Alumni Spotlight: Jenna Rehnstrom (’06)


Jenna Rehnstrom is a familiar face to alumni living in Siouxland, as she is an anchor on KCAU9 News in Sioux City. She said she made the right choice to attend Morningside College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a minor in religious studies in 2006.

“For me, Morningside was the perfect mix of ‘big city’ and ‘small town,'” she said. “I wanted to pursue broadcasting and liked that I would be able to do an internship right in my own city, but I also wanted a campus where people knew me and where I could be involved. I wasn’t disappointed – it’s the perfect mix!”

Rehnstrom’s favorite thing about Morningside was living in the dorms. “I really liked the sense of community I got to have as an on-campus student,” she said. “There was always someone to talk to, study with, or order pizza at midnight with.” Rehnstrom also said she loved being able to be involved in so many different activities and to make friends across a range of majors and interests.

During Rehnstrom’s time on campus, she was involved in all the campus media. “I was especially proud of my work as one of the editors of the Collegian Reporter,” she said. Additionally, she was a member of the College Choir and Jazz Ensemble, which provided her with opportunities to tour across the Midwest as well as Eastern Europe. Rehnstrom was also active in the theatre program, was a resident assistant for three years, and was a student assistant in the Admissions Office.

Her advice to current students was to be involved. “I loved to be involved, so I say try as many activities as you can balance with school work,” she said. “I would also encourage students to take a class in something completely different from their major. I took an astronomy class, which was challenging and interesting, and a religion class that helped me decide on my minor.”

Rehnstrom’s advice for young alumni was to look for mentors. She said, “I learned so much of what I know about my career by learning from the experts around me. Ask questions, soak in ‘how they do it,’ and find people who genuinely take an interest in helping you succeed and be happy.”

Rehnstrom stays just as busy in her life outside of college as she did while she was a student. Currently, she serves on the Morningside Alumni Board, the Augustana Lutheran Foundation Board, and the St. Luke’s College Board. Additionally, she is  part of committees that organize the Crittenton Center’s Design and Dine fundraiser and Mercy’s Women’s Night Out, which is a fundraiser to benefit the Mercy Child Advocacy Center.

When she is not serving on those committees and boards, she enjoys emceeing local non-profit events and speaking to students about broadcasting. Additionally, Rehnstrom enjoys spending time with her husband, Chris, and their three young children.

Rehnstrom has also been honored by the Iowa Broadcast News Association for outstanding anchoring and public affairs reporting and was nominated for a Midwest Regional EMMY Award for her health reporting.

Published in: on January 25, 2018 at 1:21 PM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Kelsey Martin (’12)

Kelsey MartinKelsey Martin is a 2012 graduate of Morningside College where she was a double major in graphic design and advertising, with a minor in business and a cluster in religious studies.

When asked why she chose to attend Morningside, Martin said, “I was seeking an opportunity to study both advertising and design in an environment that would allow me to be heavily involved in advancing my skills in a small classroom setting. The liberal arts education allowed me to study a variety of relevant courses that diversified my experience and skill set.”

While at Morningside, Martin kept busy with internships, work study, and Ad Group. Additionally, in 2012, Martin started the Morningside American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) student group, which benefits students by helping them understand the profession and gain important leadership skills.

Her favorite thing about Morningside was the opportunity to develop work directly for clients in Pam Mickelson’s Advertising and Marketing Research class. “Advertising and Marketing Research with Pam Mickelson has been, by far, the most beneficial experience that helped set me up for success in life after college,” she said.

Martin’s advice to current students was to take advantage of the opportunities given. She said, “Take advantage of internship and job shadowing opportunities. It’s just as important to find out what you don’t like as it is to discover what you do like. Find out what working environments help foster your greatest motivation. Determine what fuels your energy and what totally drains your battery. Morningside College puts excellent tools in your toolkit, but the college experience as a whole gives you a chance to get to know yourself best. Use what you’ve learned to find careers that are a good fit for you.” Additionally, Martin said it is important for students to travel while they can. “It may seem like a lot while you’re in college, but it is challenging to find the time and the planned excursions on the budgets that are created for students,” she said.

Her advice to young alumni? Martin said, “Get involved with the college. Being an alumnus isn’t about donating money, although it’s incredible when you can make a contribution to impact future Morningsiders directly. Make some time to advise young students, expand your network by helping with an event, or build awareness/engagement for classes, activities, or traditions that were important to you and your Morningside College experience.” As a young alumna, Martin included that it is also important to take advantage of the opportunities you are given, work hard, and be patient.

