Nathalea Stephenson has served as Bethany College’s head volleyball coach since 2008. During that time, she has coached one All-American, 17 Academic All-Americans, 36 All-Conference Academic award winners, and one Conference Player of the Year. She has also won the American Volleyball Coaches Award for Academics based on team GPA for six consecutive years.
Stephenson has served as the rater for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) and been on several national committees representing the conference, including the National Head Coaches Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in math education from Kansas State University and a master’s degree in physical education from Emporia State University.
Stephenson has a long history of involvement with schools in the KCAC. She previously coached at Bethany in 1997, at Kansas Wesleyan University as assistant coach, and at McPherson College from 2001 to 2008 as head volleyball coach and assistant athletic director. While at McPherson, Stephenson coached three Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes, 14 KCAC Scholar Athletes, and two teams that received the American Volleyball Coaches Association Academic Award for team GPA. She was also an instructor in the math and physical education departments.
Stephenson also has experience at the high school level and in club sports. She was the head volleyball coach at Great Bend High School, Ell-Saline High School, and Quivira Heights High School, and she helped start three club teams and organizations in Great Bend, Salina, and McPherson.
Stephenson is active with the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association, coaching in all-star matches and having served as the secretary/treasurer, vice president, and president.
Pastor Noni Strand has served as Bethany’s campus pastor since the fall of 1991. She graduated from Bethany in 1982. She earned a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology in 1986 and was ordained as a Pastor in the Lutheran Church in America in July of 1986. Pastor Strand served as associate pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salina, Kan., before being called to return to Bethany and serve as campus pastor.
In this capacity, Pastor Strand provides pastoral care and counseling to the Bethany community, leads the worship life of the college, teaches a variety of ministry and core classes, serves on the Pearson Professor Committee, and works with student groups through campus and peer ministry, Green Team. Over 100 students have been trained in Peer Ministry since the program’s inception in the fall of 2007, and plans for expansion of the program are being put into place as a part of the Center for Discovery, Reflection, and Vocation. She chairs the Lutheran Identity Group, a campus-wide initiative to continue discussion on what it means for Bethany to be a College of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She also serves on the Central States Synod Council. Pastor Strand was a recipient of Bethany’s Alumni Gold Award in 2005 and the Service to Students Award in 2009.
Pastor Strand also earned a Master of Arts in earth literacy from St. Mary-of-the-Woods-College in Indiana in July of 2012. She created the interdisciplinary minor in sustainable living as a part of the Center for Sustainable Living in the winter of 2013 and currently works with 10 students who are involved as either sustainability scholars and/or minors in that program.
Pastor Strand and her husband have one son. They reside in Salina, Kan.
As a player, Swiantek was the #3 ranked junior in the state of Kansas. He also played four years of varsity tennis at Pratt High School, winning a 4A State Championship in doubles as a junior with a 37-0 record and finishing fifth in singles as a senior with a record of 34-1. In college, Swiantek played for two years at Barton County Community College then moved on to graduate from Division I Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pa. He finished his senior campaign with the second highest win total in school history.
Danika Swoyer is the Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator for Bethany College @ MindFire Academy. She is responsible for the recruiting and admissions process at MindFire Academy. Prior to Bethany College, Swoyer was the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Go Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau in Wichita, Kan.
Doug Talbott is the former director of bands at Bethany College were he directed the symphonic band, brass ensemble, jazz ensemble, Bethany College Blue Dozen, and was the coordinator of the music education program as well as chair of the Fine Arts Division.
Talbott previously taught in several Kansas public schools. In addition, he was head of the music department at Butler County Community College in El Dorado. Talbott received his bachelor’s of music education from Bethany College and his master’s of music education from Fort Hays State University. He has done additional graduate work at Morehead State University and Wichita State University. Talbott studied conducting with Lowell Burroughs of Bethany, Clarence Sawhill of UCLA, Al Wright of Purdue, and Lyle Dilley of Fort Hays State University.
Brittany Torres started working at Bethany in August 2008. She came to Bethany after receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology from College of the Ozarks. She later chose to pursue a master’s degree in library science at Emporia State University, which she completed in August 2013.
Assistant Professor of English Kristin Van Tassel teaches classes in writing and American literature.
Her essays and poetry have been published in Alternet, Counterpunch, Mamazine, Transitions Abroad, Relief and World Hum, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her scholarly articles have appeared in American Studies, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and The Journal of Ecocriticism. Van Tassel has presented numerous papers at national literary conferences, including several for the Popular Culture and American Culture Conference and ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.
Van Tassel received her Ph.D. from the Department of English at the University of Kansas. She holds an M.A. from the Department of English at California State University and a B.A. from the Department of Writing and Literature at George Fox University.
Van Tassel coordinates the honors program and serves as chair on the Bethany College Curriculum Committee. She is professionally associated with the National Council of Teachers of English and Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.
Wirt has been coaching for nine seasons with the Carroll College Saints football program in the Frontier Conference. Prior to coaching, Wirt played four years as a standout defensive back for the Saints from 2000 to 2004. He started 27 games during his final two years at Carroll College. As a player, the Saints won four Frontier Conference Championships and two NAIA National Championships.
For the past nine years, Wirt has coached on the defensive side of the football as well as special teams. The Saints won eight more Frontier Conference Championships and four National Championships during his coaching career at Carroll College. Wirt has coached five All-Americans, ten Academic All-Americans and 18 All-Conference players over the past seven years. He has also coached three William V. Campbell Trophy (Academic Heisman) honorees, two of which made semi-finals.
Wirt is a native of Havre, Mont., where he was an All-State athlete for the Havre Blue Ponies. Wirt graduated from Carroll College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education with a biology major and chemistry minor.