Associate of Arts, 2019
Jacob Grundhauser graduated from Inver Hills Community College in 2019 and the University of Wisconsin - River Falls ('21) with degrees in Business Administration and Management. He was first hired by the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2019, where he has served in several capacities. He has worked on numerous issue areas and currently serves as a researcher focused on elections, housing, and capital investment policy.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Jacob's heart lies in community service and advocacy. In addition to serving as the Chair of the Inver Hills Alumni Board, he serves as a Commissioner on the Advisory Commission for Historic Preservation, a Sheriff’s Reserve for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and a water quality monitor with the MPCA. He is an active member of the American Conservation Coalition, the Superior Hiking Trail Association, the International Dark-Sky Association, and the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.
Jacob's adventurous spirit has driven him to explore all corners of Minnesota, visiting every state park and recreation area and 87 counties in 2023 alone, with plans to visit his 50th state in 2024.
Lucinda (Cindy) Greenseth received her Associate of Science Degree from Inver Hills in 2011. She is proud of being an ASAP program participant and advocates for the needs of nontraditional college students. As a nontraditional adult learner, Cindy learned that the ASAP program staff understood her unique needs, working full time, high school in the rear view mirror and previous college experience that didn’t feel successful. ASAP is flexible and convenient, acknowledging prior learning, helped get her degree and made a huge difference in her life. Cindy is a life-long learner.
Cindy has worked in sales for nearly 35 years for a medical supply company in Eagan. She serves medical professionals and their teams providing quality products and service to meet changing needs in the health care environment. Those who know Cindy know that she is a great collaborator...she is a pro at bringing people together and building relationships. She is the definition of a people person. She is highly successful in her work.
Cindy and her husband Scott live in Eagan. She has given back to Inver Hills in many ways. She is the Vice Chair of the Alumni Association Board. She is a dedicated volunteer; happy to help with events, interacting with students, serving on committees and giving financially, in addition she created a scholarship in her mothers memory.
Tara Gardell received her Associate of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from Inver Hills in 2014. Tara has been employed as a Corporate & Securities Paralegal at Maslon LLP in Minneapolis since 2019. Prior to joining Maslon LLP, Tara was employed as a legal assistant in the field legal department of a Fortune 500 insurance company and also spent nearly a decade selling property & casualty insurance and assisting policyholders for an A.M. Best's "A" Rated insurance company. Tara enjoys giving back to her community and serves on a number of committees within the Minnesota Paralegal Association. Tara serves as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, as the Co-Chair of the Litigation Sectional and as a member of the Mentorship Committee. Tara also serves as a governance committee member of the Lower Phalen Creek Project. Tara also mentors a current Inver Hills paralegal student. Tara enjoys volunteering, photography, hiking and spending time with her husband and son.
Lizzette (Liz) Banini received her Associate Degree in Human Services from Inver Hills in 2012. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the College of St. Scholastica and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Dakota. Her social work career has allowed her to serve people in many capacities. This includes crisis support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse, disability case management, and managed care coordination for older adults. Liz has since shifted her focus to macro social work practice and currently leads a team of program evaluators for the State of Minnesota’s Dept. of Human Services Aging & Disability Services Administration.
Liz enjoys spending time with her family and staying active. She and her husband are also settling into their newest chapter as empty nesters.
Her photo and bio will be coming soon.
Reyne Branchaud-Linsk received her Associate Degree in Human Services from Inver Hills in 1975. She went on to receive Social Work credentials from Augsburg College. Reyne credits Inver Hills with launching her career. The instructors were top notch and cared that she succeeded. Reyne worked for 40 years in nonprofit human service organizations, serving in direct services counseling and administrative capacities. She retired several years ago from her final role as executive director of Dakota Woodlands, the only shelter for families experiencing homelessness in Dakota County. Under her direction, the organization received the Minnesota Nonprofit Excellence Award. She has served as the Chair of the IHCC Alumni Association Board twice, She is grateful for some amazing recognition that she received. She was awarded the 2011 Inver HIlls Outstanding Alumni Award. And was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from WomenVenture for her work assisting women in achieving economic self sufficiency. In retirement, Reyne enjoys volunteering with alumni relations at Inver, helping elsewhere with career development work and enjoying time for art.
Janelle Carlson is a 2011 graduate with an A.S. in Accounting and a B.S. in Accounting from Metro State. During her time at Inver Hills she held a work study position with the Veteran’s Services Department and cross-trained in the Testing Center. After graduation in 2011, she worked part time as an account clerk for a dispatch company in Elko New Market and part time in the Testing Center. In 2012 she became a full time member of our Inver Hills Testing Center Team.
Eric began his experience at Inver Hills Community College back in 2018 and graduated with an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science in 2020. He then began pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education at Concordia University St. Paul and graduated in May of 2022 with Summa Cum Laude Honors. He has been on the Alumni Board since 2020 and has used this experience as a way to give back to Inver Hills.
Eric enjoys spending his free time bowling with friends and co-workers, participating in trap shooting competitions, and helping children reach their full potential.
Nicole attended Inver Hills from 2010-2012 before returning in 2014 where she earned her Associates of Arts, Liberal Arts. After receiving her associates degree, Nicole completed 22 additional credits at Inver Hills that counted towards her bachelor’s degree. Nicole went on to earn her Bachelor’s of Science in Human Resources from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. After a 3 year break from school, Nicole went back to Metropolitan State to earn her Masters Certificate in Project Management and now will graduate with her Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in December 2023.
