Audrey Econom, a sophomore at Montana State University billings, is the Education Chair for the Student United Way on campus. Audrey’s dedication and passion in the area of service is truly commendable. Audrey has been a part of Student United Way, a student-led volunteer organization, for two years, and is in her first year as part of the Student United Way Executive Committee. Audrey is currently the head of a campus-wide book drive and partnership with a local literacy center. Audrey believes that literacy, and getting kids excited about school and reading, is a key factor when looking at high dchool drop-out rates. A new literacy center in Billings will not only be for the recipients of the books collected, but Audrey will ensure there are students going down each week to read the books to the children. It is not difficult to see that Audrey is truly passionate about literacy and working with children in her community. Her dedication and drive is something that will continue to engage and inspire those around her.
Danielle (Dani) Clark, originally from Livingston, Montana, is a junior at Montana State University, studying Sociology and Political Science. She is also currently serving as the student government representative to the Montana State Legislature. Dani is the link between the student government, the Associated Students of Montana State University, and the state government; advocating for student issues and representing Montana State University with the utmost dignity and professionalism. She represents the best traditions in the institution’s land-grant mission, service and outreach. As an engaged student leader, with an incredible commitment to the student body and the University as a whole, Dani is a true role model to her peers. Her involvement with the State Legislature this spring, coupled with her academic work, will prepare her with the skills necessary to serve the State of Montana as a citizen and, certainly, as a future leader in this state.
Dustin Spivey, a second-year student at Great Falls College Montana State University, is a leader in many aspects. In addition to serving as secretary for the Associated Students of Great Falls College Montana State University and President of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter, he also works as a computer tutor in the campus Learning Center. Through coordinating on-campus activities and volunteering for community projects, such as Project Homeless Connect, Dustin is a respected campus and community leader. With a commitment to service and a background in sustainable energy, Dustin is well-poised to make a difference in the lives of others as he pursues a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Dustin’s hard work, generosity, and desire to make our world a better place in which to live makes him an inspiring role model for his peers.
Katelynn Gandolfi, a sophomore at the University of Great Falls, is a gentle leader who expresses immense interest in education. For the past eight years she has worked with Special Olympics, helping athletes achieve their goals in cross-country skiing, swimming and kayaking. Katelynn spends time working with Eagle Mount, a local organization offering an equestrian program for the disabled, where she helps them gain trust and grow stronger. In the local community she is also involved with grammar school teaching and reading. Through her extensive volunteering with children and in helping other students, Katelynn has plans of becoming an elementary school teacher and one day serving as a principal. Through her passion and dedication with education, Katelynn continuously inspires those around her to help others in need. Her hard work and determination will help her achieve her goals in education and much more.
Paul Hart, a veteran and non-traditional aged sophomore at Highlands College of Montana Tech majoring in Historic Preservation, is passionately dedicated to the preservation of some of Montana’s most valuable but fragile historic sites. For the past few years, Paul has participated (and continues to participate) in the preservation of Nevada City, one of Montana’s living history museums. Through his leadership, Highlands College’s Construction Technology students and Lineman Program students joined together with the Nevada City Living History Museum and the Montana Heritage Commission to install a photovoltaic solar power array and period-appropriate street lights at the Nevada City Living History Museum – thus literally and figuratively allowing 21st Century technology to shine a sustainable light on Montana’s historic past. The solar array is large enough to offset the museum’s entire electric bill. Paul evidences a collegial confidence and composure – whether speaking to a corporate board or working with tradesmen at historic sites. Paul’s quiet but productive life mission is engaging others to preserve our history in order to benefit our future.
Ruth Rickenbacher, sophomore and Phi Theta Kappa honor student at Flathead Valley Community College, dedicates her time between school, family, work and volunteering. The single mom of two boys is committed to the mantra of what makes a humanitarian. In 2011, Ruth began a quest to make a difference in order to create a better community and became the college’s Renewable Resources Club coordinator. Through her leadership, Ruth helped to recycle and reduce waste on campus, recruit volunteers to further educate others about renewable resources, and create awareness through interactive activities and initiatives. Ruth’s passion for sustaining our planet’s resources inspired her to introduce the college’s first clothing swap events, institute a carpooling program, and coordinate Earth Matters Week, which included a campus-wide clean-up activity, documentary screenings, various workshops and a family carnival, to educate the college and community on issues facing our planet. Currently, Ruth serves as assistant editor of the college student newspaper. In this role, she continues to deliver positive messages recognizing volunteerism while promoting AmeriCorps and service learning opportunities. As an advocate, Ruth has inspired others to be proactive. She hopes that by setting an example, her impact will create more engaged citizens.
Sara Beth Williamson is a sophomore at Dawson Community College. Sara was recruited to Dawson from Red Lodge, Montana, to play Varsity Volleyball on scholarship. As a sophomore, Sara served as team captain and was awarded Academic All Region honors. She will graduate with honors in May with an Associate of Science degree. Sara, a native of Tennessee, will return to the region to attend Southern Alabama next Fall to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. While at Dawson, Sara served as a Montana Campus Corps Americorps Member and served 342 hours as a Freshman Student Athlete with Makoshika State Park and the Dawson County Boys and Girls Club in Glendive, Montana. She also served in Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary in Red Lodge, Montana the summer between her freshman and sophomore years. As a sophomore, Sara was awarded the Montana Athletes in Service honor for her more than 500 hours of service while at Dawson.
Zach Brown, a senior at the University of Montana, truly embodies the spirit of the Newman Civic Fellows award. He has proven himself to be an effective agent of positive social change and is dedicated to working towards finding creative solutions to challenges facing our community. Zach serves as the President of the Associated Students of the University of Montana, has authored an official Montana University System initiative to reduce energy consumption in public buildings, facilitated the financing and installation of a $50,000 capital improvement project at an environmental demonstration and resource site on campus, attended the Clinton Global Initiative University and the Clinton Global Initiative America “Rural Economy Development Group”, authored a $5,000 grant to support the work of a grassroots environment group, and the list continues. In addition to Zach’s many accomplishments in seeking long-term solutions, he has been awarded the highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship and two Udall Scholarships for his demonstrated commitment to sustainable solutions. Zach has been an exceptional and inspirational leader at UM and will undoubtedly continue to make significant contributions to public problem solving.
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