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Thursday, Jul. 21st, 2016

Bozeman second-graders’ artwork heads to International Space Station

 The artwork of second-graders from Morning Star Elementary School in Bozeman was launched into space this week for a six-month stay on the International Space Station as part of a larger Montana State University research project into developing more durable computers for NASA.

Stickers bearing a mission patch logo created by students in Cheri Jakovac’s class were aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 resupply rocket that was launched Sunday night and broadcasted live on NASA TV. The stickers will remain on the ISS until December when they will be loaded onto a return capsule to be given back to the students.

The logo art activity was an outreach component of an ongoing research project at MSU to develop a new radiation-tolerant computer technology. MSU has been researching this technology for nearly a decade under the direction of Brock LaMeres, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering and principal investigator of the project.

“Future NASA missions will require faster computers, but the radiation environment of space causes earthbound computers to fail,” LaMeres said. “MSU has been researching how to make computers that not only meet the computing needs of future missions, but that will be reliable in the harsh environment of outer space.”

MSU’s computer has been tested in radiation chambers, on high altitude balloons, and on rockets that reach the beginning of outer space. The current project to put the computer on the ISS will be its most rigorous test yet and will set the stage for the next level of development, LaMeres said.

“Our next milestone is to operate the computer in a real space environment for an extended amount of time,” he said. “The ISS is the perfect platform for the next stage of our development.”

The MSU computer will be flown to the space station this fall. There, astronauts will install it in an experiment locker owned by NanoRacks, a Texas-based company that facilitates access to the space station.

NanoRacks contacted LaMeres in January about flying a small amount of memorabilia related to his current ISS project. NASA provides scientists who are working on ISS research an opportunity to fly memorabilia to the station and be returned as keepsakes for the research team. LaMeres contacted Jakovac, his daughter Kylie’s teacher, about having her class design a logo for the project as a way to show them how the math and science they are learning is used in real world applications.

“Exposing students at an early age to the exciting things that people working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) get to do is very important,” LaMeres said. “Hopefully having them hear about the research we are doing at MSU will leave a lasting impression that might lead to them choosing degrees, and ultimately careers, in STEM.”

Working with LaMeres on the project are Connor Julien, an electrical engineering graduate student, Daniel Mills, a senior in electrical engineering and Brandon Klise, a sophomore in computer engineering. They, with LaMeres, visited the class in February and explained the current mission. The students were shown examples of mission logos and asked to draw their own version that represented MSU’s work. The research team used the common themes in the students’ drawings to create the final mission logo, which depicts the process of going to and returning from the ISS through illustrations of a rocket being launched, the ISS, and the return capsule bearing Montana’s 406 area code floating down via parachute.

Also on the logo is the acronym RTcMISS, pronounced “Artemis,” which stands for “Radiation Tolerant computer Mission on the International Space Station.” “NanoRacks” also appears on the logo along with acronyms designating the Montana Space Grant Consortium, MSU’s College of Engineering, NASA EPSCoR and the MSU Space Science and Engineering Laboratory.

Student designers from Jakovac’s class are: Connor Baller, Jaden Bateson, Cooper Bourret, Grace Brandon, Claire Brown, Oliver Carey, Myles Faerber, Geno Graf, Ibrahim Al-Kaisy, Inga Lee-Eichenwald, Kylie LaMeres, Cameron Mansfield, Olivia Morgner, Reese Navarro, Helen Nelson, Katelyn Pahut, Daniel Peace, Bobby Pratt, Heidi Rich, Owen Riendeau and Quinn Werner.

A video of the logo design process can be viewed at A full recording of the launch can be viewed on the SpaceX website at

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Skyline Finishes 10th Year with Record Ridership

Skyline Surpassed 185,000 Rides in Fiscal Year 2016 but Struggles to Fund Increasing Demand.

