The Women’s Center is proud to highlight sixteen extraordinary students who have enriched our campus through their hard work, inclusive spirits, community activism, and leadership. We are honored to have an opportunity to recognize each of these students who have contributed much to Montana State University. The following is an incomplete list of their activities, accomplishments, and the many ways they wish to make our world a better place. Thanks to each one of you and the best of luck to you upon graduation! 

Naseeha Cardwell     

Naseeha will graduate in May with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. Through her time at MSU, Naseeha acted as a Co-Mentor and member of the planning committee for the Expanding Your Horizons conference. This conference is dedicated to creating hands-on, STEM centered activities for middle school girls. She has also acted as the event coordinator for the Society of Women Engineers Conference. This work, along with her involvement with the Out in STEM conference, led Naseeha to her passion for increasing the representation of women, people of color, differently-abled people and queer people in engineering. Naseeha works as a Peer Tutor at the MSU Writing Center, helping students learn how to communicate their respective work; she has also acted as a Peer Advisor for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, where she advises students how to make the most of their education. She is the recipient of an MSUAF Award for Excellence 2020, and has shared her work at the national level at multiple conferences. Naseeha plans to continue her education in graduate school and hopes to serve as a role model for non-binary folks in STEM.

Jerico Cummings  

Jerico will graduate in May with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Native American Studies. Jerico is currently the Student Director of Diversity for MSU’s Office of Student Engagement, organizing the annual Diversity Symposium at MSU. He is the Sustained Dialogue student program Co-Coordinator for the Diversity and Inclusion Student Commons. Additionally, Jerico serves as a Sustained Dialogue Moderator, providing the opportunity for cross-cultural dialogue about the influences of identities such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, ability and age. Jerico received the national distinction of being a recipient of a Newman Civic Fellowship in 2019 and was recognized as a DISC Lavender Leader the same year. He serves as an LGBTQ mentor, participated in a variety of panels for Indigenous Student well-being and prospective Native American Students, and helped with grant writing for the Pride Foundation in Seattle. After graduation, Jerico plans to serve a year as an Americorps VISTA. He will pursue a Masters in Social Work with concentrations in American Indians/Alaska Natives and Mental Health. Jerico would like to specialize in sexual health and education to eventually provide therapy and identity development for Indigenous sexual minorities.

Danielle (Dani) Daley  

Dani will graduate in May with a degree in Economics and Political Science. Throughout her time at MSU, Dani has served as a Senior Associate at the MSU Leadership Institute. Through this, she organized MSU’s first Gender Equality Conference.  Her work with the Leadership Institute helped to provide over 3,000 MSU students with leadership development opportunities.  Dani served as the Executive Assistant at the Montana Racial Equity Project, and has been very involved with the Bozeman for CEDAW Initiative to bring the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women treaty to Bozeman. Through her research, Dani has shed light on gender wage inequity, and the importance of the involvement of women in economics. She is the recipient of a Forward Montana 25 Under 25 Award, an MSUAF Award for Excellence, an MSU Leadership Institute Above and Beyond Award, and the Initiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis Grant. Upon graduating, Dani plans to work for a local start up, My Village, as a data analyst in finance and operations. Her work will support the mission to solve the childcare crisis in Montana and Colorado by financing women who are starting their own childcare businesses.

Christen Falcon 

Christen will graduate in May with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Native American Studies. Throughout her time at MSU, Christen has been active in the Native community as well as being a role model for her four-year-old son. She has been the co-President of the American Indian Club and a member of the Society of American Indian Graduate Students (SAIGS), American Indian Business Leaders, and the American Indian Building Board. She has also been an Ambassador for the American Indian Scholarship Fund, an MSU Diversity Ambassador and a Return-to-Learn Program’s Native American Outreach Advocate. As a member of the Blackfeet Nation, Christen has been an activist in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls movement, helping to coordinate the Take Back the Night March two years in a row, along with coordinating multiple MMIWG protests and speak outs. She is a recipient of the American Indian Council Full Circle Scholarship and the MSU Foundational Scholarship. Upon graduation, Christen hopes to use health and wellness policy change to dismantle systemic oppression and lead her community to a more prosperous future.

Laurel Fimbel   

Laurel will graduate in May with a degree in Community Health and a minor in Human Development. As a student at MSU, she has developed an enthusiasm for healthcare related change, and has worked with the Crow community through a chronic illness management plan with the INBRE Funded Community Health Internship. Additionally, Laurel has developed independent research focused on the barriers and facilitators of physical activity in rural communities in New Mexico. Through these experiences and her bonds with mentors, peers, and Crow community members, Laurel has learned first-hand the importance of community-based participatory health outreach programs. She plans to share her findings at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in March.  Laurel has presented her research at multiple conferences, earning the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Student Award from the American Public Health Association for 2019. After graduating, Laurel hopes to complete a graduate degree in order to seek further research opportunities, and hopes to become a professor. She would like to provide community educational programs to promote healthy infant development.

