10 Under 10

Four years ago, when the idea to convert the Young Alumni Awards, which honored two recent Hope graduates, into the 10 Under 10 Awards, increasing the number of yearly recipients considerably, one of the concerns brought forth was the rate at which we would deplete the nomination pool. Despite the risk, we decided to have faith that we’d be able to find enough recipients every year based on our knowledge of the quality graduates that Hope produces. Now, three years into the program, I look back on our initial concerns and laugh. While we are constantly working to encourage nominations, finding phenomenal candidates for this award has certainly not been a problem! In fact, I continue to be absolutely amazed and even a little overwhelmed at the accomplishments, attributes and aspirations of our youngest alumni.

Our nominations come from spouses, parents, best friends, former teammates, staff members, faculty members and even community members. The people of Hope are masters at elevating each other, shining the spotlight on each other. It is a privilege to read the nominations, a thrill to sit in on the selection committee meetings, and an honor to get to know the recipients each year as we work to tell their story and connect them to current students and fellow alumni.

The selection process is extensive. Representatives from all over campus — student life, admissions, each academic division — and the Alumni Association Board of Directors come together to read each nomination and thoughtfully select 10 recipients, with the full Alumni Board approving the slate at their semi-annual meeting. It is an invigorating experience for everyone involved – what a joy it is to see all the places recent grads have taken their skills, their passions and their hope! Each recipient uniquely fulfills the criteria of the award:

  • Emerging leader making a significant contribution by living out their calling;
  • Engaged in the local or global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement;
  • Serves as an outstanding young role model for current and future students and alumni by showcasing the attributes of a graduate anchored in Hope.

The 2020 10 Under 10 Award recipients were honored this year via a virtual ceremony on Friday, Oct. 16, as part of One Big Virtual Weekend: Homecoming & Family Weekend. While this year was different, the celebration was heartfelt — as the recipients deserved.

While we may have worried four years ago that 10 might be too many, after three cycles of recipients, I can confidently say that 10 will never be enough. In addition, we delight in honoring these 10 individuals, we recognize that there are many more young alumni who also shine bright. Our desire with this award is not to overshadow any other alum but instead to place a spotlight on what all our Hope graduates are doing with their education and unique gifts.

Kate Bultema ’09 Ralston is associate director of alumni and family engagement at Hope.

’10 Luis Silva

Human Resources Business Partner

“My Hope education gave me the critical and analytical thinking skills that have allowed me to think outside the box in the real world. Hope College made me agile, improved my work ethic, and made me a naturally curious person. It instilled in me a servant leader mindset when I approach a diverse set of situations. Through my time at Hope, I discovered a passion to build stages where every person has an equal opportunity to succeed.”

’14 Annalise Klein

Education Consultant for Culturally Responsive Science and Project Based Learning

“I entered college pursuing a career that would allow me to experience as many different stories of the human experience as possible. At Hope, my experiences and many guiding conversations from mentors pushed me towards the field of education. I was filled with a need to live in communities in the U.S. that have historically struggled to find the successes that I had been privileged to so easily inherit.”

’10 Peter Stoepker

Assistant Professor of Health & Physical Education

“I want to make my students believe that they can succeed academically and that my door is always open. My experiences at Hope taught me how to be open-minded, compassionate, and determined to be the best possible educator I can be and I have applied this methodology to my current practice. I am so grateful for the Hope College community and how it molded me to what I am today.”

’14 Eric Vachon

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Nursing

“The experience that I had at Hope between nursing, playing baseball, and being a part of the Hope community shaped who I was as a young adult in a critical time of development. My courses and faculty at Hope inspired me to never stop gaining knowledge and to always be a student. I have transitioned that passion into a career as a researcher and an academic, and I am truly grateful to Hope College for instilling that value in me.”

’13 Thomas Gable

Wildlife Biologist, Project Lead

“I would simply not be who I am or where I am today if it were not for my time at Hope College. I did not realize how exceptional the education I received was until I started graduate school and began interacting with other graduate students who had attended different colleges and universities. I entered graduate school prepared and equipped with the skills, knowledge, and problem-solving abilities needed to be successful.”

’10 Stephanie Bogema

Chief of Staff/Senior Project Specialist

“My Hope education has impacted my career in profound ways. The mentorship I received from faculty at Hope dramatically shaped the direction of my professional career.

If there is one defining principle of my Hope education that will stay with me for the rest of my life it is that there is always hope in God and because of that hope we are expected to demonstrate the light and love of Christ so that everyone around us also witnesses that hope.”

’13 Meagan Elinski

Asst. Professor of Chemistry & Surface Chemistry Researcher

“I can say with the strongest conviction that I would not be where I am today without the foundation and continued influence of my Hope education. This [has been] evident in the technical aspects of my career, the role of my faith in my journey since graduating from Hope, and my desire to be an engaged global citizen.”

’15 Charlyn Pelter DeWitt

Legal Aid Attorney

“Hope is a very unique and special place. The professors and the other students support each other and push each other to succeed. There is a strong emphasis on living in a Christ-like way and treating others with dignity… I love my job because I get to bring a little bit of Hope into people’s lives.”

’10 Amy Fisher Weibley

Nonprofit Communications & Community Impact Director

“I am blessed every day to use my talents, education and abilities to make a difference in my local community, and it is all because of the strong foundation Hope College provided me through a high-quality liberal arts education.”

’10 Jordan Fuller

President of International Non-profit

“Hope helped me set my compass for pushing myself intellectually and professionally while also following God’s purpose for my life. Therefore, I knew since 2007-ish that my purpose was to serve Honduras.”