Martin currently is the director of digital media at Chatterkick, which was a journey that started out her senior year at Morningside by being an intern for the company. She said, “I am extremely passionate about helping brands expand their digital footprint and level-up their digital maturity. I’m beyond nerdy when it comes to social advertising, and am committed to being a life-long learner.” Martin is also a member of the Morningside College Alumni Board, which has presented her with numerous volunteer opportunities that she enjoys.

Published in: on January 15, 2018 at 3:42 PM Comments (0)

Student Spotlight: Matthew Nieland



Matthew Nieland is a student that works hard to get involved and meet new people whenever he can. Nieland is a senior biology and chemistry double major from Auburn, Iowa.

When asked, Nieland explained that he chose Morningside because he felt that it was the perfect distance from home. He stated, “It wasn’t too close, but also not too far away.” He also enjoyed the beautiful campus and the friendly people that he met on his visits.

“I like Morningside because the professors really care about their students and there are a lot of opportunities to be involved,” Nieland said.

Nieland has taken every opportunity to get involved in groups and activities on campus. Currently, he is involved in Chemistry Club, Tri-Beta, Omicron Delta Kappa, Marching Mustangs, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and he is a staff member for Residence Life. Nieland was also crowned the 2017 Homecoming King this year.

His favorite thing about being involved on campus is working with others. After graduation in May, Nieland plans to attend graduate school to further his education.

Published in: on January 10, 2018 at 1:11 PM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: J William Swanson (’09)

J. William Swanson graduated from Morningside in December 2009, with a double major in biology and secondary education. He went to further his education and later got a Master of Arts in Teaching from Morningside and an ELL Endorsement.

When asked why he chose to attend Morningside, Swanson said, “…it felt like home. From the moment I stepped on campus, I felt like it was a place I could call home.”

While at Morningside, Swanson was very involved. Swanson explained, “I loved all of the opportunities to get involved on campus, from Honors Seminar to Acacia Fraternity and a work study job with the Admissions Department that became a second family.” He was involved in multiple organizations and activities while at college. Swanson was involved in Acacia Fraternity, Kappa Delta Pi, Into the Streets, Student Government, and Student Alumni Association. Additionally, he was an Admissions Ambassador, participated in Honors Seminar and Intramural’s. Swanson also took a May Term to Ireland and studied abroad for a semester in England.

His advice for current students was simple. Swanson said, “Remember why you are there, keep focused on potential opportunities, and take advantage of all of the things college has to offer.”

His advice to young alumni? Swanson said, “Your first job out of college may not be your ideal job. Work hard and get to where you want to be. Better yourself by continuing to be a life-long learner.”

Swanson is currently in the middle of his eighth year of teaching high school biological sciences in Storm Lake, Iowa. He is just as involved at Storm Lake as he was when he was a student at Morningside. Swanson currently serves as the advisor for Student Council, is a girl’s golf coach, a score-keeper at basketball games, an announcer at wrestling duels, and an avid audience member of the various fine arts productions and concerts.


Published in: on at 1:11 PM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Dick Stone (’68)

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Dick Stone has taken every opportunity to get involved at Morningside while as an alumni through various activities and the Morningside Alumni Board. He has been a member on the board since 2011 and currently serves as the treasurer.

Stone graduated from Morningside College in 1968 with a major in Business Administration. After graduation, he went to further his education and got his Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State University in 1979. In 1991, he received his Masters of International Management from the University of Dallas, which rounded out his education.

When asked, Stone stated that he chose to attend Morningside because he was familiar with the school since he grew up in Sioux City. He explained, “I was born and raised in Sioux City. From seventh grade to graduating from Morningside, I attended schools within a two block radius. Because I grew up in Sioux City, I was connected with Morningside a long time before enrolling, and was never sorry of that connection.”

Stone’s favorite thing about Morningside was the smaller class sizes. He stated, “The smaller classes allowed for the faculty to be more accessible to the students. You weren’t just a number in a lecture hall of 100+ students like the larger schools.”

His advice for current students was to get involved in college activities. He explained that while going to college, he worked 30-35 hours a week off campus, which left little time for activities. Stone states, “One of my life’s biggest disappointments is that I was not more involved in college activities during my four years at Morningside. My advice is to be involved as much as you can based on your individual circumstances.

