Dr. Combs is a management consultant, executive coach, mediator and core instructor in
Montana State University’s Leadership Fellows Certificate Program. Since 2007, she has
also taught intensive leadership training to State Department-selected students, teachers
and professional leaders from throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin
America and Pakistan’s FATA region.
Casey is a fifth generation Montanan who was born and raised in East Helena, Montana. He has been involved in film and television production for over sixteen years. As a wildlife naturalist, host and actor, Casey has worked on numerous feature films, television wildlife documentaries, and non-profit educational programs. Casey is the author of "The Story of Brutus: My life with Brutus the Bear and Grizzlies of North America" and contributes to various other publications including Outside, Backpacker, and is a regular blogger for Huffington Post. September 2012, Kinect Nat Geo TV, an Xbox Kinect game was released featuring his work. Casey is the host and executive producer of the Nat Geo WILD Channel series “Expedition Wild” and "America the Wild". He is the recipient of the prestigious 2010 Panda Award for Best Presenter-Led Program for Expedition Grizzly at the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, UK. Casey is a public speaker and has spoken at TED events, universities, and various large venues worldwide. He is the trainer and best friend of Brutus the Bear and the co-owner and director of the Montana Grizzly Encounter, a grizzly bear sanctuary in Bozeman, Montana.
In 2011 Dr. Genevieve Chabot established Iqra Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for women and children in northern Pakistan to improve their quality of life through education. She has lived in Bozeman, Montana for fifteen years where she has been involved with numerous internationally focused nonprofit organizations that have led her to work, travel, and conduct research in Africa, South America, New Zealand, and eventually to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
After her first visit to Pakistan in 2007, Genevieve recognized a critical opportunity to focus her Montana State University doctoral research towards better understanding the barriers to girls’ education, and the impact education can have on improving the quality of life for girls, women, and remote communities of northern Pakistan. An educator by training, Genevieve identified the importance of making available effective programs to better support teachers, communities, and families to provide quality and lasting educational opportunities, especially for girls.
Genevieve spent the next four years building relationships with local communities, leaders, Pakistan-based development organizations, and women and children, setting the necessary foundation to launch Iqra Fund’s programs in 2011. In the organization’s first year, more than 350 girls were provided an education, and teachers were provided training to better serve their school in the most remote villages of the Karakorum Mountains.
Paul Schwennesen is the Owner of Double Check Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. He has written and spoken extensively on free market environmentalism and agricultural policy in venues as disparate as FOX news, American Spectator, The Freeman andThe Huffington Post. Mr. Schwennesen, a captain in the United States Air Force Reserve, served as a Foreign Area Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Acquisitions Program Manager on active duty and served a combat-zone deployment to Afghanistan. He holds a Masters of Liberal Arts in Government from Harvard University and a dual B.S. in History and Science (Biology) from the United States Air Force Academy
Professor Priscu received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1982 for his work on high altitude lakes. He then moved to New Zealand where he was involved with research on local marine and freshwater systems. It was during this period that he became interested in Antarctic ecosystems and spent 4 months during the austral summer of 1984 studying the permanently ice-covered lakes in the Transantarctic Mountains. He joined the faculty at Montana State University, Bozeman in late 1984 where he continues to conduct research on arctic and Antarctic ecosystems. Professor Priscu has spent 29 field seasons on the "ice" and has introduced more than 300 young investigators to this environment as members of his research teams. Professor Priscu, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, has received numerous awards for his research, including a valley and a stream in Antarctica named after him, the Goldwaithe Medal for his work on polar ice sheets, and the International Medal for Scientific Excellence from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. His field teams have spent months sleeping in tents with temperatures hovering near minus 50 under complete darkness during the winter expeditions. Priscu has published more than 200 scholarly articles on his research and edited 4 books. Many of his students hold prestigious positions at institutions throughout the US and Europe. His hobbies include playing blues and jazz with his band and flying bush planes into remote airstrips.
Billboard Discoveries says of Courtney Yovich, she is "one of those kids whose musical prowess started shining through before her permanent teeth did!" Age 16, Courtney is a singer/songwriter from Bozeman, Montana who has already released her first album "Waiting to be Told," and has won several songwriting awards (the first at age 8), including a Top 20 finish in last year's CMT/NSAI Song Contest.
Courtney played the prestigious Pensacola Beach Songwriter's Festival in 2011 and 2012, as well as the Frank Brown Festival along the Gulf Coast in November of 2012. She played with Patrick Leonard at the Hatch Festival in October 2011 and the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012. Additionally, she won a coveted spot at the 2010 Country Throwdown's Bluebird Stage in Salt Lake City. Courtney’s debut at Nashville’s world-famous Bluebird Cafe sold out in just a few hours. In 2011, Courtney was elected to the membership of the NSAI's Gap Group of top songwriters.
Courtney is the senior songwriter/educator and an emerging artist of the teen division of Team Green World, a partner of Music as Message to inspire everyone in the world to ‘Think Ecologically!’ She will also be touring with Nashville-based jazz trio, Bossa Bella, this fall.
Eric Funk has composed 126 major works, one third of which were commissions, including nine symphonies, four operas, eighteen concerti, seven string quartets, numerous large and small choral works and chamber works. From 1994-2002, Eric Funk was music director and conductor of the Helena Symphony Orchestra (Helena, Montana). From 1994-1999, he was co-founder and conductor of the Gallatin Chamber Orchestra in Bozeman, Montana. Eric Funk recently completed his ninth symphony and traveled to Budapest, Hungary in 2009 to work with violin virtuoso, Vilmos Olah, on the composition written for and dedicated to him: "Vili: Concerto for the Violin Alone, Op 109". Funk was awarded a 2011 College of Arts and Architecture Creativity & Research Block Grant to attend the world premiere of “Concerto for the Violin Alone, Op 109” in Budapest, Hungary, taking a 4-man crew from Montana PBS-TV to film and document the event as part of a one hour Montana PBS-TV documentary “The Violin Alone”.
Amber Jean is a gal with gumption who follows her passion as an artist fueled by adventure both inside and outside the studio. “Audacious” is the word Joe Godla, Chief Conservator of the Frick Collection in New York, used recently to describe Amber Jean’s work.
“I embrace life with its contradictions and plunge headlong into the marvel. The reliquary sculpture series combines large raw trees with intricate carving, steel, glass and found materials. I have experienced spiritual epiphanies in nature-made cathedrals while adventuring in the mountains. I want to share moments of soul-baring insight while bringing a bit of Momma Nature to people. Trees inspire me. They have innate spirituality and unique personalities that reflect life’s twists and turns. The sculptures are born from subconscious and conscious vision, stories, emotions and imagery but live beyond my own experience.”
Declared by “WOOD” magazine as one of “America’s Woodworking Greats,” Amber Jean has been featured on the “Wood Sculpting” TV series produced by DIY and the Oxygen Network “Pure Oxygen” show. She was one of the first women inducted into the Stetson Craftsman Alliance. Private collectors and corporations have commissioned artwork from her. Amber Jean’s dream studio is a short walk from her cabin home at the end of the road, near the top of a mountain in Montana.
Robert is a co-founder and partner at Beartooth Capital Partners (www.beartoothcap.com), based in Bozeman, Montana. Beartooth generates financial returns for investors through the restoration and protection of ecologically important ranch land in the American West. Prior to co-founding Beartooth Capital, Robert served as the investment partner at Greenbridges, a firm investing in agricultural and ranch properties throughout the West, based in Bakersfield, California. Before Greenbridges, Robert was at Trident Capital in Palo Alto, California, a private equity and venture capital investment firm focused on the information technology industry. Robert previously worked at Morgan Stanley in New York City. He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Cody, Wyoming. He received his BA in Economics from Yale University and earned his MBA and certificate of Public Management from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. Robert is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and is President of the Yale Club of Montana.
Nicolas Yunes joined the Gravity group at Montana State University as an Assistant Professor in 2011. A native of Argentina, he emigrated to the United States in 1999 to pursue a Bachelor of Science at Washington University in Saint Louis. After graduating with honors, he attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he obtained a PhD in Physics in 2008. His PhD dissertation focused on the theory of black holes, compact binaries and gravitational waves, and it was awarded the Jurgen Ehlers Thesis Prize by the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation. In 2008, he became a Research Associate at Princeton University, where we studied how to test Einstein's theory of General Relativity with astrophysical observations. In 2010, Yunes was awarded NASA's prestigious Einstein Fellowship, with which he continued his research on black hole theory and accretion disks at Harvard University and MIT. Yunes is the Principal Investigator of the "Celebrating Einstein" event, a combination of several outreach activities to take place in Bozeman, Montana, the first week of April in 2013.
Sabrina Lee / John Floridis
Sabrina Ross Lee began her training as a modern dancer at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied the rigorous Graham technique and performed with NCSA’s Traveling Repertory Company. She then attended Duke University, where she trained under renowned Jose Limon Company Principal Clay Taliaferro, also studying Political Science and film, and graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She has since performed internationally with the Limon Company, danced across the country with Robin Lakes/Rough Dance (where she was a soloist), and contributed her direction and performance to The Cold Chicago Dance Theatre as well as Northcoast Dance of California. Her story-driven choreography, which often includes non-traditional collaborations with live musicians, has been taught and performed at a number of schools and theatres in the western United States over the past 10 years.
Today, Lee continues to perform and choreograph in southwestern Montana. Over the past 6 years, she has expanded her means of artistic expression to include filmmaking, having produced and directed two award-winning documentaries, WHERE YOU FROM and NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT (which she co-directed with Emmy-winner Shasta Grenier). Like the narrative threads that connect her dances, Lee’s films confront the challenges born out of life’s necessary but often brutal transitions. Lee lives in Bozeman, Montana with her husband and two children.
Jeff Kitto was a founding member of national recording artists, The Clintons. Since his retirement from the Clintons, Mr. Kitto has sung opera roles for various opera companies and symphonies throughout the country. His most recent engagements include The Duke in Rigoletto, Don Jose in Carmen, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Cavaradossi in Tosca, and many more for companies like The Mendocino Festival Opera, Rimrock Opera, Oregon Lyric Opera, Spokane Opera, Montana Lyric Opera, and more.
Jeffrey Kitto is a multiple recipient of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions National Council Awards as well as a past winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award. Mr. Kitto has his BME from Montana State University.
Megan grew up in Montana, where she couldn’t help but gain an appreciation for wildlife and wild places. She attended Middlebury College in Vermont, for her B.A., and Boise State University for her M.S. in raptor biology, working on falcons in Tikal, National Park in Guatemala with the Peregrine Fund. She studied scent marking chemistry, behavior and territoriality of African wild dogs in the Okavango Delta of Botswana for her Ph.D. work at the University of Montana. Megan has trained dogs since she was 10 and this led her to combine her passion for conservation biology with dog training to partner with other experts and co-found Working Dogs for Conservation. As director of research she develops projects, trains conservation detection dogs and explores new avenues for non-invasive conservation applications with detection dogs, such as helping define wildlife corridors and identify areas of conflict, detect scats of endangered species, elusive live animals and rare or invasive plants and animals. Currently Working Dogs for Conservation is working on projects as diverse as monitoring endangered wildlife on solar farms in California, detecting snares in Africa and learning whether dogs can detect invasive fish in Montana streams. She has worked in Asia, Africa, the south Pacific and North and South America on conservation projects.
DAVID QUAMMEN is the author of twelve books, including The Song of the Dodo, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, and most recently Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, published in 2012 by W.W. Norton. He’s a Contributing Writer for National Geographic, in whose service he travels often, usually to wild places, and a three-time recipient of the National Magazine Award. He has also written for many other magazines, ranging from Harper’s and The Atlantic to Rolling Stone, Esquire, Outside, and Powder. Much of his nonfiction work is focused on ecology and evolutionary biology, frequently garnished with history and travel. In 2012 he received the Stephen Jay Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution. Quammen lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife, Betsy Gaines Quammen, and their family of other mammals.
Kristi Chester Vance
Kristi Chester Vance, the deputy director of ForestEthics, (www.forestethics.org,) has spent the last twelve years securing the protection of an area nearly 30 times the size of Yellowstone, transforming the environmental practices of dozens of the biggest names in corporate America, and moving hundreds of millions of dollars toward more environmentally-responsible purchasing.
Grafik Intervention has been featured in several online and printed design publications including Communication Arts, Design Observer, Design Ignites Change, Winterhouse Symposium on Design Education and Social Change and AIGA's Design for Good. William has presented Grafik Intervention at Pivot the AIGA National Design Conference, in Phoenix, AZ and as part of the Alternative Practices for the Harrison Lecture Series at Mississippi State University. Currently Grafik Intervention has sparked activity in San Francisco, California; San Marcos and Bryan, Texas; Big Rapids and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Charlottesville, Virginia and Phoenix, Arizona. You can learn more about his project at www.grafikintervention.com.
William currently lives in Bozeman, Montana looking for perfect vistas in the morning light with his wife and extremely active daughter. To learn more about William visit www.williamculpepper.com.