The Big Sky Transportation District announces that its Skyline transportation services provided a total of 185,529 rides in Financial Year 2016, an increase of 7.7 percent over Financial Year 2015’s numbers. June 30, 2016 marks the end of the Big Sky Transportation District’s tenth year operating Skyline. The official 10th Anniversary date for the service is December 1st, as that marks the date when Skyline first began operating in 2006. Since that date, Skyline has provided over 1.4 million rides, and has traveled over 2.5 million miles.

David Kack, Skyline Coordinator, noted, “While local ridership was down 2%, our Link Express ridership was up over 20%, and ridership on our van pool service was up 23%.” Kack went on to say that, “Skyline gave over 13,000 more rides in FY 2016 than FY 2015. This shows that demand is strong for transporta- tion alternatives between Big Sky and Bozeman.” Given the increase in ridership, the Big Sky Transpor- tation District was planning to add additional services to meet the demand, but the District didn’t receive all the funding it requested.

District Board Chairman Ennion Williams noted that, “We requested an increase in funding from many of our partners, and while we are getting more funding from the Big Sky Resort Tax and Madison County, we do not anticipate getting any support from Gallatin County.” In its initial hearing on the Skyline request, Gallatin County Commissioners voted 3 to 0 against supporting the District. Williams went on to say, “We receive support from so many sources, the Resort Tax, Madison County and all of the major employers in Big Sky. It makes no sense to us that Gallatin County will not contribute fund- ing to this vital service.” An on-board survey of riders indicated that 76 percent of those riding the bus are Gallatin County residents, and 59 percent of those people are riding for work related purposes (to and from a job).

The Big Sky Transportation District Board will be meeting during the summer and fall to discuss its budget and potential sources of funding so that it can meet the demand for services. Funding is currently provided by the Federal Transit Administration (funding administered by the Montana Department of Transportation), Big Sky Resort Area District (the local option sales tax/resort tax in Big Sky), Big Sky Owners Association, Big Sky Resort, Madison County, Moonlight Basin, Spanish Peaks Resort, and the Yellowstone Club.

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Monday, Jul. 18th, 2016

Coming Soon Gallatin Valley Guide

The Gallatin Valley Guide is the first introduction to Bozeman for many incoming MSU students, their parents, and other newcomers to the city.

Getting your business in front of these folks as soon as they arrive is invaluable, but our advertising prices won't break the bank!

Creative deadline is Aug 3 - don't wait save your space today.

How is GVG different than the rest? It looks way cooler with a glossy illustrated cover. It includes tons of useful information about where to register your vehicle, to vote, who's the mayor, and more. We tell readers where to get food, fix your car, do laundry, workout and more. We feature local venues & bands. We feature local parks, campgrounds and recreation. All of our content is written by local writers who know Bozeman inside and out and have created a perfect introduction to the valley.

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Environmental historian named Wallace Stegner endowed chair at MSU

Mark Fiege, a historian known for his writing and thinking about the environment of the American West and the country’s national parks, has been selected as the Wallace Stegner Endowed Chair in Western American Studies at Montana State University.
Fiege, who is the author of critically acclaimed books in the area of environmental history, served as the Wallace Stegner Visiting Professor at MSU during the 2015 spring semester. His permanent appointment to the chair, a tenured full professorship, was announced by Nic Rae, dean of MSU’s College of Letters and Science. The Stegner Endowed Chair is housed in the college’s Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies.

“I am thrilled that we have been able to attract a scholar of Mark’s stature to MSU,” Rae said. “Mark’s appointment to the Stegner Chair in tandem with our new Western Lands and Peoples Initiative will establish MSU as a center of excellence for the study of the past, present and future of the North American West.”

Rae said that endowed chairs are the highest academic position universities can bestow upon faculty. They are usually funded and sustained by permanently invested funds and attract noted scholars in their fields, he said. In addition, endowed chairs help the university boost its reputation in academic and research programs.

Rae said he invites the public to learn more about Fiege and his scholarship and MSU’s Western Lands and Peoples: Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series when Fiege delivers his inaugural Stegner Lecture, set for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, at the Hager Auditorium in MSU’s Museum of the Rockies. The event is free and a reception preceding the lecture will begin at 5:15 p.m. in the museum lobby.

