The 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients Webinars

The Hope College Alumni Association is proud to announce Lara Plewka ’98 MacGregor and Dr. Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller have been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2021. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes the accomplishments of alumni who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in their chosen profession and have made a positive impact on their community. The Alumni Board of Directors considers dozens of nominations each year and carefully selects two recipients each year. Congratulations to these alumnae who have gone above and beyond to fulfill these criteria.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Lara Plewka ’98 MacGregor

Lara Plewka ’98 MacGregor | Turning Heartbreak into Hope
At the age of 30, 7 months pregnant and a successful Associate Vice President, Lara MacGregor was diagnosed with cancer. 14 years later, Lara is still fighting Stage IV Metastatic breast cancer after 7 years of remission. Lara knows heartbreak – but she also knows hope. In 2012, she founded Hope Scarves, an organization that allows the sharing of stories and scarves among women who are fighting cancer. The Hope Scarves collection, which is constantly evolving, now contains over 15,000 scarves and 1,200 stories. Her organization has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to breast cancer research and Lara has also become a popular blogger, podcast host and speaker. Join us to learn how Lara has faced her personal health heartbreak with a commitment to spreading hope.

Lara will present on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 6 p.m. live via Zoom. Register today at hope.edu/alumniweekend.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller

Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller | From Plants to Patients: A Scientist’s Journey from Hope to Healing
In a world that has had all eyes on vaccine development in the past year, Dr. Deb Fuller has been wearing many different hats, including Professor of Microbiology at the University of Washington, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Orlance, Inc, and Division Chief and Core Scientist at the Washington National Primate Research Center in the AIDS division. In short, she has been on quite a journey since her first experiment on plant cells at Hope College to her current work developing vaccines to fight the spread of disease in humans. Join us for a virtual talk that is equal parts science, Q&A and anecdotes about our Distinguished Alumni Award winner’s personal (highly circuitous) journey.

Deborah Heydenburg ’87 Fuller will present at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 live via Zoom. Register today at hope.edu/alumniweekend.

Thank You! 2021 Day of Giving Success

Thank you to all our alumni, families and friends who helped make this year’s Day of Giving a success! Over the course of 36 hours (February 25-26), Hope received $514,198 from 1,883 gifts . . . and we couldn’t have done it without you!

What if somebody missed Day of Giving and they still want to make a gift? How exciting! Go to hope.edu/give which features an online form for making gifts.

Thank you for coming together for Hope students. Your generosity inspires us — and it tells us that you believe in the transformative power of a Hope education. We are so grateful for your enthusiastic support.

From all of us at Hope College: Thank you!

Alumni Weekend Activity Booklet

While we can’t be together on campus this year, we have an abundance of virtual events for alumni! In addition, we’ve put together some Hope-themed activities that everyone can enjoy. Check out our custom coloring pages, crossword, sudoku, word search and word scramble.

Download the entire PDF and print as many as you need. (Answers are included!)

For a full schedule of virtual events, including registration, visit hope.edu/alumniweekend.

#TheRivalry

It’s time. Saturday, February 20, 2021, at 3 p.m EST, the Flying Dutch will play the Knights for the 127th game, hosted by Calvin University. You can watch with us at athletics.hope.edu/live. (Note: the men’s game has been postponed).

It started in 1965, even though women’s basketball didn’t officially become a sport in the MIAA until 1978. The women have played 126 games over the past 51 years. Calvin currently leads 71-55.

Hope College – Hope College Women’s basketball takes on Calvin College.

Coach Brian Morehouse ’91 says that the team is off to a “blazing start,” we couldn’t agree more. In fact, we think this team is on fire. You don’t want to miss the action on the court.

Some recent changes to regulations mean that the team’s parents are the only spectators at the game. The rest of us will be watching virtually but we’ve got some great activities to keep everyone actively engaged in the game!

Check out these fun coloring pages for all ages. Send us a photo to alumni@hope.edu and we’ll share on our social media channels.

Hope College – Hope College Women’s basketball takes on Calvin College.

Join us – watch online at athletics.hope.edu/live and #GoHope!

Visit hopecalvin.com for more detailed information.

COVID-19 and Wastewater: Implications at Hope and Beyond

Among all the firsts that 2020 brought, here’s something no one saw coming: Hope College staffers parked in campus intersections, opening maintenance holes to get to the sewage below. Six mornings a week, rain or shine. It is part of Hope’s multi-pronged approach to keeping the campus safe during the pandemic, and came together thanks to a constellation of resources that’s unusual for a school like Hope.

You can read more in the recent News from Hope College article, “Water-Quality Expertise Helped the Semester Happen,” or you can join the experts directly during a new online event coming up on February 16 at 7:00 pm EST.

Faculty and staff involved in the process will share more about Hope College’s model, including wastewater surveillance, comprehensive testing, contact tracing and quarantine procedures. They will also share lessons learned for the benefit of those responsible for keeping their own communities safe. Alumni, families and all those interested are invited to join and learn.

