Robin Cormier

Robin Cormier

College of Education, Billings


As an early career assistant professor in Montana State University Billings’ Masters of School Counseling program, Robin inspires us all to go above and beyond in her service efforts for the community, university, college, and department. Her most recent endeavors exemplify these efforts as she has dedicated her time and expertise with Montana K-12 schools to bolster their support for student mental health and resiliency. She works with school counselors administering and analyzing a resiliency survey, frequents podcasts and other news outlets to support community mental health initiatives, and serves the College of Education and the Department of Educational Theory and Practice on multiple committees and accreditation reporting. As the sole professor for this program for the last three years, she has sustained and grown the program to nearly 100 students. We are thrilled she is working with our second professor in this program to continue this trend because ultimately this will result in more school counselors in the K-12 system that are dedicated to serving children, youth, and the community.

Robin Cormier, you are PURE GOLD for Montana!

Award received April 17, 2024. Nominated by Melanie Reaves.

Becky Tyler

Becky Tyler

Teaching and Learning Center, Great Falls


When I think of someone who has "magnified" their position, I think of Becky Tyler. A former math faculty member, Becky returned to Great Falls College last year after several years away to become the Teaching & Learning Center Coordinator. She quickly became invaluable because she was willing to step out of her department and use her expertise to create positive change. She is leading Great Falls College in its transition to Canvas, as well as working with IT and Student Services to improve the Tech Essentials class for new students. She has helped create onboarding modules in a new Human Resources software and has worked with the Student Learning Assessment Committee to refine a process for reporting student learning achievement. In addition to tackling all those projects with gusto, Becky has onboarded new full-time faculty and adjunct instructors; taught a "Teaching at Great Falls College" course for new instructors; created a self-checklist of best practices for online teaching; audited course shells; and created a "Copyright and the Creative Commons" course for faculty. 

Everything she does – and she does a lot – is thoughtful and well done. She is an excellent example of going above and beyond.

Award received April 10, 2024. Nominated by Leanne Frost.

Derek Conder

Derek Conder

Department of Mathematical Sciences, Bozeman


Derek is the most helpful tutor in the Math and Stat Center. He always takes time to explain in patient detail every aspect of a problem and has an outstanding understanding of all math subjects. He was instrumental in preparing dozens of students for their Multi Variable Calc test. His positive demeanor and outgoing approach to tutoring make all students feel helped. I am very grateful to Derek for explaining many subjects for my class and would not have the same level of understanding without him. 

If you mention Derek's name to anyone who's been in the Math and Stat Center, you will definitely get a positive reaction. Derek deserves this award not only for his intelligence and ability to teach, but also for his friendly and understanding attitude, and the excellent example he sets for mentorship. He inspires me to always take time when teaching something and to have the best attitude possible.

Award received April 3, 2024. Nominated by Zephyr Kochenash.

Christina Wulf

Christina Wulf

Admissions, Billings


Chrissy has demonstrated an exceptional level of dedication and excellence in her work, making her a deserving recipient of the Pure Gold Award. Over nine challenging months, Chrissy single-handedly processed all domestic applications, a monumental task that she approached with unwavering commitment and efficiency. Her ability to manage this significant workload, especially during a period when the team faced difficulties in hiring additional support, speaks volumes about her exceptional organizational skills, resilience and dedication to her responsibilities. Furthermore, Chrissy's leadership in the Second Chance Pell program has been instrumental in providing educational opportunities to individuals, showcasing her passion for making a meaningful impact in the community and her capability to handle responsibilities that require both compassion and meticulous attention to detail. Her outstanding contributions have not only ensured the smooth operation of critical processes but have also significantly enhanced the lives of many individuals through her work on the Second Chance Pell program.


Chrissy's remarkable achievements, characterized by her professionalism, hard work, and dedication, undoubtedly make her a worthy recipient of the Pure Gold Award.

Award received March 27, 2024. Nominated by Ed Brown.