Emma Folkerts     

Emma graduates in May with a degree in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies, combining Political Science, Economics and Sociology. Emma has led the HEART Initiative Student organization as the President and Chief Editor. She volunteers as a Peer Educator, Peer Advocate and Peer Educator Mentor with MSU’s VOICE center. In addition to being involved in countless MSU organizations, Emma advocates for the greater Gallatin County community through her work as an HRDC Warming Center volunteer and is a founding member of the Gallatin Valley Human Trafficking Task Force. Human rights are obviously a priority for Emma, she serves as a board member with the U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities Project and did research with Public History Lab’s Project Solidarity to collect information about refugees during El Salvador’s civil war. She is a recipient of Forward Montana’s 25 under 25 award, the MSU Award for Excellence in 2020, and the MSU Day of Student Recognition Outstanding Freshman and Sophomore Service Award. After graduation, Emma hopes to establish a position at MSU to examine exploitation within MSU’s supply chains. She also plans to volunteer in El Salvador and attend graduate school to focus on refugees, forced migration and exploitation.

Anna French 

Anna will graduate in May with a degree in Biological Sciences (Organismal Biology Option) and Chemistry with a minor in Astrobiology. As an MSU student-athlete, Anna has actively worked to create a more aware and inclusive student-athlete community at MSU.  She helped carry out Bobcat Athletics #SetTheExpectation campaign to reduce the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault on college campuses. She also led the annual One Love workshop to educate student athletes about the warning signs of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Anna developed and led Cats Connected, a group designed to address mental health issues in student-athletes by helping them develop skills to be successful in school, sports, and life. She is the President of the MSU Nordic Ski Club and a member of the Montana State University Track and Field and Cross-country teams. Anna has held multiple leadership positions within the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, including President and Treasurer, and is a recipient of the Erma Lessel Collins Senior Award, an MSU Award for Excellence, the 2019 ACS Analytical Chemist Award, and the 2019 Bobcat Spirit Award. In 2019, Anna was selected to attend the NCAA Student Athlete Leadership Forum as the female representative of the Big Sky Conference. She plans to attend graduate school, ultimately continuing her research in academia as a research professor.

Alena Haugo    

Alena will graduate in May with a degree in Psychology with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Throughout her time at MSU, Alena has actively helped create an inclusive and compassionate environment on campus. She has worked with survivors of interpersonal violence through volunteering at HAVEN, and as an advocate at the VOICE Center.  Her work with Students Against Sexual Assault and the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence also helped her build her skill set in this field. Alena is co-president of the HEART Initiative at MSU to help educate the Gallatin Valley Community about human trafficking. In this role, she spoke at the 2020 Bozeman Women’s March in order to help spread awareness about the hidden epidemic of human trafficking in Montana, and participated in the 2020 Women’s Policy Leadership Institute.  Alena recognizes that gender-based violence know no geographical borders, and hopes to continue to gather a holistic view of survivor experience and advocacy through her research project focused on analyzing how trauma informed judges can positively effect a survivor’s healing process. This research and her volunteer work with HAVEN has led her focus to survivors and the legal system, and she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Forensic Psychology or a law degree. No matter what filed she pursues, Alena plans to use her career to dismantle oppression and advocate for others.

Caitlin Holzer   

Caitlin will graduate in May with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Through her time volunteering, mentoring, fundraising, and creating connections across the community, Caitlin has proven to be an exceptional role model for MSU students. She served as the Student Program Coordinator of Sustained Dialogue through MSU’s DISC, a program which encourages students to create nuanced understandings of identity, power, privilege, oppression, and political affiliation in order to encourage the development of a more inclusive campus environment. Caitlin has also been involved with the MSU Leadership institute, where she ensured that the office was accessible and inclusive. Additionally, she has been active in multiple student organizations, acting as President of Montanathon at MSU as well as involving herself with Health Equity Circle and Omprakash Edge. These organizations all work to improve the lives of individuals in both the greater Bozeman Community as well as across the globe. Caitlin was also a Big Sky Youth Empowerment Mentor and worked in non-profit fundraising, and was awarded the Septimviri by the Office of Student Engagement. She is also the recipient of the George M. Dennison Civic Engagement Scholarship and the Jaynee Groseth Legacy Scholarship. Upon graduating, Caitlin plans to pursue a Masters in School Counseling so she can support vulnerable populations within the educational system.

Julian Kaptanian  

Julian will graduate in May with a degree in History of Science, Environment, Technology, and Society (SETS). Throughout her time at MSU, Julian has acted as a mentor, leader, and advocate within both the MSU and greater Bozeman community. She has supported individuals impacted by interpersonal violence through her work at the VOICE Center as a Student Peer Advocate. Her training as a Peer Educator contributes to the creation of a safer MSU community. Julian is highly involved with her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, holding the positions of Vice President of Finance and Sustainability Chair. These positions have taught her how to lead large groups of diverse people with consideration and decisiveness. She has also served as a mentor with Thrive’s CAP mentoring program and to other gifted students. Additionally, Julian is involved with Omprakash Global Development Club. She is a Student Engagement Global Ambassador at MSU, a recipient of an MSUAF 2020 Award for Excellence, and the Governor’s Best and Brightest Award. Julian plans to attend graduate school next fall and eventually earn a Ph. D. in the History of Science and Technology. She hopes to eventually become a professor and bring an interdisciplinary approach in research.

