2012 NLC Fellows: Missoula



Meri Althauser,Attorney, Phillips Haffey PC

Meri Althauser is a Missoula Native and recent graduate of the University of Montana School of Law. Prior to law school, Meri attended a small music conservatory and liberal arts college in Appleton, Wisconsin, receiving a degree in Psychology with a minor in violin performance. After college, Meri worked as a social worker for the State of Montana and gained insight regarding children's welfare and the child protection system in Montana. Believing that children deserved better advocacy and a better chance to receive a safe and happy home, Meri went to law school to become a childrens' rights attorney. She now workes at the private law firm in Missoula and, in addition to general civil matters, represents children in the foster care system.

Emily Bulger, Board President, Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC)

Emily Bulger serves as the Board President for the Zootown Arts Community Center, a safe, creative community space that provides all-ages arts education and economic development opportunities for artists. She likes being able to facilitate creativity in the lives of others and in her own life. Additionally, she works at the School of Journalism at The University of Montana. A Great Falls native, Emily came to Missoula ten years ago to attend UM, where she combined studies in literature and creative writing with emphases in Spanish language and women's and gender studies. She graduated in 2006 with high honors. After graduation, she returned to Spain, the site of her undergraduate study abroad experience, to teach in the bilingual education program at a public elementary school. Emily's growing interest in the cultural record, concepts of home, transnationalism, migration narratives, and national identity creation and preservation has led her to pursue future education in the field of archival studies. Emily likes writing, photography, reading, music, design, typography, paper products, and sending and receiving mail. She can often be found tinkering with the internet and taking meandering walks with no destination in mind.

Shelbi Dantic,Student, University Of Montana

Shelbi is a junior at the University of Montana majoring in Political Science-Public Administration with a minor in Spanish. After serving on the Montana Public Interest Research Group student board and lobbying in Helena during the 2011 legislative session, Shelbi was elected to serve on the Senate of the Associated Students of the University of Montana for the 2011-2012 academic year. Shelbi is the Chair of the University Center and works to engage students and help them develop life-long leadership and professional skills through a diverse range of programs and activities to enhance the collegiate educational experience. In addition to her work on behalf of her fellow students she is also on the Missoula Chapter Board for the Montana Conservation Voters and is passionate about their work to further conservation issues in Montana. Shelbi also enjoys working part time as a nanny, playing her viola, knocking doors for candidates to get out the vote, and spending time at her family's cabin on Canyon Ferry Lake during the summer. Shelbi was born and raised in Missoula where family and Griz football play a big part in her life.

Kimberly Dudik,Assistant Attorney General, Montana Department of Justice

Kimberly is employed as an Assistant Attorney General for the Montana Department of Justice Child Protection Unit. She works protecting children and prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases for the State of Montana throughout the western region of Montana. Kimberly previously worked as a Deputy County Attorney in the Gallatin County Attorney's Office, located in Bozeman, Montana. Before becoming an attorney, Kimberly worked as a registered nurse, specializing in neonatal intensive care. Kimberly is a graduate of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, obtaining her Master of Public Health degree in May of 2010. She obtained a Juris Doctor degree with honors from the University of Montana School of Law in 2003. Kimberly earned her undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Montana State University in 1998. Kimberly grew up in Frenchtown, Montana. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Missoula, Montana.

Elizabeth Harrison,Communications and Development Associate, YWCA Missoula

Elizabeth is the communications and development associate at YWCA Missoula - a position she describes as her "heart's work." She believes that empowering women and girls, survivors of violence and homeless families will create a stronger and safer community. Elizabeth credits her creativity and drive for progressive leadership with a diversity of employment and life experiences. She worked as an editor in New York City, reporter in Great Falls, Mont., and has traveled to Germany, Siberia and New Zealand. This fall, Elizabeth had the opportunity to expand her communications toolkit by contracting with local singer/songwriter Amy Martin to promote Martin’s new musical. Elizabeth thrives on her involvement in the Missoula community. She serves on the National Coalition-Building Institute and Sustainable Business Council board of directors and has volunteered on City Council and legislative campaigns. Elizabeth has a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Montana. She grew up in the deep south, where her liberal arts education and parents’ passion for social justice informed her progressive values. In her down time, Elizabeth enjoys hiking with her furry canine companion, Izzy; singing; cycling; yoga; and kayaking.

Ali Kelly,President, The Lotus Project

Ali Kelly is co-founder and current acting President of The Lotus Project - a resource and education center for pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Ali, a Montana native, has lived in Missoula since 2000. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Montana, Ali worked as a crisis counselor until a natural childbirth class introduced her to doulas. Ali is now a certified doula through DONA International® and Birth Mama as well as a Happiest Baby Educator. Most recently, Ali sought out information about healthy, balanced living, and, as a result, became a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Besides her board duties, Ali teaches classes, offers doula consults, and provides health coaching through The Lotus Project. Through her numerous trainings Ali has learned that while parenting and life can be challenging, giving yourself a break and letting things go will help you find pleasure in the things you love. When not working Ali spends her time in the beautiful Ninemile valley with her husband, two boys, and two very lazy dogs.

Katherine Nelson,M.S. Candidate, Environmental Studies, University of Montana

At St. Lawrence University, I earned a degree in Global Studies with minors in African Studies and French. Having been exposed to critical environmental issues during studies abroad, I went on to explore similar controversies brewing in the American West. Working seasonally as a wilderness ranger, wildlife technician, and environmental educator, in places as diverse as California, Texas, Alberta, Oklahoma, and Montana, I’ve worked to find common ground among disparate stakeholders and move forward on environmentally sensitive issues. Now in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Montana, I’m examining the communication strategies used by conversation nonprofits when motivating their audiences to act on climate change in the Greater Yellowstone. While here, I’ve served as an instructor for the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program and Ecology Project International, as an intern for the Sierra Club, as a coordinator for the University of Montana’s Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology, and as a UNICEF observer at the UN Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa. Through these experiences, I strive to build relationships between people and between people and the land—both vital to fostering an environmentally engaged culture. For fun? Hiking, skiing, local and wild foods, music, and cream soda.

Maghann Paddock,Attorney, P. Mars Scott Law Offices

Meghann is a family law attorney in Missoula. She is a graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School where she received her J.D. and a certificate in criminal law and criminal procedure. Meghann grew up in Missoula, Montana. After attending the University of Montana for two years, Meghann transferred to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, to join the women’s soccer team. While at Lewis and Clark, Meghann learned to row and fell in love with the sport, eventually rowing in Lewis and Clark’s first ever appearance at the NCAA national championships. After graduating from Lewis and Clark with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology, she coached the women’s novice crew team at Lewis and Clark, while attending law school. Meghann also worked at the Clackamas County District Attorney's office prosecuting misdemeanor crimes as a third year court-certified law student. She returned to Missoula in November, 2010, and began working at P. Mars Scott Law Offices, where she helps individuals resolve family law matters. In her spare time, Meghann enjoys the vast array of outdoor activities that Montana offers, including running, bicycling, floating Montana’s rivers, playing soccer, hiking with her dog Mesa, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Debra Saylor,Volunteer Coordinator The Poverello Center, Inc.

Debbie Saylor is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a Steelers fan to the core. After graduating from The Pennsylvania State University with a journalism degree she dedicated three years of her life to national service through the AmeriCorps Program. Upon completing her first year of service in Elkhart, Indiana she decided to move further west to work for the Montana Campus Compact as their first statewide Campus Corps Team Leader. It was during her travels around the state visiting higher education campuses that she fell in love with Montana and became passionate about working with the public sector. Debbie graduated with her Master's in Public Administration from The University of Montana in 2010 and has since been working for The Poverello Center (Missoula's largest homeless shelter) as their Volunteer Coordinator. She strives daily to educate others about the leading causes of homelessness and to dispel stereotypes surrounding low-income and homeless individuals. When she is not at work Debbie enjoys the many wonders that Montana has to offer through biking, hiking, running (slowly), and traveling the state.

Skander Spies,Building Analyst Energetechs

Skander is a building design engineer currently working in Missoula as a residential energy performance contractor. He was raised in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2007. While at Northwestern, he served as President of a student group focused on engineering and sustainability, and performed actively on cello and bass. Following graduation Skander completed a NOLS course and relocated to Portland, Oregon to further his career in sustainable building design. His professional experience has included major commercial buildings across the west coast, speaking engagements at national conferences, and ground-breaking work in the area of building energy use simulation. To complement his professional work, Skander has developed strong interests in information design, client education, and small business management. Skander fell in love with being in the mountains at an early age, and is a stauch advocate for progressive resource extraction and conservation policy. As conditions allow, he is an active rock climber, cyclist, ice climber and skier. He has spent over 500 hours as a volunteer climbing ranger with the staff of Denali National Park, and enjoys supporting a variety of conservation organizations.

Kelsey Stamm,Graduate student; Program Assistant, University of Montana; Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center

Kelsey is currently a graduate student in political science at University of Montana, and also works for the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at UM. Previously, Kelsey worked for approximately three years at Ecology Project International, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador. She still travels to El Salvador to visit the people she now considers family. Kelsey has an undergraduate degree in political science and women's studies from Montana State University in Bozeman. It was during her studies that she discovered her passion for international development. She is working on her Master's degree to learn more about issues in the developing world, in order that she may someday be able to affect policy, so that many more people can enjoy the human dignity that our society is able provide. Kelsey is a native from Montana, and graduated high school with a class of 33 students. She loves all kinds of outdoor recreation, especially the kinds where she can take her two dogs, Boo and Buster. Kelsey has guided whitewater raft trips and backpacking during the summers, and recently completed her first marathon.

Alexandra Wallace,Education Director, Durango Discovery Museum

Lexie Wallace (Labcoat Lexie) is the Education Director for the Durango Discovery Museum in Durango, Colorado. She was hired in 2008 when the Museum was still in conceptual phases, and turned a one-after school program into a nine-program education department, hiring three more educators and contributing to over 1.5 million in educational grants, contracts for services and capital support. This included the first-ever Southern Ute Indian Tribe's STEM education partnership, the Jack Rouse and Associates ACM Invest Early, Inspire Growth Award, and three years' work with NISEnet, an NSF funded Nanoscale grant. Before moving to Durango, Ms. Wallace (Ms. W) was a science teacher in Gallup, New Mexico, working for Miyamura High School and Teach For America. As a track coach, Character Counts! advisor, pen club advisor and Student Support Team chair, Lexie was fortunate to have students achieving annual significant gains and describing her as: "getting weirder by the day." Contributing to this path were many vivacious characters at Kenyon College, where Ms. Wallace got her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies. Writing her senior exercise on Confucian Environmental Ethics, Lexie drew from experiences abroad in Mongolia, many odd jobs, and a football filled upbringing in Canton, Ohio.