Connecting Classrooms to Careers

Science Summer Institute 2019

Presentation Descriptions and Presenter Bios

Aug. 6-7, 2019  |  Bozeman, MT

[listed alphabetically by first name]

Alli DePuy

Inspired Classroom, Missoula, MT

(presenting with Kathleen Dent)

Alli has been collaborating and educating through Inspired Classroom for the past 5 years. She has extensive experience as an educator, program coordinator, technology specialist, and curriculum developer. Her passion is connecting students, experts, and content specialists with real-world experiences. "I'm amazed on a daily basis by the incredible resources and experts I meet. It is exciting to connect learners of all ages to the wider world!" Alli and her family— husband Kevin and daughters Elizabeth and Clara—enjoy all things outdoors, family time, and romping with her dogs.

Collaborate, Ignite, Learn:  Inspiring Authentic Engagement in the Real World

This session will immerse participants in an innovative problem-based learning project supported by a virtual platform and live, interactive distance learning. Successful inquiry-based project examples from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and MPG Ranch will show how teachers and students tussle with authentic problems, interact with experts, explore career pathways and present solutions to real-world scenarios.

Angela Weikert

Director of Operations, Education, & Public Programs

Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT

Angie Weikert, Director of Operations, Education, & Public Programs at Museum of the Rockies has a Master of Science in Science Education and is a Ph.D. candidate in Education at Montana State University. During her eleven years at MOR, Ms. Weikert has increased the Museum’s commitment to quality school group field trips and teacher resources through grants, research, and new materials. She serves on a variety of local and state-wide committees to improve informal education for all ages. Ms. Weikert also has an expertise in curriculum development, writing teacher guides that have been used by National Geographic and MacGillivray Freeman Films.

"Our Home, Our World" New Earth & Space Science Curriculum

In 2016, four museums in Kumamoto, Japan and two museums in Montana, USA began a collaboration built on the strong sister-state relationship between Montana and Kumamoto. What began as a sharing of ideas, scientific knowledge, and training methods evolved into this robust educator’s guide highlighting our increased appreciation of our sister-state relationship and shared understanding of earth and space science. The finished curriculum, "Our Home, Our World: Discovering Earth and Space Science in Kumamoto and Montana" was launched in October 2017.  Discover how paleontology, geology, and astronomy compare between our two countries and learn how to access this free science unit for Grades 5 & 6!

Ashley McGrath

Assessment Director

Montana Office of Public Instruction, Helena, MT

(presenting with Michelle McCarthy)

Ms. McGrath is a former high school science educator with a passion for education and assessment.  She has been at the Office of Public Instruction since 2012. She has worked in large-scale assessment since this time including six years as Montana’s NAEP State Coordinator and assumed the role of State Assessment Director in July of 2018. She has extensive experience presenting at the local, regional, and national level.

The Direction of Montana Science Assessment Forum 

In this session educators will get an up-to-date picture of where science assessment is going for Montana. The hour is more like an information exchange forum wherein Ashley McGrath, Assessment Director with OPI, and Michelle McCarthy, Science Instructional Coordinator, with OPI explain where Montana is in science assessment progression, then we'll open the forum up for questions and discussions from Montana's educators.

Christina Pavlovich


Watershed Warriors, Livingston, MT

Chris Pavlovich holds a Master of Science in Science Education awarded by Montana State University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education. She serves as a 5th grade teacher at East Side School in Livingston, Montana. Chris founded and directs Watershed Warriors, a place-based, interdisciplinary watershed education program based on a mission of stewardship, application, and access. Her goal in education is to engage teachers and students in applying practices of science and engineering. Watershed Warriors, anchored in scientific literacy, is an award winning standards-based, place-based, project-based watershed education program designed specifically for Montana 5th graders.

Literacy and Science in Project-Based Learning

This session focuses on standards-based, research-based pedagogy.

Clay Bolt

Natural History and Conservation Photographer, Bozeman, MT

Clay Bolt is a Natural History and Conservation Photographer specializing in the world’s smaller creatures. He regularly partners with organizations such as the National Geographic Society, National Wildlife Federation, and Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. He is an Associate Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and past president of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). His current major focus is on North America’s native bees and the important roles that they play in our lives. He was a leading voice in the fight to protect the rusty-patched bumble bee as a federally protected species under the Endangered Species Act, which became North America's first federally protected native bee in 2017. In 2019, Bolt became the first photographer to document a living Wallace's Giant Bee—the world's largest bee—as a part of a four person exploration team to rediscover the species in the Indonesian islands knowns as the North Moluccas.

Keynote Presentation: Hope is a Thing With Little Clear Wings

Over the past 10 years, we've heard a lot about the shocking disappearance of honey bees. However, what many people don't realize is that North America is also home to approximately 4,000 species of native bees that are also irreplaceable pollinators with an extraordinary beauty all their own. In 2013, natural history photographer Clay Bolt set out on an adventure to meet, photograph and tell the stories of many of these beautiful, beneficial insects. Soon he came across a specimen of a rusty-patched bumble bee in a scientific collection and learned about its tragic decline. Determined to use his photography to create more awareness about the insect's demise, he worked with partners to create a film, which he then shared across the country on behalf of the bee, from small venues to a rare opportunity to present it on Capitol Hill. In January, 2017 these efforts paid off, and the rusty-patched bumble bee became the first species of native North American bee to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. During this engaging presentation, Clay will share some his favorite images and stories about our beautiful native bees and what we can all do to make a difference in their lives. One thing is for certain: you'll never look at bees the same way again! Learn more at

Macro Photography 101: How Macro Photography Can Change Your Perception of the World Around You

Over 99% of life on Earth is smaller than your finger. This means that no matter where you live, there is always something amazing to discover and photograph. It is a common misconception that a photographer must travel to a distant continent to find subjects worthy of photographing. In truth, many of the most amazing creatures you’ll ever see can be found just outside your back door, which is a powerful message for students who are interested in science and conservation.

During this session,  award-winning natural history photographer, Clay Bolt, will begin by showing you how to work with available light and shallow depth-of-field to create beautiful impressionistic portraits of your subjects. This will include tips on the best times of day to photograph your subjects, how to approach them, and how to document them safely. Next he’ll introduce techniques for improving sharpness and how to use tools like reflectors and fill-flash to add more life to your images. Clay will also demonstrate how you can use multiple flashes in the field to create dynamic portraits of insect behavior.

Finally, Clay will discuss how to use the white background field-studio technique that has been popularized by the Meet Your Neighbours project that he co-founded in 2009. This is a technique that works great for educators incorporating photography into Science/STEM learning. He’ll also share his tips for utilizing more advanced topics such as photographing insects in flight and wide-angle macro photography. Throughout this breakout session, Clay will be sharing ways to use macro photography to help  students tell the stories of their subjects for conservation and editorial purposes so that they  can learn effective ways to champion  the wildlife in their own community.

Courtney Long

Education Specialist

Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, Red Lodge, MT

Courtney Long moved to Montana as a Certified Interpretive Guide and Environmental Educator of North Carolina. As a daughter, sister and niece of public school educators, she understands the extra hours teachers put in for their students. She sees environmental education as an incredible tool to support teachers and school curriculum while engaging students with the outdoors, and understanding the ways humans rely on healthy ecosystems and natural resources. Always striving to learn more and grow, Courtney is working on a Graduate Certificate in Protected Area Management.

Collaboration for Better Environmental Education 

Environmental education works toward shaping individuals who are environmentally literate. This session addresses common gaps in EE between schools, NGOs and management agencies. We will discuss how environmental educators can improve collaboration to enhance our messages while supporting teachers in their mission to meet curriculum standards. We will also review some simple methods of environmental education teachers can adopt for the classroom or schoolyard.

Diane Dorgan

Dual Enrollment Montana Career Pathways Program Manager

Gallatin College-MSU Bozeman, Bozeman, MT

(Presenting with Renee Erlandsen)

Diane Dorgan has served as the Dual Enrollment Coordinator for Gallatin College/MSU Bozeman since 2015.  Her professional history in higher education dates back to 2004 with the Division of Student Success at MSU Bozeman in the Registrar and Admissions Offices. During her tenure, Diane has supported a substantial and diverse spectrum of students. This path has provided Diane with a well-established professional foundation and strong desire and commitment to advocate for and assist students in reaching their academic and career goals through access to higher education. She is grateful for the opportunity to use her knowledge in advancing dual enrollment, two year education, and providing students with resources for college and career readiness and workforce training.

Connecting to STEM fields through Dual Enrollment and Montana Career Pathways

This session will address the representation gap in the sciences and how building and expanding post-secondary and secondary partnerships through dual enrollment opportunities while promoting STEM related Montana Career Pathways can successfully prepare students for College & Career STEM tracks.

Gretchen Hooker

Youth Program Manager

Biomimicry Institute, Missoula, MT

Gretchen is a program manager at the Biomimicry Institute where she oversees the Youth Design Challenge and the development of educational resources that help people teach, learn, and practice biomimicry. Gretchen is a certified Biomimicry Specialist and holds a master’s degree in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Think Outside: Teaching STEAM with Biomimicry Design Challenges

This session will introduce the fascinating topic of biomimicry (nature-inspired design) and a collection of free curriculum for the Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge (YDC). The YDC is an interdisciplinary project-based learning program and design competition for middle and high school. Participants in this session will sample the curriculum and experience hands-on activities they can use with their students to get them thinking differently about nature and design.

Jennifer Stadum

Indian Education Specialist

Montana Office of Public Instruction, Helena, MT

Jennifer Stadum is an Indian Education Specialist at the Montana Office of Public Instruction. Over the past seven years Jennifer has worked with every tribe in Montana on culturally relevant materials and tribally specific resources for implementation across all disciplines in K-12 public education. She is currently working on a framework to guide educators through best practices for teaching using the MT Science Content Standards with relevant IEFA implementation. Prior to joining the OPI, Jennifer published her Master of Science in Science Education thesis on her landscape level research on long-billed curlews and sandhill cranes at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Being able to combine her love of science with Indian Education makes her job very exciting. Outside of work Jennifer loves Montana’s seasons, gardening, hiking, and her two cats.

A New Approach to Indian Education for All and NGSS Integration

Wondering how to best infuse Indian Education for All in a tribally specific, meaningful way that complements your science instruction? This new approach uses the strengths of the NGSS K-12 framework and tribally specific resources to help you customize your science instruction to fit your learners and location. It's relevant, contemporary, and very easy to make multi-disciplinary for team teaching and multi-grade situations.

Judy Boyle

K-8 Teacher

Divide School, Divide, MT

Judy Boyle has been teaching for 34 years and is presently the K-8 teacher at Divide School in Divide, MT. She serves on the National Science Teachers Association's Board of Directors as their Preschool/Elementary Division Director. She is the president of the Montana Science Teachers, a 2016 PAEMST recipient, an MPRES/NESSP Teacher Trainer, and a 2016 Montana Teacher of the Year Finalist. Judy and her husband live in Whitehall, MT.

Watersheds: Begin at the Beginning with Modeling

This session will demonstrate how watershed studies can be implemented into the classroom, how it links the sciences together to form this perfect system, and the career choices students can take to help keep our rivers pristine and protect this vital habitat.

Kathleen Dent, M.Ed

Inspired Classroom, Missoula, MT

(presenting with Alli DePuy)

Kathleen has been a public school educator for the past 30+ years. She brings classroom teaching, gifted and talented programming, curriculum development and administration to the virtual world. Her in-depth experiences translate to the classroom—whether student or corporate focused. "Inspired teaching foments inspired learning—and excitement and fulfillment in your life. I love the light bulb moments!" Kathleen is a world traveler—especially visiting kids and granddaughter!  She and husband Larry cherish their time with family and friends and time in the beautiful Montana landscape.

Collaborate, Ignite, Learn:  Inspiring Authentic Engagement in the Real World

This session will immerse participants in an innovative problem-based learning project supported by a virtual platform and live, interactive distance learning. Successful inquiry-based project examples from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and MPG Ranch will show how teachers and students tussle with authentic problems, interact with experts, explore career pathways and present solutions to real-world scenarios.

Kim Quigley

Southwest Montana School Services, Bozeman, MT

Kim Quigley is an Independent Educational Consultant and started CSI: Creative Solutions for Instruction after teaching for 40 years. She now consults for small schools, Southwest Montana School Services (SWMSS) and writes curriculum for OPI/IEFA. Her latest adventure in this endeavor is to integrate IEFA Essential Understandings with the NGSS standards. The Gift of the Bitterroot Suite is one these integrated curricula.

The Gift of the Bitterroot Suite  

Students are expected to develop an understanding of the idea that when the environment changes some organisms survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, some move into the transformed environment, and some die. The Gift of the Bitterroot Suite begins with the premise of migration and moving a blessed plant to a safe soil and conditions conducive to successful growth.

Kristi Gaines


Curriculum Department, Bozeman School District #7, Bozeman, MT

Kristi Gaines has been a Montana educator for 19 years. She achieved National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist in 2017. Kristi currently serves as president-elect of the Montana Science Teachers Association and is an ambassador for the National Board Certification process in Montana. She loves to spend her time away from work outdoors with her family.

What Do Careers Have to do with my Kinders? Making Science Careers Relevant for our Younger Learners
In this session, we will briefly look at the research around Science and STEM Careers and how it relates to Early Childhood Education. We will spend the majority of our time looking at how to put this into practice in our PreK-3 classrooms.

Linda Rost

Baker High School, Baker, MT

Linda Rost is a 2019 Montana Teacher of the Year Finalist and teaches Biology, Chemistry and Science Research in Baker, MT. She is an MPRES and NESSP teacher trainer, and mentors teachers in the Next Generation Science Standards. She has earned an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and an M.S. in Science Education, both from Montana State University.

The Grizzly Truth: Bare Data on Yellowstone's Grizzly Bear Population  

Grizzly bears were delisted from the Endangered Species list in 2017, and a heated and provocative controversy followed involving federal agencies, tribal members, and other parties. Participants will review the criteria and analyze the data for the delisting of the grizzlies, then determine if they met the criteria. A pinwheel discussion will be held between people representing different groups.

Liz Burke

Conservation Educator

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Helena, MT

Liz Burke is Conservation Educator at the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. A founding planning member of Montana's Forest For Every Classroom program, she supports teachers as they use public lands as their outdoor classroom.

Using Forests for Place-Based Education

The Forest For Every Classroom model inspired many Montana teachers to expand their idea of an outdoor classroom. This session will explore how to incorporate public lands or even your schoolyard into your curriculum.

Michelle McCarthy

Science Instructional Coordinator

Montana Office of Public Instruction, Helena, MT

(presenting with Ashley McGrath)

Michelle McCarthy,  joined the OPI in the summer of 2015. She graduated from Bozeman Senior High before earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Education, Ed Tech. from Montana State University-Billings. Michelle completed her K-12 Principal certification in 2012 and worked as a teacher/principal in a three-room school house. Her love for both roles lead her to begin working toward a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, and helped her determine the focus of her dissertation research.  

The Direction of Montana Science Assessment Forum  

In this session educators will get an up-to-date picture of where science assessment is going for Montana. The hour is more like an information exchange forum wherein Ashley McGrath, Assessment Director with OPI, and Michelle McCarthy, Science Instructional Coordinator, with OPI explain where Montana is in science assessment progression, then we'll open the forum up for questions and discussions from Montana's educators.

Natalia Kolnik

Director of Education

Montana Science Center (formerly Children’s Museum of Bozeman), Bozeman, MT

Natalia Kolnik is the Director of Education at the Montana Science Center (formerly Children's Museum of Bozeman). Natalia was born and raised in Bozeman, earned BAs in Journalism and Music at the University of Montana, lived and worked abroad in international education for a decade, and now enjoys being back in Montana, designing and implementing STEM programs for curious students of all ages!

Teaching Science & Engineering Concepts using a MakerSpace  
The Montana Science Center (formerly Children’s Museum of Bozeman)  uses its STEAMlab (a high-tech MakerSpace area) for teaching several concepts in science and engineering, in a rather fluid and flexible manner. The STEAMlab is an open, exploratory, hands-on learning space, and students enjoy how it lets them discover, invent, and innovate at their own pace. The excitement of community volunteers, who are local professionals, is a major asset in sparking students’ interest and deep learning in a project.

Rebekah Hammack

Assistant Professor of K-8 Science Education

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Rebekah Hammack is an Assistant Professor of K-8 Science Education at Montana State University. Prior to coming to Montana, she spent 12 years as a middle school science and engineering teacher in Oklahoma. She obtained National Board Teaching Certification in Early Adolescent Science and spent a year working at the National Science Foundation as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow. She is also a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education.

What Floats in a Moat? Integrated STEM Learning in a One Room School House  

This session will introduce an integrated STEM lesson that was developed to teach physical science concepts and engineering practices in a multi-age classroom setting. We will share the ways in which we leveled the instruction to meet the needs of learners in Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Community Engagement through Family Engineering Night

This session introduces participants to an informal engineering education program designed to engage elementary students and their families in fun, hands-on learning experiences about engineering and engineering careers. Participants will leave with the knowledge needed to host their own Family Engineering Night.

Renee Erlandsen

Health Science Education Specialist, Montana Office of Public Instruction, Bozeman, MT

(presenting with Diane Dorgan)

Renee Erlandsen is the Health Science Education Specialist for the Montana Office of Public Instruction and has been in this position for 13 years. She also works with the state Area Health Education Center as the K-12 Healthcare Pipeline liaison and supports MSU student interns with special projects. Prior to coming to OPI, Renee was at Montana State University as the principal investigator/coordinator for the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (now called SNAP) through MSU Extension, and taught part-time in the College of Health and Human Development. Renee is an advisory board member for the MT Area Health Education Center, MT Healthcare Workforce Advisory Council, and a member of the National Consortium for Health Sciences Education (NCSHE). Renee has a MA degree in Native American Studies and a BS degree in Health and Human Development from Montana State University.

Connecting to STEM fields through Dual Enrollment and Montana Career Pathways

This session will address the representation gap in the sciences and how building and expanding post-secondary and secondary partnerships through dual enrollment opportunities while promoting STEM related Montana Career Pathways can successfully prepare students for College & Career STEM tracks.

Dr. Renee Gebault King

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Renée Gebault King, Ph.D., is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Specialist at the Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development, part of Montana State University Extension. As part of the Montana 4-H Center team, she develops research-based curriculum that gives youth hands-on learning experiences, building knowledge and skills that contribute to lifelong success. She is an advocate of sustainable, healthy foods and has a diverse background, having worked as an organic inspector, farmers’ market director, meat laboratory manager and agriculture science educator in the Rocky Mountain West. Prior to joining the Montana 4-H Center, Renée served as the Chief of Staff and an Accreditation Manager at the USDA’s National Organic Program. She holds a M.S. in Meat Science and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Wyoming.

Cultivate Classroom Excitement for STEM with Agriculture!  

This session will incorporate STEM principles with activities based on agriculture and the 4-H model that “youth learn by doing.” Educators will learn about a variety of 4-H and STEM resources that bring agriculture into the classroom and engage youth of all ages. Hands-on activities will connect participants with various disciplines: chemistry and soil science, engineering and food processing, mathematics and animal feed. Careers that link STEM and agriculture will also be explored.

Rose Vallor, Ed.D.

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Rose Vallor teaches inquiry science and environmental education, with the goal of getting kids outdoors whenever possible. She is currently finishing her doctoral program at Montana State University, where she has been studying classroom teachers who teach science outdoors, and teaching Elementary Education science methods. Rose has a M. Ed. and a B.S. in broadfield science education from MSU; and a B.S. in geology from University of Montana. She’s written curricula and taught science in multiple content areas for grades K-8, and led informal science education programs around Southwest Montana. Rose served as Montana Project WET State Coordinator, is on the Montana Environmental Education Association board, and is a Project Learning Tree facilitator.

Teaching Science Outdoors: What does it take?

Authentic, relevant science experiences lie outside your classroom door, but real barriers exist incorporating them into your pedagogy. The ‘outdoor teaching’ (OT) model, based on research of exemplary outdoor science classroom teachers, outlines factors needed to enable successful outdoor teaching. In this workshop, we will use the OT model to assess your unique situation, identify your assets and needs, and work on an action plan to get you and your students learning science outdoors.

Dr. Shane Doyle

Bozeman, MT

Shane Doyle, EdD, is a curriculum and tribal culture consultant who is a member of the Apsaálooke (Crow) Nation. Dr. Doyle has 20 years of teaching experience and has designed numerous curriculum units based on Montana’s IEFA standards.

Uses of the Bison Then and Now
Two newest additions to the Museum of the Rockies Outreach Kits, Uses of the Bison: Then and Now, are now available for reservation for the 2019-2020 school year. These trunks contain bison parts culled from today's Montana Native American working herds. Learn about the historical and contemporary uses of this sacred and respected animal and how to incorporate  the trunk into your classroom science curriculum. Two tribal herds are now being utilized for jobs, food production and marketing. Learn about the new Career Connections bison are creating for contemporary Native Americans today.

Suzi Taylor (STEM Panel Facilitator)

Co-Leader Montana Girls STEM Collaborative and STEM Outreach Professional

Bozeman, MT

Suzi Taylor is director of outreach and communications for MSU Academic Technology and Outreach and has been co-leader of the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative since it was launched in 2012. Suzi and her team collaborate with MSU faculty whose research is funded by the National Science Foundation,  NASA and other agencies to create outreach projects that support the citizens of Montana. Suzi has a special interest in reaching youth in Montana's smallest and most rural communities, and some of her favorite projects have included working with 40 Montana classrooms as they virtually followed an MSU geology expedition to Mount Everest; and helping to launch Science Action Clubs all over the state. Outside of work, Suzi's interests include watching and playing tennis, riding and fixing bikes, and making people go geocaching with her.

Tracy C. Babcock, MAEd.

Bozeman Public Schools, Bozeman, MT

Tracy Babcock has been teaching 5th-grade for the past 8 years. She has a Master's degree in Elementary Education and is both a lead teacher trainer and a lead teacher for the district's engineering curriculum, Project Lead the Way. Prior to teaching elementary school, she taught at MSU for 20 years in their nursing college.

How Do I Fit It All In? Integrate It.  

This session focuses on how literature and writing can be integrated into science and engineering to give students a more authentic experience. Writing and reading naturally integrate into STEM learning which allows teachers more time and deepens student learning.