Fall 2013 Recipients
Student Services, MSU-Great Falls
Sandra has gone above and beyond her duties as a faculty member by encouraging her
Becoming a Successful Student class to donate to the student food pantry on our campus.
Not only did she inspire her students to donate, but she even brought some food in
herself. The contribution that her class made is the single largest food donation
our organization has received this year.
The contribution to the Food Pantry made by Sandra's class will help feed our struggling students for weeks to come. This amazingly generous contribution has also inspired other classes and organizations to take up the cause of eliminating hunger on our campus.
As an English major, I am rarely at a loss for words, but there were no words to explain how grateful I was when I saw what her class had done. When I saw the shelves in our Food Pantry filled with the generous donations from other students, I was completely floored.
Sandra and her class deserve this recognition, because they went far above and beyond what is expected of them as students and human beings. It is people like this that make the world a place worth living in.
Nominated by Ryan Culshaw; Received award on October 30, 2013
ASMSU attorney and supervisor Phyllis Bock's 31-year-old love affair with Montana
State University is a perfect example of what happens when the right person has the
right job. Her dedication is without parallel. Phyllis cares deeply about the students,
about helping instill in them the ethics of fairness, independent and balanced thinking,
and the energy to make the tough choices, to act on them, to enjoy life and each other.
As general manager of KGLT-FM, the 45-year-old community radio station here at MSU,
I have had the good fortune of working with Phyllis as my supervisor and my sounding
board in issues of human resources and budget. I have witnessed and been positively
influenced by her interaction with the students as she mentors their progress as independent,
thoughtful and responsible individuals. Phyllis is a super role model. She encourages
students to investigate, have opinions, understand the realities of life, to agree
to disagree, to view the long-term consequences and the results of their actions,
and to learn and grow.
Phyllis gives the students the legal information and support they need: whether advocating for a student to retrieve an unfairly kept security deposit or for a criminal misdemeanor, or offering guidance for personal legal issues. She encourages an atmosphere of welcoming diversity: respecting the rights of the individual or group, freedom of speech, and remembering that in life the means and the end are one. I think nothing gives Phyllis more joy than to watch a young student transition into becoming a happy, responsible and caring adult.
Phyllis loves the Bobcats and the Lady 'Cats! She wears blue and gold every Friday! She is gracious and pragmatic in her advice. Phyllis also has an infectious laugh! She is resilient, honest, dedicated and deserving of Pure Gold.
Nominated by Ellen King-Rodgers; Received award on September 11, 2013
Health Science Division/Respiratory Therapy, MSU-Great Falls
On a daily basis, Brian Cayko goes above and beyond his regularly assigned duties
as director of clinical education for the Respiratory Therapy AAS program at Great
Falls College MSU. Brian challenges his students to develop a sense of service to
the community, as well as to recognize their responsibility for advancing their chosen
profession. Beyond his classroom commitments at GFC-MSU, Brian serves as Phi Theta
Kappa faculty adviser, Respiratory Care Club faculty adviser, and Lambda Beta (RC
Honor Society) faculty adviser. During 2010-2012 Brian was selected to participate
in Leadership Great Falls, offering an opportunity to connect with various community
Brian models his leadership by serving in various roles with the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) including chair of the Social Media Committee, member of the Political Contact Team, and nominee for the Montana House of Delegates. His professional commitment includes national and international political involvement with AARC. Brian also has served in a variety of roles with the Montana Society for Respiratory Care. Other professional activities include serving on the Montana Board of Respiratory Care Licensure rules review committee, and publishing several articles in the AARC Times.
Brian's commitment to education and professional contributions offer students at GFC MSU a first-hand glimpse of dedicated service in action.
Nominated by Frankie Lyons; Received award on November 27, 2013
Residence Life, MSU-Bozeman
Kassidee Dalton is a co-worker, a mentor, a supervisor and a friend. Kassidee is the
Assistant Resident Direct in North Hedges this year, and she is an amazing person
in a lot of different aspects. Kassidee is the type of person that is not afraid to
put in the extra work to get things done, whether it is for her job or for school
or in a relationship she has. She is always willing to help out others no matter how
busy she is or what's going on. She has been a resident adviser for three years now
and builds the best communities and bonds with people on her floor and in the building
that she lives in.
