVED FINALS (finishing my Junior year at Hope)
  3. Participated in the Formula SAE competition at the Michigan International Speedway
  4. Started work at Jacobs Engineering – Technology Group in Tullahoma, Tennessee

So let’s back waaaaaaaay up.

One of the clubs I have loved being a part of at Hope is the triathlon club. Every year, we pick a triathlon that happens some time in that narrow window between Spring Break and finals. This year, we went to Kentucky for a race. We took about 20 people and it was TONS of fun! There is a picture of our group below.


After that I was mostly home free for the semester…finals week was tough, but I finished and was named to the Dean’s list for my grades!

Immediately after finals were over, I checked all of my residents out of their housing and then packed up and headed to the Michigan International Speedway for the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) competition. This is a huge event, with over 130 schools attending. Our team was incredibly honored simply to be there competing alongside schools like Purdue, Auburn, Ohio State, and even foreign teams like University of Stuttgart. Our team did very well, especially for how small our school is. A team picture is below.



And then most recently, I began working as an intern with Jacobs Engineering. Jacobs is a huge engineering firm that tackles projects ranging from national security to medicine to oil and gas. I am working in the Aerospace and Defense sector, in the Technology group. I am getting to do projects with Boeing, NASA, and Honda…suffice it to say this is a huge learning experience.

Very soon I am actually getting to go on a company trip to one of the project sites at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico…I’ll post again after that to give an update on how that was. I am very nervous and very excited!

Until next time…Go Dutch!

Share Your Hope Experience at Summer Send Offs

686-tmp460-sample2-2JUN2016 Each summer Hope alumni, students and parents meet members of the incoming class and their families at a series of welcome events. You are invited to help welcome the Class of 2020! Connect with Hope alumni, parents and students at a Summer Send Off event near your and share your Hope experience with students just beginning theirs.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 1.15.48 PM copyJoin us for a complimentary dinner hosted by Alumni and Family Engagement. These events happen rain or shine and are complimentary for all. The RSVP deadline is one week prior to each event.

For more information and to RSVP please visit or call 616.395.7250.

Summer in South Dakota

Hello again. This month I write to everyone from the gorgeous plains of South Dakota. Instead of taking the month of May off, this year I ventured to the Rosebud Native American reservation. I am about half way done with my trip and I do not want it to end!

Throughout this month I have been teaching and observing a high school chemistry course. So far this has been an amazing experience because my mentor teacher is very engaging and provides an exceptional model for me to follow. My favorite part of being in the school is getting to know the students!  One of my students plays basketball and travels all over the country to play with different teams. Another one of my students researches over the summer at University of South Dakota. There are so many more great stories that I have heard by being on the Native American reservation.

The main purpose of this trip is to learn about the Lakota culture. We have been fortunate enough to listen to Leland Little Dog’s stories about the Lakota people. Last night he told us the creation story. This story differs from the Christian creation story, but he told us something very important about these differences in culture. Leland told us that there may be different ways that everyone explains how we got here, but it does not make any story less legitimate. There are multiple ways to get from point A to B. The presence of multiple paths does not make any one path less legitimate, but instead establishes that there are different perspectives that occurred simultaneously. Just some Native American wisdom for the day…

I hope your summer is going as well as mine is so far. And to end on a lighter note, South Dakota is gorgeous and I have spent so much time hiking and exploring the outdoors! This scenery cannot be described so here are some pictures to show the beauty.



Can I Please get a T-Shirt ?

Hope College Intramurals; the one place an amateur can feel like a world class professional athlete. I always prefer playing Co-Ed Soccer not because of the girls, but because it makes most of the guys be more gentleman-like. Lets be honest, no dude enjoys looking like a jerk in front of girls. This season, I was lucky enough to play with the Knickerbockers, and the lovely ladies of the Alpha Gamma Phi sorority even though I’m not in the Frat, and I definitely am not in the sorority. Regardless of it just being IM soccer, to me it would always feel like the UEFA Champions League Final because of the atmosphere on Hope’s Soccer Stadium. Soccer Ball

This year, after coming back from a semester abroad in Italy, I had a couple of teams to choose to play with, but choosing the “OG Alphabockers” as we called ourselves (I didn’t pick the team name) came out of me wanting to play with my friends, and win a championship T- Shirt. The season went in a completely different direction, as we finished the season with 2 wins and 9 losses. What makes it more fun is the fact that the two wins came when the other teams didn’t show up!

13064073_10154765376483066_1502950038_o (1)

Regardless, I found myself less on the need to win a T-Shirt before leaving Hope and found myself enjoying every minute of every game that I could play. I met a lot of different people and made a lot of pretty great friends, and in the risk of sounding like every kids sports movie, thats what matters the most. I’ll try and get my Championship T-Shirt next year, but in the meantime, I’ll relish the fun I had with the OG Alphabockers. This post is dedicated to them, for being such great teammates.