 Bernadette Diaz, Lynn DiGennaro, and Dana Doney

Bernadette Diaz, Lynn DiGennaro, and Dana Doney

Department of Ecology, Bozeman


The amazing MSU Ecology staff team of Bernadette Diaz, Lynn DiGennaro and Dana Doney goes above and beyond on a regular basis to serve 556 undergraduate students, 45 graduate students, postdocs, hourly employees, technicians and faculty. Bernadette, as Business Office manager, makes sure our facilities are safe and in working order, employees are hired and accurately paid, and funds are spent appropriately. Lynn, as program manager and accountant for the Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, manages grants, numerous boats and vehicles, and all things related to the Co-op Unit. Dana, as departmental affairs coordinator, coordinates department events and oversees communications and outreach.

This team works like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other to get the tasks done and helping to make MSU Ecology a safe and welcoming environment for all. Despite the myriad issues that they tackle on a daily basis, they bring a sense of humor and commitment. Their knowledge, skills and positive attitudes are critical to the Ecology Department achieving its mission and strategic goals, as well as marking important milestones in our departmental community. We are so thankful to have them as colleagues.

Award received March 20, 2024. Nominated by Diane Debinski.  

IT Group

Brett Weisz, Annette Barber, Darrel Williams, Dawn Douglas, Rob Massee, Rick Whitaker, Hyland Boswell, Steven Reger and Jared Kerr

Information Technology Department, Billings


We are nominating the entire staff of the MSU Billings IT department for Pure Gold recognition. They are a crucial part of our personal, departmental, college and institutional well-being. From Brett Weisz, our chief information officer; Annette Barber, Darrel Williams, Keaton Wray and Dawn Douglas, our Service Desk specialists; Rob Massee, our AV specialist; and Jared Kerr, our network administrator, to the less-visible staff members and student workers, each member provides assistance that makes our lives immeasurably easier.

During the COVID pandemic, they threw all of us lifelines, from loaner laptops to a whole host of technology hacks for the classroom that allowed our students to stay engaged with their courses and classmates. More recently, they have introduced exciting new tech to our classrooms – and explained in multiple ways and with endless patience how to use it. They are there for every tech emergency and are always available to offer advice and technical clarifications.

It's impossible to single out just one IT guru to recognize: They are all a pleasure to work with, and every one of them supports the university's mission with expertise and grace. We can't thank them enough for all of their help, but we can recognize them with the heartfelt label of Pure Gold!  

Award received March 6, 2024. Nominated by Rachel Schaffer and Deborah Schaffer.

Mariah Stopplecamp

Mariah Stopplecamp

Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship Bracken Center, Bozeman


As a Bracken Center coach, I am nominating Mariah Stopplecamp, director of the Bracken Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Business Education and a proud graduate of MSU, for the Pure Gold recognition due to her exceptional dedication and leadership. Mariah consistently goes above and beyond in her role, not just by leading her team but by actively working alongside us. She has been instrumental in creating and enhancing student engagement opportunities that extend beyond the classroom, including internships, professional development, academic engagement, student organizations and business communications support. Mariah's impact lies in her holistic approach to student success, seamlessly integrating career preparation activities with academic and extracurricular support. This multifaceted strategy includes not only guiding students through resume and interview preparation but also actively connecting them with internships and job placements. Furthermore, she plays a pivotal role in the personal and professional growth of students by promoting active involvement in student organizations and offering tailored professional development sessions.

Her dedication is a cornerstone of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship's reputation for excellence. Mariah's leadership style is truly inspiring; she fosters an environment of support, encouragement, and continuous learning for both students and her team of Bracken Center coaches. She values feedback and actively seeks opportunities for professional development that benefit the entire team, ensuring we are well-equipped to meet student needs. Mariah's unwavering commitment and positive impact on the university and its community embody the essence of being Pure Gold.

Award received February 28, 2024. Nominated by Troy Holt.