Fiege said he was “deeply honored to hold the Stegner Chair and thrilled to join the faculty at MSU.”
“I have long admired the outstanding scholars in the Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, and I couldn't be more pleased to work with them,” Fiege said. “I look forward to sustaining the memory and legacy of Wallace Stegner, a towering figure in Western American letters."
Fiege’s academic degrees, all in history, include a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University, a master’s from Washington State University and a doctorate from the University of Utah. He has taught at Colorado State University since 1994. In 2015 he received the CSU Alumni Association Best Teacher Award. Fiege co-founded the CSU Public Lands History Center. He also was co-founder of Parks as Portals to Learning, an interdisciplinary research and learning project at CSU in collaboration with National Park Service staff at Rocky Mountain National Park. Fiege was also CSU’s William E. Morgan Chair of Liberal Arts from 2008-2013.

An imaginative and wide-ranging writer, Fiege recently co-edited the anthology, “National Parks beyond the Nation: Global Perspectives on ‘America's Best Idea,’” with Adrian Howkins and Jared Orsi. The book was published this year by the University of Oklahoma Press. He is the author of “The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States,” published in 2012 by the University of Washington Press and “Irrigated Eden: The Making of an Agricultural Landscape in the American West,” published by the University of Washington Press in 1999. That book was the co-winner of the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Award from the Forest History Society.

Fiege has also published scholarly papers and articles about Western environmental history including “The Weedy West: Mobile Nature, Boundaries, and Common Space in the Montana Landscape,” published by the Western Historical Quarterly. The article won several prizes including the Theodore C. Blegen Award from the Forest History Society, the Wayne D. Rasmussen Award from the Agricultural History Society, the Alice Hamilton Prize from the American Society for Environmental History and the Oscar O. Winther Award from the Western History Association.

Fiege is working on the book “Elegant Conservation: Resource Management in a Time of Unprecedented Uncertainty,” which also was the title of Fiege’s Wallace Stegner lecture that he delivered at MSU in spring 2015. He is partnering on the book with Ben Bobowski, superintendent of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Fiege explained that the concept for the book is based on his observation that despite the dissension in the country about many matters – characteristic of the so-called “Age of Fracture” – there is considerable grassroots activity and cooperation in conservation and resource management. He has termed this phenomenon “Elegant Conservation,” which describes “efforts to foster pragmatic, pluralistic, socially responsive, process-oriented methods that rise above fears of collapse.”

The Wallace Stegner Endowed Chair in Western Studies at MSU continues the legacy of the late Wallace Stegner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, short story writer, environmentalist and historian who is now often called the “Dean of Western Writers.” Stegner spent part of his childhood in Montana, and he notably spoke at MSU shortly before his death in 1993. The MSU Wallace Stegner Endowed Chair in Western American Studies focuses on teaching and research in history, literature and philosophy with a concentration on pressing Western issues and is supported by the Stegner Chair Endowment.

The MSU Stegner Chair was last held by writer David Quammen, who makes his home in Bozeman and who held the position from 2005-2008.

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Friday, Jul. 15th, 2016

New for winter 2016-17: Ski Butlers Ski Rental Delivery Service Expands to Big Sky, Montana

New for winter 2016-17, Ski Butlers ski and snowboard rental delivery service has added a Big Sky, MT location.

Entering its 13th year in business, Ski Butlers provides personalized service as it delivers ski and snowboard equipment and accessories to a hotel, condo or wherever is convenient for the customer. At prices competitive with most resort ski shops, Ski Butlers makes renting equipment convenient and hassle-free for patrons of 37 ski resorts in British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.  Ski Butlers has earned multiple “TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence” awards and coveted travel-industry accolades based on their industry leading customer service.

