UM Festival to Celebrate Native American Scholars, Researchers, Change Makers

April 15, 2016

MISSOULA – Native American faculty members, students, alumni and friends of the University of Montana will share their research, creative scholarship and career pathways with Montana high school students from Tuesday to Thursday, April 19-21.

The festival showcases innovation and change-making and shares a variety of opportunities available to all students at UM.

The event will include the following interactive, distance-learning conversations:

Tuesday, April 19

  • 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.: “Human Rights,” with UM Native American studies Professor Kathryn Shanley and UM graduate student Iva Croff.
  • 1-1:50 p.m.: “Wildlife and the Land,” with Whisper Camel-Means, tribal wildlife biologist for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and John Lei, an undergraduate student in UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation.

Wednesday, April 20

  • 9:05-10 a.m.: “What is it Like to be a Chemist?” with UM chemistry Associate Professor Aaron Thomas and UM graduate students Moses Leavens and Ranalda Tsosie.
  • 10:15-11:05 a.m.: “Business Sense,” with Casey Lozar, bureau chief and tribal policy adviser for the Montana Department of Commerce, and UM School of Business Administration undergraduate student Crystal White Shield.
  • 1-1:50 p.m.: A student panel with UM undergraduates, including art and environmental studies double major Antonio Morsette, physics and creative writing double major Destini Vaile and wildlife biology major Mateen Hessami.
  • 2-2:50 p.m.: “Health and Medicine,” with Vernon Grant, UM postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin, and UM undergraduate pharmacy student Shelby Cole.

Thursday, April 21

  • 10:15-11:05 a.m.: “Hot off the Press,” with UM journalism Assistant Professor Jason Begay and UM undergraduate journalism student Tailyr Irvine.
  • 11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.: “Story and Song,” with UM history lecturer George Price and Kevin Kickingwoman, tribal outreach program coordinator for the UM College of Humanities and Sciences.
  • 1-1:50 p.m.: “Public Health,” with UM pharmacy Associate Professor Annie Belcourt and Lauren Small Rodriguez, an undergraduate student in UM’s Exercise Science program.

Celebrating UM’s Native American Scholars, Researchers and Change Makers is created in partnership with a committee of Native American UM faculty members and professionals and is broadcast from the studios of Inspired Classroom, a Missoula-based educational technology company.

Classes can still register at, and recordings will be available after the event as well.

We Are Montana in the Classroom, a part of the UM Broader Impacts Group in the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship, partners with more than 100 UM faculty members, professionals and graduate students to inspire K-12 students about higher education and career pathways. This academic year, the program is on track to reach 10,000 students through statewide tours, local classroom visits and distance-learning experiences.

To book a UM role model for a classroom or to learn more about We Are Montana in the Classroom, call Jessie Herbert at 406-243-4828 or email


Contact: Jessie Herbert, We Are Montana in the Classroom education program manager, 406-243-4828,