Montana State University

McNair Scholars Program

Montana State University
240 Gaines Hall
P.O. Box 172560
Bozeman, MT 59717

Director and Co-P.I.

Shelly Hogan, Ph.D.

Administrative Associate

Kate Delaney

For more information:

Tel: (406) 994-5072
Fax: (406) 994-7989

Current McNair Scholars


Maurisa Bell

Major: History
Mentor: Dave Swingle M.A.

I was born in Riverton, Wyoming but attended high school in Worland, Wyoming.  I am currently a junior majoring in History with a double minor in Native American Studies and Political Science.  My research interest is in Federal Indian Law and Policy, specifically on the Wind River Indian Reservation.  Along with participating in the McNair Scholars Program I am also the secretary for Phi Alpha Theta, (History Honors Society).  My aspirations are to attend Law School to pursue Federal Indian Law and Policy.

Celina Brownotter

Major: Architecture
Mentor: Thomas McNab, M.A.



Isaac Christensen

Major: Animal Science
Mentor: Dr. Ed Schmidt

I attended high school in Glendive, MT. I am currently attending Montana State University and a senior majoring in Biotechnology- Animal Systems. I have intentions in becoming an MD/ PHD and would like to return to a rural area in order to practice medicine. I have been involved in research at the Schmidt lab for the past three years. My research project involved creating a procedure for the purification of three Thioredoxin like proteins that will be used as an identifier tool with the antibodies from the previously purified protein. Some of my favorite hobbies are: fishing, hunting, and cooking.

Melissa Emery

Major: Chemistry
Mentor: Dr. Charles (Bill) McLaughlin

am currently studying Chemistry teaching at Montana State University.  In the Summer of 2013 I worked with Dr. Bill McLaughlin to implement components of the TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) classroom in the second semester general chemistry course, CHMY 143.  I actively planned and delivered lessons through this project and learned invaluable skills such as classroom management and best grading practices.  I am also the treasurer of the Undergraduate Chemistry Society and throughout the year participate in outreach events where I perform chemical demonstrations to local youth organizations.  Currently a junior, I desire to student teach overseas.  She eventually would aspire to obtain my Ph.D. so I can become a professor at a university. I am from Georgetown, CA and currently live in Bozeman with my husband Thomas and our 3-yr old daughter, Molly. 

Amy Fiel

Major: Psychology
Mentor: J. Mitchell Vaterlaus, Ph.D.


Brooke Filanoski

Major: Chemical Engineering
Mentor: Adreienne Philips, Ph.D.


Heidi Hanson

Major: Psychology
Mentor: Wendy Biachini-Morrison, M.S.

Heidi Hanson is a senior in Psychology and Community Health at Montana State University, and will graduate in May 2016.  Heidi’s mentor is Wendy Bianchini-Morrison.  She and Heidi have traveled to Zambia to learn about non-government organizations and their impact on improving health for Zambians and hopefully expand to other countries.  Heidi is also a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society for HHD college majors.  After graduation, Heidi would like to enter into graduate school for either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. in Clinical or Counseling psychology, and would like to work with teens who may be at-risk for social and mental health disorders.


Kevin Jones

Major: Biology
Mentor: Jack Fisher, Ph.D. and Chris Organ, Ph.D.

Kevin Jones lives in Bozeman, Montana and is currently a junior at Montana State University. Kevin is majoring in Organismal Biology, with a minor in Astrobiology. He is the first in his family to attend university. Kevin is conducting research in hominin evolution using advanced techniques to build a parsimonious phylogenetic tree, incorporating both genetic data and trait morphology. Under guidance from his McNair mentors, Dr. Jack Fisher and Dr. Chris Organ, he will apply the novel technique of partitioning to each characteristic, based on newly discovered genetic data and trait characteristics. This will allow him to establish a relationship among early hominins, given all new hominin DNA and fossil discoveries.  After building a phylogenetic tree and completing the first paper, Kevin will apply several novel approaches to this data as he conducts additional research in human evolution. After graduation, Kevin hopes to enter into a doctoral program in Evolutionary Biology at U.C. Berkeley in California.


Trisheena Kills Pretty Enemy

Major: Microbiology
Mentor: Seth Walk, Ph.D.

Michelle Knerr

Major: Animval Science
Mentor: James Berardinelli, Ph.D.

Growing up on her family ranch in Lewistown, Montana, Michelle Knerr learned the importance of animal health care.  Pursing a Pre-vet Microbiology undergraduate degree from Montana State University, Michelle takes advantage of first hand opportunities that allow her to explore animal health research and medicine. With the help of her McNair mentor, Dr. Jim Berardinelli, she is focused on a research project which will determine if it is possible to use NMR spectroscopy to predict metabolic pathways that would indicate pregnancy in free range high altitude Ungulates. Michelle is an avid member of the community. She has volunteered over 1,800 hours in her community. Michelle takes pride knowing that with the pursuit of her education she is showing her daughter it is possible to accomplish your dreams.  Michelle plans to continue to work towards receiving a DVM or PhD in immunology and infectious disease.