James Waterman portrait

Facilities Services, Bozeman

On behalf of the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) and the Dean of Students, please accept our nomination of Jim Waterman for Pure Gold. Most students have no idea about the efforts that are needed to offer quality activities and events on campus. From Catapalooza to the campus concert series to the annual Rail Jam, all of these high-profile events need support from MSU facilities and grounds. Who's going to set up the tables? Who's going to ensure that the sprinklers don't turn on in the middle of the event? Who's going to ensure adequate electricity at the event while also ensuring student safety? Jim Waterman is the person at MSU who worries about all of these things and many more. Jim tirelessly supports our student life programming through the creative use of grounds and facility services, both time and assets. Quite literally, many of our high-profile and resource-intensive student engagement events wouldn't be possible without Jim and his team. Jim shows up for meetings on time and he always follows through on his commitments. He is an inspiration and role model for students and staff in ASMSU and in OSE because of his strong dedication and follow-through. He is consistently level-headed, no matter what type of setback or challenge that we face on campus. 

A great example of Jim's campus dedication is his support of the MSU Campus Rail Jam. Jim was responsible for moving and storing snow in preparation for the 2024 event. In one of the driest and warmest winters on record, the collection of snow needed to create the Rail Jam course was exceedingly difficult. And this type of effort and dedication is not a one-off; Jim has provided essential support with other MSU Debut and ASMSU events team programming that has reached thousands of students this year alone. It's been far too long that Jim Waterman has not been honored for MSU Pure Gold. Please help us to recognize this campus leader for all of his efforts to make student activities and events a reality. 

Award received February 21, 2024. Nominated by Chris Pruden and Matt Caires.

Taci Etherington portrait

Fiscal Shared Services, Bozeman

Taci Etherington is a Financial Associate in the Office of Fiscal Shared Services for the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Office. She truly is Montana State Pure Gold to those she works closest with and those who rely most on her to ensure consistent and reliable fiscal information - even during transitions and when onboarding new folks - and to provide consistent, accurate information to central offices. Taci embodies Fiscal Shared Services' mission to be a community of trusted professionals providing service excellence and support to allow our clients to focus on transforming lives and communities in the people's interest. Beyond her professional demeanor, she is an eager, kind and joyful individual whom her colleagues rarely see without a smile on her face. Handling incoming challenges with ease and grace, she is never one to shy away from getting the job done efficiently and stress-free. As one of the first faces that incoming new faculty see, she is unbeatably welcoming and reassuring, creating an affirming and cheerful entrance into a new setting. Taci's Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department colleagues are beyond thankful for her efforts and for her being a wonderful colleague to work with. She is always willing to help with accounting issues with a smile. She especially deserves recognition for her invaluable service here at Montana State University. We are very fortunate that she is part of our department.

Award received February 14, 2024. Nominated by Dilpreet Bajwa.

Victor Miller portrait

University Student Housing/Food Service, Bozeman

Victor Miller has been working for Montana State for 25 years, I believe. I have not known him very long, but he is quite the guy! He always goes above and beyond, and he has quite the servant heart. He asks me every morning if I would like to have a coffee or if I need anything. He is the same with everyone and doesn't seem to have favorites. He always cares about the students and his staff. He truly cares for others in a way I have not really witnessed before. 

I believe he provides positive contribution in his "pay if forward" attitude towards others. This world is already depressing enough and to have someone put a smile on your face is important. Every day is a gift, and I am amazed at how his attitude is always so positive even if he has a lot going on or he possibly could not be in the best of moods. It's selfless to think of others before your own wants and needs. 

Lastly, he inspires me to think of others first, always be thankful and appreciative of people and life no matter what you may be going through.

Award received February 7, 2024. Nominated with Tamara Collings.


