Montana Student Volunteer Award

The Montana Student Volunteer Award, previously known as the Volunteer of the Game Award, has been awarded to 12 students from college campuses around the state of Montana.

“These young Montanans embody the spirit of service that is at the core of our values as a state. This year, more than ever, we need folks like these students who get out there and work to effect positive change in their communities. This is only the start of what is likely a lifelong commitment to service, and I cannot wait to see what each accomplishes in the upcoming years.” — Governor Steve Bullock.”

MTCC affiliate campuses, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Community Service, give this award to college students across the state who have demonstrated service to their communities while pursuing a college degree or certificate. Following are the 2020 winners:

  • Blackfeet Community College |Christie Farmer always keeps Blackfeet Community College and its students in mind. She goes above and beyond to invest time and energy into supporting the community wherever her help can be used. One of Christie’s most recent projects has been working with artist Jesse DesRosier to bring a mural to the Glenn Heavy Runner Pool in Browning.
  • Carroll College | Hailey James supports the St. Mary’s youth group and coordinates student visits with the residents of the Rocky Mountain Nursing Home. Hailey began the Carroll Cares program in March 2020 and is an engaged participant in the Justice Outreach Project.
  • Flathead Valley Community College |Tomara Hanks has served with AmeriCorps programs since high school. She advocates for the community’s young people by volunteering at the Sparrow’s Nest of Northwest Montana and the Center for Restorative Youth Justice. Tomara serves in student government as a sophomore senator, has volunteered as a student ambassador at the Festival of Flavors, and supports the Native American Student Association (Simminekum).
  • Fort Peck Community College |Gifford Standing builds authentic relationships by drawing upon personal experiences to connect with fellow students and co-elevate individuals and teams to prove beneficial to the campus and community. Gifford stands out as a community role model who integrates volunteerism, athletics, and academics.
  • Great Falls College Montana State University |Gary Trotchie invests his time in expanding the impact and membership of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. For two years, he has organized Service Saturday events for students and dedicated hours enhancing the community, including through volunteer clean-up efforts. Gary created the Great Falls College Gaming Club, and has been involved with the Cameron Center/Great Falls Rescue Mission.
  • Miles Community College |Wacy Arndt is an engaged member of the Miles Community College who logged over 350 hours of service in 2019-2020 prior to the onset of COVID-19. In particular, he promotes youth engagement in the Miles City Youth Hockey Association.
  • Montana State University Bozeman |Isabelle Cuthbertson sets a positive example for students by providing service-learning experiences to her peers. In high school, she contributed over 300 volunteer hours and donated over 100 pounds of food to the local food bank. As a college student, Isabell stands out as a leader in her a capella group “Rhapsody A Capella”.
  • Montana State University Billings |Emmalith Phipps closely involves herself in the Yellowjacket Emergency Pantry. She works with the Student United Way to plan, develop, and evaluate their community projects, while also volunteering time with the Riverstone Health COVID-19 track and trace program. Knowing the value of service, Emmalith works to get other students from the college involved in volunteer activities related to education, income, and health.
  • Montana State University Northern |Jennell Huff has received national recognition for her work. Her community focused activities include the vice presidency of the Montana Financial Education Coalition, and chair of the Montana Elder Fraud and Exploitation Prevention Network. In addition to giving frequent presentations about financial literacy, Jannell is also a certified notary public.
  • Rocky Mountain College |Nicholas McBride serves as a peer mentor for at-risk first year students. He has also served as an aviation ambassador for the college’s Aviation Department, receiving the “Spirit of Aviation Award” for his work in the program. Outside of school, Nicholas opened his own flight instruction business.
  • University of Montana |Mia McKinney has volunteered with the YWCA GUTS! program, the Flagship Program, and Montana Democrats. In the 2020 fall semester, Mia volunteered with the Women’s Resource Center in Missoula to help with event planning and worked on an independent podcasting project.
  • University of Montana Western |Tristan Stockton dedicates himself to providing quality coaching to Montana’s young people. As the volunteer assistant coach for Dillon Middle School’s 7th grade football team, Tristan has combined a passion for physical activity with a desire to see the community’s young people succeed.

Nominations for the Montana Student Volunteer Awards open the beginning of fall semester and close in early October. For information about individual award ceremonies, contact the local campus’s Campus Compact advisory committee member or Josh Vanek (vanek@mtcompact.org) with Campus Compact.

The Governor’s Office of Community Service expands and promotes national service and community volunteerism in Montana and engages citizens in service. For more information please visit serve.mt.gov.