Montana State University students serve on local nonprofit boards

MSU Leadership Institute

Nine Montana State University students spent the academic year serving on the boards of Gallatin Valley nonprofit organizations as part of the MSU Leadership Institute’s Boardroom Bobcats mentorship program, which is completing its seventh year.

Boardroom Bobcats are selected MSU students who serve as non-voting board members for local nonprofits. In addition to attending regular board meetings, the students undertake specific board projects and participate in professional development trainings hosted by MSU’s Leadership Institute to develop their lifelong leadership skills. The program provides students with nonprofit sector experience and mentoring. In return, participating boards gain valuable student perspectives.

Ava Graham, a student majoring in microbiology and biochemistry and recent recipient of a Goldwater scholarship, participated in the program this academic year.

“Boardroom Bobcats exposed me to the many ways you can get involved in nonprofits to play an active role in enriching communities,” Graham said. “I’m especially thankful to have worked alongside peers and board members who are so willing to invest their time to make a difference.” Program participants for the 2022-2023 academic year, listed with their major, hometown and the nonprofit they were matched with, are:

  • Travis Russell – innovation and management, Nye; Warriors and Quiet Waters.
  • Claire Zuetell – innovation and management; Boulder, Colorado; Bridgercare.
  • Kam Dorrington – fish and wildlife ecology and management, Helena; Sacajawea Audobon Society.
  • Dave Stephens – chemistry; Dallas, Texas; Montana Freshwater Partners.
  • Ava Graham – microbiology and biochemistry, Red Lodge; Intermountain Opera Bozeman.
  • James Fleming – public administration; Belfast, Ireland; Gallatin Watershed Council.
  • Katie Roberts – psychology, anthropology and German; Livingston; We Are HER.
  • Kass Thompson – cell biology and neuroscience; Littleton, Colorado; Bienvenidos.
  • Amiya Williams – business management, Great Falls; Montana Mindfulness Project.

The Boardroom Bobcats program debuted in 2016 with support from a $5,000 seed grant from MSU’s Outreach and Engagement Council. For more information about the program, visit

MSU students who are interested in serving as a Boardroom Bobcat during the 2023-2024 academic year are encouraged to fill out an application before the deadline on May 5 at 5 p.m. Applications are available at

Contact: Heather Winslow at [email protected], 406-994-7279; or Carmen McSpadden at [email protected]


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