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Montana STEMfest 2015

Industry + UM Role Models + Montana High School Students

October 19th and 20th 2015

Montana STEMFest is a two-day virtual collaboration between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals and university professors with educators and students in grades 8-16 across Montana. The intent of the virtual festival is to spotlight businesses and higher education opportunities in the STEM fields in Montana and beyond, piquing student’s interest as they determine college and career paths.

Register for one session or all sessions!  Each session will feature an industry representative and a University of Montana representative.  Students will listen to brief presentations including stories, career and college pathways and Aha! moments followed by open dialogue with Q & A.  All sessions will be interactive.


Schedule and Registration

Monday, October 19th

9:00-9:50 am Sunburst Sensors and UM Representative: Dr. Mike DeGrandpre

"Chemistry At Work"    

10:00-10:50 am  NASA and UM Representative: Dr. Frank Rosenzwieg

"Reliving the History of Life"

11:00-11:50 am  Blue Marble Bio-materials and UM Representative: Franny Gilman

"Biomass, Chemistry and the future of sustainable products"

1:00-1:50 pm Trout Unlimited and Whisper Means

"Montana Ecosystems on Land and in Water"

2:00-2:50 pm Team Kaizen Games and Missoula College Representative: Tom                                     Gallagher

"Combining Games, Coding and Careers"

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

9:00-9:50 am Community Medical Center Physical Therapy and UM Representative: Brent Ruby

"Exercise Metabolism, Strength and Recovery"

10:00-10:50 am  Rivertop Renewables and Missoula College Representative: Brian                                   Kerns

"Merging Science and Renewable Resources Through Bio-Chemistry"

11:00-11:50 am CTA Architects and UM Representative: Mark Reiser

"Physics of Design"

2:00-2:50pm   Montana Code School and UM Representative: Shannon Furniss

"Technology, Social Media and Communications" 

Click Here to Register Now!

 Can't make one of the sessions?  Wish you could share one session with multiple classes? Don't worry!  Recordings will be made available after each session.

Blue Marble Biomaterials: Presenter: Stacy Jackson and Michaela Davenport Our mission is to replace petroleum-based chemicals with fully sustainable, zero carbon specialty chemicals. We believe a renewable economy has arrived.  Our part in this new economy is to create a more efficient, sustainable supply of specialty chemicals. 

Presenter: Stacy Jackson: Stacy Jackson is the Human Resource Manager and Office Administrator at Blue Marble Biomaterials.  She is part of the original team hired at our Missoula facility and has been with the company since 2011.  In her current role, Stacy manages all aspects of human resources and is the station master that ensures the trains are running on time.  Stacy holds a degree in Business Management and has over 20 years experience in office administration and accounting fields

Michaela Davenport: Michaela Davenport is the Analytics Manager for Blue Marble Biomaterials.  She is also a Research Quality Scientist and the Deputy Safety Officer.  She attended the University of Montana from 2005-2009 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Cellular and Molecular Biology.  While completing her undergraduate education she volunteered in Dr. Elizabeth Putnam’s lab using western blots and histological techniques to study the response to asbestos exposure in mouse lungs.  While pursuing her chosen degrees, she was awarded the Montana NSF EPSCoR Undergraduate Research Award.  This award gave Michaela the opportunity to work in Dr. Bruce Bowler’s lab as an intern for a summer culturing and harvesting bacteria for specific proteins and probing the stability of the initial contact made between specific amino acids.  Upon graduation she furthered her work for Dr. Bowler thru November 2010.  The two and a half years spent performing experiments using circular dichroism, stopped flow, and other spectrometry reward Michaela with two first author publications in the Journal of Molecular Biology and the Biophysical Journal.  Michaela has continued to further her education with classes at the university and through short-courses. 

CTA Architects:  Organized in 1938, CTA has grown to provide a wide variety of building services to its clients. Each year CTA completes more than 1,200 projects, translating into $400 million in construction costs. Projects include medical clinics, hospitals, airports, colleges, schools, residences, planning, and recreational, commercial, and industrial developments.

