Get to know your Faculty and Staff!
Committed to your education.
Suomi College of Arts & Sciences faculty take your education and learning seriously. Experienced and knowledgeable in their fields, faculty want you to succeed in your college career. Working together with staff, colleagues and other students, faculty help you to build a better future. Small class sizes and one-on-one attention will help you to secure a better relationship with your professor. With doors always open, faculty look to be available to chat or discuss your options as a student. Can't get a hold of your professor? Contact staff below and they will be happy to help you with your needs.
At Finlandia you are not a number, you are a friend.
Office: Mannerheim 401
Often described as "the guy who looks like a sea captain," Professor Anderson has published eight short-story collections and a novel, including Mosquito Conversations, Misery Bay, and Hunting Hemingway's Trout. His research areas include Finnish-American literature, British Commonwealth literature, Modern American literature, and the canon of Ernest Hemingway. Professor Anderson has also participated as an NEH Fellow at nine universities. In his free time, he enjoys reading, gardening, playing checkers, and skydiving.
Office: Wargelin 301
Professor Blust's teaching style and enthusiasm for teaching has contributed to the success of many students at Finlandia University. Her emphasis is on explaining mathematics, developing intuition, problem solving, data interpretation, number sense, critical thinking, and decision-making. As a teacher, she is interested in sharing with her students a sense of the beauty of mathematics while challenging her students to think mathematically. When not working, Sherry enjoys many outdoor activities including skiing, snowshoeing, biking, backpacking, and gardening.
Office: Wargelin 200
In addition to teaching in Finlandia's science department, Dr. Budd is a limnologist who studies the Laurentian Great Lakes. Her research views the lakes from the vantage point of space using satellite remote sensing to examine lake temperatures and productivity. Dr. Budd's teaching includes introductory biology and chemistry courses.
Office: Mannerheim 315
Writing may be my first love but for the past 18 years I've worked in the field of Human service primarily working with youth and families. In those years I've worked as a counselor in a foster home, as a one on one prevention facilitator, a mentor, ADD coach. I'm now a teacher in the Human Service, Psychology, and Business field. My goal is to continue to help youth in anyway possible. I would love to be able to provide activities for youth in need year round so that the old "there's nothing to do here" is changed to there is so much to do here! I have three little balls of clay I call my daughters each one different from the other. I once thought that I haven't accomplished anything in my life because I didn't live in a big house or drive a fancy car, but I have accomplished a lot. While teaching at Finlandia University and Gogebic Community College I'm molding yet more balls of clay. I have a monthly parenting column in the Daily Mining Gazette, I get to eat three or more times a day and I have some time to enjoy those around me. All in all life has been a snowball rolling down hill then up the other side and back again. I've come to realize that I don't know how to relax, how to take a vacation or how to do anything but work, and I'm ok with this. I like to set goals and then reach them. I currently in the process of writing a book.
Office: Mannerheim 409
I was born and raised in Stillwater,
Oklahoma. I attended Oklahoma State University for both my undergraduate and
Master’s degree in Sociology. During that time I met the love of my life, married her, and
we completed our doctorates in Sociology at the University of
The majority of my research and teaching is
in the area of criminology and deviant behavior.I find that one can find a lot about a society by looking at
those on the margins. My dissertation involved studying the decriminalization
of tattooing in the state of Oklahoma. In addition to my research on tattooing, I am now
investigating multi-jurisdictionality of tribal policing on Native American
lands.My interests in crime
and deviance are based in conceptions of power.
In my spare time I enjoy being outdoors
whether I am hunting and fishing or just tromping through the woods with my
wife and our three dogs. I also
enjoy spending time in the kitchen experimenting with a variety of different
types of cooking.
Office: Mannerheim 403
From a young age I found myself driven by a desire to learn from my environment and the people with whom I interacted. During my years as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University (MSU), my fascination with the social world blossomed into a passion for the discipline of Psychology. After finishing my B.S. in Psychology at MSU, I completed my Ph.D. in General/Experimental Psychology with a focus on social psychology at the University of Vermont. As a social psychologist, I am interested in how social contexts influence how people think, feel, and behave. In my research, I focus primarily on weight-based stigma with a special interest on how being heavyweight influences peoples' lives and their social interactions. My secondary research interests focus on the self in interpersonal relationships, including relationships with romantic partners, friends, and members of stigmatized social groups. I feel that one of the most appealing aspects of psychology as a field and the work that I do is that they both hold immediate implications for everyday life. For that reason, whether I am working in the classroom or in the research context, I strive to forge connections between academic psychology and the "real world".
Servant Leadership Director
Office: Mannerheim 310
René Johnson came to Finlandia University in Hancock, MI in 2005 after 12 years of teaching in the African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania - pretty diverse for a girl with a small-town Minnesota upbringing. A product of Lutheran higher education, she received her B.A. from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) and M.A. from Luther Seminary (St. Paul, MN) and is currently working on her PhD in Vocation and Servant Leadership through the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana. As director of Servant Leadership she is passionate about bringing questions related to who we are (or are becoming) into the classroom and creating a context where students might discern their individual callings to a way of living for the sake of the wider world. René is married to Philip, president of Finlandia University, and they have two sons, Simon and Neal. In her spare time she enjoys reading, cooking and the outdoors. Also, she stays healthy with running, swimming and yoga, although she like to make the distinction that she is recreational, not athletic.
Office: Wargelin 205
My initial education was in nursing, and I worked in a variety of jobs before I realized that I was more interested in the science of what was going on in the body than in taking care of the patient. As an undergraduate, I studied biology, chemistry and clinical laboratory science before beginning my graduate work in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame. I am interested in the molecular nature of biological processes and studied enzymes and metabolism in my research.
Since leaving graduate school, my focus was been on education. In my teaching, I strive to emphasize the application and relevance of scientific principles to everyday living. I believe my work experiences have given me unique insights into everyday applications of chemistry that better enable me to help students understand abstract concepts.
As a Keweenaw native, I enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities. At the end of a day at Finlandia, I look forward to observing nature while walking my dogs and then doing some readings.
Office: Mannerheim 415
I am originally from Northern Wisconsin, but throughout the early 2000s I lived in the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, the American Southwest, and the foothills of Appalachia. In that time I earned my B.A. in History from Northland College, my M.A. from Northern Arizona University, and a Ph.D. from Ohio University. In 2011 I was a fellow of the Contemporary History Institute (Athens, OH), and in 2012 I defended my dissertation "Selling the Second Cold War: Antinuclear Cultural Activism and Reagan Era Foreign Policy." I love teaching, and my recent course offerings include "History through Film: The Atomic Age," "Cold War America," "U.S. Environmental History," and "America in the World." My research interests reside at the intersection of popular culture, domestic politics, and foreign relations during and after the Cold War. My recent publications examine the Cold War nuclear arms race and its influence on pop music, music videos, video games, and other aspects of American popular culture. In my increasingly spare free time, I enjoy reading, running, or playing electric bass.
Office: Mannerheim 413
I was born in the Bronx, New York, (this means I am a Yankees fan - I feel I should apologize in advance) but I have been gravitating north and west ever since, spending time in Vermont, upstate NY and most recently Madison, Wisconsin, where I earned a PhD in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin. My research there focused on the relationship between religious dissent and British romantic literature, with a specific interest in the way that writing as a form of self-representation works to foster agency in the writing subject. Lately I've begun to focus on community writing projects, particularly those involving seniors, to consider how such work might inform our understanding of the importance of the Humanities today. Above all else I love teaching, and I'm excited to begin my career here at Finlandia University where the importance of community engagement and holistic education are primary. In my free time I like to read speculative fiction, play soccer, hike, ski, canoe, and spend time with my family.
Office: Mannerheim 407
Marin has a Ph.D. and a master's of arts in mathematics, both from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has a bachelor of arts in mathematics from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Finlandia faulty, Marin was an assistant professor of mathematics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York.
As a teacher, Marin works to inspire and guide his students to discover for themselves the wonder of mathematics. He tries to teach his students by encouraging them to discuss math with him as often as possible. Marin and his wife, Kate, have three young children, Juan III, Roberto, and Andres. They live in Hancock and enjoy canoeing and the outdoors.
English and Communication
Office: Mannerhiem 313
Teaching communication and journalism courses at Finlandia gives Dr. Miller an opportunity to explore ways to better understand and engage in our world. She loves Finlandia's small class sizes; they allow for interesting critical-cultural discussions as well as collaborative work on meaningful projects in and out of class.
Dr. Miller works with students to produce Finlandia's student newspaper, The Roar; she advises BikeFinlandia, a student group dedicated to promoting bicycling; she also serves on Finlandia's Sustainability Committee.
The possibilities for experiencing community at Finlandia are relevant to her research interest, which concerns how we create as well as sometimes sabotage our experience of community through our communication. She is also especially interested in community perspectives that honor the natural environment.
Dr. Miller has been a board director at the local food cooperative for nine years, and she is also on the board of a green cemetery initiative.
Dr. Miller commutes by bike from her off-the-grid cabin on 15 wooded acres, where she shares space with various owls, coyotes, snakes, bears, and sometimes, visiting humans.
Dean & Associate Professor
Office: Mannerheim 404
Christine O'Neil received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Colorado State University. While teaching a variety of sociology courses at Finlandia, she enjoys introducing students to the world of sociology and challenging them both critically and creatively. She strongly encourages students to participate actively in the classroom and offers students many opportunities to engage with the material being presentated. In addition, Dr. O'Neil has a wide range of research interests including rural planning and sustainable development, globalization, complex organizations, and consumption. In her free time, she enjoys ice climbing, reading, snowshoeing, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and playing with her dogs.
Office: Wargelin 240
Originally from Hawaii, I grew up enjoying the outdoor lifestyle of swimming, fishing, surfing/boggie boarding, biking, hiking, and camping. Despite having diverse interests, it came naturally to be most fascinated by the diversity of life. I obtained a BA in Zoology from the University of Hawaii, Manoa before leaving my island home to further my education in aquatic ecology. I obtained an MS in Biology from Eastern New Mexico University studying how tiny freshwater organisms sample their environment and access risk of predation. The desire to study a habitat that contrasts to the tropical waters of Hawaii and the grassland streams of the southwest lead me to the temperate lakes of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I obtained a PhD in Biology from Michigan Technological University studying how large lake processes of Lake Superior affect the transport of fishes during their larval stages, and in turn, potentially effect early growth and later recruitment.
While studying in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I quickly grew to love its environment, seasons, cultural history, and people. I appreciate the opportunities Finlandia affords its students, and Finlandia's devotion to growth and education. I draw upon my past and ongoing challenges and successes in education to help others along their paths to academic excellence.
Casey Rentmeester - New Faculty Fall 2013!
Philosophy and Religion
Office: Mannerheim 405
Phone: coming soon.
Email: coming soon.
Rentmeester was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and received
his B.A. from Saint Norbert College where he was captain of the football
team and named Student-Athlete of the year in 2005. He then went on to
receive his M.A. from Kent State University
in Ohio in 2007 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida
where he wrote a dissertation on environmental philosophy, focusing
specifically on anthropogenic climate change and issues of resource
depletion from a Heideggerian perspective. Casey spent
the academic year of 2012-2013 at the University of Alaska Anchorage as
a term assistant professor and joined the faculty at Finlandia
University in 2013. His primary research interests are in environmental
philosophy, Continental philosophy, and Chinese philosophy.
Casey teaches classes in both philosophy and religious studies at
Finlandia, and thinks it is vitally important for students in a liberal
arts environment to have an understanding of both philosophy and the
world’s religions to become an educated person. In
his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities, particularly hiking and
biking, collecting vinyl records, and playing sports. Casey is thrilled
to be at a university that emphasizes teaching and is committed to
English and ESL
Office: Mannerheim 417
Suzanne Van Dam is the director of Finlandia’s Intensive English as a Second Language Program, teaching and coordinating ESL courses for international students. She also teaches a wide variety of literature, writing, and environmental studies classes, including children’s literature, cultures in conflict, and advanced writing. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English and American literature from the University of Illinois, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Writing Program. Recent favorite authors include Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, Lorrie Moore, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Michael Polan, though Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a classic that is still hard to beat. When not grading papers, Suzanne enjoys hiking, bicycling, snowshoeing, and organic gardening. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, Suzanne caught the travel bug early and continues to be passionate about social justice, the environment, and, all aspects of story-telling.
Office: Mannerheim 410
Moving from Detroit to Houghton in 1997, Heather fell in love with the Upper Peninsula's beauty and immediately made a home here. Heather Dunne joined Finlandia in the fall of 2009. She provides administrative support to the Suomi College of Arts and Sciences and to the Dean, Christine O'Neil. Along with assisting faculty, Heather helps students with questions and general needs. Developing marketing materials and maintaining the website for the college are other tasks in which Heather is involved. In her spare time, Heather enjoys hiking, biking, camping, snowshoeing, traveling, going to movies, reading, quilting, and knitting. Currently, Heather is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication here at Finlandia.