2013 NLC Fellows: Missoula


Micah Nielsen, Business Manager, The Associated Students of the University of Montana

Micah L. Nielsen is a Senior at the University of Montana studying Public Administration, International Relations, and American Politics. Micah is currently serving as the executive Business Manager for the Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) and as a co-founder and Public Relations officer for the 703 Equality campaign. She has also held positions as Chair of Student Political Action, worked for the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, and was an intern for Senator Max Baucus. When Micah is not studying or working, she enjoys skiing, fishing, and reading.

Robyn Hegland, Americorps VISTA, WORD, Inc.

Robyn Hegland is currently serving her second term as an Americorps VISTA at Women’s Opportunity & Resource Development, Inc. (WORD), an organization working to move women and families in need to a place of independence, participation and choice. She brings a passion for feminist organizing to her work in outreach and fundraising. A Billings, Montana native, Robyn moved to Missoula six years ago to attend the University of Montana, where she combined coursework in Women’s & Gender Studies and Nonprofit Administration. As an undergraduate, she worked as a coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center, organizing events such as The Vagina Monologues and Take Back the Night. She graduated in 2011 with high honors. When not working, Robyn is spending time with her wonderful family and friends, enjoying the outdoors, exercising, listening to music, cooking vegetarian meals, sewing or reading.

Katie McKeown, AmeriCorps Program Coordinator, Montana State Parks

Katie McKeown is a program coordinator with Montana State Parks and an organizer with the Montana Abolition Coalition. Katie is originally from the Chicago area but has lived in Montana for seven years. She graduated with a liberal arts degree from the University of Notre Dame and have a Master's in Education from Loyola University Chicago. Katie loves to do work that she cares about, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with her golden retriever.

Aaron Curtis, Student Political Action Director, The Associated Students at The University of Montana

Aaron Curtis is a Missoula native and attending the last semester of his graduate studies in Political Science. While studying Business Administration and Marketing as an undergraduate, Aaron competed in a National Student Advertising Competition and also assisted hundreds of students as a Resident Advisor. Throughout these years, Aaron payed very close attention to political news and developments but never considered pursuing any route in the field of politics. After graduating he was given the opportunity to travel the United States for a PBS television show and discuss career choices and life post-college with students all over the country. This opportunity, coupled with involvement in President Obama and Senator Tester's campaigns acted as catalysts towards pursuing an interest in campaign strategy. Currently Aaron works as the Student Political Action Director at The University of Montana. His position has allowed him to organize a variety of political events such as debate watch parties, legislator meet-and-greets fostering student engagement on a variety of issues. While at the NLC Institute in Missoula, Aaron hopes to further expand his knowledge on progressive politics and develop new skills in campaign strategy.

Megan Hill, Volunteer Coordinator, Missoula Aging Services

Megan is the Volunteer Coordinator for Missoula Aging Services, a local Missoula nonprofit dedicated to promoting the health, dignity and independence of older adults in the community. She recruits volunteers for over 20 unique positions within the agency and works closely with staff to develop and maintain sustainable and effective volunteer programs. Megan, originally from the Metro Detroit Area in Michigan, moved to Montana in 2001 to attend the University of Montana. After graduating with degrees in both Classics and Liberal Studies, she worked as a paralegal at a local law firm. During that time she began volunteering with the YWCA and realized her true passion for advocacy and service to vulnerable populations and decided to enter the nonprofit sector. After short stint teaching English as foreign language in Florence, Italy, she returned to Montana and began her work advocating for Montanans in need as the Agency Relations Manager for the Montana Food Bank Network. As she traveled through all 56 counties in Montana, she not only became exposed to the unique needs of each community, she fell in love with Montana. Now focusing more on her own community she works with local nonprofit organizations such as Imagine Missoula and the Western Montana Volunteer Center to help foster greater collaboration and better volunteer management in the community. Megan also moonlights as a server at Draught Works Brewery in Missoula’s Westside neighborhood; considers herself a Bikram Yoga addict; loves to hike with her dog; mountaineer; ski; write short stories; travel; and spend time with family and friends.

Tal Goldin, Attorney, Wells & McKittrick, PC

Tal is a graduate of University of Montana School of Law and an attorney practicing with the firm Wells & McKittrick in Missoula, MT. Tal has a general practice with specific focus in complex family law, real estate, and commercial litigation and transactions. He is also admitted to practice in Washington State. In the public sector, Tal worked in development and in prosecution at the Kings County District Attorney's Office (KCDA) in Brooklyn, NY. Tal first served in the KCDA Executive Bureau as researcher and grant writer for youth alternative-to-incarceration programs and later assisted in prosecuting perpetrators of child physical and sexual abuse and homicide in the KCDA Crimes Against Children Bureau. Before law school, Tal had an active career as a freelance art director, project manager and scenic/production designer for film, television, theatre and live events. Tal graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Technology, cum laude, with an emphasis in Theatrical Scenic Design from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film at the State University of New York (SUNY), Purchase College. Tal is an inactive member of IATSE, United Scenic Artists – Local 829, the only union for professional designers in the theatre and entertainment industries in the U.S., and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theatre for over 15 years.