Dr. Aaron Best, genetics professor and chair of the biology department at Hope College discusses the college’s COVID-19 testing strategy that enables detection of SARSCoV-2 genetic material (RNA) in campus wastewater.

Developed and led by a team of Hope biologists and chemists, the college’s strategy focuses on wastewater coming from residence halls, cottages and apartments, which are divided into nine residential zones across campus. During the 2020 fall semester, Hope College was awarded approximately $700,000 for equipment and funding from Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) as part of the state’s effort to establish a standardized and coordinated network of monitoring systems to provide an early-warning system for the presence of the virus. Read more in The Wall Street Journal.

Presenters

Dr. Aaron Best

Harrison C. and Mary L. Visscher Professor of Genetics, Biology Department Chair

Dr. Benjamin Kopek

Associate Professor of Biology

Scott Travis

Hope College COVID-19 Testing Team Lead

Introducing the 10 Under 10 Award Recipients for 2020

The 2020 10 Under 10 Award Recipients

Hope College is proud to give the 10 Under 10 Award to ten young alumni each year who are making their mark on the world. Our recipients this year are researching cancer, teaching the next generation, leading those in business, working in law and so much more. We are so proud of how these alumni are using their Hope education to make a real difference. Now here is a chance to hear from them! Each link will take you to a separate blog post about the award winner, including the video presentation of their award:

Amy Fisher ’10 Weibley

Annalise Klein ’14

Charlyn Pelter ’15 DeWitt

Eric Vachon ’14

Jordan Fuller ’10

Luis Silva ’10

Meagan Elinski ’13

Peter Stoepker ’10

Stephanie Bogema ’10

Tom Gable ’13

The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!

Thank God for Hope College

portrait of Kurt Oosterhouse

Kurt Oosterhouse ‘90 attended Lee High School in Wyoming, Michigan. While that fact might not mean a whole lot to most people, the reality of attending Lee High was this: the vast majority of its graduating students went straight into manufacturing jobs at one of the many industrial plants surrounding the school. Out of the 64 students in the Class of 1986, which was Kurt’s class, only four went straight to four-year colleges, and that did not include the class’s valedictorian or the salutatorian. For most graduates, the odds of going on to anything other than manufacturing were slim. 

But God had a different plan for Kurt. Both of his parents, Alvin “Max” and Lavina Oosterhouse, had attended four-year colleges. His parents valued education — Max even served on the Godfrey-Lee School Board for more than twenty years. Attending college was an expectation that his parents held for all of their five children. The process of getting there and paying for it, however, was up to each Oosterhouse sibling to figure out. 

For Kurt, ACT prep work consisted of flipping through the ACT test booklet for thirty minutes the night before the test while watching the Pistons. Regardless of his … unique … study style, he was still able to get a good score. For that, Kurt is grateful.

It was with this same level of preparation that Kurt applied to both Hope College and the University of Michigan, where Kurt was wait-listed. Looking back, Kurt remarks that he would not have done well at U of M since he needed the “personal attention (and help) that Hope College provided.” His freshman year at Hope was particularly daunting. To illustrate his lack of college preparation, Kurt recalls having only taken algebra and geometry in high school, while his peers had taken calculus. At Hope, they had enrolled in pre-calculus for the “easy A.” Kurt’s hard-earned “B,” on the other hand, was a minor miracle. This is part of the reason he can confidently declare, “Thank God for Hope College.”

Kurt worked hard. He did not waste the opportunity that was given to him, and he accepted the help and care that was offered by his professors here at Hope. “I know I would not have succeeded to the same degree without the watchful and caring eyes of the Hope College faculty who were always willing to take the time to help out a mostly lost, unprepared freshman from Lee High,” Kurt remembers. 

It was his junior year that changed everything, though. That year, he qualified for the Washington, D.C. Honors Semester, where he was to intern for the newly-elected Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana). Even at that young age, he knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Writing letters to constituents, conducting tours of the U.S. Capitol for visitors, walking around on the floor of the House of Representatives – who would have thought? Thank God for Hope College.

Sadly, a few days after arriving in D.C., he received the call that his father had died from a heart attack. While home for the funeral, it came to his attention that, because his father had co-signed the D.C. semester loan with him, the loan was now considered void. While still mourning his loss, Kurt had a meeting with the Director of Financial Aid. It was short. She simply said, “Don’t worry Kurt, you’ll go back to D.C. We’ll figure this out for you.” 

Kurt was able to grieve and not worry about getting back on track. The director found the money, and he was able to go back to the D.C. Semester and continue on his path. He still views this semester as one of the greatest experiences of his life. Kurt remembers, “The outreach I received from faculty (cards, hugs, kind words, winks and smiles) and the immediate commitment to find a way to get me back to D.C. still puts a tear in my eye 30+ years later.” Thank God for Hope College.