Holly Rae Old Crow 

Holly will graduate in December this year with a degree in Criminology. She has served as the 2019-2020 American Indian Council Co-President, and often speaks out on behalf of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) movement including serving as a keynote speaker at the 2019 Bozeman Women’s March.  Holly is a McNair Undergraduate Research Scholar and a Crow Tribal Higher Education Scholar. Additionally, Holly has provided constant support to Indigenous mothers in their navigation of the college environment. She has been an extraordinary organizer for her community through the coordination of family dinners for Native students, and Elder Feeds, as well as helping high school students navigate the college application process. Holly considers her children as the biggest motivation for her education and community work. After graduation she plans to attend law school in Missoula and use her education to change the Reservation criminal justice system and improve tribal sovereignty.

Tim Osen  

Tim will graduate in May with a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Business Administration. Throughout Tim’s time at MSU, they have served as the Co-President and Social Media Chair of the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) student organization at MSU. Additionally, Tim serves on the Council of the Imperial Sovereign Court of the State of Montana, helping to organize over 15 successful state-wide charity drag shows. Tim is the Social Media and Outreach Coordinator for Montana’s AIDS Outreach. They also are a co-founder of the Trishas, a drag group responsible for creating LGBTQ friendly programming in downtown Bozeman. Tim is a two-time recipient of the Forward Montana 25 under 25 Award as well as a 2018-2019 Pride Foundation Scholar. After graduation, Tim intends to continue their work with AIDS Outreach Montana, leading a project to finally remodel the organization’s local office. Tim hopes to guide the next generation of LGBTQ drag performers and be a resource for other young queer activists in the Gallatin Valley.

Tessa Sawyer    

Tessa will graduate in December with a degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and a minor in Psychology. Throughout her time at MSU, Tessa has been a leader in the HEART Initiative, taking major steps to educate the Bozeman community about the unseen atrocities of human trafficking and ways to advocate for survivors. She has volunteered as a Survivor Advocate at the VOICE Center, and volunteered in survivor-based work with the Community Support Center in Dillon. She has worked in the REACH lab, most recently on a project on the Fort Peck Reservation, volunteered at Care Centers at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, and is certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. She is an MUS Honors Scholar, an MSU Presidential Scholar, a National Merit Scholar, and recipient of MSU’s Cell Biology and Neuroscience Department Scholarship. After graduating, Tessa hopes to use her knowledge of healthcare as an intersectional practice and apply it to providing care to refugees and others in desperate need of medical aid.

Shantelle Smolik  

Shantelle will graduate in May with a degree in Applied Psychology and a minor in Global Health. As a freshman at MSU, Shantelle founded AIDSpirit MSU, a branch of the national nonprofit working with a community in Uganda on education, health, and sustainability initiatives. This action reveals Shantelle’s innate leadership abilities along with her passion for uplifting others. Along with founding AIDSpirit MSU, Shantelle supported students impacted by interpersonal violence through research, outreach, and advocacy during her internship with the VOICE Center. She applied her curricular activities to her research assistance work in the REACH Lab where she assisted with research focused on mental health in Native American communities.  This work has led to a discovery of her passion for understanding assistance-seeking barriers in minority communities; and hopes to use culturally appropriate treatments to uplift individuals like those she worked with through the VOICE Center and AIDSpirit MSU. After graduation, Shantelle plans to pursue a Master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a multicultural focus, and hopes to apply her knowledge in cross-cultural psychology.

Elizabeth Thompson  

Elizabeth (Lizzy) will graduate in December with a degree in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Throughout her academic career, Elizabeth has continuously acted as a role model for those who identify as female or gender non-binary within MSU’s STEM community. She has served as the Club Event Coordinator for the Society of Women in Engineering where she planned events to help students apply for scholarships, network with industry professionals, and get involved with engineering at MSU. Additionally, Elizabeth is the acting President of the American Society of Engineering Management and a member of the MSU’s Women in Engineering Advisory Board. Though many of you may recognize Lizzy as the past VP of ASMSU, she has championed inclusion through her work as the student outreach director in the Empower Center, where she is leading efforts to create a diversity and inclusion advisory board for MSU’s College of Engineering. Elizabeth has hosted two panels of underrepresented STEM students who shared their experiences with faculty and staff, and is a recipient of a 2020 MSUAF Award for Excellence and an Honors Cameron Presidential Scholar. Elizabeth will continue to enact positive change within the STEM field after completing her education at MSU.