"Ski Butlers is proud to add Big Sky to our roster of iconic ski resorts," said Bryn Carey, president and founder of Ski Butlers. "It has always been our goal to add Big Sky, so our customers have more opportunities to use our award-winning service when they go on a ski vacation."
Ski Butlers package prices include delivery of boots, skis, snowboards, poles and a personalized fitting by a ski technician. It also includes any required on-mountain adjustments or equipment replacement within 30 minutes of a phone call and pickup of equipment on the final rental day. Equipment can be delivered from 7am-8pm on the hour.  Delivery of equipment that is 2pm or later will not be charged that day. Pick up usually occurs between 4-6pm on the final ski day, but can be arranged for the next day at no additional charge if it is 10am or earlier. By utilizing Ski Butlers, skiers and snowboarders are avoiding long lines at busy ski shops, which allows them to both spend more time on the slopes and less money on airline luggage fees - plus NO SCHLEPPING. Check out to see the Ski Butlers rental process in action.

Ski Butlers 2016-17 equipment includes new Rossignol snowboards and 7-series skis introducing HD technology with Carbon Alloy Matrix -along with new Rossignol bindings and boots for both skis and snowboards. This gear will be offered at all Ski Butlers locations, so re-renting at any location is quick and simple with each location having access to customer profiles from all their markets.

Beyond delivering equipment, Ski Butlers is a full-service, virtual ski shop offering one-stop shopping from its online "Ski Butlers Store." Ski Butlers also rents the latest jackets, pants, gloves and other soft goods via its exclusive partnership with
"Providing convenience for our customers has always been the backbone of our customer service experience over the past 12 years at Ski Butlers, so we are expanding what we conveniently offer skiers and snowboarders," noted Carey, who founded Ski Butlers out of a single car garage in 2004 in Park City, UT. Carey was born into a skiing family and first skied at age one. He continued skiing  his way through high school at Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine and The Winter School in Park City. He was captain of the NCAA Division I ski team at the University of New Hampshire, where he earned a bachelor's in business.

About Ski Butlers: For the same price or less than most resort ski shops, Ski Butlers ski rental delivery service makes renting ski and snowboard equipment convenient and hassle-free. Based on customer reviews, Ski Butlers has earned the coveted TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for providing personalized service at 37 ski resorts in British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. With home offices in Park City, Utah, Ski Butlers has earned multiple US Chamber of Commerce Top 100 Blue Ribbon Awards and was named in 2015 as one of America's fastest growing businesses by INC. Magazine. Also, Ski Butlers is very actively involved in the snow sports community's work on climate change. In 2015, company founder Carey participated in the World Climate Summit "I AM PRO SNOW" Panel in Paris. Learn more about Ski Butlers' vision and plan to be a part of the climate change solution at

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Monday, Jul. 11th, 2016

Young Explorers Passport to Adventure

When Kevin Sylvester, Executive Director of Family Promise of Gallatin Valley, a transitional shelter program for homeless families, approached the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) about the lack of outdoor and trail experience among his program’s families, a partnership formed to help more people feel comfortable exploring our area’s trails.

The Family Promise Day Center is located across the street from Bozeman’s most iconic trail and park, Burke Park (also known as Peets Hill).  Despite the proximity to the park, Family Promise clients were never getting outside.  Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising. Research has found that low income families are less likely to use and access public parks and trails.  Simply helping people understand where to park, where to walk, and what to expect on a trail experience can greatly increase their comfort and confidence while exploring outdoors. In such an outdoorsy place like Bozeman, we can forget that some people didn’t grow up climbing mountain peaks and may need Trails 101 to feel safe navigating trails with their family. “Our main goal at Family Promise is to create sustainable solutions for homeless families in our Valley, and a large part of that is supporting families in building a community,” says Sylvester. “Many of the families we serve have never been exposed to outdoor recreation. Bozeman’s trail system helps build a sense of responsibility and promotes healthy family interaction. We wanted a way to encourage families to take advantage of Bozeman’s outdoors while living on a limited income.”