A unique advantage of CTA is our broad base of personnel resources. Besides architectural services, CTA employs mechanical, electrical, civil, and structural engineers. We also provide landscape architecture, interior design, graphic design, and employ a range of specialists in such areas as cost estimating, code review, and roofing and envelope design. Our comprehensive approach allows CTA to provide our clients a full service architecture/engineering firm with some of the best talent available. 

Presenter: Jackie Bull: Jackie Bull started her education pursuing Interior Design at Spokane Falls Community College. After completing an associate degree in Interior Design, she transferred to Montana State University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design and a Master’s Degree in Architecture.  Jackie currently works at CTA Architects and Engineers in Missoula, Montana and is in the process of taking licensing exams. Although she specializes in Health Care design, she has worked on a variety of projects including Commercial, Retail, and Residential. Architecture is exciting and rewarding, involving many people working together as a team to create our built environment.

Montana Code School : The Montana Code School is a community driven initiative designed to expand the pipeline of programming talent available to Montana businesses by taking individuals with little or no programming skills and developing them into junior developer level recruits over a 12 week period.  Launched on September 28, 2015 with a pioneer class of 12 students, the Montana Code School plans to hold 4 classes in 2016 and train 100 new web developers by year end.   

Presenter: Devin HolmesDevin Holmes is Founder and CEO of the America Campaign, a national movement to improve the lives of all Americans through Technology, Education and the Arts.  Prior to that, he founded Warrior Gateway, a nonprofit focused on connecting veterans and military families to their community of support as they transitioned out of the military.  Driven by a strong belief that technology is a foundational part of solving today’s social and economic challenges, Devin is also one of the founding team members of the Montana Code School.  

Devin has a BS in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MBA’s from Columbia Business School and London Business School. 

Paul Gladen: Paul Gladen is Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana. He is co-founder of Muzeview, a research and consulting business based in Missoula and also co-founder of the Hellgate Venture Network, a networking group for Montana entrepreneurs. Recently Paul has been a founding team member of the Montana Code School.

A native of England, Paul has an MA in Mathematics from Oxford University and an MBA from Manchester Business School. He spent the first 14 years of his career working for Arthur Andersen, one of the world’s largest accounting and consulting firms. He has lived and worked in London, New York, Rome, Dublin & Chicago moving to Missoula in 2008


                    Trout Unlimited:    Founded in 1964, Montana Trout Unlimited is the only statewide grassroots organization dedicated solely to conserving and                  restoring coldwater fisheries.  Montana Trout Unlimited is comprised of 13 chapters representing approximately 3,400 Trout Unlimited members.           

Presenter:  Paul Parson: Paul is the Middle Clark For Restoration Coordinator based in Missoula.  Paul grew up fishing the mighty Jacko and is glad to be home.  He is a Civil Engineer specializing in steam and floodplain restoration and is currently focused on abandoned mine projects in the Ninemile Valley.

Rivertop Renewables:  Rivertop Renewables is revolutionizing bio-based chemistry.  Through our safe, sustainable and cost-competitive Novel Chemistry approach, we produce glucaric acid and other chemicals for consumer and industrial applications.  Merging proven science with renewable resources, Rivertop is improving the performance, sustainability and cost of end-products with innovative, new to market solutions 

Presenter: Tyler Smith  Dr. Tyler Smith leads Rivertop’s research scientists in chemical process research, application development efforts and intellectual property protection. His research team collaborates closely with engineers, customers, and development partners to bring high-performing, cost-competitive products to market.

Sunburst Sensors:  Sunburst Sensors strives to provide its customers high quality chemical sensors for marine and freshwater applications.  The SAMI-CO2 and SMAI-pH (Submersibles Autonomous Moored Instrument) have been deployed by researchers around the world interested in long term monitoring of pCO2 and pH.  In 2011 these instruments were chosen for use by the Ocean Observatories Initiative(OOI)- a large scale endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation to construct “a networked infrastructure of science-driven sensor systems to measure the physical, chemical, geological and biological variables in the ocean and seafloor.” 

Presenter: Reuben Darlington: :  Reuben Darlington is a Research and Manufacturing Engineer at Sunburst Sensors based in Missoula, MT. He holds a B.A. in Physics from The University of Montana and is currently working on his Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on the miniaturization of Sunburst's spectrophotometric technology for use in ocean platforms such as the Global Drifter Program.

Community Medical Center PT: Experienced Physical Therapists at Community Medical Center work collaboratively with their patients and clients of all ages and abilities to help restore motion, strength and achieve goals.  We have Physical Therapists trained to evaluate and treat many different conditions including: Musculoskeletal disorders, Balance disorders, Walking difficulty, work rehab, neurological disorders, cancer rehab, lymphedema, amputee rehab, incontinence, pediatric physical therapy and wheelchair seating and mobility needs. 

Presenter: Jennifer LaForest: Jenny LaForest is a local physical therapist at Community Medical Center.  After finishing her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, she decided to relocate to Missoula, MT, for graduate school to receive her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2010. She spent 5 years working in a small outpatient orthopedic clinic, specializing in biomechanics, manual therapy, sports medicine, neuromuscular and postural reeducation through the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI), running evaluation, and Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). She made the transition to Community Medical Center in 2015 to further pursue her passion of working with children.  Jenny works in the inpatient and outpatient setting at the hospital, specializing in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and pediatric physical therapy.  Jenny lives in Missoula, MT, with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Team Kaizen Games: Team Kaizen was formed in the spring of 2006 by brothers Joshua and Trevor Hughes as a game studio fully owned by their business, Add-A-Tudez entertainment Company.  Team Kaizen has very high hopes of reinventing the game industry and bringing the art of video games to the next level.  They believe that they can have an impact on the world while bettering ourselves as game designers through classroom work and like to branch into the educational realm. 

Presenter: Josh Hughes

NASA: Presenter: TBD: NASA’s Vision: To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind. 

University of Montana Faculty:

Mark Reiser Ph.D: After receiving my BS in physics in 2002,  I have spent the better part of the last 10+ years as a graduate student at the University of Wyoming.  After growing up in Wisconsin, I fulfilled my dream to move out west, where I spent the next 10+ years in Laramie, WY.  I was a graduate student for the better part of the last decade, studying in gaining experience in two different fields:  1) physics & astronomy, and 2) counseling.  In the area of physics & astronomy, I focused most of my energy into astronomy teaching and outreach.  As a counselor, I became trained as a mental health counselor, and then worked as a school counselor for two years.  Ultimately, I have always hoped to find a position that allowed me to combine my love of astronomy & physics with my passion for working with students.  Just this past fall, in 2013, I began working here at the University of Montana in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, serving as the Academic Advisor - Recruitment & Retention Specialist.  The position is an ideal combination of my background and interests, and I am eager to put my energies into helping our students develop and succeed!

Frank Rosenzweig Ph.D.: Research in the Rosenzweig lab is aimed at illuminating the evolution of complex traits that augment biodiversity, control cell lifespan and drive major transitions in the history of life. Our goals are to understand how changes in genome architecture alter global patterns of gene expression, whether such changes explain the physiology and behavior of novel genotypes, and the extent to which adaptation is shaped by trade-offs and constraints. Because all major evolutionary transitions require cooperative behavior, we are especially keen to discover genetic changes that promote this trait. Our approach to these goals is experimental evolutionary genomics using as models the bacteriaEscherichia coli and Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, the Bakers yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the unicellular alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. 

Shannon Hinds Furniss:

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research has been providing information about Montana’s state and local economies for more than 50 years. Housed on the University of Montana campus, the Bureau is the research and public service branch of the School of Business Administration. On an ongoing basis, the Bureau analyzes local, state, and national economies; provides annual income, employment, and population forecasts; conducts extensive research on forest products, manufacturing, health care, and Montana Kids Count; designs and conducts comprehensive survey research at its on-site call center; presents annual economic outlook seminars in cities throughout Montana; and publishes the award-winning Montana Business Quarterly.

Shannon Hinds Furniss is the managing editor of the Montana Business Quarterly and the communications director at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. She manages editorial content, graphic design, and production of a variety of publications that highlight the Bureau’s economic impact studies, survey research, and economic forecasts for the local area, state, and national economies.  The Montana Business Quarterly regularly reports on business and economic trends and features articles about innovative businesses around the state.  The MBQ recently won the 2015 Award of Excellence in Print Publications from the Association for University Business and Economic Research, a professional association consisting of 100 leading university-based economic research centers.  Shannon is responsible for publicizing the Bureau’s research in press releases, e-newsletters, and through social media channels.  She also helps with planning, marketing, and communications for the Bureau’s annual Economic Outlook Seminars that are held in nine seminar cities throughout Montana, with attendance of more than 1,800.  

Whisper Means M.S.: has worked for the CS&K Tribes as a Wildlife Biologist Technician, Trainee, Biologist level 1 and now Biologist level 2. Recently received certification from The Wildlife Society as a Certified Wildlife Biologist. Current projects include US Highway 93 North post construction monitoring and outreach; habitat management for Kerr Dam Mitigation properties; she is currently working to become more informed and versed in Climate change science.

Brent Ruby Ph.D: Dr. Ruby’s area of specilation within the Department of Health and Human Performance is applied human physiology and exercise physiology and metabolism.  Currently he is working on severl research projects involving male and female wildland firefighters, working with the Department of Defense, Missoula Technology and Development Center, and USFS.  His research inludes Carbohydrate metabolism, measurement of energy expenditure, gender and menstrual phase differences in substrate utilization during exercise.  Dr. Ruby is the director of the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism

Tom Gallagher Ed.D.:  

Mike DeGrandpre Ph.D: My research focuses on the development of autonomous chemical sensors for applications in aquatic (marine and freshwater) chemistry. One of our primary goals is to further our understanding of CO2’s sources and sinks within the world's oceans. Our research has resulted in the development of autonomous CO2 and pH sensors (the Submersible Autonomous Moored Instruments or SAMIs). By deploying the SAMI sensors on ocean moorings and other unmanned platforms, we have determined to what extent processes such as photosynthesis and air-sea gas exchange control CO2 variability.  These results will help develop models to predict the effects of global warming and ocean acidification (the decrease in ocean pH caused by anthropogenic CO2). Our recent field work has primarily focused on the processes that control CO2 in both freshwater (rivers and lakes) and marine environments.  To date, SAMIs have been deployed in all ocean basins except the Indian Ocean. 


Franny Gilman

Brad Layton Ph.D.: Bradley Layton is an Associate Professor in the Applied Computing and Engineering Technology Department at Missoula College - UMontana where he directs the Energy Technology Program. This progressive curriculum offers students the opportunity to gain a perspective on human energy consumption and to be a part of developing emerging sustainable energy technologies related to photovoltaics, wind, biomass, geothermal, human power, and hydrogen technologies. The two-year degree in Energy Technology is available online and attracts students from across the nation and around the world. Partnered with the University of Montana's Climate Change Studies Minor, the program is highly interdisciplinary and enjoys a growing alumni base.

About :

The National Science Foundation promotes the progress of science; advances the national health, prosperity, and welfare and secures the national defense by initiating and supporting: 1) basic scientific research and research fundamental to the engineering process; 2) programs to strengthen scientific and engineering research potential; 3) science and engineering education programs at all levels and in all the various fields of science and engineering; 4) programs that provide a source of information for policy formulation; and 5) other activities to promote these ends. In 1980, The Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act gave NSF standing authority to support activities to improve the participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. In 1986, engineering was accorded equal status with science through the Organic Act. With the support of NSF, the Missoula College Energy Technology Program, the University of Montana Climate Change Studies Minor, and the Blackfeet Community College are working together to strengthen partnerships through education and industry towards a future of renewable energy.

We Are Montana in the Classroom places University of Montana faculty members, graduate students, and professionals in K-12 classrooms statewide, with the goal of inspiring students about higher education and career pathways. Through both digital and face-to-face engagement both in and out of the classroom, our programs connect students with role models from an array of academic disciplines and professional fields. We Are Montana in the Classroom is a program of the UM Broader Impacts Group, which engages the people of Montana with the University of Montana.

As owners of Inspired Classroom and as educators, we are committed to creating 21st century classrooms. We believe the key to improving social environment, economic development, and environmental heritage is rich, relevant, sustained educational opportunities for all Montana students.  Collaborative learning environments create engaging classrooms where 21st century skills can flourish.   At Inspired Classroom we know “collaboration ignites inspiration"

Sponsored By:

Earlier Event: October 5
#WhatFloats CILC and PEC IVC Festivl
Later Event: October 21
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf