Montana State University

Young Montana leaders to present vision for state at Wheeler Center colloquium

August 9, 2011

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
The Wheeler Center Fellows' "Envision Montana Summer Colloquium" has announced the selection of the following emerging Montana leaders.

The group will meet in Darby Aug. 16 before heading out on the Salmon River for a five-day think tank for leaders under the age of 35. The group will brainstorm new ideas in several key areas: agriculture, culture/humanities, government, business, education and healthcare. Each participant will make a presentation in an assigned area.

"The goal of the colloquium is for this group to engage in meaningful dialog, with each participant bringing back effective solutions to their respective communities and the state as a whole," said Ralph Johnson, director of the Wheeler Center, which is based at Montana State University.

"Montana's future belongs to its youth. During this think tank event, participants will brainstorm ideas and offer perspectives for the future of the state."

Johnson said members of the group will discuss their vision for Montana's future during the colloquium. Each participant will be making public presentations upon their return to their businesses and communities.

The Burton K. Wheeler Center for Public Policy based at MSU is a non-partisan center that promotes the discussion, analysis and eventual resolution of critical issues facing Montana and the region.

To learn more about the Wheeler Center, go to

The presenters, listed by hometown, are:

Rylee Sommers-Flanagan, graduate of Emory University, beginning a creative writing master's program at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Mark Schallenberger, technical lead and project manager at Bacterin International Inc.

Big Sandy
Lesa Pribyl, program developer/manager at MSU Extended University and Extension

Big Sky
Anne Cantrell, writer and editor for MSU Office of Communications

Big Timber
Ariel Overstreet, manager of Communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association

Shoots Veis, works with local governments

Zac Adkins, recent graduate of Montana Tech

Danica Jamison, 4-H Extension agent for Gallatin County
Chantel McCormick, vice president of public affairs and government relations for Grasslands Renewable Energy
Abby Schlatter, organizational consultant
Kathryn Watson, education and Outreach Coordinator for Montana Watercourse

Shannon Peterson, licensed architect with CTA Architects in Billings

Zack Rogala, non-profit executive director
Noah Stout, law student

Erin Chamberlin, finishing Master's of Architecture degree at MSU, plans to earn a doctorate in international development

Caroline Keys, musician
Zack Porter, campaign coordinator for All Against The Haul.
Kassia Randzio, development associate at the National Forest Foundation

Marguerite Jodry, AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with the Ruby Valley Community Food Project

Jeremy Norby, Insurance agent at Seitz Insurance Agency

Aeric Reilly, membership Director for Montana Farmers Union in Great Falls

Libbie Anderson, photographer

Katy Peterson, consumer marketing manager for the Montana Office of Tourism

Julie Hitchcock (406) 994-0336,