Eight MSU students receive 2019 Cameron Presidential Scholarships

Eight Montana State University students have received the Cameron Presidential Scholarship. Pictured from back, left are; Jake Michaletz, Garrett Peters, Brooklin Hunt, Lizzy Thompson, Ben Homgren, Katherine Kaul, Madison Tandberg and Zariah Tolman.

BOZEMAN — Eight high-achieving Montana State University students have received the 2019 Cameron Presidential Scholarships.

The scholarships for the MSU students in the Honors College were made possible by an endowment made in 2017 by the Cameron Family, according to Ilse-Mari Lee, dean of the MSU Honors College.

Lee said the students were selected on the basis of scholastic achievement, demonstrated leadership and exemplary public service. Each recipient of a presidential scholarship, MSU’s most prestigious academic scholarship, will receive generous financial support during his or her undergraduate career at MSU if he or she maintains a superior academic standing, Lee said.

“We are deeply grateful to the Cameron family for endowing the Cameron Presidential Scholarships,” Lee said. “For a number of years, it has been a dream of ours to have such an award for current students. We are very pleased to announce the second cohort of Cameron Presidential Scholars.”

Nancy Cameron, along with her brother, David Cameron, and his wife, Tanya, are from a homesteading family north of Great Falls. The Camerons made the scholarships possible by committing to a $4 million endowment. The Cameron family homesteaded north of Great Falls more than 125 years ago and owned and operated the Dana Ranch in Cascade for more than 75 years.

Nancy Cameron, who now lives in Boise, Idaho, is an alumna of the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. David Cameron is a retired MSU faculty biologist and department head. Tanya Cameron is also an alumna of MSU, with a degree in business management.

This is the second year the Cameron Presidential Scholarships have been awarded. Three additional freshman Cameron Presidential scholars will be selected in early March.

The 2019 Cameron Presidential Scholarship recipients who are current MSU students, listed by hometown are:



Ben Holmgren is a sophomore double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. He is a recipient of a Montana University System Honor Scholarship and was valedictorian of Bozeman High School in 2017. He is an AP Scholar with distinction, a member of Phi Kappa Phi and is currently engaged in research in topological data analysis and computational geometry with professors Brittany Fasy, David Millman and Binhai Zhu in the Department of Computer Science. An avid rock and ice climber, Holmgren was the first volunteer with “Feet of the Cat,” a local nonprofit that collects and distributes climbing shoes worldwide. He has also served as a volunteer with the Bridger Ridge Run, maintaining race safety and assisting injured participants. His parents are Mary Cloninger and Steve Holmgren.


Jacob Michaletz is a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, with minors in mathematics and German. He graduated as valedictorian of Capital High School in Helena and is the recipient of Montana University System and National Merit Scholarships. He is a member of Nicholas Stadie’s research group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and works independently on the synthesis of metal organic frameworks. He is a member of the MSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders and is an accomplished pianist. Michaletz’s future plans include continuing his education at graduate school to develop materials for science or energy storage technology. His parents are Joe and Linda Michaletz.

St. Ignatius

Brooklin Hunt is a freshman majoring in microbiology in the pre-veterinary science track. She was the salutatorian of Saint Ignatius High School in 2018 and currently holds a data entry position in Raina Plowright’s disease ecology and epidemiology lab. She completed internships with the Owl Research Institute in Charlo as well as with the Broward Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Hunt completed a Captive Raptor Management Program through Cornell University Summer College and has served as a volunteer veterinary assistant. She is a student in the MSU TRIO Program. Her future plans include working as a veterinarian to reduce the effects of zoonotic diseases in rural communities as well as exploring the moral, ethical and business-related issues faced by the veterinary industry. Her parents are Russell Hunt and Suzanne Keast-Hunt.


Sandpoint, Idaho

Katherine Kaul is a freshman majoring in biochemistry. Co-valedictorian of Sandpoint High School, Kaul is a recipient of a Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship and was named an AP Scholar with Distinction. She was also captain of the cross-country, basketball and track teams. She worked at Albeni Falls Dam as a park ranger and was president of her 4-H club for six years. She is currently working in the lab of professor Joan Broderick and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi. Her future plans include graduate school and a career in medical research. Her parents are Kim and Travis Kaul.

Hettinger, North Dakota

Elizabeth Thompson is a junior majoring in industrial and management systems engineering and is a recipient of a Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship. She was the valedictorian of Hettinger High School and currently serves as the vice president of the Associated Students of Montana State University. This May, she will begin an industrial engineering internship with Boeing. She participated in an immersive study-abroad opportunity in Salamanca, Spain, and serves on the Women in Engineering Advisory Board. Thompson plans to attend graduate school for engineering management to pursue a global career in project management. Her parents are Alex and Kathleen Thompson. 

Eugene, Oregon

Garrett Peters is a junior majoring in microbiology with a minor in business administration. He is the recipient of Western Undergraduate Exchange and National Merit Scholarships. Peters has participated in Montana Idea Network for Biomedical Research-funded research with associate professor Seth Walk since his freshman year and has contributed to a publication on gut microbiome stability in adults, which is currently under review. He is a lab assistant for Anatomy and Physiology 201, an AdvoCat, a member of Phi Kappa Phi and a volunteer at both the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital Emergency Department and Eagle Mount. His future plans include either a doctoral or medical degree. His parents are Kent and Sarah Peters. 

Covington, Washington

Madison Tandberg is a sophomore majoring in computer science with a minor in mathematics. She is a recipient of a Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship as well as the U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award. She serves as the MSU Leadership Institute Outreach and Engagement coordinator and is the treasurer for the Association of Women in Computing. She is engaged in undergraduate research with professor Doug Cairns evaluating the severity of collisions between unmanned aircraft systems and general aviation fixed wing aircraft. She organized two “Hour of Code” sessions for Bozeman K-12 students and is part of the planning committee for the 2019 Western Regional Honors Council conference. Her future plans include utilizing her computer science education to mentor youth in the Bozeman community. She is the daughter of Eric and Stephanie Tandberg.

Otto, Wyoming

Zariah Tolman is a junior double-majoring in cell biology and neuroscience and biochemistry with minors in global health and biomedical engineering. She is a recipient of a Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship and is a Horatio Alger scholar from Wyoming. Tolman was the valedictorian of Burlington High School and was named the Distinguished Young Woman in Wyoming in 2016. She is a SmartyCats tutor, participated in Bobcat athletics as a pole vaulter and serves as an assistant coach for the Manhattan High School track and field team. Tolman is an INBRE researcher in the lab of professor Frances Lefcort and also conducted a research study while volunteering through Love Volunteers in Uganda. Her future plans include a medical or doctoral degree in global health to work as a physician-scientist for nonprofit organizations, practicing medicine and conducting research in underserved communities. Her parents are Rodney and Penny Tolman.