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.

Emily Bermel

Major: Biological Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Christine Foreman

I attended high school in Bigfork, Montana and I am currently a senior in Biological Engineering. I am the current President of the MSU Chapter of the Society of Biological Engineering. I intend to get my Ph. D. in Biomedical Engineering after I graduate from MSU. My current research has been conducted under the guidance of Dr. Christine Foreman, and I am studying the effects of ultraviolet light on the biofilm formation and pigment production of a Janthinobacterium sp. that was isolated from a supraglacial stream in Antarctica.


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.

James Cwick

Major: Microbiology
Mentor: Dr. Jovanka Voyich and Dr. Michele Hardy

I come from San Joaquin County in Ripon, CA.  I am currently a junior in the microbiology department (general option) and a minor in music performance.  I plan on becoming an MD-PhD in internal medicine (infectious diseases) and researching either viruses or antibiotic resistance in bacteria.  In addition to being an active McNair scholar at MSU, I participate in officer positions within the Alpha Epsilon Delta club, Health professions club, and the percussion club.  For hobbies, I enjoy cooking, reading, and watching sci-fi television shows.  Currently, my research is being conducted under the guidance of Dr. Michele Hardy, which entails the effect of glycyrrhizin (and its derivative glycyrrhetinic acid) as an antibiotic alternative for treating clinically important bacteria.  My summer research will determine the scope of glycyrrhizin on many bacteria species.  


Katie DesLauriers

Major: HHD-Community Health
Mentor: Dr. Dawn Tarabochia

I am a senior majoring in Community Health.  My research, under the guidance of Dr. Tarabochia, maintains a focus on grandparents raising grandchildren and the impact of their nutritional eating practices.  After graduation I hope to continue my research in Greece where I have spent two academic summer semesters learning about their culture.  I am fascinated with the different aspects of the family traditions in Greece and how it compares to that of the US with particular interest to grandparents raising grandchildren.  I also plan to attend graduate school and pursue my masters in Public Health. As a McNair scholar, and first generation college student, I am grateful for the knowledge and skills I have obtained through the program and feel better equipped to attend and become successful in graduate school!


Erica Dunn

Major: Psychology
Mentor: Dr. Ian Handley and Dr. Jessi Smith

Erica (McKay) Dunn is a senior in Business Management and Psychology from Sandpoint, Idaho. Erica is grateful to be working with Dr. Ian Handley in the Psychology Department on Expectation Bias and novel research on possible corrections following bias expectations. She will graduate in May 2015 with honors and is excited to pursue a career in clinical psychology with a focus on relationship counseling and sexual assault prevention. Erica found her passion for community activism during her time serving as a Senator, the Senate Vice President, and the Business Manager of the Associated Students of Montana State University (ASMSU). Her current work at the VOICE Center, a 100% free and confidential service on campus that provides support and advocacy for survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking, along with the great opportunities provided by the McNair Scholars Program, has only increased her eagerness to begin working in the field.

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. 

Michael Fast Buffalo Horse

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

I am from Browning Montana, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, and a student in the Department of Education. After completing my undergraduate degree I plan to pursue a doctorate in history or education. My ultimate goal is to attain a faculty position in higher education.  I have been working under the guidance of my McNair mentor Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa. The focus of my research is to better understand and investigate tribal language revitalization efforts amongst the Native American populations of Montana.


Cody Goodan

Major: Chemistry
Mentor: Dr. Bern Kohler

Cody Goodan is in his third year at Montana State University (MSU) as a chemistry major. He is from Bremerton, Washington and attended Olympic High School where his love for chemistry was fostered. Cody works in Dr. Kohler’s research lab, studying the photophysics of DNA. Specifically, he is studying the excited states of the constituents of DNA and RNA by using the most current methods of spectroscopic analysis. Outside of school, he is the treasurer of MSU’s Undergraduate Chemistry Society. Cody plans to continue participating in research until the end of his undergraduate career, including potentially participating in off-campus research over the summer. Cody’s goal is to attend graduate school after obtaining his bachelor’s degree and hopes to one day teach the same courses he is presently taking as an undergrad at the collegiate level.


Josh Gosney

Majora: Chemical Engineering
Mentor: Dr. Jeff Heys

Joshua Gosney received his A.S. degree in economics from Flathead Valley Community College in 2010. In 2012, Mr. Gosney began his academic pursuits at Montana State University, where he is currently seeking his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering. Mr. Gosney is conducting research in the computational bio-fluids laboratory under the advisement of Dr. Jeffrey Heys, and their work objective is focused around developing a targeted drug delivery system with use of Microbubble conjugates.  Mr. Gosney is a proud Native American and an Active member of the AICHE, USGBC, Sustainability committee, Leadership Institute and the Undergraduate Scholars Program. Joshua’s ultimate goal is to obtain his Ph. D in chemical engineering, with a focus in Bio-medical research.

Courtney Holland

Major: Cell Biology and Neuroscience
Mentor: Dr. Phillip Sullivan

A proud Great Falls, Montana native, I am a senior in Cell Biology and Neuroscience with a concentration in biomedical sciences. I have a minor in Anthropology, and I am a sophomore in the Nursing degree. Before pursuing my masters, I plan to work two years as a nurse in the E.R. I aspire to get my PhD in Nursing after getting a masters in Anesethia Nursing. My current research is dealing with photoisomerizing dyes, and their use in treating Retinitis pigmentosa, a disease resulting in blindness.

Sydney Jaramillo

Major: English (Literature)
Mentor: Dr. David Swingle

My hometown is El Paso, Texas. I am a junior studying English Literature, and have minors in German Studies, History, and Museum Studies. I have always loved the work Non-Profit Organizations do and have often volunteered my time towards their efforts. After my freshman year, I learned that MSU offered a Museum Studies minor. I joined the program and now realize that my passion lies with working with museums. I am currently working with Dr. David Swingle of the Museum of the Rockies. My goal is to obtain an internship for the summer of 2014 in which I will be able to actively engage with a museum. In my free time, I enjoy reading, and relaxing with my friends. After I graduate in the spring of 2015, I intend to attend graduate school to study Museum Studies.


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.


Madison Martin

Major: Microbiology
Mentor: Dr. Michelle Flenniken

I was born and raised in Billings, MT and spent my high school years at Laurel High School. Science brought me to Bozeman where I immediately had an affinity for research in the laboratory. I have been working with Dr. Michelle Flenniken for a few years with her “honey bee host/ pathogen interactions” project, where I specifically investigate the metabolic profiles of honey bees that have undergone virus-injection and/or agrochemical (pesticide) - exposure. My goal is to take a microbiological approach to investigate potential honey bee biomarkers for health and to use this molecular biology-driven knowledge to prepare for graduate school. Being involved in the McNair Scholars Program has confirmed my desire for a Ph.D. in Microbiology. Being a first-generation college student, I believe going to graduate school is important to not only attain career success, but also a feeling of personal success.


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.


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.


Kellie Phillips

Major: Nursing
Mentor: Dr. Jeannine Brant and Dr. Elizabeth Ciemins (Billings Clinic)

My goal as both an undergraduate nursing student and McNair scholar is to be an honorable Lakota leader in Native American woman's healthcare. During my tenure in the McNair Scholars Program I have conducted my summer research project under the guidance of MSU-Billings research nursing faculty, Drs. Brant and Ciemins at the Billings Clinic. The Billings Clinic is also the site of my upper division program of study in Nursing. I plan to graduate with honors in May 2015 and pursue my Doctorate of Nurse Practitioner degree at MSU-Bozeman.

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. Julie hopes to apply the skills and values she has learned at the Voice Center and as a McNair Scholar as she goes onto graduate school. Her goal is to continue her education and to eventual attain a PhD or a PsyD in clinical Psychology.

Martina VanHoy

Major: Chemical and Biological Engineering
Mentor: Dr. James Wilking

I was raised in Eureka, Montana but after attending college it was Bozeman that stole my heart. It was only after returning to this valley from a semester in Kenya that I understood my true passion, to save and preserve human life. After earning my dual degree in Chemical Engineering and Biological Engineering at MSU, I plan to pursue a PhD in the area of Biomedical Engineering with a focus on regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. My ambition is to conduct research that encompasses engineering human organs and contribute to the triumph of this life-saving research area. Currently, under the guidance of my laboratory mentor Dr. Joan Broderick I am studying the interactions between PFL and the Radical SAM enzyme PFL-AE. Through the study of an array of mutants we hope to elucidate the specific mechanism and residues important to the novel chemistry related to this protein-protein interaction.


Sally Weinand

Major: Enviromental Science
Mentor: Dr. Neil Suits (MSU-Billings)

My hometown is Billings, Montana where I now attend Montana State University-
Billings. I am a senior studying Biology with an emphasis in Environmental
Science as well as a minor in Geography. I have always had a passion for the
environment which was strengthened by the TRiO programs throughout my
education. I wish to work in the Environmental Science field to sustain the
environment for future generations to enjoy. I am currently doing research
with my Faculty Mentor at Montana State University- Billings, Dr. Neil Suits.
We are examining the fire history of the Beartooth Mountain area at various
elevations to determine if elevation plays a role in fire frequency. I also
have a great interest in Geographic Information System (GIS) that I have
interned in through my Geography minor. After I graduate I hope to attend
Graduate School to further my education.


Amanda Williams

Major: Art History
Mentor: Dave Swingle

I am originally from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and felt drawn to Montana State University not only because Bozeman rivals my hometown in beauty, but also because of the intimate and quality Art History program. I will be graduating this Spring 2015 with degrees in both Art History and French, which are both areas that I have utilized for my McNair Scholars project. Over the last year I have spent time both in the United States and in France researching the classical references utilized in Jacques-Louis David’s paintings, and why he chose those particular antiquities for the scene.  I hope to be attending Graduate School by the Fall of 2015 in order to work towards a PhD in Art History, and hopefully move towards a career in teaching at the collegiate level.