Alumni Spotlight: Heidi Connelly (’11)

Heidi Connelly, a 2011 Morningside graduate, got her dream job as director of marketing at Knoepfler Chevrolet in Sioux City.

“I absolutely love my job,” she said. “It is exactly the kind of position I saw myself in after graduating from Morningside College. I am lucky enough to work for a family-owned company that has been in Siouxland since 1922! Knoepfler Chevrolet is dedicated to the Siouxland community, and I am proud to be employed with them.”

During her time at Morningside, Connelly majored in business administration with emphases in marketing and management and a minor in advertising.

“I went on a campus visit and instantly felt welcomed meeting some of the faculty and students,” she said. “Since I graduated from a small high school, the small college atmosphere appealed to me. I was looking to get involved in campus activities, and Morningside College offered plenty of those opportunities.”

During college, Connelly was a member of the dance team, the treasurer for Student Government, the president of Entrepreneurship Group, and a member of Ad Club, Interdepartmental Honors, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

“I also completed three internships while at Morningside for Powell Broadcasting, the Siouxland Community Health Center, and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s,” she said.

Connelly reflected on her time at Morningside and noted one of her favorite memories.

“In Pam Mickelson’s Marketing Research and Ad Campaigns class, we were able to work with Palmer Candy on their new confectionary product line, helping with research, branding, design ideas and marketing plans,” she said. “This project really confirmed my love for marketing and advertising and gave me hands-on experience to carry into my career after college. The group I was a part of designed one of the packages that was chosen by Palmer Candy for their new line. It was very exciting to see our actual designs in grocery and convenience stores.”

Connelly’s advice to current students was to appreciate the resources available to you on campus.

“The professors at Morningside College truly care about their students’ education and future careers,” she said. “Be sure to utilize them and the Career Services department as resources when you need help during and after college.”

Additionally, Connelly encourages students to complete internships.

“I truly feel that having three internships listed on my resume, along with my class experience, assisted me greatly in landing my first job after college and the careers that have followed,” she said.

Connelly is grateful for the lasting impact Morningside has had on her life.

“I made life-long friends and met my husband while at Morningside College,” she said. “I am so thankful for receiving an amazing education, but also for the people in my life who chose to attend Morningside College as well.”

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 9:19 AM Comments (1)

Student Spotlight: Rachel DeJong

Rachel DeJong is a sophomore at Morningside College from Leota, Minn., with a passion for finance. She feels like Morningside is the perfect place to pursue her passion.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be able to attend a school like Morningside,” she said. “I can’t imagine getting the same experience at a larger state school.”

DeJong is a double major in managerial accounting and business administration, with an emphasis in finance.

When asked what she likes about Morningside, DeJong explained, “My favorite thing about Morningside is how the small classes allow you to get to know other students and faculty in your department. The professors are such a valuable resource and they are all willing to help you find the best way to succeed.”

DeJong explained that she chose Morningside because it felt like home from her first visit. “I loved the small campus, small class sizes, and the community feeling among students and faculty,” she said.

DeJong is a very active student who takes every opportunity to get involved. Currently, she serves on the leadership team for the Connie Wimer Women’s Leadership Program; is in the President’s Book Club; participates in Alpha Lambda Delta, a women’s honor society; as well as being involved in Accounting Club and the Interdepartmental Honors Program. She also works in the tutoring center, is a Resident Assistant and is a member of the production team in the theatre department.

“I love how much overlap there is in these areas,” she said. “Because Morningside is so small, everyone can be involved in several activities and groups, which only serves to enhance the atmosphere of community on campus!”

After graduation, DeJong plans to continue her education to help her achieve her goal of becoming a finance professor.

Published in: on February 14, 2018 at 1:29 PM Comments (1)

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Delfs (’09)


Chris Delfs is a 2009 Morningside College graduate who even worked at Morningside for a time before pursuing a career in real estate. Delfs is the current assistant managing broker at Keller Williams Siouxland.

“In my profession I am active as a member of the board of directors for the Northwest Iowa Regional Board of Realtors, which oversees 17 counties of realtors,” Delfs said. “I am active in state committees and regularly engage our state legislature to work for property owner rights.”

Delfs also serves as a board member for several organizations and is an active volunteer in the Siouxland community. “I find that giving back to my community financially or with my time and talents is a great way to stay connected and help me feel a sense of adding value to those around me,” he said.

Delfs said that he chose to attend Morningside for convenience, the atmosphere of the campus and quality of education that he would receive. Today, he is still involved with campus events and activities.”I’ve found that the Morningside experience does not end at graduation. For me, remaining connected has helped me appreciate my college experience,” Delfs said.

His favorite thing about Morningside was the people. “The culture of the college from when I met with admissions was like walking in and meeting with family. It carried throughout the staff and faculty during my Morningside experience,” Delfs said.

During college, Delfs enjoyed being involved. He worked on campus at the radio station, KMSC (92.9 FM), and served as the manager there for a short period of time. Additionally, he worked in computer services. “Both were great experiences and a fun way to be connected with the staff and students,” he said.

His advice to current students was to get involved in areas that interest you. Additionally, he said, “Ask questions and follow the people that you aspire to be like.”

His advice for young alumni? “Remember that the college has resources available to help in career services, and get connected with the alumni group,” Delfs said. “There are a lot of people who are there and willing to help you with mentoring, networking and career advice.”



Published in: on February 7, 2018 at 1:43 PM Comments (1)

Student Spotlight: Brock Bourek


Brock Bourek has always had a passion for theatre and the arts that led him to Morningside College. He is currently a junior with a double major in arts administration and theatre and a minor in religious studies.

When asked why he chose Morningside, Bourek’s answer was simple. He explained that he loved the theatre department as well as the beautiful campus. Bourek said, “I felt at home.”

Bourek said he loves the small campus size, how friendly everyone is and the endless opportunities that are available to get involved on campus.

Bourek doesn’t pass up any opportunity that comes his way to get involved on campus. He currently participates in the theatre department, College Choir, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a music fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, a theatre honor society, and Brockapella, an acapella group that Bourek started two years ago. Additionally, he is a member of Residence Life working as a Resident Assistant. He stated, “I appreciate that there are endless opportunities for all students to be involved on campus regardless of their background or experience.”

After graduation, Bourek plans to move to a larger city and do some form of professional theatre. He said, “Eventually down the line, I would like to open and run my own theatre company.”

Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 1:35 PM Comments (1)

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 (1)

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 (1)

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 (1)

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 (1)

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 (1)

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 (1)