Spring 2020 Pure Gold Recipients
College of Nursing, MSU-Bozeman
Leesha Ford is by far the best professor I've had in my college career. Her unmatched
enthusiasm makes it easy to engage in class, even when class starts before sunrise!
She cares about everyone she meets without a second thought, and is willing to fight
along side anyone who comes to her for help. As a nurse she cares for her patients
with expertise and kindness, and as a professor she cares for her students with both
a tender heart and a quick wit! Beyond her talents in healthcare and classrooms she
makes sure everyone she knows feels seen and loved. She's there in times of trial
and doubt both in the classroom and out. She helps those who need it, no matter the
problem, and makes sure no patient, friend, family or student is left behind, even
when it means she has to go out of her way to do it. Leesha truly lives and breathes
kindness and compassion! And best of all, she does it with a joke and a laugh!
Nominated by Kailey Wessel; Received award on March 11, 2020
Chad Spangler goes above and beyond in always being there for everyone in his life
be it in the line of family or career. He is a dad, the head coach for cross country
and also the adviser for the Health Promotions department at Northern. His commitment
and dedication is even in all directions, this makes me wonder how many people in
the community and the world always willing to give all it takes to make students successful.
Chad Spangler has always been there for the community, organizing fun runs, fundraisers and even finding collaborations to make Havre community a healthy and running community. He has always encouraged his cross country team to help in community services such as town clean up and volunteering in centers such as churches.
Chad inspires me as he gave me a chance to come and study at Northern. He has been a father figure to me. His motivation and nutrition focuses have made me a strong student and athlete.
Nominated by Amos Taiswa; Received award on March 9, 2020
CLS Advising, MSU-Bozeman
Liz is an invaluable part of the team effort needed to support the students in the
Department of Ecology. She is always willing to assist our students, asks for feedback
regularly, and I can always count on her to communicate important and accurate information
to our students.
With our quickly growing program we have had to call on her to take on more of our students and she has done so willingly, even offering to take more on if needed. She cares about her students and treats each one as an individual, advising them according to their needs, ensuring they get the appropriate prerequisites, and setting them on a path to future success. I have no doubt she has and will continue to contribute to the growing number of students who are able to graduate on time.
I could not ask for a better advisor to partner with; her commitment to the students she advises, her colleagues, and MSU is evident in her demeanor, communication, and the high level of integrity she exhibits. Liz is a perfect example of a professional advisor who balances care for the students and respect for the institution and the degrees we confer.
Nominated by Sarah Deaton; Received award on February 26, 2020
Student Heath Services, MSU-Billings
Darla is nationally recognized for her dedication towards the prevention of suicide.
For example, next week, she will be the keynote speaker at the annual potato council
meeting in Las Vegas. She is truly dedicated towards MSUB and eagerly participate
when asked. Unboundedly, she has saved many lives and is an inspiration to others.
She serves in the following roles on campus, in our community, and across the state:
Director, Student Health Services, Montana State University Billings
"We provide excellent, affordable medical care, mental health counseling, wellness, and violence prevention and advocacy services."
Treasurer, Rocky Mountain College Health Association
Region II Representative, American College Health Association
Advisory Council Member for new project entitled "Working Together to Respond to Farmers and Ranchers Under Stress in Rural Montana", a project of the Montana Health Care Foundation
Coordinator, Yellowstone County DUI Task Force
Founder, Ask In Earnest
Other notable information:
Oversaw efforts for Student Health Services re-accreditation
Instrumental role in the Measles Outbreak Exercise held on campus and in Billings with the LEPC
Key contact for Psyc Armor launch at MSUB
Pioneer of suicide prevention efforts on and off campus
Nominated by Dan Edelman; Received award on February 19, 2020
TRIO Student Support Services, MSU-Billings
1. Katlyn was raised in a hard household. Learning how to take care of herself and
others at a age too young to even fathom, she learned quickly what she wanted to do
with her life. At 16 years old, after she lost two of the most important people in
her life, she started life on her own. Paying for life and saving for college at that
age taught her to be resilient and forgiving. In 2017 she began her college career
at MSUB where she began studying human services with a minor in psychology to eventually
counsel and help children from troubled homes. She has proven to many that she will
always be there for others no matter the time or circumstance. In 2019 she became
a peer mentor with MSUB's TRIO Student Support Services. Every second she gets she
spends at her office available for her students.
2. Although Katlyn attends classes and works two jobs to pay for life expenses, her car payment, and her tuition, she always finds extra time in her week to spend at TRIO Support Services on MSUB campus. She does not look at it as "going above and beyond." She sees her time with TRIO as not only rewarding for herself, but rewarding to the students she mentors and her coworkers. Planning birthday surprises for her colleagues, bringing in food for others, helping others with work/school, and always being available for her students is one of the many reasons why she is valued among her peers.
3. I often find myself thinking about Katlyn and how she has touched my life. Her life story has changed my life completely. While her story has shown me how cruel life can be, her loving personality and desire to be there for anyone has proven to me that this life can be giving and affectionate.
Please consider my nomination as she is one of the most influential people I have ever met.
Nominated by Jonathan Gotschall; Received award on February 12, 2020
MSU VOICE Center, MSU-Bozeman
Joey is the education specialist at the MSU VOICE Center. His job consists of meeting
with classes, athletic teams, and Greek life to discuss sexual violence on campus
and ways of addressing and preventing it. This can be a challenging job. Sexual violence
is a difficult topic to discuss, but an important one that needs open conversations.
Joey has the ability to spark these conversations about consent, bystander intervention,
and gendered social scripts.
In the past, these conversations have been classroom-based presentations, Joey has been trying to change this static conversation to a more natural and deeper discourse. Recently, Joey was able to meet with representatives from four fraternities on campus to devise a plan to ensure that the fraternity men have the resources and knowledge to promote safety on campus. Joey has gone above and beyond to engage with multiple different groups to make MSU's community safer and stronger.
Joey continues to inspire others to work towards a safer community. He encourages advocates at the VOICE Center to become peer educators. This is an amazing opportunity where students are put into positions of leadership and educate their peers about topics pertaining to sexual violence. Whether Joey is presenting to groups on campus or inspiring advocates to educate others, his work is important and has had a large impact throughout the campus community.
Nominated by Anna Slown; Received award on February 7, 2020
Science Math Resource Center, MSU-Bozeman
When the Science Olympiad comes to the MSU campus each November, its 1,400 youth,
120 coaches and 200 volunteers make it larger than many Montana towns! The person
behind the scenes on most inner workings of Science Olympiad is Ehsan Salam. For the
past three tournaments, Ehsan has been the backbone of this STEM outreach event-collecting
registration fees and student codes of conduct; reserving classrooms, labs and gyms
(an especially hard task this year after losing several spaces to snowfall and construction
in 2019); and taking care of a very long list of logistics.
On tournament day, Ehsan arrives on campus long before the sun comes up. He helps make sure our volunteers are fed; our students and coaches don't get lost; and our staff is up to date on every new development. It's hard to imagine this event happening without him!
Because most Science Olympiad participants never meet Ehsan, and because most MSU volunteers know him only via email, I want to be sure that the campus community knows how hard Ehsan works to welcome and support our next generation of Bobcats.
Nominated by Suzi Taylor; Received award on January 29, 2020
Insitutional Research, MSU-Billings
My first encounter with Darin Metcalf when he was the 'new guy' in Institutional Research,
which meant he did all the behind the scene work with student evaluations. He has
always been very professional, emailing a timeline of the process, asking for classes
we wanted evaluated and very patience with me when I had questions about a class that
didn't fit the normal timeline or if I missed a class to be evaluated.
During the last school year Darin and Joann Stryker, Director, Institutional Research, started offering IR Admin Meetings for all Administrative Associates on the MSUB campus. Each meeting has a different topic of interest with time for questions. The meetings are very admin driven, both Darin and Joann want to know what we want to know and they bring in guests that teach us their specialty.
Darin is funny, kind and a great example of the wonderful work being done at Montana State University Billings!
Nominated by Karen Mikelson; Received award on January 22, 2020
Center for Engagement, MSU-Billings
Pete Buchanan, Civic Engagement Coordinator for MSUB makes an incredible impact on
students, the university, and the community. His unique dedication and commitment
to positive, tangible change is truly inspiring.
Pete transforms student lives in many ways. For instance, Pete coordinates the Yellowjacket Emergency Pantry, and steps in daily to ensure that students are not choosing between buying a textbook and their next meal. When a student is at their lowest, Pete is there to show them support, resources, and genuine empathy.
Pete also inspires and supports student service projects, ranging from Service Saturday to World Kindness Day. Pete seeks out and fosters an environment for students, faculty, and staff to get involved in projects that measurably change lives. Whether it is organizing a coat-drive to support the homeless, or planting trees at the Audobon Center, Pete is responsible for creating countless opportunities for his community.
Pete's incredible work, while often not as top-of-mind as it should be, is recognized state-wide. Pete serves as the Vice-Chair for Montana Campus Compact, a state board that seeks to advance the public purposes of colleges and universities to improve community life and educate students for civic and social responsibility. Recently, he was named as one of just thirteen "Engaged Scholars" in the state of Montana for his upcoming research on food insecurity in public universities.
Pete is an absolute inspiration to me and everyone he touches. His efforts are noble, far-reaching, and reach far above the expectations of his role. Whether he is securing a $10,000 donation for the pantry, or building a service-learning experience for his students, Pete motivates his community to become better human beings.
Nominated by Chase Greenfield; Received award on January 17, 2020