His advice to current alumni was to stay connected to the college and the people that you met while at Morningside. Stone explained, “Stay connected to both the college and to the friendships you have made during your time at Morningside. No matter where you live, chances are that there will be other alumni in your area. It is a great opportunity to network.”

Stone returned to Sioux City when he retired in 2011, but for forty-two years prior to that he lived in multiple different cities. He stated that he lived in Knoxville, San Diego, Phoenix, San Jose, and Dallas. For twenty-seven out of those forty-two years, he worked for Motorola, Inc. in the Semiconductor Division. Once Stone retired in 2011, he decided that he wanted to come back to Sioux City. He stated, “When I retired in 2011, I decided that I wanted to come home and it has been very rewarding to me by being involved in many of the college activities that I was not able to participate in during my college years.”

Published in: on December 12, 2017 at 3:18 PM Comments (0)

Student Spotlight: Hope Philbrick


Hope Philbrick is always looking for ways to help and serve people, which makes her future career path very fitting. Philbrick is from Council Bluffs, Iowa and is currently a senior with a major in Nursing and a minor in Psychology.

When asked why she chose to attend Morningside, Philbrick stated, “I decided to come to Morningside because I liked the idea of continuing to participate in activities that I enjoy, while going to college. Morningside gave me the opportunity to get involved with as many groups on campus as I wanted, while still being able to be successful in the classroom.”

Philbrick is very involved on campus by being active in the music department and various other groups. Her activities include Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble, Marching Mustangs, Color Guard, Pep Band, Connie Wimer Women’s Leadership Program, a staff member on the Residence Life Staff, a member of Beta Beta Beta Honor Society, and participates in Christ Connections, a Christian group that offers students worship services, small group nights, movie and game nights, and volunteering opportunities.

When discussing her favorite thing about the activities she is involved in she stated, “I like being a part of a community here on campus and getting to know other students who are outside of my major.”

After graduation Philbrick plans to work at a hospital and would like to travel. She stated, “After I graduate, I’d like to work at a hospital. I would also like to travel and go on medical mission trips to help people in other countries receive the care that they need. Most of all, I plan to help and serve others in any way that I can.”


Published in: on December 5, 2017 at 9:15 AM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Kristin Noreen


Kristin Noreen has had a passion for education and for helping others, which is evident through the various campus and community activities she is involved in.

Noreen graduated from Morningside in 1980 with a double major in Elementary Education and Physical Education. Later, she got her Masters in Elementary Education from Morningside and a Special Education Degree for Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She used the education she received to teach school for thirty-four years, most of those being in the Sioux City area.

During her time at Morningside, Noreen was involved in Alpha Omicron Pi and was a member of the women’s basketball team.

When asked why she chose to attend Morningside, Noreen stated, “It fit my personal and educational needs.” She added that she liked how it was a smaller school and she knew once she started that it was the right fit for her. Noreen explained that her favorite thing about her time at Morningside was the quality education she received and the lifetime long friendships she created.

Her advice for current students was to, “Enjoy your time in college. It will be some of the best years of your life.” Noreen’s advice to young alumni was to get involved with Morningside. She stated, “We have a tremendous Alumni staff to help you get involved both on and off campus.”

Today, Noreen continues to stay involved in the community and on campus. She volunteers at St. Luke’s, attends numerous Morningside athletic and fine arts activities, and is very involved in volunteering at Morningside as an alumna. Noreen has served on the Morningside Alumni Board since 2009, and currently serves as the Secretary. Every year she helps coordinate volunteers for homecoming and helps out with various homecoming activities. Additionally, she volunteers with numerous other alumni events including Morningside Madness.


Published in: on November 29, 2017 at 4:06 PM Comments (0)

Student Spotlight: Molly McInnis


Molly McInnis has always had a passion for education, which is evident in everything she does. McInnis is currently a junior from Beresford, South Dakota with a double major in Special Education and Elementary Education.

She knew from the beginning that Morningside was the right fit for her career path. McInnis stated, “I choose Morningside because I loved the campus and the education department.” She knew she wanted to be a teacher, so she felt like Morningside was the perfect fit.

McInnis loves the small campus environment, being able to have personal relationships with her professors and appreciates the opportunities that a small college campus provides. She believes that students at Morningside have the opportunity to grow not only as a student, but also as a person.