GVLT and Family Promise worked together on a unique project to help remove barriers that keep families from getting outside. The project is the Young Explorers Passport to Adventure, a self-guided tour of activities and an introduction to the Main Street to the Mountains trail system. The 12-page booklet mimics a real passport and includes both a trail map of the Main Street to the Mountains system and a Streamline bus system for transportation to trailheads. The passport includes pages featuring 5 different parks and trails in town. Each trail page has a number of activities that the young adventurer must complete in order to accomplish “Peets Hill Pioneer” or “Gallagator Crusader” status.  Nothing motivates kids more than a prize so they’re eligible for rewards when they complete various numbers of pages in their passport.

The activities in the book are fun, first and foremost. But they also encourage kids to look around and engage with their surroundings. Trails are not simply gravel paths, they can be educational, inspiring, relaxing, and active places for kids to develop and grow. The passport is a great tool for parents who are seeking structured ways to start exploring the trails with their kids.

Family Promise and GVLT have distributed passports to local nonprofits who serve families.  Groups such as Thrive, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, YMCA, and HAVEN will be giving passports to children in their programs. “We’re really lucky in Bozeman to have such a breadth of accessible trails right in our backyard. Most of the Main Street to the Mountains trail system is easy and great for beginner explorers. This passport will give children a window into a world they can explore, regardless of income” says EJ Porth, GVLT Communications and Outreach Manager.

The passport is currently being distributed through local nonprofits but will be available for download and print on the GVLT and Family Promise websites. Family Promise will be handing out passports and helping kids complete pages during a GVLT Discovery Walk on Sunday July 10th at 2:00pm at the Gallatin Regional Park. This event is free and open to the public.

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Wednesday, Jul. 6th, 2016

12th Annual Targhee Fest Looks Like a Winner

Tom Garnsey of Bozeman, who owns and operates Vootie Productions, knows what it takes to put on a hell of a show, and those skills are showcased at Targhee Fest every summer.

The Teton Mountains provide the backdrop for Targhee Fest, which many consider one of the best festivals in the Northwest. The stage sits at about 8,000 feet above sea level, at the foot of one of Grand Targhee Resort’s chairlifts. The slope leading to the lift line during ski season provides perfect seating with a good view for all, as well as plenty of room for those who just can’t stay in their seats.

It can be hard to stay in your seat at Targhee Fest. The bands featured during this three-day festival can run the gamut from rock to Americana, but the acts are always stellar. Garnsey has been at the helm of Targhee Fest since it began over a decade ago.

“It’s always fun for me,” said Garnsey. “It’s a perfect spot, with an always-amazing crowd, and amazing music.” The work bringing that music together for one three-day weekend in the Tetons can be a somewhat grueling process. Garnsey said during a May interview that “by now, I’m already thinking about next year,” even as he’s putting the finishing touches on this year’s show while preparing for the last-minute snags that can surface.

“Sometimes plans aren’t cemented until a month before the event,” he said  “Together with the Targhee folks, we work through a wish list. Then we begin making contacts. The [festival] budget dictates offers...we can’t make more offers than the budget allows...and we may not find out about an offer for three months. A popular performer might have 100 offers in a summer season. Sometimes by March or April a big act that you’re wishing for fades away. It’s really a big puzzle that you sift through until the pieces fit.”

That fit always seems to be fabulous at Targhee Fest, which features a blend of blues, Americana, Reggae and rock. It’s a fit that Garnsey uses to educate as well as entertain.

“Basically I’m a musician,” he said, “and I’m always looking for the threads between styles. All these little threads between these people that I try to bring to the Targhee stage often means you get more than your money’s worth from these acts, because they like to play together more often than not. That’s a bonus.”

