Student Life Staff

Bethel's Student Life team is here to help you maximize your college experience. Many of us are former Bethel students that have lived — and loved — the Bethel lifestyle. We have a firsthand understanding of how engaging in student life can transform the lives of students, which is why we came back to ensure that current and future students get that same chance. Even our staff members who’ve only served in a professional capacity can speak to the impact our team has on the campus community. Day in and day out, we strive to create a challenging, supportive growth environment for every Bethel student.

student life staff

Whether you’re an on-campus Pilot developing community connections through residence life or a commuter Pilot staying connected through campus-wide events, Student Life is here to help you fully experience Bethel’s vibrant community.


Get to know our Student Life staff

Shawn Holtgren

Dr. Shawn Holtgren

Vice President for Student Development

For more than two decades, Shawn has worked in the area of Student Development at Bethel College. Besides serving as Vice President for Student Development, Shawn also serves as chapel coordinator and worship leader. An ordained minister in the Missionary Church, Shawn is Pastor of Worship Arts at St. Mark Missionary Church. A 1995 graduate of Bethel (Christian Ministries), he went on to complete his Master of Ministries degree at Bethel and his Ph.D. in Educational Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Shawn is married to Katie and has three children, Autumn, Nathan and Victoria. If you have questions regarding student life, spiritual life, mentoring, or chapel, please feel free to contact Shawn.

Zach Gillis

Zachary Gillis

Community Life Coordinator

Zach, a Bethel Alumnus, graduated in 2013 with a degree in Liberal Studies and went on to complete his Master of Arts in Intercultural Leadership from Goshen College in 2015. He serves as the Community Life Coordinator, the Campus Coordinator for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and worship leader of the Gospel Chapel Band. Although proudly originally from Gary, Indiana, Zach would also consider himself a Southern boy at heart and loves making people laugh! He enjoys singing, dancing, and cooking and feels blessed to be a member of the Student Life Staff. Excited to see the amazing things that God has in store for Bethel, Zach always looks forward to seeing how The Lord will work through our students with each passing school year. Please feel free to contact Zach.

John Kaehr

John Kaehr

Resident Director

John graduated from Bethel College in 2001 with a degree in Christian Ministries and has returned to Bethel after 10 years in pastoral ministry, to serve as a Resident Director and a member of the Spiritual Life Team. He also oversees Bethel's Intentional Living Communities. His passion is to see college students come to know Jesus, while walking with them on this great journey. John is married to his lovely wife Melissa and they have a beautiful three-year-old daughter, Hannah, who continues to hold the title of "youngest resident on campus." John likes the outdoors, camping, barbecue and anything caffeinated. He would love to share a cup of coffee with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life. Contact John.

Resident Director Jess Lyons

Jess Lyons

Resident Director

Jess graduated from Bethel in 2011 with a degree in Communication and jumped at the opportunity to return as Resident Director. After graduating, Jess spent two years teaching at the Crossing, an alternative high school in South Bend. She loves working with students - getting to know them and seeing them thrive in community. Jess is married to Reed, her favorite person, and they love anything to do with good food, coffee and conversation. Jess enjoys movies, music, books and being creative. She is thankful and hopeful for what's ahead in Tuckey, and looks forward to joining others in learning to be disciples of Jesus. Contact Jess.

Elizabeth Studebaker

Elizabeth Studebaker

Resident Director

Elizabeth graduated from Cedarville in 2009 with a degree in Psychology. After graduation she taught English in China for several years. Elizabeth returned to America to work in Student Development and complete a Master’s Degree in Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College. She enjoys taking road trips, thrifting, and spending time at camp with friends. Elizabeth is excited to get to know the women of Shupe and to see the ways God will work in their lives throughout their freshman year at Bethel! Contact Elizabeth.

Resident Director Rachel Goddard

Rachel Goddard

Assistant Resident Director

Rachel is an Assistant Resident Director for Egle and Lambert residence halls. She attended Grand Valley State University, where she earned a degree in Biomedical Science. After graduation, Rachel spent a year as the Special Needs Director at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. She is passionate about coffee, photography, running and individuals with special needs. She is excited to walk with college students as they pursue the heart of Jesus and learn more about Him in this season. Contact Rachel.

Julie Beam

Julie Beam

Director of Student Life

Julie has served in student development at Bethel College for a number of years, first as a resident director and director of service learning and now as director of student life. She received a B.A. in Biology from Tabor College, a master's in Public Affairs from Indiana University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Azusa Pacific University. Julie, her husband Travis and son Cooper live in Elkhart, where they enjoy the outdoors, sports and traveling together. If you have questions regarding student life, residential living or community standards and programming, please feel free to contact Julie.

Resident Director Josh Hartsell

Josh Hartsell

Resident Director

Josh graduated from Bethel College in 2008 with a degree in Christian Ministry. He has been a part of Bethel Student Life since and currently serves as the Resident Director in Oakwood-Slater Hall. He loves to travel and experience new cultures, and he enjoys watching other people get their first taste of traveling. The time Josh has spent among college freshmen has taught him how transformative the first year in college can be. He keeps coming back to Oakwood-Slater because he sees the impact community living has on the guys' spiritual and social growth, and because God has given him a heart for building relationships and gifted him to disciple and mentor those around him. Contact Josh.

Resident Director Sara Loucy-Swartz

Sara Loucy-Swartz

Resident Director

Originally from Sherrill, New York, Sara attended Baptist Bible College. She has served at Bethel since 2007 and enjoys building authentic relationships with students in the Bethel community. In her free time, Sara loves to kayak, hike, decorate, watch a variety of TV shows and spend time with her husband Jimi, her son Jack, family, and friends. Her desire is for Bridges Hall residents to develop a solid relationship with God, lasting relationships with friends, necessary skills to successfully transition to life beyond college, all the while enjoying the unique time that they have at Bethel. Sara feels blessed to be a part of the Residence Life staff of such a fabulous community! Contact Sara.

Resident Director Reed Lyons

Reed Lyons

Resident Director

In 2010, Reed graduated from Bethel College with a degree in Communication. Originally from Carol Stream, IL, Reed couldn't stay away from the Bethel Community and returned as a Resident Director and Director of Campus Activities in 2012. He has previously worked as an Athletic Director with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fresno County, in Fresno, CA and as a middle school teacher with the Mishawaka Crossing Educational Center. He enjoys collecting hobbies and loves to learn new things. He is athletic, intellectual, and handsome, or at least his wife, Jess, thinks so. Reed is pumped to lead the guys of Manges Hall as they grow in their relationship with Christ and learn what it means to be a man of God. Contact Reed.

Resident Director Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder

Resident Director

Michael graduated from Bethel College in 2009 with a degree in Youth Ministry. Right out of college, Michael became a Campus Life Director with YFC for more than four years. In 2013, he transitioned back to Bethel as a Resident Director. Michael married his wife Lindsay in 2010. They enjoy live music, traveling and seeing the world together. Michael has a passion for relational ministry and seeing others come to know Jesus in a life changing way. Michael also enjoys crowds, networking/meeting new people, and thought provoking conversations. He’s addicted to coffee, podcasts and self-development. Contact Michael