News & Resources


Institute Launches Au Sable Professional Network (ASPN) Mentoring for Alumni

Oct 09, 2013

Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies has launched the Au Sable Professional Network (ASPN), a professional mentoring program that connects Au Sable alumni with accomplished, Christian environmental professionals who can provide them guidance as they enter the environmental field.

“We see so many students develop their knowledge, skills, and passion for caring for God’s earth during their time at Au Sable, and the last thing we want is for them to be forced to take a position in another field simply because they need a job,” says Communications, Development, and Recruitment Coordinator, Dieter Bouma, “We want to do everything we can to help them find their calling in environmental stewardship and take the necessary steps to get there. Receiving professional guidance and building a professional network are critical for taking the next step in getting into careers in environmental stewardship.”

ASPN mentors include twenty-three professionals (see complete list below) spanning diverse environmental fields and areas of expertise. Mentors work in federal and state government, non-profit organizations, academia, and private business; have domestic and international experience; and are experts on everything from wildlife management to sustainable development to environmental ethics to ecological agriculture to graduate education to scientific illustration. 

“We are blessed by the high caliber, high commitment, and diverse perspectives of our professional mentors who will provide helpful guidance to Au Sable alumni looking to use their gifts to serve, protect, and restore God’s creation around the world,” say Au Sable Executive Director, Fred Van Dyke, “This program is an important piece in strengthening the Au Sable community and serving our alumni as they look to make inroads, and then an impact, on the environmental field.”

ASPN is the first piece in a new career services initiative by the Institute for Au Sable alumni. Accompanying the professional network will be a jobs board that gives alumni information about internships, jobs, and graduate fellowships.

“We will be launching the new jobs board in a few weeks,” says Bouma.

Says Van Dyke, “Au Sable courses are about helping students become colleagues. Courses may give them knowledge and skills, but to become true colleagues in environmental protection, we wanted to provide students a pathway into environmental careers. That’s what ASPN does.”

ASPN mentors include:

  • Bill Deutsch, Director of Global Water Watch and Research Fellow at Auburn University
  • Brian Aukema, McKnight-Land Grant Professor and Assistant Professor of Entomology at University of Minnesota
  • Brooke Wilke, Farm Manager at Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University and Farmer at Wilke Farms
  • Christi Sobel, Scientific Illustration at Christi A. Sobel
  • Curtis Witek, Student Conservation Association Fellow at National Park Services’ Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program
  • David McFarland, Wolf, Bear, and Furbearer Ecologist at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Wildlife Management
  • Dean Biggins, Research Wildlife Biologist at United States Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Emily Wilke, Director of Land Protection at Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
  • Fred Van Dyke, Executive Director at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
  • Garrett Crow, Professor of Botany Emeritus at University of New Hampshire
  • Holmes Rolston III, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University
  • Jon Dahl, Graduate Fellowship Staff at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
  • Laura Yoder, Director of Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) Program at Wheaton College and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Louis Iverson, Research Landscape Ecologist at US Forest Service
  • Mark Breederland, Field-Based Educator at Michigan Sea Grant College Program
  • Martin Price, Founding CEO at Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO)
  • Michelle Jackson, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Landscape Ecology at University of British Columbia
  • Rachel Lamb, Master’s Candidate in Public Policy, Conservation Biology, and Sustainable Development at University of Maryland
  • Rob and Tara Cahill, Co-Directors at Community Cloud Rainforest Conservation (Guatemala)
  • Ryan O’Connor, Ecologist/Inventory Coordinator at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Steve Thomas, Supervisory Ecologist at National Park Service
  • Susan Emmerich, CEO at Emmerich Environmental Consulting and Director of Creation Care Program of the Center for Law and Culture at Olivet Nazarene University
  • Tim Van Deelen, Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison