Beth Nelson

Beth Nelson

Department of Earth Sciences, Bozeman campus


Beth Nelson in the Department of Earth Sciences truly is PURE GOLD! She displays the Bobcat spirit by encouraging and inspiring her students to investigate the world. She works hard to deliver informative and challenging lectures to her students in an engaging way. She is an organized, communicative educator who is committed to her role as an instructor.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Beth on a personal and professional basis and am continually impressed with her capacity for growth and to help others. She goes above and beyond to connect with her students who, at times may be resistant or unwilling to learn. 

I'm so appreciative of the friendship and work relationship that I have enjoyed with Beth. She is witty, friendly, and continually inspires me to reach the next level in my own work.

Award received April 27, 2022. Nominated by Monica Sanchez.

Amy Roach

Amy Roach

Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success, Bozeman campus


I am a teaching professor in the Gianforte School of Computing and teach some of the required fundamental courses in computer science, mostly programming. Some of my students need extra help in understanding programming concepts. The first time I interacted with Amy (it's only been through email) she contacted me to let me know about the services of Smarty Cats tutoring. I told the students and they had good things to say. Then she contacted me to ask about students that might make good tutors, which I found very nice that she would ask for my opinion instead of just hiring students.

Since our initial emails, I now rely on Smarty Cats tutoring to help my students who are having trouble with programming. I have had several students who were failing and then went to Smarty Cats and ended up with very good final grades. All of this was because I contacted Amy to get recommendations for tutors and for help.

Also, if I teach a new class, she has (within a few hours both times) gotten tutors for this new class at my request, even going as far as getting this set up on the weekend. I have come to rely on Amy and Smarty cats to help my students.   

Award received April 20, 2022. Nominated by Mary Ann Cummings.

Cara Virostko

Cara Virostko

University Communications and Marketing, Billings campus


Cara always makes time to help and serve others on MSUB's campus and in the community. Whenever there is a call for volunteers or she sees a need to help, she is the first one to reach out. Cara is also an active member of staff senate and works hard to ensure their constituents are informed and engaged. Along with her family, they are also a friendship family to one of our international students, making sure they are taken care of and have what they need to be successful at MSUB and in Billings. 

Recently, Cara was tasked with undertaking a large-scale project. It was taking inventory of all the outdated logos internally and externally on both MSUB's university campus and City College--which is and was an incredible task and she did it all herself. Her attention to detail and organization was key for this project and without these skills, the project would not have been completed in the high-level way that it was. She also managed vendor relationships to get bids for the logo rebrand project and ensured all areas of the project ran smoothly. The project is not yet completed, and Cara is still actively managing the daily nuances of this complicated project. MSUB is incredibly fortunate to have Cara's skills and continuous generosity and service.

Award received April 13, 2022. Nominated by Maureen Brakke.

Katie Ivester

Katie Ivester

Gallatin College, Bozeman campus


Katie Ivester stands as a true pillar of the Gallatin College Developmental Math department. As a coordinator for Introductory Algebra, she teaches and manages multiple sections to ensure consistency and equity and devotes countless hours to mentoring non-tenure track faculty in utilizing innovative and engaging teaching strategies. 

Amidst her supervisory responsibilities, her dedication to our students is second to none. Katie actively engages with her students outside of class to check on their progress in the course and help them take ownership of their own education. She has even partnered with the Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success to personally connect at-risk students with success advisors so that they can receive the individualized attention they need to develop study plans that work for them. 

Katie also serves on MSU's Retention Committee to better understand what factors contribute to student success and offer her in-class perspective to the administration. Off campus, Katie shares her passion for education and serving others by volunteering time at the Gallatin County Detention Center, where she tutors inmates in mathematics as they strive to better their future by pursuing a GED or high school equivalency diploma. 

The impact Katie has had on the lives of MSU students, and the broader Bozeman community is affirmed regularly, as former students stop by her office to visit well after they've taken a class from her. Katie exemplifies what it means to be PURE GOLD, and those of us who have had the privilege of working with her are a little more golden, too!

Award received April 6, 2022. Nominated by Casey Clark.

