The Gustavian Weekly

Gusties of the Week: Where Are They Now?

By Chelsea Johnson Features Editor | March 8, 2013 | Features

Kelsey Swanson ‘12



My time at Gustavus has proved to be such a vital and impactful part of my life after college. First and foremost, my dedication to academic excellence taught me a lot about hard work and the importance of high achievement. Outside of the classroom, my involvement in Greek Life, Women in Business Leadership, on-campus internships, and serving on a campus wide task force helped prepare me for the “real world.”
My major, management, and the professors that I had, opened doors for me that led me to where I am today. Through the Economics and Management department, I was provided the resources necessary to earn a J-term, semester, and summer internship. My internship opportunities are ultimately what got my foot in the door at the company where I work now. I am currently a supervisor at Securian Financial Group in St. Paul. I would definitely recommend all of the current Gusties to aim for at least one internship experience as a student.
My greatest accomplishments in my life after Gustavus so far have been getting used to the “real world” and all of the new responsibilities that come with it and maintaining my mentor/friend relationships of current Gusties.

Christopher Stewart ‘10



In 2010 I graduated with a social studies teaching degree, with economics, political science, and geography minors. I’m happy to report that after six months of substitute teaching in the Twin Cities, I found a teaching position at a charter school in Forest Lake, Minnesota. I have been at that school for two years now and am very happy with my work developing my own curriculum, building relationships with my students/colleagues, and serving on the school board.

During the summers, I have been working with developing youth programs in Inver Grove Heights and staying active in the St. Paul area. Recently I’ve been occupied planning my wedding with my fiancé, Andrea Gullixson, who is also a 2010 graduate of Gustavus.

The experiences I had at Gustavus certainly prepared me for my life outside of St. Peter. My travel abroad through the education department, my practical research conducted with Dr. Moos, and my relevant knowledge of the issues gained through our other social science departments have equipped me to address real world problems.

Nicole Meyer ‘11

NicoleMeyerNot one day since I graduated from Gustavus have I regretted my choice to go there. It was there that I learned the skills that have helped me become successful in my life thus far. It brought me out of my comfort zone, introduced me to new people who radically changed my perspectives in life, and taught me to appreciate and celebrate the differences in everyone.

Currently I’m working at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in Minneapolis. It’s a super unique place that believes in the goodness of people and truly wants to do what is right in the world. Along with the typical financial things, (such as lending, etc.) I’m involved in building relationships with the community in numerous ways such as volunteering with other coworkers, recruiting local businesses to have partnerships with us, as well as serving as a liaison between the U of M students/faculty and Affinity Plus. I’ve been working with different groups to create awareness about the corruption in large, commercial financial institutions and teach about ethical banking practices.  I think that this job was the perfect job to have right out of college and is a great stepping stone for me before I move on to grad school, which I plan on attending fall of 2014.

In my spare time I love to explore. I travel some—I’m currently planning a trip to Europe with some friends this summer. But locally, my goals are to become even more involved in the Minneapolis community in whatever time I have left here. It’s such a wonderful city filled with the most interesting people.

Renee Guittar ‘12



My time at Gustavus thoroughly prepared me and inspired me to take a risk in the real world and do what I love. I am a full-time dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher living in Minneapolis. I currently perform with ColliDe Theatrical Dance Company, Kinetic Evolutions Dance Company, and nationally recognized illusionist Jared Sherlock. I teach many different styles of dance at three different dance schools in the Twin Cities area and choreograph community theater productions.

This summer I will be producing a MN Fringe Festival Production with other past Gusties of the Week, Benjamin Kolis ‘12 and Sarah Jabar ‘10!


Hannah Wunsch ‘09



I am currently a Doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying for my degree in choral conducting and literature.  In 2012, I received my Master’s degree in Choral Conducting and vocal performance and pedagogy.

While at Gustavus, I discovered that my passion was not only music, but making music with others in a choral setting.  Dr. Aune and the fantastic choir program at Gustavus prepared me to take my musical ideas into graduate school to develop as a musician and conductor.

My music major absolutely prepared me for my career path.  While a lot of choral conductors earn music education degrees, my vocal performance degree allowed me to focus both on choral conducting, solo singing, and teaching healthy singing in the choral setting.

In addition to pursuing my Doctoral degree, I have also been working as the Director of Worship and Music at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Boulder, CO.  The rich history of Lutheran choral singing and music has made the position a fulfilling coda to my experiences at Gustavus.   I also work with various community choirs, including the Aria Singers and the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, and two choirs at the University: Collegiate Chorale and University Singers.

I have loved living in Boulder, Colorado, which is full of places to hike, ski, rock climb, and generally enjoy the outdoors.  This year was my first season learning how to downhill ski.  I haven’t climbed a 14’er yet, but it’s in the plans for this year!

Luke Garrison ‘09



Since I graduated in 2009, I have moved down to Phoenix, Arizona where I am now a TV news producer at the ABC affiliate. I got married in 2011 to my college sweetheart, (Katie Mason ‘09) and we just moved into our first house, with our two lovely miniature dachshunds (and two cats).

Reflecting on my time at Gustavus, I know my experience there prepared me well for the work world. I knew I wanted to go into journalism, which is why I wrote for the Weekly, anchored GAC-TV, and hosted a radio show on KGSM. My time as Student Senate Co-President also served me well in providing a foundation for leadership skills. Those experiences, combined with college internships, and above all else —my communication studies major – made for an easy transition into post-college life.

I will always think fondly of my time at GAC, and even have a sister-in-law graduating from there this spring. GO GUSTIES!

Bergit Nerheim ‘11

BergitNerheimI think my time at Gustavus helped me get to where I am now because I met (and lived with) many people who were different than me, which as cliché as it sounds, has helped me work with people who think and work very differently than myself.

I spent my first year and three months after leaving Gustavus working as a marketing manager for a Minnesota winery. I got the job and had no prior direct marketing experience—no marketing classes, no marketing internships, nothing marketing related at all. However, many of my communication studies classes taught me how people react to various communication methods (core of marketing), and I believe that those classes helped me with my job. I’m now working as a marketing coordinator for a trade association and the same things ring true.

I think that getting a job shortly after graduation is a huge accomplishment! I was warned about the difficult job market, so I was ready for the worst and was (and still am) very grateful that I was able to find a job. And not only did I find a job, I was able to learn a lot in my first job that helped me get my second job. I truly enjoy the work that I do, especially the graphic design work that comes along with marketing.

Anna Eames ‘13



The biggest way Gustavus has helped me get to where I am now is the support the school has offered me in so many ways. Whether it is twenty of my friends and teammates driving up to Minneapolis to cheer me on for Pan Pac Trials or my professors being understanding about my absences while I was in London, the whole community has been really supportive.

I couldn’t have accomplished everything that I have without everyone having my back 110 percent. The team and coaching staff have allowed me to train hard and have fun while doing it, and I am so thankful for that. I accomplished so much in the last two Paralympic Games that is unforgettable, but winning four conference championships in four years makes my swimming career about as good as it can get.
I am currently a senior Biology major, and I am going to pursue a career in genetic counseling after a year off doing some sort of service with AmeriCorps, hopefully.

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