Undergraduate Alumni

We are proud of our alumni and we like to stay connected.  If you earned a Religious Studies degree from the University of Iowa, click here to take our short survey and let us know what you've been up to!  We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope you can make connections with one or more of the alumni who have given us permission to share their information below!

Bradley Cohn, BA 1975
Practicing Attorney

Carpenter, Aaron, BA 2019
Carpenter, AaronWorking on Master’s of Divinity at University of Dubuque (Dec 2021)

Kelsey Dallas, BA 2012

Dallas, Kelsey

"For the last five years, I've been at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City writing full-time. My editors indulge my reflections on religious trends even as they urge me to write a little faster. (It's hard to break academic writing habits.) Although life on the faith beat is a little too busy these days for much daydreaming, I do find myself thinking back to my time at the University of Iowa a few times a month. Teachers there taught me to love the topics I cover and to respect the people I interview, and I will never stop being grateful." Click here for more from Kelsey.

Hastings, Margaret Jeanine, BA June, 1950
(Maiden: Condit)
"Donn Hastings and I were married Sept. 1948.  I had taken 2 years of science in preparation for nursing school.  In 1948 the U. of Iowa nursing school would not allow me start training and be married.  So I majored in religion (as did my husband) and took some secretarial  courses in preparation of supporting us while my husband attended McCormick Seminary (Chicago).  The following year (1949/50) nursing school contacted me to let me know they were then taking married students.  I said, "No, you are too late."  While my husband attended seminary in Chicago I worked as a secretary/accountant fo support.  Following his graduation he was a chaplain in the USAF for five years.  Three years of that five were spent at two different air bases in Japan -- Matsushima and Shiroi. I have memories of those three years that are very special.  Following that he had pastorates in Kirkwood, Mo., Morton, Ill., and Indianapolis, In.  During that   time we had three children, and as soon as the youngest was in school I was out the door to work as an office manager/secretary.  In my forties, I decided to study to pass the Certified Public Accountant exam.  My license is dated 3 days before my 50th birthday.  When my husband retired we moved to Grand Prairie, Tx. (DFW area).  I continued to work as an accountant until I was 80 1/2 years old.  I am now 91 still living  alone.  I was widowed 22 years ago."  
Reflection:  "The Religion Department in the la 40's was very special.  Dr. Judah Golden was such an exciting and interesting professor.    All the professors took great interest in each of us.  The Religion Department was a real oasis for those us who were going to school full-time and trying to support ourselves with part-time jobs.  It was a time when religion became something very interesting and stimulating."  

Dick, Jr., Charles H., BA 1964

Dick, Charles

"I have retired from the active practice of law and am serving as a professional Arbitrator and Mediator in San Diego, California, with the JAMS organization--the leading alternative dispute resolution provider in the United States."
Reflection: "George Forell remains a mentor to this very day.  The recent video about Prof Jay Holstein served to remind my how deep an impact Dr. Forell had on me, and his imprint has been indelible.  Ethics of Decision remains on my bookshelf as a reminder that 'Not to decide is to decide.'"

Halstead, Aaron N., BA 1987
Attorney, Madison, WI
Reflection:  "Faculty during my undergrad was A+ quality: Nickelsburg, Klemm, Holstein, Kuntz, Boyle, Forell, Bozeman.  All-star lineup."

Johnson, Larry, BA 1974
"My wife and I live in Dnipro Ukraine, and I teach online for 2 universities, one in Slovakia and one in the U.S."