John Melick

John Melick

Department of Education, Bozeman campus


The most treasured gold goes beyond simple “Au.” When mixed with other metals, gold shines more beautifully, endures extreme stress, and fulfills multiple dreams. This “alloy” approach is the gold standard by which John Melick operates. Rather than putting himself forward, he dedicates effort to creating a blend of talents and personalities greater than what he could do on his own.

It begins in MSU’s Field Placement Office where each member is encouraged to meld gifts and goals with the tasks at hand. Yet, John’s crew extends beyond a workspace; his collaborative outreach pulls together MSU’s Education Department and college of EHHD. One faculty member recounts, “I still remember after the most challenging day of my entire career, John taking the time to listen and coach me…. He truly is someone who you look forward to working with on a daily basis.”

Ultimately, John’s team could never be complete without MSU students. Their opinions, their needs, and their stories become part of the alloy that characterizes how John serves this university. “It’s inspiring to watch a director build heartfelt and meaningful relationships in spite of a global pandemic. I’m proud to work for such a dedicated leader.” John is truly more than “pure gold.”

Award received March 30, 2022. Nominated by Lisa Yarnell, Gini Mohr, Jamie O'Callaghan and Joe Hicks.

Sally Moyce

Sally Moyce

Mark and Robyn Jones College of Nursing, Bozeman campus


Dr. Sally Moyce is an outstanding professor, researcher, and mentor. She is a dedicated professor who strives to make her classes engaging, exciting and relevant. She is understanding of our needs as nursing students and ensures that we understand the importance of research and remaining informed when utilizing evidence-based practices that are founded in science.

Sally is not only an amazing professor, but she is also an incredible researcher who strives to use her knowledge to improve health outcomes within the Latinx community here in Gallatin County. She approaches the community with a warm heart and open arms and strives to enhance healthcare access to a minority community that is rapidly growing within our county. 

Sally has pushed me to my fullest potential as a nursing student and as a person. She is an inspiration to all nursing researchers within our department and I am honored to have been her student, lab manager and her friend. We are so lucky to have a person here at MSU who is so dedicated to her research, students, and her community.

Award received March 23, 2022; Nominated by Sophia Thompson.

Melissa Turney 1

Melissa Turney

Department of Military Air and Space Studies, Bozeman campus


Mel Turney has gone above and beyond to support the Military Air and Space Studies Department's over 100 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp cadets. Mel overhauled the department's new cadet orientation program by digitizing eight processes with DocuSign and other applications that were all key to onboarding the department's largest ever freshman class. Mel also stepped in to oversee all cadet academic plans, human resource data tracking and pay actions during the unit's yearlong vacancy in two active-duty Air Force positions. Mel also coordinated with several on and off campus organizations to secure over $75,000 in additional room-and-board scholarships and funds for civilian flying hours for cadets exceeding standards academically and athletically. 

Mel is also a great pleasure to work with and serves as the "glue" in the department's small team that experiences 100% turnover of military personnel every two to three years. Mel's talents are in high demand, but her passion for our country, MSU and the rewarding work she does supporting our cadets keep her serving in her vital role. We are so thankful to have Mel on our team and all she does for MSU's cadets! Lance Ratterman

Mel Turney has gone above and beyond during her years of work with the Military Aerospace Studies Department. Mel is the continuity for a military commissioning program that is responsible for the development of over 100 cadets in Montana's only Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp (AFROTC) Detachment. Mel relentlessly works to improve and innovate the program; she recently overhauled the in-processing system, saving both students and faculty members hours of unnecessary work, despite bringing in the largest AFROTC freshman class in MSU history. Mel is also the face of the department, working with various organizations around campus and the community to ensure her student-cadets have the resources they need to be successful as students, future military officers, and as individuals. During times when the military is unable to fill faculty roles within the department, Mel expands her job responsibilities to take on the equivalent of two and sometimes three different jobs, for months at a time. 

Mel Turney is Pure Gold-her personality, work ethic, visionary ideas, and depth of knowledge keep the Military Aerospace Studies Department running like a well-oiled machine, and neither the faculty nor students she works with could imagine the department without her. Cassandra Wojtaszek  

There is no doubt that Melissa Turney performs above and beyond her job description every single day. As the lone civilian university employee in the Air Force ROTC detachment, she represents years of knowledge and continuity that holds the organization together through changing groups of military instructors. The size of the detachment has grown each year that she has held the position and is currently over 100 cadets in an average semester. There is no way that the organization could have sustained that amount of growth successfully without her expertise and determination in creating a detachment that draws talented students to MSU on a recurring basis. She has innovatively modified many different processes that have alleviated military manpower shortages and filled several personnel gaps over the past 6 years. Her work ethic and dedication to serving AFROTC cadets and MSU students are exactly why she is Pure Gold. Corban Boettger   

Award received March 9, 2022. Nominated by Lance Ratterman, Cassandra Wojtaszek and Corban Boettger.  

Leanne Frost

Leanne Frost

Administration and General Studies Departments, Great Falls College MSU campus


The Dr. David Baker Science for Kids Foundation Board of Directors would like to nominate Dr. Leanne Frost from Great Falls College MSU for her service to the community and students of North Central Montana in her leadership as Director of the science fair for the last 5 years.  

When Dr. Frost took over the science fair, participation was low, which quickly changed. Participation has increased significantly. Leanne assembled a team at GFC MSU and under her guidance modernized the fair, improved the judging and awards ceremony. This allowed schools to fit the event into a normal school day. In addition, a website was developed allowing online registration, and she managed a scientific review committee to oversee project safety.  

In 2020, 164 K-5 elementary students presented 125 projects covering 14 schools from the region. 2021 brought additional challenges and under her direction the fair moved virtually and was not cancelled.  

The Baker Foundation Directors recognize the considerable commitment that goes into this event which continues to grow in scale. From our observations, students who participated in science fair often stay in Montana to pursue higher education. Currently, two student finalists from the science fair are advisors to our Board.

Nominated by the Board of Directors of the Dr. David Baker Science for Kids Foundation; Award received March 2, 2022. 

Janelle Rasmussen

Janelle Rasmussen

Office of International Programs, Bozeman campus


Janelle is a very honest, transparent, and hardworking person. Janelle has overseen our customized short-term incoming programs for the last 20 years and has welcomed countless international participants from all over the world. We admire her willingness to take on difficult roles as a program director. It depends on the program, but she has needed to be a director, mentor, colleague, mother, sister, daughter, and friend to our international participants, and she understands who she needs to be to handle situations with admirable tact. 

Despite the overwhelming amount of work we have, Janelle understands our personal lives and consistently finds ways to help us. She makes sure we are doing ok and is willing to go the extra mile if team members need any support. She is also making sure to share as much information as possible with team members but at the same time making sure not to overwhelm us. She understands the collaborative nature of our projects and works to make sure that people feel included. She also shows that she trusts our judgement and ability to do our job. 

We are lucky to have her, and she truly is PURE GOLD.

Nominated by Makiko Diehl; Award recieved February 23, 2022.

Danielle Martin

Danielle Martin

Mark and Robyn Jones College of Nursing, Billings campus


Danielle has taken nursing simulation to a new level! She is using this valuable resource as a means to prepare students for their hospital experiences, meanwhile making it fun. Rather than just telling students what the sim lab is all about using a traditional style of orientation, she incorporated a very new active learning strategy that is evidence based. This month, she designed an orientation called the "Room of Risk" in which students get oriented to the sim lab in the format of an escape room. They must find the patient risks to crack the code and "escape." 

Danielle does much more than teach; she engages with students and inspires them to think differently. The professors who have the same nursing students a year later as seniors hear about Danielle's influence on the students long after they have taken her course. She is PURE GOLD in heart, in inspiration, and in her teaching!

Nominated by Jordan Teller; Award received February 16, 2022.

