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)