W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation
Special Student Edition - 2017
2017 scholarship recipients
PTRM graduates 2017

Celebrating our students! Scholarship recipients and graduates - 2017

200+ students graduated on Saturday, May 13, from our undergraduate and graduate programs. Each of these students undertook a journey of coursework, lab experiments, field trips, student club activities, jobs, internships, scholarship awards, and much more. They've gone through sleepless nights studying and writing dissertations. They've excelled as scholars, as leaders among their peers, as scholarship awardees, as researchers, and more. We celebrate each graduate and their unique journey. Below we highlight a few:

Zach Miller

Zach Miller just completed his PhD studying human-wildlife interactions in Yellowstone National Park with Professor Wayne Freimund. Zach looked at how park managers can increase bear safety behaviors for day hikers in Yellowstone through communication techniques. His goal is to provide authentic resolutions to contemporary park and conservation issues through both education and research. While at UM, Zach started a student chapter of the George Wright Society and did research projects in both Yellowstone and Glacier National parks. He's headed to Penn State as a post-doctoral scholar in the Park Studies Unit.

Erika Faubion

Erika Faubion, from Seattle, Washington, received bachelor's degrees in wildlife biology and French. She studied abroad in France for the fall and spring semester of her sophomore year. She was the Education Outreach officer for the student chapter of The Wildlife Society. Erika is now doing an internship with Idaho Fish and Game on a wolf survey, and then plans to gain more experience in the field before moving on to get a master’s degree.

Tracy Knapp

Tracy Knapp, from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, graduated with high honors with a B.S. in PTRM and Resource Conservation and a minor in Business Administration. Over her time at UM she served as the vice president of Montana Trails, Recreation and Parks Association, received the Recreation Management Excellence scholarship, and established strong relationships with faculty and students. She chose PTRM because it best fit her needs to become an aspiring park manager. Traci is now working on the Boise National Forest as a recreation technician.

Erik McLaury

Erik McLaury is from Hillsboro, Oregon and received a B.S. in Resource Conservation. Erik loves plant biology and was glad to be able to focus in on that in his degree program. While in school, he worked for a summer with Salmon Valley Stewardship as a range botanist and here at UM on Mt. Sentinel, the university-owned natural area. He also completed a course with Wild Rockies Field Institute. Erik is excited to have a position as a backcountry plant ecologist in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.

John Parcell

John Parcell, a recent forestry graduate, took first place in the Stihl Timbersports Western Collegiate Qualifier and will represent UM at nationals in July. Read more about the competition in this Missoulian article.

Tshering Tempa

Tshering Tempa completed his PhD on the ecology of Bengal tigers in Bhutan – the first student from Bhutan to complete a doctoral degree at UM. He worked with professors Mark Hebblewhite and Scott Mills. He’ll continue his work at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research. Read more about Tempa and three other international researchers who’ve come to UM’s Wildlife Biology program to study tigers.


In May we also celebrated our student scholarship awardees and the donors who support all our scholarship funds. We’re so grateful for continued donor support – this year we gave out $295,000 to students to support them in the next academic year. View a full list of all W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation scholarship recipients.

Dave Franke and students

Dave Franke attended our scholarship reception on May 1 to help celebrate the inaugural Franke scholarships, given to these outstanding, driven students: Lawrence Crofutt, Luke Johnson, Sawyer Johnson, Arizona Martin - undergrads who received the W.A. Franke Scholarship; and Palm and Sarah Sells, WBIO PhD students who received the W.A. Franke WBIO Graduate Fellowship. We're so grateful for support from Bill and Carolyn Franke and their family. Their transformational gift to our college will lift up our students for many years to come.

Zane and Betty Smith with Magdalena Noriega

Thank you to our beloved 1955 alumnus Zane Smith, and his wife Betty (also a UM alum!) for supporting the Zane and Betty Smith Scholarship. Magdalena Noriega received their award this year. Zane told us he was so pleased to meet Magdalena at our May 1 scholarship reception and he's sure she's going to be a great forest manager.

Other news

Three of our most beloved and long-working faculty are leaving this year.

Steve Siebert retired in January after serving as a professor of tropical forest conservation and management here since 1990. He established the graduate degree option in International Conservation and Development for master's students in the college and taught courses in international conservation and development, international environmental change, social forestry, and numerous field courses in tropical conservation and management. Steve conducted long-term research in Bhutan, Indonesia, Philippines, Belize and Greece. In 2012 he published the book "The Nature and Culture of Rattan: Reflections on Vanishing Life in the Forests of Southeast Asia."

Steve Running will retire in July after serving on our faculty since 1979. Steve was first hired as an assistant professor of forest ecophysiology and will retire as Regents Professor of Ecology. Steve is an internationally recognized scholar in satellite-remote sensing data, global vegetation productivity, climate change and more. Just a few of his accomplishments include: co-lead chapter author for the 201 US National Climate Assessment, team member of the NASA Earth Observing System, member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board Climate Working Group, and as a chapter lead author for the Nobel Prize-winning 2007 Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We’ll also bid adieu to professor Wayne Freimund this summer as he heads off to chair the department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University. Wayne has been a faculty member at UM since 1993 and served as director of the Wilderness Institute for seven years as well as interim dean of the college for one year. Wayne has a long history of work with the National Park Service and internationally in South Africa, Namibia and Zambia.

We’ll certainly miss Steve, Steve and Wayne – they leave very big shoes to fill!