Marilyn Stewart smiles while sitting on the steps within the One Discovery Square building on the University of Minnesota Rochester campus.
Fall 2021 University of Minnesota Rochester Alumni Magazine

The Kettle

Stay connected, submit feedback and more! 

Don’t be a stranger, UMR wants to hear from you! The University of Minnesota Rochester aims to provide you with the professional support, resources and development opportunities you need to be successful. UMR hopes to stay in touch LONG after graduation. 

Email to provide UMR with an update on where you are located and what you are doing in your career or studies. Don't forget to send updates as things change!

Dear Friends and Fellow Raptors,

On behalf of the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) alumni community, welcome to the second issue of The Kettle.

Through a year of upheaval, change and rejuvenation, the UMR Raptor community has grown, persevered and pushed the envelope forward. Raptor alumni have conducted research into the COVID-19 virus, earned their "White Coats" and well-deserved promotions, and explored new and exciting career opportunities. UMR graduates have truly risen to solve the grand health challenges of the 21st century.

With the arrival of the Class of 2025, we encourage you to stay engaged with campus and connect with current students and faculty. Much has changed around UMR, including the addition of The Nest, the building of the NXT GEN MED program, and the launch of the Beyond the Nest podcast.

This issue of The Kettle captures some of that change, but more importantly, aims to share the stories behind our unique UMR experience. Please enjoy and always stay in touch.


The UMR Alumni Advisory Committee

Mohamed Addani ‘18, Nitya Chandiramani ‘17, Glen Morris ‘17, Rachel Nguyen ‘14 and Mikayla Schmidt ‘18

ket·tle /ke-tᵊl/ noun

A term derived following field observations of hawks, “kettle” means a group of soaring raptors.

PDF Version of the Fall 2021 Alumni Magazine.

Featured Stories

The Power of Mentorship

Ryan Colburn, a junior health sciences major, navigates his college experience and career path with the support of his mentor, UMR alumna Cassie Kersten ’16.

Marilyn Stewart: A Lasting Legacy

The matriarchal story of UMR and how the institution continues to thrive with community support, dedicated benefactors and the importance of women being present at the table.

Alumni Profile: Sarah Vang

A story of grit and resilience; navigating her career in the midst of a pandemic that put her in a position to make a difference in the lives of her patients but also the Hmong community.

Faculty Profile: Molly Dingel

Professor Molly Dingel reflects upon taking a leap to join a burgeoning UMR, more than a decade ago.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Q&A

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BICB) Graduate ‘13


Steps Towards a Better World

Krysjahn Johnson knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine.

Future Raptors Find Their New Home at UMR

The Office of Admissions worked diligently to welcome UMR’s 13th incoming class, which this year
comprises more than 200 students
in the Bachelor of Science in Health
Sciences and Bachelor o

Dear Raptors, a letter from Chancellor Carrell

In this extended time of disruption, I am hopeful the stories from the UMR community that we’ve featured in this second edition of The Kettle will be a source of strength for each of you.

Raptor News

Alumni Updates

Hannah Elsenpeter '13
Elsenpeter started her career as a family medicine physician at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, Minnesota, was married in 2019, and welcomed a child in March 2021.

McKenzie Bangasser '16
Bangasser was accepted to Vanderbilt's cardiovascular perfusion program (~1% acceptance rate) and was voted to be class president.

Cassie Kersten '16
Kersten recently started as a public sector senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton supporting military health projects. Serving as a public health subject matter expert, Kersten will be traveling to Air Force bases worldwide to help conduct medical readiness trainings and exercises. During non-travel time, Kersten will help develop new training tools to enhance medical readiness in the Air Force.

Paige Diedrick '18
Diedrick started graduate school at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities School of Public Health for a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology with an infectious disease concentration.

Kelsey Gilman '19
Gilman started the PA program at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa and was recently engaged.

Emily Padilla '19
Padilla is attending the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. 

Stephanie Lindquist '20
Lindquist was accepted to University of Minnesota Twin Cities Pharmacy Program for Fall 2021.

Katlyn Long '20
Long is working at Mayo Clinic as a phlebotomist technician and will be attending the University of Michigan toward obtaining a master's degree in population and health sciences. Long also shares an engagement announcement from December 2020 with a wedding planned for May 2022.

Ryker VanderHeiden '21
VanderHeiden is attending medical school at Medical College of Wisconsin as a 2025 MD candidate.

Class notes

Brought to you by UMR Student Success Coaches.


Shannon Holmberg started a Master of Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 

Mason Schlief was accepted into the University of North Dakota’s Master of Social Work program and will start in Spring ‘22.

Danielle Schreb was admitted to Des Moines University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Eric Sturdevant joined Be The Match as a Biorepository Technician.

Khachialia Thor enrolled in the Doctor of Medicine program at American University of Antigua College of Medicine.

Alanna Vossen joined the University of Miami as a Clinical Research Coordinator II.


Victoria Ajayi enrolled in Tufts University School of Medicine’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree program.

Nathan Carlson was accepted into the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry’s DDS program.

Kaylee Cole joined Mayo Clinic Florida as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist.

Alynn Kruse was accepted into the Genetic Counseling program at Sarah Lawrence College.

Amarachi Orakwue has enrolled in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) program.

Kaillie Paulson joined MN Adult and Teen Challenge as a Case Coordinator.


Anjelika Anker was accepted into Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Surgical First program.

Share your news with UMR!

UMR graduates achieve great things every day. From breakthrough research and career success to weddings and the arrival of baby Raptors, 
send your updates to and stay social @UMRochester.


Magazine Credits

Barbara Knox
Molly Olson

Art Direction and Design
Vanessa Carroll

Web Editor
Elise Diesslin

Kimberly Friedline
Lindsey Giardino
Felicia Schneiderhan
Amy Sitz

Katie Becker
Brendan Bush
Dean Riggott
Sarah Vitel

Office of Alumni Relations
Marco Lanz
Director of Development and Alumni Relationships


The Kettle Archives