MISSOULA – Montana Campus Compact, the state’s 18-campus higher education network, has announced its inaugural George M. Dennison Civic Engagement Scholarship winners.
The award recognizes students at MTCC affiliate campuses who have volunteered significant time, energy and resources – while pursuing a degree or certificate – to projects that make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
Half of the funds for each scholarship were donated in memory of George M. Dennison by Jane Dennison and sons, Rick and Robert Dennison, and their families. As co-founder of MTCC, George Dennison was a tireless champion of service. The other half of each scholarship is matched by the winners’ institutions.
A highly competitive group of 36 students applied for the scholarship in the fall, each accomplishing exemplary service and making significant positive change in their institutions, communities and the world.
The scholarship winners are:
- Grace Anderson, a senior from Billings studying architecture at Montana State University. For the past three years, Anderson has worked with fundraising, programming and campus outreach about substance misuse and abuse. Now the chair of MSU’s Center for Recovering Students, she has served two years on the Gallatin County DUI Task Force, a county commissioner-appointed board focusing on the education and prevention of driving under the influence.
- Durand T. Bear Medicine, a senior from Browning studying community leadership at MSU-Northern. Bear Medicine provides guidance and leadership to youth. As a Pikuni Legacy Dancer and singer of different styles of Blackfeet song, he exposes local and off-reservation youth to cultural diversity and practices. For youth experiencing issues with substance use or disorders, he connects them to resources available in the community. He also is a leader of the Grammy-nominated drum group Young Grey Horse, a family group.
- Kaeleigh Cain, a freshman from Poplar studying at Fort Peck Community College. Cain has supported blood and clothing drives in her community, among other community engagement projects on her reservation. She plans to use her education to serve her reservation through the field of medicine – especially in the areas of alcohol and drug abuse prevention and teen pregnancy prevention.
- Heidi Hohmann, a junior from Spokane studying health science/public health at Carroll College. Hohmann has volunteered the past three years as a health educator for the annual Special Olympics Montana Health Clinic and for five years with the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. She also volunteers weekly at Bryant Elementary in the Sixth Ward in Helena, helping build resiliency in children who have experienced the toxicity of stress through adverse childhood experiences. An Asian-American immigrant, she will become the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college. She plans to work in health care internationally through the Peace Corps.
- Hannah Catherine Johnson, a sophomore from Clancy pursuing an associate of science with a double major in public health and biochemistry at Helena College. Johnson’s many volunteer activities include working on initiatives through Montana Associated Students and serving on its diversity committee as an Associated Students of Helena College student representative, as an orientation leader, vice president of the TRiO Club, secretary of the chemistry club and volunteer teacher for the Creative Arts Center.
- Shayla McGregor, a senior from Helena studying elementary education at UM-Western. McGregor’s volunteer efforts include time in Peers Advocating Towards Health, an advocacy group that aids students in making healthy and informed choices, such as in the implemented program titled “Sex in the Dark,” focused on sexuality and sexual health topics. She also has been instrumental in organizing events through her roles as a resident assistant, a student senator and a mentor in the TRiO program.
- Sophie Moon, a senior from Missoula studying political science and environmental studies at UM. Moon has volunteered with the Montana Public Interest Research Group for all four years of college, helping to increase voter turnout by registering thousands of students to vote. She has served as the vice chair and the chair of MontPIRG’s board of directors. She also has volunteered with Garden City Harvest for three years, and this past summer she worked as an intern for U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.
- Brooklyn Olson, a freshman from Ronan studying political science, pre-law and philosophy at UM. Olson is a mentor through Make-A-Wish Foundation with a multiyear history of volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
- Rebecca Stein Phipps, a second-year student from Anchorage, Alaska, studying graphic and web design with certificates in sales and marketing and accounting at Miles Community College. Phipps is a highly respected member of her community, known for her willingness to help out wherever she can. After several years as a volunteer with Montana Warriors on the Water, Phipps recently was elected to its board of directors. She also is a volunteer with Walleyes Unlimited of Montana-Jordan Chapter and previously with the Garfield County Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture
- Maria Azucena “Susie” Rodriguez, a sophomore from Manhattan studying nursing at Miles Community College. As a volunteer for Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance, Rodriguez donates her time to help bring security, hope, peace and happiness to immigrant children and families. She also teaches medical Spanish to health providers, medical technicians and nurses at her local hospital.
For more information about MTCC and programs and initiatives, visit http://mtcompact.org/.