Nicole has worked in a variety of human resources positions, consisting of employee onboarding, company policies and procedures, and employee engagement. For the last 4 years, Nicole has been an employee engagement program manager running business resource groups (BRG).
Nicole enjoys being outdoors with her husband, two young children and two dogs. Nicole enjoys gardening, crafts and reading. Nicole also serves on the South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission board since February 2022.
Associate of Arts, 2022
Doug's studies in journalism and human services at Inver Hills led to a 42-year career in both fields that was launched after writing a story about DARTS, a nonprofit agency serving older adults that was founded at the college in the mid-1970s.
That story, written for the college student newspaper, was followed by an internship and eventual employment with DARTS. In 1981, with fellow Inver Hills alum Don Parker, Doug launched Good Age, a newspaper for older adults serving the Twin Cities. When Good Age became part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in 1984, Doug joined Wilder to continue as its editor.
In 1996, he assumed the editorship of the South Washington County Bulletin, based in Cottage Grove. In 2001, he joined the Hutchinson Leader, where he served as editor until his retirement in 2018.
Doug serves on the boards and in various other capacities with a number of organizations, including the Minnesota News Media Institute, Minnesota Newspaper Association Journalism Education Committee, Ridgewater College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, McLeod County Toward Zero Deaths Safe Roads Coalition, Friends of the Luce Line West, Hutchinson Connects, Hutchinson’s RiverSong Music Festival, and Hutchinson's Belonging Begins With Us Celebration. Doug lives with his wife Kathy in rural Hutchinson. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Associate of Arts, 1975
After graduating from South St. Paul in 1971 I started working at a grocery store in town to earn money to start my college education at Inver Hills in the fall of 1971, I also took a student job on campus after playing football on the football team to pay for winter quarter classes. My dad died in January 1971 and with my two older brothers and myself were all college in fall of 1971 and three younger siblings were n 8th and 5th grade and mom had to go to work outside the home.
One of my Giant football teammates introduced me to the financial aid department at Inver Hills and I qualified for grants and work-study for spring quarter and my remaining schooling at Inver Hills until I graduated in 1975.
As an employee of Inver Hills I started contributing to the Foundation scholarships to help students who had to work too much while attending classes. The Carl Richards/Tom "Bo" Johnson Endowed Scholarship has been helping students who major in education or recreation since 2004. Tom "Bo" Johnson, Alumni, Retiree and Member of the Inver Hills Community College Alumni Board.
Paralegal Certificate, May 2021
Ashley works as a paralegal for a large financial firm in Minneapolis. She is a paralegal certificate program graduate. Before receiving her certificate, she obtained an associates degree in Criminal Justice and her undergraduate degree from St. Catherine University.
Ashley is passionate about helping students succeed in their educational endeavors, through the help and generosity of scholarship donors.
Ashley enjoys reading, traveling and being outdoors. During the summer, you can find her fishing on the lake and soaking up the sun.
Associate of Arts, 1978
Connie DeMent Schmidt graduated from Inver Hills in 1978 with an A.A. degree. She graduated from Mankato State University in 1981 with a B.S. in teaching K-12, physical education, athletic training, and adaptives.
After graduating with her teaching degree Connie began her work career in 1981 at First National Bank St. Paul, where a bachelor’s degree is required to start as a teller. After 27 years in banking, she changed direction and worked at DT&H, Day Training and Habilitation center for 13 years, finally utilizing her teaching, athletic training, and adaptives studies. She ended her time working for the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance as a social worker for Ramsey County, never having actually used her degree in a classroom! Connie then stepped toward retirement working for the Gertens Administration offices, retiring during the pandemic. Her work history shows that the best laid plans can take you on adventures you never dreamed of. Connie loved every position she ever took, and used her education in ways she never thought possible!
Connie's time spent at Inver Hills was the most enjoyable of her five years in college. The instructors were fantastic, the campus stunning and inspiring! Connie lives in Woodbury, enjoying retirement, her two daughters and 5 grandchildren. Her advice to all students, no matter how long it takes, NEVER GIVE UP! You'll never regret your education!
Associate of Arts, 1975
Dane Smith enrolled at Inver Hills Community College in the fall of 1973, assisted by the GI Bill after serving four years in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class. Inspired by faculty members who saw some writing talent, Dane got his AA degree in 1975 and transferred to the University of St. Thomas, where he earned a B.A. in journalism in 1977. He then enjoyed a 30-year career as a reporter for Minnesota's largest newspapers, covering politics and government for the Minneapolis Star (1977-80), the St. Paul Pioneer Press (1980-86) and the Star Tribune (1986-2007). This service included three years as Washington correspondent for the Pioneer Press and 20 years in the Minnesota state capitol bureau for the Star Tribune.He won several awards for reporting and co-authored a book in 1994, "Professor Wellstone Goes to Washington," which won a Minnesota Book Award. Along the way, Dane completed a year of study at Stanford University as a Knight Journalism Fellow. He finished his career as public policy advocate, serving for 10 years as President of Growth & Justice, a non-partisan organization dedicated to the proposition that racial and economic justice is conducive to business growth. A primary focus for the group was improving overall post-secondary completion in Minnesota and erasing racial gaps in attainment. Since retiring in 2020, he has continued to write commentary for print media, including a piece in the Sun Current's Dakota County newspapers, urging young folks to ignore advice they don't need college degrees. Dane gives primary credit to Inver Hills for opening the door to his rewarding career and he is serving his second stint on the alumni board.