September 20, 2018

MISSOULA, Montana – Montana Campus Compact, in partnership with Reach Higher Montana and the Governor’s Office of Community Service, announced Thursday that six Montana college students will receive $1,000 Civic Engagement Scholarships.

“These students are inspiring in their leadership and offer the reminder that our society has urgent needs to which college students are actively responding,” said Andrea Vernon, executive director of Montana Campus Compact.

Montana Campus Compact is a network of colleges and universities committed to advancing the public purposes of higher education. The scholarship winners are:

  • Grace Anderson, a senior at Montana State University from Billings.
  • Mason Dow, junior at the University of Montana from Ashland, Oregon.
  • Jacqueline Elm, a senior at the University of Montana from Kalispell.
  • Sarah Howell, a senior at the University of Providence from Polson.
  • Jessica Novak, a junior at Rocky Mountain College from Missoula.
  • Jessica Ann Schmitz, a junior at Carroll College from Billings.

Grace Anderson is the lead facilitator for the Center for Recovering Students at MSU and serves on the Gallatin County DUI Task Force. She works to change the culture around drugs and alcohol at MSU and in Montana. She also co-founded Freedom by Design – a club that provides design and builds solutions for nonprofits that would otherwise lack the ability to provide services to those with physical disabilities.

Mason Dow co-founded Feeding the 406, an organization that collects leftover food from school cafeterias and then delivers the items to the Poverello Center, where meals for homeless and at-risk Missoula residents are served. Efforts are underway to incorporate this model of waste reduction into the City of Missoula’s zero-waste goals.

Jacqueline Elm founded the nonprofit Grandfamilies of Montana Inc., which is dedicated to providing grandfamilies with the resources, education and support to ensure the best possible future for children. The nonprofit also works to increase the public awareness of grandparents raising grandchildren.

Sarah Howell volunteers with the Student Montana Education Association, where she also has served as president, and the Victory Kids Program. She also tutors and mentors Title I elementary school kids through the Providence Formation Program, an organization with a focus on social justice issues.

Jessica Novak’s numerous volunteer activities include coordinating Rocky Mountain College’s Halloween for Hunger event, an annual food drive that provides roughly 1,500 pounds of food for students and families in need. She also helped coordinate Art Crawl, where volunteers facilitate student collaborative art projects to sell at auction to help fund the creation of an Inclusive Sensory Playground.

Jessica Schmitz is the president of both the Carroll Outreach Team and Enactus, where she volunteers her time to many efforts – from organizing food drives to working with a program that provides students in need with backpacks full of nutritious meals to eat over the weekends. She is also a coach for youth fast-pitch softball.


Contact: Josh Vanek, Montana Campus Compact associate director, 406-243-5175,