Meet Our Alumni

Big Lake Organics owners Jamie Tucker and Todd Rothe stand near compost pile.

Rebuilding the Health of Our Planet

Todd Rothe ’10 and Jamie Tucker ’16 launch a Big Lake Organics.

On September 1, 2021, Todd Rothe ’10 and Jamie Tucker ’16 pulled on leather gloves, hooked up a trailer to a truck, and began collecting garbage bins of food scraps, coffee grounds, and paper products to haul to a farm field to begin the composting process. “We’re turning organic waste into soil, and we can…

Professor Dick Verch recorded plant taxonomy samples on Stockton Island in the early 1970s.

The Beauty and Fury of Lake Superior

Notes from the Field

Employed by the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute under a contract from the National Park Service, I was part of a team of students who conducted an ecological inventory of the Apostle Islands in the summer of 1975. I believe there were five teams composed of five members each that were to conduct an ecological inventory…

graphic for pandemic issue of Northland College magazine

Northland College Spring 2021 Issue

Grit is a firmness of character and indomitable spirit, an understated quality that shows itself in the face of challenge and adversity. There are many words we use to describe ourselves—scrappy, nimble, resilient, gutsy. We chose grit for the cover because it carries the weight to describe the Northland community this past year, and always.…


Shining a Light on Curiosity

Once upon a time, in the cool, dark air of his own backyard, a forestry professor swept the beam of a UV flashlight through the trees. He wanted to know if gray tree frogs fluoresce. They don’t. But when a furry shape found its way into the beam and glowed hot pink, Jon Martin discovered…

Sarah Szymaniak

Hitting the Ground Running

Sarah Szymaniak '17

In November 2019, Sarah Szymaniak ’17 began her new job as the City of Ashland deputy clerk. Responsible for executing elections, she had read reams of election law guidelines, made it through her first election in February 2020—and then in mid-March, the city locked down. “Elections can’t just stop,” she said. “There’s no way to…

Portrait of alumnus Jason Akl.

Looking Forward

Alum Jason Akl '99 navigates the pandemic.

Jason Akl ’99 is standing near his truck parked in front of the Ashland Baking Company on Chapple Avenue ready for his interview. He’s wearing winter wear over his suit, talking to a coworker at Northlakes Community Clinic where he is the CEO. It’s single digits, a pandemic, and the clinic just started dispensing vaccinations…

Northland College alum Kealy White at work at bakery.

Stepping Back, Leaning In

Kealy White '99

For Kealy White ’99, this past year was one of reflection and redefinition. Of stepping back from her professional duties and leaning into motherhood. In the last year, she’s done more home cooking, skied more, and had more outdoor adventures than ever. “It’s been nice to slow down, re-evaluate, and have some creative time,” she…

Alum Andy Okey at work at ambulance hall.

Responding with Care

Andy Okey '87

Rural communities rely on volunteers and good Samaritans. Andy Okey ’87 is that person for the Chequamegon Bay region. “Everybody knows they can count on him,” said English Instructor Gina Kirsten, who has known Andy for twenty-something years. “If he can’t personally help you, he will find someone who will.” Like this past winter when…

Alum Halley Hyde

Holding It All Together

Alum Haley Hyde '19

At the start of the pandemic, Haley Hyde ’19 not only had to figure out new ways to do her job remotely but she had to do it with two young children. “Those first few weeks were nothing but stress—lying-in-the-bathtub-crying-for-three-hours-at-night-kind-of-stress,” she said. As an early Head Start home-based teacher, Haley’s job was built on face-to-face…

Portrait of alums Chris and Judy Young '93 at New Moon Ski and Bike Shop.

Switching Gears

Chris and Judy Young '93

Owning a small business is no small task. Owning a small business focused on selling outdoor recreational gear during a pandemic? Well, that is a whole other story. Chris ’94 and Judy Young ’93 purchased New Moon Ski and Bike Shop in Hayward, Wisconsin, with business partners Joel and Kristy Harrison in 2005, but this…