Monthly Archive for September, 2016

Alumni Success Story: Ashley Stoepker ‘15

Inspired by her father, Ashley Stoepker ’15, knows first-hand how important it is to deliver compassionate care to someone in need. “My father is a paraplegic. Ever since I was little, I remember him being in and out of the hospital for different things. I knew I wanted to be a nurse to help people, just like those who were there for my own dad.”  Learn more about Ashley’s story and her experience as a nurse in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at Spectrum Health below.

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Tell us about yourself, Ashley!

I grew up in Middleville and went to South Christian High School. I graduated from Davenport University in 2015 with my BSN. I now work at Spectrum Health in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit as a nurse.

Why were you interested in the nursing program?

Before I was born, my parents were in a motorcycle accident that resulted in my father becoming a paraplegic. Ever since I was little, I remember him being in and out of the hospital, to doctor’s visits, and having home health care nurses visiting us at home. I was always interested in healthcare. Nursing was the only thing I wanted to do.

Tell us about your experience in the nursing program.

I enjoyed every minute of it, because I knew I was finally on the path to achieving my lifelong dream. Our class was a very close group, and we spent a lot of time together, even outside of classes. We became family and now I run into many of the people I went to school with at Spectrum. Not only did I get a great education, I also met the man of my dreams.

How did you meet your husband at DU?

My husband and I were friends and classmates for about a year before we even started talking. During summer break, a group of our nursing classmates went skeet shooting. He is a big outdoorsman, so he set up the event for us in May of 2013. We went down to Yankee Springs for the event and we invited everyone over to my parents’ house in Middleville for a cookout afterwards.

I will never forget the day he met my parents. He was extremely polite. He took off his cowboy boots before he entered our house and shook my dad’s hand. My mom said “You need to pursue him!” and the rest, is history! We graduated on April 26, 2015 and got married two weeks later. We then went on our honeymoon and came back to study for the nursing licensure exam, the NCLEX.  It works out great because he is a nurse at Butterworth as well and we work nearly the same schedule.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I work at the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center, in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit. Our floor is responsible for taking care of a variety of patients, including those who just had major open heart surgeries and heart or lung transplants. I couldn’t ask for a better job because I’m an adrenaline junkie who likes to stay busy at work and think on my feet. We are able to treat critically ill patients with the incredible technology that is available to us. If a patient’s heart is failing, a temporary device may be used to help, or a ventricular assist device (VAD) may be implanted so they can live a fairly normal life again. This is just a small picture of what we do. It is amazing what can be done with medical technology and it is also extremely humbling.

What is your dream job?

I feel like I am already in my dream job where I am now! I never make it through a shift at work without learning something new, and I rarely have a “boring” night at work. I would love to become a flight nurse for AeroMed in the future if I get the chance.

What do you do when you are not working?

I enjoy backpacking, traveling, and going to our family’s cottage up north. We just visited the Smoky Mountains  for our anniversary, where we spent the week hiking.

Homecoming 2016 – THANK YOU!

Davenport University celebrated Homecoming 2016 on September 24! It was an exciting day to have so many alumni and friends on campus for homecoming festivities and traditions. Thank you to everyone who cheered our football team to victory and supported other DU teams as well who played throughout the weekend!

Check out the Homecoming photos on the alumni facebook page!

Alumni Success Story: Carl Eschels ’39

In celebration of our 150th Anniversary, we sat down with Carl Eschels ‘39, one of the oldest living Davenport graduates. Walk down memory lane with Carl as he recalls all of his great experiences he had as a student of Davenport into his long career and retirement. Check out his story on page 45 of the latest issue of the DU Review.

6 DU facts that will make you proud to be a Panther Forever!

What makes you proud to be a Panther Forever? Tell us at for your chance to win a DU Mitten State shirt.

Attention Chicago Area Alumni

Are you an alumnus living in the Chicago area? We want to hear from you! The Alumni Association is here to serve DU alumni living and/or working in the Chicago area. Our goal is to connect alumni by hosting events and networking opportunities.

If you are interested in attending an event in Chicago or helping create a DU Chicago Alumni Chapter, please email Phil Wingo MBA ’16. Be sure to keep your information updated with us so that we can keep you informed of upcoming activities.

Contact the Alumni Office at if you are interested in creating an alumni chapter in your area. We are launching several new chapters over the next year and ramping up current chapters’ offerings, providing opportunities for graduates and current students to create strong professional and social connections.

Alumni Success Story: Jack Finkelstein ‘84

Jack Finkelstein ’84 developed an app that could save your life – SmartEMS. As a NYC paramedic, he saw the need to modernize the EMS system, creating a faster, safer way to connect and save patients. A Brooklyn, NY based company,  SmartEMS allows smartphone users to contact an ambulance with state certified emergency EMT’s and paramedics at the touch of a screen. Learn more about Jack’s story and why he created the SmartEMS app below.


Tell us about yourself, Jack!

I have been involved with emergency medical services for 37 years as an emergency medical technician (EMT), paramedic, instructor, director, coordinator, consultant, and now app developer.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am the creator and Director of Operations for the app SmartEMS.  I am a professor at two colleges – Kingsborough Community College where I teach paramedic classes and at the Metropolitan College of New York Graduate Program in disaster and emergency management.  I am a consultant for three different companies, for which I have worked locally and abroad at various countries for EMS and emergency management related work.  I am also an instructor for the NYS Department of Health, the NY Safety Program (defensive driving), OSHA, and Regional Faculty for the American Heart Association where I teach CPR, first aid, BLS, ACLS, and PALS courses, etc.  I recently left my position at Wyckoff Hospital as the Director of EMS, Emergency Manager, Incident Commander, Emergency Department Administrator and Coordinator of the Training Center to take on the task with SmartEMS.

Speaking of the SmartEMS App, what is it?

This new app is revolutionary!  SmartEMS streamlines the entire EMS operations in several ways.  It is currently operational in NYC and soon to spread to other areas.  It is a free app that individuals can download, enter their medical information ahead of time such as their allergies, medications, medical history, emergency contacts, insurance information and hospital of choice.

When a client needs an ambulance, they press the large red button on the app, and our dispatch center is immediately notified.  The call is then assigned to the closest available unit.  That unit will receive the data patients entered during their registration, so they can concentrate on treating the patient rather than the time that is spent on information gathering.  The crew will also be given the GPS location so they can follow instructions to the fastest, most direct route to the patient.  The patient will have their emergency contacts (spouse, children, physician, etc.) notified immediately via text and email when the client summons an ambulance, when the ambulance arrives to pick up the client, and when the ambulance arrives at the hospital with the patient.  The patient will also view the GPS mapping of the ambulance responding with updated ETA every 30 seconds on their phone.  The patient will have the option of going to the hospital of their choice, within reason and within established protocols.

Why did you create the SmartEMS app?

Having worked in EMS for over 37 years, I have been able to see where the EMS system needed improvement to streamline the emergency response process and bring EMS to the 21st century.  So, I did something about it. We had the idea, technology and capability, but we needed financial and technological backing.  After speaking with a few investors, we got the funding we needed to launch the program in NYC which will help revolutionize how we respond to emergency calls all over the world.

You are an EMS graduate of DU – do you feel like your education prepared you for your journey as a paramedic, professor and now app developer?

I certainly do feel that my time at Davenport helped me with my knowledge and career, and it was a great education at a great institution. The classes were small, the professors were caring and helpful and I truly loved my time there.

I often speak of Davenport to my colleagues and how it was one of the best investments I ever made in my career.  Shortly after graduating, I launched my own EMS-related business and traveled all around the country and attended numerous trade shows helping countless job seekers in the field of EMS, fire, and law enforcement.

What do you do when you are not working?

Work some more!  I am so busy, that I actually turn down a lot of work.  Sundays are my only day off, and yet I pick up some extra teaching or consulting work because the demand is high. I recently returned from a trip to Barcelona, Spain, where I was teaching EMS related issues such as triage, trauma, incident command, PALS and ACLS skills to their EMS technicians.


You are invited to the Alumni Awards Ceremony

You are invited to the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony to honor six graduates who have exemplified the vision and values of the University through their professional and community service. Join the Alumni Association on Friday, September 23 at 6:30 p.m. to honor the following alumni:

Distinguished Alumni Award – Mike Ohlman, Class of 1988, Grand Rapids Fulton Street Campus
College of Business Alumni Award – Carlos Sanchez, Class of 2007, W.A. Lettinga Campus
Hy Berkowitz Outstanding Alumni Award – Tina Pietrangelo, Class of 2007, Holland Campus
College of Technology Alumni Award – Michelle (Stonebrook) Seneca, Class of 2002, Holland Campus
Outstanding Young Alumni Award – Jim VanDam, Class of 2012, W.A. Lettinga Campus
College of Health Alumni Award – Monica Goodrich, Class of 1998, Midland Campus (Great Lakes College)

Tickets are only $20 and include an opportunity to mingle with the honorees and enjoy a delicious dinner.