She works hard to make programs and plan events for her building and also keeps everyone safe within it and every other resident hall on campus. Kassidee inspires many people to be the best that they can be and to go above and beyond to help others. She has touched the lives of many and continually brightens the day of anyone she encounters through the day.
She has inspired me to be the best resident adviser I can be and to go outside of the box with my residents to make sure they feel as though they are at home and that they are happy on campus. I hope that I can be a "Kassidee" to someone else that I meet in my life and be able to touch their life in a positive way that gives them the confidence, and inspires them to go for what they want and to believe in their dreams.
Nominated by Kristi Kruger; Received award on November 20, 2013
Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, MSU-Bozeman
Dr. Michelle Flenniken is the principle investigator in her honey bee host-pathogen
interactions laboratory at MSU. She is not only the P.I., but a team player in all
lab work, maintenance, meetings and laboratory happenings that take place. Michelle
is a delight to have around, and believes that every person in the laboratory is a
critical component to successful science, no matter their background. I came into
the laboratory with little previous research experience, and Michelle has taught me
(and other members of the lab) material that spans from basic to complex science without
ever coming off as condescending. She enjoys imparting knowledge into young, impressionable
minds for the greater good.
Michelle is active in both the Bozeman and MSU communities by participating in countless running events, seminars, teaching courses, etc. She cares deeply and genuinely about all her colleagues and friends; this is obvious by the amount of effort she puts into helping wherever she can. Dr. Flenniken has taught me (among others) life lessons, especially in the sciences or any professional community. I look up to Michelle more than anybody else because I appreciate her inspiration and efforts in my life, and I know she will continue to do good for many others.
Nominated by Madison Martin; Received award on August 28, 2013
Educational Leadership, MSU-Bozeman
It is my honor to nominate Dr. David Henderson, who for many reasons exemplifies a
gold standard that is truly a credit to his students and Montana State University.
Quite simply, he is pure gold. His passion for imparting in his student's a heartfelt
and purpose-driven example of leadership in education is very inspirational as we
grow through our educational path to become future transformational leaders in education.
Recently I was mistakenly dropped from his course by the registrar's office due to an unfortunate mistake. I contacted him regarding the situation and he responded by being very helpful in emailing me my assignments and class correspondence in a timely manner and truly went above and beyond to help me navigate graduate school while temporarily not having access to the D2L system. Without his effort, professionalism, and compassion toward my situation, I would have easily fallen behind in my class and education. I cannot thank him enough for his efforts in taking the time to care and help me. He is a great example of what comes from selfless effort in helping others achieve to the best of their ability. He didn't have to help to the degree that he did, but he chose to do so and in doing so, he modeled the intangibles that truly left me feeling grateful for his example of the best of education on my behalf.
Dr. Henderson has shown a genuine interest in my future aspirations in education and has made himself available as a professional resource to further my educational experience to a degree that I have never had the pleasure of experiencing in my undergraduate degree.
He personally models the highest ideals of professionalism, integrity and heart. He is a professor who is guided by a core set of values that speaks volumes for the humility and self-depracating humor that only makes who he is and what he brings to his students that much more meaningful to all of us.
Truly, Dr. David Henderson is Pure Gold!
Nominated by Dan Schrock; Received award on November 14, 2013
University Business Services, MSU-Bozeman
As I know is true in hundreds of cases, Wendy McCarty's determination to help students
find creative solutions to ensure they can study at Montana State is exemplary. Her
knowledge of options that students can utilize brings truckloads of peace to students
who struggle to pay tuition. I know this because last spring when money was tight
and I did not think I was going to be able to attend Montana State University, Wendy
helped me. She listened so attentively to my financial situation and then with the
determination of a Bobcat, she found a way that would enable me to attend classes.
I believe that my achievement of being part of the President's List last spring semester
is in no small part due to Wendy helping me save time in solving the financial puzzle
so I could spend time on assignments. Yet she not only helps me, but helps hundreds
of students consistently with excellence and grace. Wendy is a compassionate champion
for students, and she truly is a Montana State University staff member who is Pure
Nominated by Patrick Hansen; Received award on September 4, 2013
Information Technology Services, MSU-Northern
It is with great pleasure that I nominate Kevin Mielke for the MSU Pure Gold award.