The fun begins at the 12th annual Targhee Fest on Friday, July 15, with music by KIMOCK, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Hot Tuna Electric, and moe. Saturday features the Jamie McLean Band, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons, the Jayhawks, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Bettye Lavette, and Grace Potter. Targhee Fest winds down Sunday with HoneyHoney, Josh Ritter and the Royal City Band, JJ Grey and Mofro, and the Drive-By Truckers. Every evening after the festival, Grand Targhee Resort’s Trap Bar and Grill will feature music by festival entertainers. Targhee Fest takes place near Driggs, Idaho, at Grand Targhee Resort. For more information on the festival, including ticket purchases and camping reservations (recommended), contact or

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Tuesday, Jul. 5th, 2016

Montana Ballet Company’s creates Adaptive Dance Program for children with Down syndrome

Montana Ballet Company (MBC) announces the creation of a new Adaptive Dance Program (ADP), designed to provide creative movement and introductory ballet instruction for children ages 5 – 12 with Down syndrome.

“We believe no child should be denied access to the arts,” says MBC Artistic Director, Elizabeth DeFanti. “ADP is the next step in our growth to increase the capacity to serve more children in our community.”

Montana Ballet Company faculty, trained in working with individuals with Down syndrome, teach the classes in conjunction with Board Certified Physical Therapists and experienced live musicians.

“Extensive research and planning went into our Adaptive Dance Program,” says DeFanti. “As a result, we have sound curriculum and the finest practitioners in the classroom.”

MBC faculty provide a safe, thoughtful and nurturing environment for students to develop a lifelong relationship with dance. Students are provided clear expectations and learn dance etiquette. Students explore, learn and practice creative movement exercises to diverse musical rhythms. In addition to these artistic and health benefits, students have the opportunity to master movements specifically tailored to their ability, thereby enhancing confidence and self-esteem. The goal is for each student to have an empowering experience.

Montana Ballet Company, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1984, provides the finest quality training and the highest caliber dance performances including the Nutcracker to the Bozeman community.

For more information, please visit

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Tuesday, Jun. 28th, 2016

MSU scientist wins NASA fellowship to explore early life on Earth, other planets

A Montana State University graduate student who wants to better understand early life on Earth and the potential for life on other planets has received a one-year, $30,000 fellowship from NASA, with the potential to renew it for two additional years.

Melody Lindsay, of Honolulu, Hawaii, said the Earth and Space Science Fellowship will allow her to continue sampling hot springs in the world-class laboratory known as Yellowstone National Park. Besides examining the influence of hydrogen on microorganisms that thrive in the extreme conditions of the Norris Geyser Basin and other thermal areas, she will use her fellowship to analyze and present her findings at the NASA AbSciCon conference and, potentially, other scientific conferences. The fellowship will also allow her to pay tuition and other expenses as a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Agriculture and the College of Letters and Science.

"It's really great," Lindsay said. "Not only do you get to work on your research, but you get to present it."

Eric Boyd, Lindsay's adviser and an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, said the fellowship is extremely competitive. NASA's Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program offers fellowships in four areas of research, and more than 700 people applied for the 2016 awards. Lindsay was one of 28 who received a fellowship in planetary science.

Boyd said the fellowship is another major achievement for Lindsay, who has already accomplished much in both science and music.

Lindsay, who grew up in Honolulu the daughter of a physicist and musician, was also one of 20 U.S. college students selected to attend a June 20-24 conference in Spain. The 2016 International Summer School in Astrobiology allowed her to learn from some of the world's leading experts in astrobiology, a field that focuses on the origin, evolution, and future of life in the universe.

Lindsay is also lead author of a scientific paper accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of the journal "Geobiology." The paper -- her first as lead author -- was the culmination of research conducted in one semester by 10 MSU graduate students who took a course last fall from Boyd and MSU Earth Sciences Professor David Lageson.

"This is a super phenomenal time in her life and her career," Boyd said of Lindsay. "She is rising to the top, and it's fun to watch. It's fun to be a part of."

Before coming to MSU, Lindsay earned her bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. A harpist as well as a scientist, Lindsay attended Princeton with a $50,000 fellowship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Saying science won out over music, she nevertheless continues to play the harp for the Great Falls and Billings symphonies and occasionally plays a small harp while in Yellowstone for fieldwork. She has performed on NPR, her first time at age 13.