Alumni Success Story: Leslie Winkle ’11, ’16

“Work hard and be nice,” is the motto that runs deep in alumna’s Leslie Winkle’s company, Studio 415 Salon. “That is what differentiates us. Our culture is our number one priority, and everyone is kind and inviting. We go the extra mile with little things.” Her hard work has paid off! Studio 415 was recently recognized by the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce as a recipient of the Small Business of the Year Award. Learn more about Leslie’s unique journey as a DU graduate and small business owner below.


Tell me about yourself, Leslie!

I was born and raised in Cadillac. I graduated high school early to begin my journey as a hairstylist. I then moved to Traverse City and worked in a salon while also pursuing a degree in business.  I graduated with my BBA in Financial Management in 2011 and my MBA with an Accounting Concentration in 2016 from DU. Currently I own Studio 415 Salon in Traverse City where I am able to combine both of my passions – business and the beauty industry.

How did you get into cosmetology?

As a young girl, I was always styling my hair and all of my friend’s hair.  Towards the end of high school I was really ready to move on to new challenges and so I decided to graduated high school early.  I moved to Lansing to start cosmetology school at Douglas J Aveda Institute. My dad, who is also a Davenport graduate, was not in favor of the idea of me not going to college, so he made me promise him that I would go to college after. Well, funny enough, it took me a few months after getting a job as a cosmetologist, that I realized my dad was right – I did need a degree.

So you took your dad’s advice?

Yes, I enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and continued my studies at the Davenport University Traverse City campus. I don’t think I have ever made my dad happier than the day that I told him I was going to school.

How did you go from doing hair to earning your MBA and then owning your own salon?

I worked my way through undergrad doing hair. Once I finished my bachelor’s degree I still felt a little unsure of what I wanted to do. I remember thinking, I have this degree, but I love what I do, what do I do now? I wanted to put the degree to use, yet I had built up a very successful business behind the chair. I started my master’s three months after I finished my bachelor’s degree. I think it was buying me time – if I was still in school I could still do hair – was my thought.

I took an internship with the State of Michigan which the DU Traverse City Campus Director, Alyssa Irani, told me about. I was working at the internship, doing hair, and going to school. The internship led me to a different position and I stopped doing hair for two years. I worked for a couple of different businesses which were under one umbrella and owned by the same person. I was doing accounting for an oil & gas company and, at one point, I was the director of marketing for a tech company.  Looking back on these roles, I can see God’s plan at work.  I learned so much, and built many relationships that help me today.

While I was working for that company, I had dinner with my parents and remember saying, ‘Okay, I think I figured it out where my real passion is and I need to do something with it.’ My plan was to open a salon; however, the salon industry in Traverse City is so over saturated, so I couldn’t just count on people coming in – I had to be different.

As I was making plans to open a salon, I met an old salon co-worker who had opened her own salon – Studio 415.  I respected her and didn’t want to open a salon in the same town as an unwelcomed competitor.  We had an open and honest conversation about my desire, and as a new mother, she mentioned being open to selling her salon.  About a year later, after many conversations and negotiations, we finalized the deal! I have been the owner of Studio 415 since the fall of 2014.

Tell us about Salon 415.

We have a simple saying at Salon 415 – work hard and be nice. We even have a sign in the salon with our motto.  When I bought the business that was my main requirement and I think that it is what differentiates us. Our culture is our number one priority, everyone is kind and inviting and customers feel it. We go the extra mile with the little things, and we take a lot of pride in providing the best possible service, while also creating great experience for each guest.  It seems simple, but it is how we do business.

What do you do when you are not working?

I am a pretty active person and love spending time outside or with family and friends.  I also have two rescue dogs, who require quite a bit of time and attention :)

Thank you Move-In Day Volunteers

Thank you to all the amazing alumni and friends who helped with New Student Move-in Day last week Friday! We couldn’t have asked for a better day to move in the new students. Without the generous support of alumni volunteers, this day would not have been possible. If you are interested in volunteering at Davenport events in the near future, email the alumni office.