As MSU-Northern's network engineer, to say that Kevin exceeds the university's expectations
would be an understatement. He skillfully manages MSU-Northern's network infrastructure,
telephone systems, audio-visual equipment and data center, leveraging his keen attention
to detail to ensure services and access to networked resources are always available
and architected to align with the business and academic needs of the university. His
proactive equipment inspections, testing and maintenance ensures Northern's technology
supports and enhances pedagogy.
Kevin consistently offers sound advice and is able to prioritize projects and deliverables while overseeing daily operations. Recently, Kevin led a complex classroom retrofit project which included the installation of interactive television equipment, projection and sound systems, a media playback device and computer system for use in delivering classes to remote locations for the college of technical sciences.
Kevin installed and configured a DSL modem in a local high school sports stadium and a cable modem in the MSUN gym to support sports broadcasting over the Internet, providing the local community the ability to view and support MSUN's athletic teams. Kevin's work ethic and dedication to the university is an inspiration to the Information Technology Services team.
Nominated by Carlo Dacumos; Received award on November 6, 2013
VOICE Center, MSU-Bozeman
MSU has been incredibly lucky to have Alanna Sherstad in the position of VOICE Center
coordinator for the past several years. This position has to be one of the most challenging
jobs on campus-- she must offer advocacy for victims, train an enormous group of volunteers
in addition to a sizable staff, navigate the politics around sexual violence, offer
numerous presentations on campus and in the community, raise awareness around the
issue of sexual violence and the VOICE Center's services, and provide ongoing support
She works tirelessly to make sure that her office is visible, that her staff is well-trained and professional, and to make sure that sexual assault and domestic violence survivors are heard, cared for, and referred to the right places. I can't think of a more daunting field to work in, and Alanna does all of this with a great attitude and an infectious smile. She always has a kind word, a pertinent question, and time to listen to a friend, colleague, student, or client.
I am the lucky one who gets to work right next to her, and I honestly don't know what I would do if I didn't get to see her shining face every day. There can be NO doubt that Alanna Sherstad is PURE GOLD!
Nominated by Betsy Danforth; Received award on October 24, 2013
Museum of the Rockies, MSU-Bozeman
Blair Speed, the Museum of the Rockies' (MOR) volunteer coordinator, fills the MOR
with a contagious laugh and unmistakable positive energy that makes her a dream staff
member. Blair manages over 275 volunteers, but her job is so much more than managing
schedules and coordinating tours. She makes each and every one of MOR's volunteers
feel special and valued. Blair could tell you each of their birthdays, home phone
numbers, and favorite dessert along with listing their accomplishments and backgrounds.
Blair is committed to not only running a solid program, but also being a person that
our volunteers trust and love. The volunteers she works with describe her as a supportive
and helpful person with tremendous energy and enthusiasm.
Blair's love for others doesn't stop with the MOR's volunteers. Blair shows this same level of support for her co-workers as well. Blair considers each of us as teammates, knowing that each person contributes something special to the museum. She is often the first person to give you a high-five for crossing something off of your to-do list and will be standing in your doorway with coffee on a morning where you need extra support. When she walks through the doors of the MOR each day and wishes us each good morning, she creates an infectious wave of optimism and energy. We are so lucky to have such a compassionate individual on our team.
Blair goes above and beyond daily without expecting anything for herself. She creates excitement for Montana State University among volunteers, staff, and visitors with her outgoing, upbeat, and enthusiastic personality through every interaction she has. She's always willing to help the team, whether it's wearing a dinosaur mascot costume, scooping ice cream after a long day of volunteering, or setting up tables for an event. Blair consistently goes above and beyond to help everyone, all while filling the museum with contagious laughter.