Roger Fischer portrait

Gallatin College, Bozeman

No one bleeds Blue & Gold quite like Roger Fischer! As a developmental math instructor for Gallatin College, he uses a student-centered approach and works eagerly to engage his students as they tackle real-world problems together. Instead of delivering boilerplate lesson plans, Roger meets students where they are in their attitudes and abilities, customizing examples that will intrigue and inspire them. He accomplishes this by getting to know his students in class and during countless office hours. Roger personally works with students one-on-one or in small study groups, building close relationships that former students have said impacted their success in their subsequent courses and careers, as well as greatly influenced their lives and experiences at MSU.

Roger's positivity and personality shine even more brightly when he demonstrates what it means to support diversity, equity and inclusion at MSU. In class, he regularly highlights historical mathematicians, ensuring that women and other minorities are fairly represented. As a former tutor and lifelong advocate for American Indian/Alaska Native Student Success Services, Roger also serves as a role model and mentor for his Indigenous students.

Furthermore, he possesses an unparalleled passion for MSU athletics and displays true school spirit . Proudly wearing his "It's Game Day!" button, Roger can be found at nearly every home game (football, basketball, volleyball, you name it!) cheering "GO, CATS, GO!" with his fellow Bobcats. Roger exemplifies what it means to be PURE GOLD, and it's an honor to teach and learn alongside him. You're RAD, Roger!

Award received January 31, 2024. Nominated by Casey Clark.

Wendy McCarty portrait

Student Accounts, Bozeman

It is long overdue for Wendy McCarty to be nominated for MSU's SOLID GOLD! Wendy is currently working in Accounts Receivable at Student Accounts in Montana Hall. She has been an employee at MSU for 30 years and is the essence of Pure Gold. To know her is to love her.

Wendy started out doing data entry at MSU in Accounts Payable in 1993. Next, she was a cashier for seven years. Then she worked at the front desk for a short time until she started in Accounts Receivable, where she has stayed for roughly 20 years! Wendy is kind, caring, warm, flexible, hardworking, patient, attentive to detail and respectful. She uses good judgment, is quick to smile and is a joy to be around-not only to the thousands of students she has helped over the years, but to her many fellow employees. Year after year, Wendy has gone "above and beyond" to make Student Accounts run smoothly and meet the needs of the students. She has a gentle touch.

Because Wendy knows the department from the bottom up, we all know we can go to her for help if we have a question or a difficult situation. She never makes us feel "dumb" if we ask her a "dumb" question. She is a great team leader. Wendy has dealt with every situation possible and knows how to tackle every problem with her gentle charm. We need her charm in Student Accounts, as there can be some difficult situations!

Wendy plans to retire soon and we wish she would stay! But we know she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, daughter and granddaughter. We doubt she will miss setting up tuition payment plans or working with collection agencies... we can picture her putting up her feet, with a big smile on her face.

Award received January 24, 2024. Nominated by Mim Stabler.


Benjamin Nalls portrait

WWAMI Medical Education Program

Benjamin Nalls is a second-year medical student in the WWAMI Medical Education Program at Montana State University. Hailing from the small community of Stevensville, Ben grew up working on his family's farm with his brothers where he learned the importance of hard work and determination. These values were put to good use while Ben served our country in the Marine Corps after graduating high school. Ben's true character was illustrated when he selflessly risked his life to rescue his sergeant from drowning immediately after Ben himself had nearly drowned. His actions earned him Navy and Marine Corps medals and distinction among his superiors and peers. 

After completing his service in the Marine Corps, Ben attended the University of Montana (we won't hold that against him), where he excelled in pre-nursing coursework followed by nursing school in Billings. While working as a nurse in Billings, Ben decided that he was going to pursue a career as a physician. He was accepted into the WWAMI program at Montana State University in early 2022. 

As Ben continues his medical training in the WWAMI program, he consistently exemplifies the values of Montana State University. His drive for excellence, integrity and curiosity are unparalleled and we should feel immensely grateful that he has devoted his life to serving others.

Award received January 17, 2024. Nominated by Kale Pickett.