Ferris State University welcomes six new Alumni Association Board of Directors members following approval from standing membership on Friday, Feb. 4, at a meeting in Detroit.
The new board members are alumni Steven Balkema, of Big Rapids; Maureen Burke, of Ann Arbor; Frank Dye, of Oxford; Randy Joppie, of Grand Rapids; Anthony Sesto, of St. Clair Shores; and Allie Wasik, of Chicago. Director of Alumni Relations Brandi Behrenwald noted that four of the six new board members graduated from Ferris in the last 15 years.
“We appreciate this group will give of themselves to support coming phases of engagement and activity with our alumni and other friends of Ferris,” Behrenwald said. “This is a group with diverse perspectives which we anticipate will offer vital exchanges with current board members to help us serve fellow alumni well while supporting the successful promotion of the university and its programs.”
Below are informational capsules of the new Alumni Association Board of Directors
Balkema is a 2014 College of Arts, Sciences and Education, Communication and History, who currently practices law as an associate attorney at the Jordan Balkema Elder Law Center in Big Rapids.
His current professional community service includes:
- Retired and senior volunteer program board, Big Rapids Jaycees and Leadership Mecosta
His past volunteer service and recognition, as a Ferris student, includes:
- president of Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society
- Torchbearer and VanOverbeke Awards for Outstanding Leadership
Burke is a 1992 College of Education and Human Service/Business - Criminal Justice. She just began her 30th year of service as police officer for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She currently serves as the department’s Special Victims Unit engagement and outreach coordinator. As a Ferris student, Burke served in student officer roles for the Ferris Department of Public Safety. Her recent alumni engagement with the Alumni Association includes:
- attending the Mackinac Island Weekend and many virtual events, including Charcuterie Board Building, Paint and Sip and numerous ALC webinars.
Dye is a 2007 College of Business, Advertising/Integrated Marketing Communications, serving as client operations manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He resides in Oxford, MI. His previous Ferris and current community service include:
- current alumni director/chair of the Ferris chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) Fraternity
- board volunteer for his local United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and the Gleaners Food Bank
- formerly worked at Ferris as advancement officer (2007-2009)
- recently featured as a Bulldog for Life video story in Bulldog Bytes.
Joppie is a 1986 College of Business, Finance, currently works as the vice president of Employee Benefits at USI Insurance Services in Grand Rapids. His previous Ferris and community service include:
- past president of the Ferris chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) Fraternity
- past chair of the Gilda’s Club Laugh Fest, which aids local cancer and grief support services
Sesto is a 2016 Michigan College of Optometry, Doctor of Optometry, who currently practices at Normandy Optical in St. Clair Shores. At Ferris, Sesto was a first-generation student and became an active Student Alumni Gold Club member. His current professional, community and Ferris involvements include:
- member of American Optometric Association, Michigan Optometric Association, Michigan Foundation for Vision Awareness and Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity
- attends MCO Alumni receptions at annual conferences
Wasik is a 2016 College Pharmacy, PharmD., who currently works at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where she serves as a clinical cardiology pharmacist. Wasik’s previous Ferris and current community service include:
- former member of Student Alumni Gold Club
- active with Ferris chapter of Phi Lambda Sigma pharmacy sorority
- active at the state and national pharmacy associations, attending the Ferris alumni receptions when offered