Nominated by Angie Weikert; Received award on October 2, 2013
Dean, Department of Letters and Science, MSU-Bozeman
Jennifer Storment is an outstanding administrator who helps students, faculty, staff,
and the general public with their needs. Whenever I visit the dean's office in the
College of Letters and Science, she is eager to assist, always with a smile on her
face. Running the front desk of the largest college on campus, with some 15 departments,
several programs, nearly 50 majors, and 25 minors, is no small undertaking. I have
heard of many emergencies that have passed through Jennifer (I might have sent through
a few of them myself!), but she never lets such things faze her. She approaches every
situation, big and little, with a calm and collected attitude, sending people away
feeling they have been heard and a solution is in sight.
I am continually surprised at the plethora of tasks Jennifer's position demands of her that prove her to be incredibly efficient and organized. Some of the items I see her engaged with are events like commencement, orientation, and MSU Friday, tackling fiscal matters within the office, acting as assistant to the ever-busy associate deans, and she has even recently taken on the newly integrated Liberal Studies Program, handling much of the administrative support associated with this growing program. WOW! How does she do it with such grace and proficiency? This list of duties is just scratching the surface of her range of responsibilities. I don't know how she does it, but she does it all in a friendly, courteous, and helpful manner with both typical and atypical matters.
I have known Jennifer for over a decade as she was an outstanding student in my freshman WR 101 course. I could attest then to her mature attitude and responsible abilities, but she has proven over the years that she is a remarkable individual who makes the College of Letters and Science run smoothly, and this all adds up to making Jennifer Storment - Pure Gold for MSU!
Nominated by Jill Davis; Received award on September 18, 2013
I. T., MSU-Great Falls
It is with great pleasure that I nominate Evan (EJ) Suek for MSU Pure Gold.
As the Director of Disability Services, I needed to arrange the services of real-time captioning services for some of our students who are deaf and hearing impaired. To procure these services, I needed the assistance of our IT department. EJ contacted the captioning service company to see what we needed to do on our end to make this happen. EJ willingly helped me with ordering and setting up the special microphones, preparing several laptops for the students to use, teaching the students how to use the captioning service, and trouble-shooting along the way whenever we had any problems. He would come at a moment's notice to do problem-solving and to ensure that our students received access to the material presented in the classroom.
Even under stressful situations when time is of the essence, EJ always maintains a positive attitude to ensure that technology is working correctly all across our campus. I cannot thank EJ enough for all of the assistance that he has given me and to our students who needed this accommodation. I could have not made this happen on my own.
His patience and willingness to go above and beyond is an inspiration to us all. With that, I nominate Evan (EJ) Suek. He is definitely PURE GOLD!
Nominated by Kathy Meier; Received award on October 16, 2013
Michael Vaira is the image of integrity. He works hard in the classroom, helps others,
and does his part in the community. Michael is always demonstrating leadership by
achieving good grades and mentoring other students who look up to him. He has been
an athlete for both the MSU football and track and field teams during his time at
MSU. He no longer is on either team due to injuries but he always demonstrated excellence
on the playing field as well as in the classroom.
Michael is an active member in the Finance club at MSU and also volunteers at numerous events throughout the Bozeman area. He is an example of a student who works hard to pay for his own school and takes his education seriously because of this, while maintaining a positive outlook on life. He has inspired me to always do my best, always strive to help others, and always maintain a positive and motivated attitude.
Nominated by Eddie Stevenson; Received award on September 25, 2013
Dr. Waller provides immense support for her students. Not only is Dr. Waller an exceptional
professor, she is more than willing to spend countless time outside of the classroom,
in order to ensure her students are working to their fullest extent. Aside from being
a professor, Dr. Waller makes countless contributions to the university. Dr. Waller
is not only an active member of the philosophy department, but the director of the
CLS Seminars. Dr. Waller has helped students to create the first international undergraduate
philosophy conference at MSU, provided research opportunities and support, helped
students to apply for grants, and helped her students to go above and beyond to their
Dr. Waller has inspired me not only to become a better student, but to go above and beyond working outside of the class in my field of interest. Dr. Waller inspired me to continue my education in graduate school and stick to it, no matter how difficult it can sometimes be. Dr. Waller has inspired me to set longterm goals and helped me to get on the path to accomplishing them.
Dr. Waller is an invaluable individual, in every sense of the word.
Nominated by Christopher Kloth; Received award on October 9, 2013