Lindsay said she met Boyd at an American Geophysical Union conference where she presented her undergraduate research on microbial life almost two miles below the surface of the earth in the gold, diamond and platinum mines of South Africa.

"I came to MSU because of the research Eric is doing, which is amazing," Lindsay said.

Although she encountered a grizzly bear and two cubs on her first day as a graduate student and her first day in Yellowstone, Lindsay said the opportunity to study extremophiles in Yellowstone National Park is incredible.

"To continue in the same line of work would be phenomenal," she added.

Boyd, who has many achievements of his own, was a NASA Early Career Fellow, won a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and is deputy director of a $7 million NASA project to investigate the origin and future of life in the universe.

"He's wonderful," Lindsay said. "The opportunities he gives all his students are just insane. It's amazing what he can do for his students, what he has done. Plus, he's fun to work with."

Boyd, who currently supervises five graduate students, said he remembers the frustrations of graduate school so he looks for ways to keep his students excited about their research.

Besides going to Spain and starting her NASA fellowship this summer, Lindsay will also travel to Alaska to conduct fieldwork on mud volcanoes in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Max Amenabar, another of Boyd's students, spent six weeks in 2014 on a research ship best known for carrying researchers to the sunken Titanic. Amenabar was part of a team looking for microbial life in 3-million-year-old sediments beneath the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean.

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Monday, Jun. 27th, 2016

MSU Library to share resources statewide

The Montana State University Library is part of a new system that will allow academic library users across the state to access the collection holdings of 16 libraries in Montana through a single online search.

The MSU Library, along with 15 other institutions in Montana’s Treasure State Academic Information and Library Services (TRAILS) consortium, recently selected Ex Libris Alma Resource Management Service as its new integrated library system. The new system is expected to go live in December.

Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, is a leading global provider of cloud-based solutions for higher education. The data testing, reconfiguration and migration of the service began in late May.

“This new library management system will provide greater access to the state’s university library collections, not only for MSU students, faculty and staff, but for people across Montana,” said Bob Mokwa,interim executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at MSU. “The technology will also allow MSU and its partner institutions to modernize collections. We’re delighted to be part of this new system and to help increase the use of our valuable library resources.”

The TRAILS consortium sought a solution to increase staff efficiency by unifying workflows and reorganizing resources to have the greatest impact. Further requirements included a native, cloud-based system to help offset administration and energy costs; a discovery environment that would be flexible enough for large libraries to customize and powerful enough to provide excellent patron services out-of-the-box; a rich analytics environment; and a vendor with a proven record of partnering with academic institutions.

With the Alma resource management platform, the consortium will gain all of these features, offering member libraries benefits on many levels through the sharing of skills and resources.

“We chose Alma as the technological solution that will allow the 16 academic libraries of TRAILS to build and manage collections more cooperatively,” said Kenning Arlitsch, dean of MSU Library. “We expect this move will eventually bring greater access to information resources to students and faculty across Montana’s institutions of higher education.”

“The implementation of the Alma library system is going to be an exciting process,” said Shali Zhang, professor and dean of libraries at University of Montana. “The new system will enable all participating libraries to work more efficiently, share expertise and resources, and provide better services to our user community – students, faculty and staff – thus strengthening the library’s impact on learning and research initiatives. I am thrilled that in-depth collaboration between library colleagues at Montana’s academic campuses will soon be a reality.”

Ex Libris North America’s president, Eric Hines, said the company’s resource management platform will be a key factor in helping Montana’s academic libraries meet their goal to support student success and faculty research.

“It is wonderful to see so many long-standing customers in Montana joining the Alma community,” Hines said. “We look forward to many more years of successful partnership with Montana’s academic libraries.”

The TRAILS consortium formed in 2016 with the goal of providing click-through access for students and faculty to all digital information resources purchased by any college or university in Montana. For more information, visit

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