Tim Hansen

Tim Hansen

Residence Life/University Food Service, Bozeman campus


Tim Hansen is always looking out for students with the program he leads; through it he's able to help countless current students and alumni succeed in college and in life. The student custodian program has personally helped me in my college career and has surely helped other. Paul Currie 

Tim is a great supervisor and has always been a very sweet, caring boss and person. He does a ton for the school and works harder than I've seen any school staff work. He provides a great environment for the staff that he directs and accommodates very generously for any illnesses or personal issues when needed. Alex Fadness 

Tim is one of the most positive people I have ever worked for, especially given the type of work we do. He has collaborated with me to create new positions that function around what's best for me and is always willing to work with me towards what I'm needing, whether in hours or scheduling. Tim always greets me warmly no matter what his day has looked like and will even wave me down across campus if he sees me! He makes everyone feel seen. Cleaning can be tough at times but working for Tim has made it one of the best jobs I have had. Victoria Shay 

It has been an honor to work for and with Tim. I look up to his happy attitude amongst tough work. He is the most hard-working person I know! He is Pure Gold! Madi Dunne 

Nominated by Paul Currie, Alex Fadness, Victoria Shay and Madi Dunne; Award received February 9, 2022.

Misti Tinder

Misti Tinder

MSU Bookstore, Bozeman campus


Misti has been the voice and face of the textbooks department of the MSU-Bozeman Bookstore for many years. For the past 6 years, I have worked closely with Misti to coordinate textbooks for courses for each faculty member. We often encounter items that are unavailable, out of print, or no longer offered in the format that the instructor requires. Many times, the information is sent to Misti as late as two weeks or less before the semester begins. Misti always handles this with a smile and a laugh and works diligently to ensure that students will have the required textbooks in a timely fashion for all their courses. 

Misti handles complaints and frustrations from publishers, faculty and students alike with understanding and empathy and provides potential options for the best educational experience for all students-while maintaining the materials standard needed to fulfill the requirements of the courses. She always goes above and beyond to ensure that the materials instructors adopt for their courses are available. If a textbook is only available in an e-book format instead of a printed format or if the textbook is out of print and no longer available, she lets the instructor and departmental textbook admin know right away. And she has already researched the next best option of the same book if available, thus ensuring that there is a faster updating of the course materials. This extra effort that Misti puts in to ensuring that the course materials are updated as quickly as possible when needed saves a lot of student and instructor frustration and time. 

Misti is a delight to work with and always keeps a positive outlook on any potentially frustrating situation. Her positivity keeps everyone smiling and working together as a team to provide the best service to faculty and students each and every semester. It is this outlook and extra effort in all that she does that show she is a true Bobcat with a Pure Gold heart and spirit!  

Nominated by Dagny Mest; Award recieved February 2, 2022.

Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward

University Information Technology, Bozeman campus


Most of us have met people who have accomplished impressive - even extraordinary - achievements, but rarely do we encounter someone who consistently exhibits the exemplary altruism we see in Ashley Ward. She persistently reaches above typical professional protocol and displays candid care and support that strengthen the entire MSU community.

Ashley's procurement expertise is recognized across multiple departments around the university. Many external staff and UIT members rely on her knowledge and ask for advice. She is an engaged contributor who demonstrates true intention for advancing MSU's operational coordination and success. I am amazed by Ashley's commitment toward being the ideal mentor in all aspects of her life, an objective that she has already mastered at work and away. She is magnanimously patient, attentively listens to provide achievable and lasting solutions, adjusts her language to ensure comprehension, and visibly respects and values the ideas and efforts of others. What's more? She commonly asks those in real need, "Is there anything I can do for you over the weekend?" 

Ashley models qualities that she wants to see in the world - genuine regard and ambitious responsibility that bolster organizational improvement, which is why she rises as MSU's pure gold, shining star.

Nominated by Heidi Jones; Award received January 26, 2022.

Madi Herman

Madi Herman

VOICE Center, Bozeman campus


Madi has gone above and beyond to educate the campus and Bozeman community about interpersonal violence. It takes a special person to be able to discuss topics such as consent, bystander intervention, and the roots of violence. However, Madi consistently strives to match the needs of her audience and has worked to tailor presentations to the needs and interests of each and every audience.

This work can be difficult, as talking about violence in our community is saddening, but Madi understands this challenge and rises to meet it. She has met with hundreds of students in the past semester alone and has given them knowledge, tools, and skills to make our community safer and healthier. I feel so thankful to have Madi at the VOICE Center, putting her all in to supporting MSU students, faculty, and staff!  

Nominated by Anna Slown; Award received January 19, 2022.