Kurt went on to study law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Upon graduating in 1993, he began work as a finance attorney. In 2003, he made partner at Moore & Van Allen (Charlotte, North Carolina office); and, most recently, he joined Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft — New York City’s oldest law firm (est. 1792) — as a partner.

In 2020, Kurt is still thanking God for Hope College. He established the Kurt Oosterhouse ’90 Scholarship Fund to help other students reach their full potential. 

Thank God for Hope College.

10 Under 10 Award Recipient | Tom Gable ’13

Tom has a degree from Hope College in biology. A majority of Gables  professional experience since graduating from Hope has been in graduate school. He worked a few research positions before doing his Master’s in Biology at Northern Michigan University. In 2014 he started the Voyageurs Wolf Project where he is still active today. He then worked for Voyageurs National Park from 2016-2017 before starting his Ph.D. in Conservation Sciences at the University of Minnesota in 2017. At Hope, Gable was both a Puller and a Pull Coach for Odd Year Pull.

Hope College is proud to honor Thomas Gable ’13 with the 2020 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!

10 Under 10 Award Recipient | Stephanie Bogema ’10

Stephanie Bogema graduated with a degree in Political Science. After graduation she served as an AmeriCorps program leader but soon left to work for Congressman Fred Upton on Capitol Hill. She has since worked as the Chief of Staff for several legislators including former State Senator Margaret O’Brien. After transitioning to the healthcare industry last August to work as the Chief of Staff to Joan Budden, the President and CEO of Priority Health, the second largest health plan in Michigan, she is currently the Senior Project Specialist to Chad Tuttle, the Senior Vice President of Hospital and Post-Acute Operations for Spectrum Health West Michigan. Bogema recently finished her MBA at the University of Notre Dame in May 2020 and completed a Health Policy fellowship through the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation at the University of Michigan in 2017. Bogema began to get experience in politics as a student at Hope with her involvement in the Hope Republicans, Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honors Society, and Washington D.C Honors semester program along with completing political science research with Dr. Virginia Beard.  

What was a favorite memory while you were a student at Hope?
Having coffee at Lemonjello’s with other students, developing special friendships with my roommates in Hawkinson Cottage and spending many hours in the political science department learning from excellent professors and completing research.
How are you a different person today because of your Hope experience?
Hope College beautifully prepared me to be successful both personally and professionally. I grew so much during my time as a student by exploring and pushing myself to experience new things. Hope is a safe place to fully embrace this utterly unique time to be a student and develop into a lifelong learner.
What was your favorite food at Phelps?
Frozen yogurt
What is something you love about your job/career path?
How vast and multidisciplinary it is. Transitioning from the public sector to healthcare has allowed me to gain such insight about a breadth of topics and complex ones at that. I enjoy the diversity and challenge of working in such a disruptive and constantly evolving industry-every day looks different.
What spot on campus do you miss the most?
Dimnent Chapel
What was your favorite class you took at Hope? Why?
Ancient and Medieval Political Thought with Dr. Jeff Polet. It was one of the most substantive and thought-provoking courses I have ever taken.
What has been the highlight of your professional career?
Working closely with Joan Budden, the President and CEO of Priority Health. Her leadership and vision doubled the size of the organization during her tenure. Having the enviable opportunity to observe such a transformational leader led to tremendous growth and development in a short period of time. It also led to significant vocational clarity during a critical transition. I will always be grateful that she pushed me to accomplish more than I thought possible.

Hope College is proud to honor Stephanie Bogema ’10 with the 2020 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!

10 Under 10 Award Recipient | Peter Stoepker ’10

Peter Stoepker earned his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in Social Studies and Political Science from Hope College. Then went on to receive his Master of Arts in Coaching Sport Performance from Western Michigan University and then his Doctorate of Philosophy in Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado. He now works as an Assistant Professor of Health and Community Wellness & Physical Education at the University of West Georgia. Stoepker is the Principal Investigator on one of the largest grants received in the history of his university; a project funded through the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation. The purpose of this statewide initiative is to increase physical activity programming for middle school girls as well as improve overall cardiovascular health. When he was a student at Hope he was a member of the Omicron Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, played on the baseball team and studied in Australia.

What was a favorite memory while you were a student at Hope?
It is hard to pick just one. So many outstanding memories were created.
How are you a different person today because of your Hope experience?
Hope helped me become a deeper and more critical thinker. It provided me with the tools and confidence that helped me obtain the position I am in today.
What was your favorite food at Phelps?
Chicken Sandwiches
What is something you love about your job/career path?
I love being able to share my love and passion for learning with my students.
What spot on campus do you miss the most?
Dow Center (Loved playing pick up basketball)
What was your favorite class you took at Hope? Why?
First Year Seminar, I really got to learn a lot about myself and it gave me time to reflect on the type of student/person I want to be
What has been the highlight of your professional career?
Recently receiving a $590,000 grant to provide school based physical activity programming to help address cardiovascular health issues among middle school girls across the state of Georgia.

Hope College is proud to honor Peter Stoepker ’10 with the 2020 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!