Erica Latorre

Major: Exercise Science
Mentor: Mary Miles, Ph.D.

I am originally from Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho where I graduated from Coeur d’ Alene High
school. I’m currently a senior at MSU majoring in Exercise Science as well as studying Pre-
Medicine. My aspirations are to become a Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon as well as
continue researching new ways to treat sports injuries. Along with my scholastic studies I enjoy
paint and sketching, exercising, volunteering at the local Community Cafe here in Bozeman,
playing indoor and sand volleyball, as well as traveling and road tripping with good friends.
My McNair Research is being conducted under Dr. Mary Miles in the Nutrition Research
Laboratory. The main focus of my research is to further examine how antioxidants impact muscle
recovery after exercise. Looking specifically at reactive oxygen species and metabolic flexibility.


Savanah Leidholt

Majora: Biology
Mentor: David Willey, Ph.D.


Rebekah Lindsey

Major: Elementary Education
Mentor: Rebecca Brooker, Ph.D.



Tanner Lineberrry

Major: Psychology
Mentor: Dr. Julie Wieseler and Dr. Rebecca Brooker

I am a senior majoring in psychology.  I am interested in research in developmental and social psychology.  Most recently I presented my McNair Scholars research that I have been conducting under the guidance of my McNair Mentors Drs. Julie Wieseler & Dr. Rebecca Brooker, titled: Child-Driven Effects on Parenting at the University of Berkeley, CA McNair Scholar’s Research Symposium. After graduation I am planning to attend graduate school and the University of Montana to obtain a graduate degree in social work, and eventually clinical social work.  I hope to eventually work with addiction therapy.


Jenna Lipscomb

Major: Computer Science
Mentor: Dr. Rocky Ross

Jenna Lipscomb is originally from St. Ignatius, Montana, but spent the majority of her childhood in La Grande, Oregon where she graduated high school in 2011. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar and Honors student currently studying Computer Science at Montana State University. She is proud to be a First Generation Descendant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and serves as the MSU Chapter President of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Jenna is working with Dr. Rocky Ross's team as a student contributor and researcher on the Department of Computer Science's "Flipping Out Classrooms," a project focused on finding more effective ways of teaching programming classes and increasing student retention. As a McNair Scholar, she is researching the relationships between extended programming practice, student test scores, and teaching styles in the lower level programming classes. She is hoping to continue her education in graduate school after receiving her Bachelor of Science in May 2016.

Jaycie Loney

Major: Exercise Science
Mentor: Lynn Owens, Ph.D.

I am from Belgrade Montana. Currently a senior at Montana State University pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. My research interest is the connection between cancer patient’s personalities and their motivation to stay physically active during and post treatment. In particular, under the guidance of my McNair Mentor Dr. Lynn Olson we are research the question: Can healthcare professionals use a test of strengths of personality to better prescribe exercise in a way that fits each patient’s specific personality? After graduating from MSU I plan to go on to physical therapy school and attain my doctorate and I will hopefully continue my education with a heavy emphasis in the field of rehabilitation research. 

Marissa Miller

Major: Architecture
Mentor: Fatih Rifki, Ph.D.



Sarah Miller

Majora: Chemistry
Mentor: Dr. Trevor Rainey

I was born in Denver, Colorado but spent most of my life in Roundup, Montana. I am currently a junior majoring in Chemistry. I have been conducting undergraduate research under the guidance of Dr. Trevor Rainey over the past year in the area of natural product synthesis. I plan to graduate in the spring of 2016 and further my education in a graduate program with the goal of eventually obtaining a Ph.D. The McNair Scholars Program has helped me and continues to help me prepare for success in graduate school.

Jessica Monte

Major: Plant Science
Mentor: Casey Delphi, Ph.D.



Dani Morrison

Major: Secondary Education (Social Studies Broadfield)
Mentor: Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa

My hometown is Helena, MT.   My roots are with South Dakota as a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation.  I am a proud mother of two amazing little girls, Ava (7) and Arlee (6), that keep me fueled for our future.   I am in the Social Studies Broad-field and secondary education program with a minor in Native American Studies.  I have been working the last few years with my mentor Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa in learning Indian Education For All(IEFA) and the large importance it plays to us educators.  I am also a Hopa Mountain Native Non-Profit Fellow, and have been working diligently on a workshop called “Strengthening the Circle” which is focused for all specific lead, Native non-profit organizations within a regional area.  My goal is to be able to contribute new ideas in seeking positive and effective ways of implementing IEFA to future educators in higher education.  After I graduate I plan on attending graduate school for Native American Studies with the hopes of continuing my education in Federal Indian Law.


Amanda Parsons

Major: Boradview, MT
Mentor: Joseph Seymour, Ph.D.

I grew up in Montana, northwest of Billings, and went to school in Broadview, MT. Presently, at Montana State University – Bozeman, I am entering my senior year as an undergraduate studying chemical engineering. I have been conducting my McNair Scholars research project during the summer working in the Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (MRL) under the guidance of Dr. Joe Seymour learning the techniques and methodologies that the MRL conducts with a specific focus on better understanding the properties of alginate gels. Outside of studying and doing research, I am actively involved with the Country Dance Club, the campus ministry group Tuesday Nights Together, and serve as current president of the Generation Ministries Collegiate Group on campus. My future plans include continuing on to earn my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering.


Dietrich Perchy

Major: Biology
Mentor: Nicholas Lux, Ed.D.



Wade Robinson

Major: Biology
Mentor: Robert Wilson, Ph.D.

Being from Kalispell, MT, Wade has always been on the move whether it be 
hiking, swimming, or running outdoors.  He followed his passion for activity and fitness to MSU to get his degree in Exercise Science.  Wade's research project is focused on examining the differences on the changes of heart rates between frequent and infrequent video game players.  Wade is being assisted by mentor, Dr. Robert Wilson, who has a dual specialization in Exercise Physiology and Exercise and Sport Psychology.  In his free time, Wade enjoys helping various LGBTQ nonprofit organizations around the state.  In addition to being a McNair scholar, Wade also is the vice president of the MSU Exercise Science Club, is a student teaching assistant for Human Anatomy and Physiology II, and also has been CTR certified as a rapid HIV tester.  Wade is currently involved with an internship with the Kalispell Regional Medical Center shadowing occupational therapy and physical therapy and plans on using this experience to guide his decision while applying to graduate school next year.

Michael Ruiz

Major: Anthropology
Mentors: Dr. Jack Fisher and Dr. Ron June

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I am an Anthropology major considering a minor in General Chemistry. Upon graduation I plan on entering a joint degree program pursuing a PhD/JD. My career goals include becoming a Diplomate of The American Board of Forensic Anthropology. My current research involves maceration practices for the efficient defleshing of human remains to expose, analyze and interpret skeletal trauma. I intend to continue to pursue my education both inside and outside of the classroom wholeheartedly with the help of the McNair Program because I am going to be the change that I want to see in the world as I am the first person in my family to go to college.
Navigating the Waves of Forensics, 2013 (Providence, RI)

Ty Show

Major: Industrial Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Laura M. Stanley

Ty Show is a junior majoring in Industrial & Management Engineering.  He is from Browning, MT, which is located within the boundaries of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.  As a current McNair Scholar, Ty has been working with Dr. Laura Stanley on a research project that delves into the peer-to-peer affects at Browning High School.  The research is utilizing the Teens in the Driver Seat Program that started in Texas.  The program is meant to promote safe driving tips and techniques through the use of peers, student groups, and presentations.  Ty is also eager to pursue a graduate degree in engineering after he completes his bachelor’s degree in May of 2016.


Kendra Teague

Major: Land Resources & Environmental Science
Mentor: Dr. Alison Harmon

I am originally from southeast New Mexico, but have since made a home in Wolf Point, Montana, where I have family and spend most of my summers. My major is Sustainable Foods and Bioenergy Systems. I currently work with Professor Alison Harmon, who is the Program Leader in Health and Human Nutrition. Our research focuses on the relational aspects of grains and grain production within indigenous populations. We are interested in understanding indigenous approaches to the life cycle and cultivation of grains, with an emphasis on maize, wild rice and barley. We also study rapid changes that have occurred in the use and demand of grains over a short period of time. My interest in this topic stems from my concern for family and the health of our living systems. My professional background in social work and advocacy and my passion for a healthy environment, healthy food systems and clean water has guided me to where I am now.


Julie Theis

Major: Psychology
Mentor: Dr. Matthew Vess

Julie is a junior in Psychology from Sidney, Montana. Julie has been conducting research with Dr. Matt Vess to better understand how human’s impulses guide their health choices when their self-control has been depleted. Julie will graduate from Montana State in May 2016. As a highly passionate person, Julie achieves leadership by applying her skills in many places. In addition to being a McNair Scholar, Julie is also a member of the Student Alumni Association, part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a student athlete representing the Montana State Dance Team. Julie has dedicated much of her time at MSU helping others by volunteering as a crisis advocate at the Voice Center on campus. She works primarily with survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. Her goal is to continue her education and to eventual attain a PhD or a PsyD in clinical Psychology.

Coleen Trottier

Major: Psychology
Mentor: Suzanne Christopher, Ph.D.


Kelly Walls

Major: Mechanical Engeineering
Mentor: Paul Gannon, Ph.D.