Kepler, Aaron, BA 2018
"Currently getting my Master’s from Denver Seminary. "

Licht  Melinda, BA 2007
(Maiden: Smiths)

Licht, Melinda

"After getting my BA in Religious Studies, I earned a Master's in Theological Studies focusing on the early history of Christianity and the philosophies that shaped its development. I then returned to the UI to get a BS in Biology and spent a few years in biomedical research. Currently, I'm working with the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates, trying to promote and aide student and faculty involvement with undergraduate research in all disciplines."
Reflection:  "The Religion Studies Department taught me how to think critically about the development and interplay of religions in society. But it also made college fun. I always smile thinking about Dr. Keen planking between the podium and the chalkboard while talking about medieval interrogation techniques. Dr. Schlutter showing actual photographs when he visited the far-off places we were talking about. Dr. Cates patiently teaching 18-year-olds that sexuality was valid to talk about in an academic setting. Dr. Holstein shocking those same 18-year-olds by actually using a swear word during lecture. Dr. Smith dispelling myths of what "tantra" actually means. Dr. Bozeman putting up with my annoying (and often impolite) senioritis. Dr. Kuntz lighting up when his friends and family brought a retirement cake to the last class that he taught before "retirement". I loved every minute - academic and otherwise."

Missaggia, Michael, BA 1971
Retired. "I am an ordained deacon - Archdiocese of Newark, N.J."

Odekirk, David, BA 1989
Iowa District Court Judge
Reflection: I am grateful for my time as an undergraduate in the Religious Studies Department.  The critical thinking and writing skills I developed through my course work in the Department have been invaluable to me in my career.  I am indebted to Professor Kenneth Kuntz for the many hours he spent with me as a mentor and have many fond memories of both his classes and my independent study with him.  His guidance made all the difference.  I am also very grateful to have taken classes with Professors Holstein, Forell, Klemm and Schweiker.  These professors made the study of religion not only compelling, but exceedingly relevant to those of us who have found our liberal arts education to be a springboard for lifelong learning.  I also believe the opportunity to study side-by-side with graduate students in many of the upper level Religion classes not only increased the rigor of those courses, but was great preparation for future graduate or professional level studies.   

Pritchard, Marija, BA 2019
"I am at Emory University in my first year of a dual degree master program working toward a Master of Public Health and a Master of Theological Studies."
Reflection: " I had a great experience with the Religious Studies Department at Iowa. It helped me discern what I wanted to do as a career and the professors were excellent. I was especially impacted by Dr. Supp-Montgomerie, Dr. Jordan Smith, and Dr. Nabhan-Warren."

Reighard, Ronald L., BA 1970
Retired after a 30 year public school teaching career  in West Des Moines, Iowa
Reflection: "Dr. James Spalding was my advisor in the School of Religion and was instrumental in helping me to be more diverse in my thinking.  Drs. Carlston and Baird enriched my experience and helped to prepare me for my further educational experience at Fuller Theological Seminary, of which they had some background."

Romanoff, Robert A., BA 1986
I am the Chairman and Managing Partner of Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC, an 80-attorney full-service law firm in Chicago.  I have been practicing as an estate planning attorney for more than 30 years, with a focus on working with high net worth individuals and families on estate and tax planning matters.  I currently serve as a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School in Deerfield, Illinois.  

Waltz, William, BA 1969
After graduation from Iowa, went on to study at The Church Divinity School of Religion and the Graduate School of Religion in Berkely CA M. Div. (73).  I was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in the Diocese of Iowa in 1973.  I served congregations in Iowa. Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado. 
I have two adult children and 3 grandchildren.  I retired from active ministry in 2018 after 45 years.  I live in Gunnison,  Colorado  
Reflection:  "I found a life long interest in Biblical Studies, archeology, and an appreciation of non-Christian beliefs. One should avail oneself of the opportunity to learn about what others believe, how they find meaning in their lives, and to understand that there is more find than in business, or law, or physics classes."

Yazell, Stephanie, BA 2012

Yazell, Stephanie

I am a Success Coach with TRIO Student Support Services at The University of Iowa!
Reflection:  "I am so thankful for my time learning from the instructors in the Religious Students Department at the University of Iowa! I have carried my passion of learning about religions and cultures with me in my life and continue to use my knowledge in my current work." 

Yusen, Ben, BA 2021
Yusen, Ben​​​​​Working on my M.A. in English Literature at Western Michigan University.
Reflection:  "The faculty in the department are some of the best, kindest, most intellectually profound people I have had the pleasure of knowing."