Cook Hall, Best Hall

“The quiet, anti-social dorm? You want to live there?”

These reactions were all too familiar just a year ago this time after room draw. And rest assured, Cook Hall is no longer considered a quiet dorm after this past year.

With our best friends living on the third floor, this residence hall became family. The pranks that were pulled (girls versus boys, of course), to singing into our hairbrushes while blasting music (and getting warned from noise complaints), created memories that were made in this hall are some that will always be cherished.

Tears were shed from the difficult times: that exam my roommate didn’t do too well on, or when my grandfather passed away. And then ear-to-ear smiles shown during the happy times: from the summer jobs that we landed, to my suite-mates acceptance into the London May Term.

As happy as it is that the boys are going to move into the Emersonian’s cottage, the Fraternal Society’s cottage, and other off campus houses, and the girls move into the Delta Phi and Sibylline cottages, there’s a bittersweet aspect to moving on knowing that we’ll never live in the same place together again.

In order to remember the little things that happened in the semester, we created a memory jar. Every time something funny or memorable happened, we would write it down and put it in the memory jar. On the day that we all move out, we’re going to read each one and look back on the memories.

The Memory Jar

We laughed until we cried, and cried until we laughed. This place and these people. Cheers to the best year yet- junior year, we’re comin’ for ya!

Dear Graduation…

Graduation, please take your time. As much as we are trying to ignore the looming event, it’s still coming. ‘G’ Day, as students have nicknamed it, is coming too quickly.

The seniors in the Delta Phi sorority have become some of my very best friends. When I joined the sorority as a freshman, I never thought these girls would be my middle-of-the-night, no matter what, “I’m here for you,” type of friends.

PowderPuff 2015

And I’m not ready for these days to be over. The Saturday evenings that we spend getting ready for date nights and formals, the PowderPuff games in the spring that we look forward to all semester, and the Homecoming reunions that we love to get dressed up for are times I’ll always cherish.

Delta Phi Date Night 2015

However, the best part about these friendships is that they aren’t going anywhere. These girls who have been by my side these past two years are going to be there for me for a lifetime.

So while graduation might be right around the corner, and this chapter of their lives are closing, there’s so much more for them past this point. Graduation is just the starting point, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for these special, sweet seniors.



Scholarship Day of Giving 2016


Scholarship Day of Giving is back on April 19, and the planning team needs your help spreading the word. Most of the excitement and buzz will be shared via social media and email — that’s where you come in! Your assistance in 2015 helped bring in more than 600 gifts and $100,000+ to support Hope Fund scholarships.

Please consider sharing a tweet or two and a Facebook or Instagram post leading up to, and throughout, the big day. Included below are graphics you may wish to share in your posts and tweets. Here are the details:

Scholarship Day of Giving is Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

    • 24 hours of giving to the Hope Fund
    • GOAL: 750 gifts to the Hope Fund
    • Activity will be tracked LIVE at
    • Official hashtag: #give2hope
    • Giving challenges and incentives will be offered throughout the day

Questions you might have should be forwarded to Sabina Otteman, director of the Hope Fund and Annual Giving.



First-Year Student Shares #GivingTuesday Impact


Scott Binder
Scott Binder ’19

Destini Pulido ’16, a senior at Hope, shared highlights from her Hope experience in a post just prior to Thanksgiving. Today, on Giving Tuesday, first-year student Scott Binder ’19 shares his goals and aspirations for his own Hope experience and how your philanthropic support makes it possible.

Scott is a first generation college student and scholarship recipient from Zeeland, Michigan involved in cross country and track. Inspired to be a doctor, Scott intends to major in chemistry or biochemistry. He says, “I love Hope because the community atmosphere is unlike any other college I visited. I love the close connections I am making with so many on campus, including my professors and coaches.”

MIAA Jamboree Cross Country event
Scott at the MIAA Cross Country Jamboree

He shares that in the years ahead he looks forward to growing deeper in his faith and to making lifelong friends. He’s excited to challenge himself to try new things, including studying abroad. He has made it his goal to become the best leader and friend he can be.

When he’s not in class or running, you can find Scott playing frisbee golf or hammocking in the Pine Grove (maybe a little less now that it’s December). No matter where you find him, Scott knows that he is here because of the generosity of others. For the occasion of Giving Tuesday, he was motivated to share more about his plans as a student:

Giving Tuesday has become a day dedicated to giving back. People and organizations around the world will come together for the common purpose of celebrating generosity and giving. Combine your gift to Hope with those from more than 8,000 others who share a strong commitment to the college. Together, we can make an even greater difference for students like Scott.


Learn more about giving to Hope College at and don’t forget to share your own @HopeCollege #Hope150 #GivingTuesday story on social media.

Members of the Hope community are generous beyond their financial giving. Save the date of Saturday, January 23 for the first ever Alumni Day of Service in honor of Hope’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration.