Montana State University

MSU releases television spot about CO-OP nursing program

October 21, 2016 -- MSU News Service

Vonnda Lei, a senior in the MSU School of Nursing's CO-OP program, and her son. Photo courtesy of University Communications.Tate Lipscomb, a sophomore in the MSU School of Nursing's CO-OP program. Photo courtesy of University Communications.

Vonnda Lei, a senior in the MSU School of Nursing's CO-OP program, and her son. Photo courtesy of University Communications.

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Montana State University will debut its latest TV spot on Saturday, Oct. 22. The new ad highlights the MSU College of Nursing’s Caring For Our Own Program, or CO-OP.

The ad tells the story of two Montana-born Native American students who want to pursue a career in nursing in order to return to their communities and serve their people, according to Julie Kipfer, director of marketing and creative services for MSU’s University Communications.

“It follows their journey to enroll at MSU, their work in the CO-OP program and their hopes for the future of health care in their home communities,” said Dennis Aig, professor in the College of Arts and Architecture’s School of Film and Photography.

Started in 1999, CO-OP aims to recruit and graduate Native American and Alaska Native nurses who will work in Indian Health Service facilities on Native American reservations or in urban settings. CO-OP supports both undergraduate and graduate students with tutoring and advising help, and through the program students receive financial assistance with tuition, books, fees and supplies.

“MSU is a leader in training students in the health care professions. What makes this spot special is the focus on these two remarkable Montana students who are pursuing a career that will allow them to heal and strengthen their communities,” Kipfer said.

The two students featured in the spot are Vonnda Lei, a senior from Lame Deer and member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, and Tate Lipscomb, a sophomore from Ronan from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes.

“As a single mother, I needed to ensure a secure future for my son,” Lei said in the ad. She also said she was determined to serve her people. Thanks to the program, Lei has already had some experience serving the people in her community. She spent time working this past summer in the Northern Cheyenne Public Health Clinic in Lame Deer as part of a summer internship opportunity.

In addition to his studies, Lipscomb also works as a resident assistant for Residence Life. He said that his desire to help save lives led him not only to enroll in the CO-OP program, but also inspired him to work as a wildland firefighter for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Division of Fire.

The production team for the ad, which includes MSU students, faculty, staff and alumni, traveled to both Lei’s and Lipscomb’s communities this past summer to see them in action at work, in their homes and with their families.

Kipfer, who along with Aig received an Emmy for work on a previous project, served as executive producer for the spot. Aig served as both director and producer. He also co-wrote the script with Alison Reidmohr, marketing strategist in University Communications.

Co-directors of photography included MSU alumni Jeff Dougherty (film and photography 2013) and Korey Kaczmarek (film and photography 2005), who was co-director of photography for the award-winning documentary “Unbranded.”

“We’re very proud that this spot was developed entirely in-house with our own people, including the talented team in University Communications,” Kipfer said.

Other members of the production team include:

Editor: Kyle Moriarty, film and photography 2013 (working in New York)

Sound design: Jeremiah Slovarp, adjunct faculty, MSU School of Music; president, Jereco Studios

Color correction: Logan Triplett, film and photography 2011 (working in Los Angeles)

Drone operator: Andy Hahn, film and photography student

Drone camera operator: John Sweeney, film and photography 2014

Production assistants: Isaac Guy, film and photography 2015; Vincent Bredemus, film and photography student

To view the new commercial, go to:

Contact: Julie Kipfer, director, marketing and creative services, (406) 994-5737 or