New staff


New academic year brings new staff

Fifteen staff members—including seven graduate assistant coaches in athletics—are starting their first full academic year at Bluffton University.

· Phillip Birkey is a new admissions counselor whose responsibilities include recruitment of Mennonite students. A 2008 Bluffton graduate in economics, he previously worked for Mennonite Central Committee in Bangladesh for more than four years.

· Jessica Brackman is also an admissions counselor, covering about half of Ohio’s counties plus several other states. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University-Lima and, for the last three years, has been a middle school teacher at Pandora-Gilboa.

· Karen Bontrager is the new assistant to the registrar. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Bluffton—in 2004—and Southern Illinois University, respectively. She is a former recruiting specialist at The Right Thing in Findlay, Ohio.

· Carrie Mast is administrative assistant for Bluffton’s Graduate Programs in Business. She is also an alumna, receiving a bachelor’s degree in English education in 1995 and a master’s degree in organizational management in 2003. She worked for the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities from 1995-2007 and has been active in several capacities at First Mennonite Church, Bluffton.

· Ralph Patterson is lead custodian of the university event complex, which includes Founders Hall, Marbeck Center and the Sommer Center. He worked previously in building maintenance and shipping and receiving at the Fostoria, Ohio, facility of Spring Valley turf products.

· Terry Peebles is an assistant football coach. He has a bachelor’s degree from Hanover (Ind.) College—where he was an NCAA Division III All-American quarterback in 1994 and 1995—and a master’s degree in education from Waynesburg (Pa.) College. He comes to Bluffton from Carthage College, Kenosha, Wis., where he was the football team’s offensive coordinator.

Graduate-assistant appointees in athletics are:

· In women’s basketball, Brianna Calver, who earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts last May from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and was a four-year letter winner in basketball there.

· In football, Matt Grieb, a three-year football letter winner at Ohio Dominican University, where he also received a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2012 and is currently completing his master of business administration degree.

· In athletic training, Jeremy Jones, a 2013 graduate of Ohio Northern University in athletic training. Jones was a wrestler at ONU, qualifying twice for the NCAA Division III national championships and earning Scholar All-American honors last season.

· In soccer, Christopher Matteo and Meghan Taucher. Matteo received a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2012 from Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C., while Taucher graduated from Urbana (Ohio) University this year with a bachelor’s degree in general management.

· In volleyball, Brittany Roth, who played volleyball at Bluffton and earned a bachelor’s degree from the university in 2010 in early childhood education and as an intervention specialist. She has taught for the last two years at Norwell Middle School, Fort Wayne, Ind.

· In football and baseball, Tyler Wright, a 2013 Bluffton graduate in mathematics education. He was a three-year letter winner as a Bluffton quarterback and added two letters in baseball. He was an honorable mention all-conference choice during his final season in both sports.

Also hired as a graduate assistant is 2001 Bluffton alumna Kendra (Johns) Nickel, who is working in the Center for Career and Vocation (formerly the Career Development Center). Her Bluffton bachelor’s degree is in business administration, with a management concentration. 

New to campus as well is Ravi-Kumar Knutson, a Bowling Green State University graduate student who will serve as Ramseyer Hall director and Learning Resource Center assistant during a two-year internship toward his master’s degree in college student personnel. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas-Dallas.