Michelle Williamson, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, Montana Legal Services Association

Michelle came to Missoula to attend the University of Montana, where she discovered her passion for working with high-performing nonprofit organizations. She holds a bachelor of arts in communications with a minor in nonprofit administration. Becoming a Certified Nonprofit Professional from the accredited Nonprofit Leadership Alliance illuminated for her the power of shared networks. Michelle is a second-year AmeriCorps*VISTA at Montana Legal Services Association after finishing her first year with YWCA Missoula. She has served as a volunteer for Social Justice Fund Northwest, Missoula Children's Theatre, and the Poverello Center. Michelle continues to hone her leadership skills as a member of the University of Montana Nonprofit Studies Advisory Committee, her Neighborhood Council Leadership Team, the YWCA Finance Committee and as a Montana AmeriCorps Connection participant and is eager to explore and tap into new and different networks.

Rebecca Pettit, Volunteer Coordinator, YWCA Missoula

Rebecca is proud to consider herself a steadfast Missoula native. While she studied Political Science, her new interest is in the Social Work field. She works for a local Missoula non-profit and is very happy to be taking part in the NLC Institute. She also likes to read, travel, be with friends/family, and over-analyze every situation in her life.

Jessica Folmar, Supervisor, MT Ace Hardware

Jessica Folmar grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and completed a BS in Environmental Science at Virginia Tech in 2008. While at VT, Jessica became very interested in environmental stewardship and local food and agriculture. This led her to serve in many different capacities: as president of her student environmental group, become involved with her local Mountain Justice campaign, do a summer internship on a local organic farm, and complete a sustainability field study in Oregon. Jessica also fell in love with the west during several trips to the Pacific coast and Rocky Mountains. Upon graduation, she relocated to Missoula, where she has been working as a supervisor of a local garden center. Jessica is also very involved in her church and serves on the board of a local non-profit.

Karl Hallgrimson, Foreman, Peters Landscaping and Design

Karl Hallgrimson graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Music, emphasizing in Music composition and vocal performance as the chorale was Karl's favorite ensemble. For Karl, creating a piece of music and then experiencing its live performance is as phenomenally rewarding as it is challenging. Karl was fortunate enough to be involved with Emmaus Campus Ministries (ECM) as a Peer Minister throughout his undergraduate career. During his time there, ECM was strongly focused on inter-faith and community development, working closely with Community Action for Justice in the Americas (C.A.J.A.), the University of Montana LAMBDA Alliance, and various local social development and relief programs like the Montana Food Bank, Joseph's Residence, and The Poverello Center. Working with these organizations had an enormous influence for Karl, changed his worldview and inspired him to better understand and challenge our unsatisfactory social norms. For the last several years Karl has either been working for himself or for small companies building small construction projects and landscaping. In order to better participate in this fast-paced and infernally complicated global society, Karl is currently planning to attend the University of Montana School of law in the Fall of 2013. He wants to focus in community real estate development and alternative human resource management so that he may pursue his passion for social development.

Spencer Paddock, Geoscientist, Geomarine Technology

Raised in Western Montana and educated primarily in Vermont, Spencer Paddock couldn't be happier to be living back in Montana and travelling as a marine geologist for a variety of projects worldwide. Spencer has been really fortunate, joining both a great Montana-based geologic consulting firm, and the NLC Institute in the last few months. When Spencer is not trying to support humanity as a geologist or thinking about developing his own geologic consultancy to which he can incorporate all of his ideals into his practice, Spencer usually finds himself playing rugby, hiking, fishing, hunting or skiing, depending on the season.

Amanda Harrow, Communications & Outreach Specialist, National Institute on Money in State Politics

Amanda recently began a position as the Communications and Outreach Specialist for the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which tracks campaign contributions to state-level candidates in all fifty states. Prior to working at the Institute, Amanda directed the Montana Small Business Alliance, working with small business owners around the state to effect policy changes at the state and national level. She represented the Alliance on the Stakeholder Advisory Council for the Montana Health Benefits Exchange convened by Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen. She was also appointed by Governor Schweitzer to serve on the board of Insure Montana, a state program that helps small businesses afford health insurance. Involved with political campaigns and community organizing since she was a college student, Amanda has worked on a variety of electoral, union, and issue campaigns since her graduation from Bates College. She also received a Watson Fellowship for a year of international independent study focused on child welfare and protection in five diverse countries. Amanda currently serves as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in the foster care system. In her spare time, she volunteers for candidates committed to social, economic and environmental justice, seeks out Spanish-speakers, and spends as much time as possible outside enjoying Montana’s great outdoors.