Teaching Faculty

Dr. Dale Hess
Ecological Field Station Director
Associate Professor of Agroecology

March 1, 2015: It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Dale Hess who developed and directed the Agroecology program. More information here.

The Agroecology program will be offered this summer with Jon Zirkle acting as Interim Director. 


Jon Zirkle
Interim Director of Agroecology

B.S. in Biology, Calvin College
M.S. in Plant and Soil Science, University of Vermont

Jon is serving as the Interim Director of the Agroecology and he teaches the Vegetable Crops course in the Agroecology Summer Intensive.  In his job at Merry Lea, Jon also oversees all aspects of the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm including planting crops, harvesting and marketing.  He also assists with agricultural research and oversees student interns and research assistants.



Michelle Horning
Associate Professor of Accounting
B.A. in Business, Goshen College, 1991
M.S. Drexel University, 1995
CPA certification earned, 1996

Michelle Horning currently teaches Managerial and Cost Accounting, Financial Management, and Individual and Corporate Tax at Goshen College. she also supervises the students that manage and operate Java Junction, the on-campus coffee shop. She has experience in public accounting and the supermarket industry.

Melissa Kinsey
Assistant Professor
B.A. in Communication, University of Kentucky, 1992
M.P.A. from the School of Public & Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, 2004

Melissa Kinsey, a certified Indiana Master Naturalist, coordinates environmental and sustainability programs including Sound of the Environment and the Community Clean Water Project.  She teaches business and marketing classes for Amish and rural business owners and farmers.  Melissa has served as the director of the Goshen College Entrepreneurship Learning Center and Assistant Professor of Business.  She is an entrepreneur with a focus on business and environmental sustainability.

Dr. David J. Miller
Program Director Emeritus
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S. in Biology and Bible, Eastern Mennonite University, 1964
M.S. in Entomology, University of Delaware, 1972
Ph.D. in Entomology, Michigan State University, 1977

Dave is an entomologist who joined Merry Lea in 1988 as Program Director and has served in many roles since then. Dave retired in 2011, but continues field research with the development of species lists of selected insect orders at Merry Lea. His scientific interests are in natural history, specifically in biodiversity. Also of interest is the intersection of faith/spirituality and science. His hobbies include nature photography and woodworking.

William Minter
Director of Land Management
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
B.S. in Forestry, Colorado State University, 1980
M.S.F. in Forestry, Purdue University, 1989

Bill is a certified professional forester who has served on the staff since 1991. He has restored over 100 acres of wetland and prairie at Merry Lea. When not practicing land management, he teaches Forest Resources and Land Management to both Goshen College undergraduates and Merry Lea's graduates in environmental education. Bill takes a special interest in oak savanna ecosystems.

Dr. Ryan Sensenig
Lindsey Research Fellow
Associate Professor of Biology
Director of the Environmental Science Program at Goshen College
B.S. in Biology and International Agriculture, Eastern Mennonite University, 1992
Ph.D. in Ecology, University of California, Davis, 2007

Ryan teaches ecology, biology and environmental science courses at Goshen College and conducts field research at Merry Lea. Ryan’s doctoral research was conducted in Kenya and focused on the effects of grassland burning on grazing animals. He continues to research the relationship between grazing animals and healthy prairies. Before moving to undergraduate teaching, Ryan taught high school science and won several state and national teaching awards.

Dr. Larry Yoder
Executive Director Emeritus
Associate Professor of Biology
B.A. Manchester College, 1964
M.A. Indiana University, 1966
M.A.T., Indiana University, 1970
Ph.D., Indiana University, 1972

Larry Yoder, a botanist and educator, has been with Merry Lea since 1981, serving first as executive director and later as assistant to the executive director until his retirement and appointment as associate professor emeritus in 2007. In the agroecology program, Yoder focuses on geomorphology and soils. Larry also hosts field trips to the Yoder Farm near Fort Wayne where he and his extended family focus on entrepreneurship with specialty crops such as maple syrup and asparagus.