posted September 28, 2011

Hope College Alumni Association to Honor Two Young Graduates

The Hope College Alumni Association will present Young Alumni Awards to two graduates on Saturday, Oct. 15, during the college's Homecoming Weekend. 
 
The association will recognize 1996 graduate Todd Soderquist of Canton and 1998 graduate Timothy Dykstra of Walla Walla, Wash., during a celebration brunch for all Hope alumni being held at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.  Registration for the brunch, which begins at 9:30 a.m., is required. 
 
The Young Alumni Award was established to honor the talents and contributions that young alumni have made to their professions, their communities and to the college, and was first presented in 2007.  Criteria include having been a member of the Alumni Association for 15 or fewer years; notable prominence through professional endeavor, research, volunteerism, and/or involvement with the local or global community or the college; and demonstrating significant initiative by starting innovative service projects, research, businesses or other original enterprises. 
 
Soderquist has worked in product development with Ford Motor Company for the past 14 years, acquiring increased responsibility across the course of his career.  He started as an engineer designing door parts, with subsequent roles including managing a team responsible for the door/closures systems on the 2001 Escape, managing the total vehicle team for the 2008 Escape, and then leading future model product plans for sports and mid-size cars. He is currently a platform program manager, managing global product delivery for mid-to-large cars and cross-over vehicles. 
 
The Society of Automotive Engineers recognized him for delivery of the Ford Escape and Escape Hybrid.  The SPEED Channel featured him in a 2010 documentary for his work leading the team that recreated the 2012 Mustang Boss 302. 
 
Active in the life of the college, Soderquist was a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2003 through 2008.  He is a member of the engineering program's advisory board, is an advisor and supportive of the student Formula SAE team, shares career advice for new graduates, and has helped organize and attended numerous regional events for alumni, students and friends of the college. 
 
Soderquist majored in physics and engineering at Hope and minored in mathematics.  He completed a Master of Engineering degree in mechanical engineering and manufacturing at Cornell University in 1997. 
 
His wife, Karen, is a Hope classmate.  They have a young son at home, Calvin. 
 
Dykstra has spent his career in wildlife and natural-resource management.  He is currently the environmental compliance and stewardship program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division, a region that extends from St. Louis, Mo., to Seattle, Wash. 
 
Prior to assuming his current role in August, he had been the lead fish biologist in the Operations Division in Walla Wall District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for three years.  From 2003 to 2008, he was the fish, wildlife and parks director for the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, a role that included representing tribal interests to federal, state and non-profit organizations.  He previously worked on studies including examinations of the common loon, grizzly/black bear, elk calf and trout populations in Montana, and water birds in Michigan. 
 
Through the years, he has received multiple awards in recognition of outstanding service, including for his work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and with the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes. 
 
He is active in his community, including as a deacon at his church and as an ESL teacher to new refugees coming to Boise, Idaho.  He is a past participant of the Leadership Walla Walla program for involved community members seeking to enhance their engagement as servant-leaders.  He has returned to Hope as a guest speaker in biology. 
 
Dykstra majored in biology at Hope.  He completed a Master of Science degree in environmental studies at the University of Montana in 2003. 
 
His wife, Lyndsey, is a Hope classmate.  They have four young children at home, Acacia, Eli, Kaiya and Hudson. 
 
The brunch costs $10, and alumni can register at www.hope.edu/alumni/homecoming or visit the college's office of Alumni and Parent Relations.  The office is on the second floor of the DeWittCenter and can be called at (616) 395-7250. 
 
The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue at 12th St.  The Haworth Inn and Conference Center is located at 225 College Ave., between Ninth and 10th streets.