She is very involved on campus, currently serving as the Head Apartment Manager, the President of Teachers Inspiring Exceptional Students (T.I.E.S.), a group for future special education teachers, a chair member of Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honor Society in Education, and is a member of the Connie Wimer Women’s Leadership Program. Additionally, she is involved in Christ Connections, a Christian ministry group on campus, and she leads a bible study for students.

When asked, McInnis indicated that her favorite thing about the groups and  activities she is involved in is the people. She stated, “I love the people I meet in all the groups and activities I am involved in. I love meeting new people and being able to share experiences and memories with them.

After graduation, McInnis has plans to stay around the Siouxland area where she is looking forward to teaching.

Published in: on November 14, 2017 at 9:10 AM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Chad Heggen


Chad Heggen is a 1993 graduate from Morningside College with a love for art. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Art major, with minors in Photography and Mass Communications.

Heggen chose Morningside for many reasons. He stated that he like the small campus and school feel. Additionally, he loved the art department and said that a college that had a good ceramics room was high on his list when choosing colleges. Heggen explained that he also had a great recruiter.

When asked what his favorite thing about Morningside was during his time on campus, Heggen stated that it was, “The ability to be involved in so many things and everyone was so supportive and willing to help. I met many people, both students and professors, that had a positive influence on who I am today.”

During his college career, Heggen was very involved, participating in Delta Sigma Phi, Creative Edge/Ad Club,taking photographs for the newspaper and yearbook, working as the camera operator and technical director on the nightly MCTV news, and being a football cheerleader. Additionally, he worked in Morningside Graphic Services.

Heggen’s advice for current students was to get involved in activities. He stated, “Get involved in activities. They will help you form a direction in which to go. They also introduce you to people that can help place you in a field.” Additionally, he stated it is important for students to read and form their own conclusions on matters and plan on learning for the rest of their lives.

His advice for young alumni was to, “Keep in touch with your dreams; you still have time to reach them.”

Currently, Heggen’s work can be found hanging at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum and at the Clear Lake Art Center. Additionally, he has a website,, that includes his work which he updates often.

Published in: on November 9, 2017 at 9:27 AM Comments (0)

Student Spotlight: Karissa Heckens


Karissa Heckens has been active on campus through her various classes and activities from the moment she stepped on campus her freshman year. Heckens is currently a senior from Omaha, Nebraska majoring in Nonprofit Management with Spanish and Religious Studies minors.

Heckens chose to come to Morningside because they offered a Nonprofit Management major and it provided her with unique opportunities she may have not otherwise gotten. She stated, “I chose Morningside for many reasons! First, it has the Nonprofit Management major, which is unique and able to provide me with a variety of valuable skills for serving others in both my professional and personal life. Second, the people here are extremely friendly, and this was quite evident to me from my campus visits as a prospective student. It is nearly impossible to walk across campus without receiving a welcoming smile from at least one person, and this was not something that was common at the other schools that I visited. Third, the scholarships offered to me by Morningside were quite generous and truly helped with the financial aspect of college. Lastly, I felt as if God was calling me to come here so that I could help develop the Campus Ministry Program here.”

Heckens is very involved in campus activities. She is the founder and the president of Christ Connections, a Christian group that offers students worship services, small group nights, movie and game nights, and volunteering opportunities. Additionally, she is in Omicron Delta Kappa, where she is serving as the co-Vice President for Into the Streets, a member of the College Choir, a Writing Center Consultant, and a Second Year Experience Mentor.

She enjoys the opportunities Morningside provides to their students, specifically how students are able to have the chance to develop their strengths and skills and the wide variety of leadership opportunities that they have. Heckens stated, “Thus, I have been blessed here with the experience of developing a Campus Ministry group from the very beginning, along with many other leadership experiences that have shaped my growth and that will continue to affect my life long after I graduate.” Additionally, she appreciates the opportunities she has received to create meaningful and beneficial relationships with her professors because they are great at offering support, whether it be in the classroom, or when discussing internships, graduate school, and future careers.

Her favorite thing about the activities she is involved in is the relationships she has formed with students and faculty across campus. Heckens stated, “In addition, I am extremely appreciative for the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others through my various activities.”

After graduation, Heckens plans to attend Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Kansas to pursue a Master of Divinity degree. Ultimately she hopes to be ordained in the United Methodist Church and practice ministry. While she is unsure what specific type of ministry she may want to pursue, she is thinking about either campus ministry, pastoral ministry, pastoral counseling, or even hospital chaplaincy.


Published in: on October 31, 2017 at 10:46 AM Comments (0)