UM Names 13 Dean’s Leadership Scholars

MISSOULA – The University of Montana has named 13 students Dean’s Leadership Scholars for 2020, each high-achieving students selected for their diverse potential.

The prestigious awards include a substantial portion of tuition funding and varying stipends, which significantly defray the cost of tuition.

Awarded to 11 students from Montana and one student each from Colorado and Washington, the scholarships are merit-based for excellent academic performance, exemplary public service, demonstrated leadership, unique personal qualities and potential for future impact. Each student is enrolled in UM’s Davidson Honors College.

“I know I speak for my fellow academic deans at UM when I say we are thrilled to welcome this class of Dean’s Leadership Scholars,” said Tim Nichols, DHC dean. “These are some of our most outstanding new Grizzlies. Their exemplary achievements to date and tremendous potential for the future truly distinguish them among their peers. I know that they will enrich our UM honors community in powerful, positive ways.”

The Class of 2020 Dean’s Leadership Scholars are:



Theo Brent went to high school in Barcelona, but his family has deep roots in Montana. In high school, Brent volunteered weekly at a community center, where he taught basic technology skills to immigrants from Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Brent has enjoyed working in regenerative agriculture on Montana ranches, and is he passionate about basketball.


This is an image of Noah PaulsonNoah Paulson will major in neuroscience and pursue premedicine at UM. He enjoys hiking and backpacking around Montana and looks forward to involvement in UM’s Outdoor Program. At Skyview High School, Paulson was speech and debate team captain, an Academic All-State winner and a member of the National Honor Society.





Kaylee Sanchez will major in pharmaceutical sciences at UM. She’s a member of National Honor Society, has played basketball for 12 years and enjoys volunteering at the Montana Special Olympics. She also earned special recognition in the National Spanish Exam.


This is a picture of Haley YarboroughHaley Yarborough will study journalism and biology at UM. Yarborough was active in Bishop Union High School’s Earth to Sky Calculus Club and the creative writing club, and she has worked as a middle school camp counselor and soccer referee.






Maximus Drew will study management and entrepreneurship at UM. He was president of Key Club in high school and earned a 4.0-grade-point average. Drew was active in several community service initiatives, including making and delivering turkey dinners at Thanksgiving and food baskets at Christmas.

Great Falls

Jorgia Hawthorne started reading when she was 2 years old. This fall, she will pursue biology and political science majors at UM. Hawthorne was a four-year two-sport varsity athlete in high school. She loves tennis and soccer and has been an active volunteer with Montana Special Olympics. Now she looks forward to Grizzly athletic events, especially football and basketball.


This is an image of Justin TolllemireJustin Tofflemire will study wildlife biology at UM. At Capital High School, Tofflemire was involved 4-H, National Honor Society, Key Club and science club. As president of science club, he helped to create a summer camp to show kids that science can be fun. In his free time, Tofflemire enjoys playing with his dogs, horseback riding and spending time outdoors. He is looking forward to the social and recreational opportunities available at UM and is passionate about preserving the environment for generations to come.






This is an image of Ann KillenAnn Killen will major in pre-pharmacy at UM and hopes to someday serve patients in rural Montana. While at Huntley Project High School, Killen was involved in the Red Ants Pants Foundation Women’s Leadership Program and the National Rural Electric Cooperative’s youth tour to Washington, D.C. She also served as vice president of the local FCCLA chapter, is involved with speech and drama, and has worked to combat texting and driving in her community. A second-generation Griz, Killen looks forward to exploring Missoula and surrounding areas.






Ashlyn Sliter is a 4.0-grade-point-average student interested in premedicine. She is an accomplished scholar and musician, having studied piano for 14 years and earned highest distinction at district and state music festivals. Sliter has been on the high school tennis and speech and debate teams and has served as a student council representative. She also volunteers during the holidays at Kalispell’s historic Conrad Mansion Museum.


This is an image of Vivian CumminsVivian Cummins will study math education at UM. A Frenchtown High School graduate, Cummins loves math and has been involved in theater since she was in second grade. At Frenchtown High, she earned letters for academics, choir, track and field and speech and debate. Additionally, Cummins is the recipient of the Dan Lauren Honors Scholarship. She said she looks forward to making new friends and being a part of an exciting community.





Wyatt Ploot will study biology at UM in hopes of one day pursuing a career in orthopedics. He is a graduate of Sentinel High School, where he earned a 4.0-grade-point average. Ploot plays hockey and is captain of the Missoula Jr. Bruins NA3HL hockey team. He also has volunteered as a youth hockey coach and with Montana Special Olympics. Ploot said he loves the outdoors and enjoys unicycling, hiking in Glacier National Park and Montana’s beautiful Flathead Valley.


Olivia King of Colorado Springs will pursue a psychology major and the Franke Global Leadership Initiative at UM. She was named an Advanced Placement Scholar, earned an academic letter in speech and debate and is on the Cheyenne Mountain Cycling Team. King also was recognized for her extensive volunteer work with local veterans.


Halley Linscheid of Custer, Washington, will major in environmental studies at UM. She is passionate about the environment and interested in skiing, climbing and hiking. Lincheid is also a talented, award-winning visual artist and competed in the state Science Olympiad.


Contact: Timothy Nichols, UM Davidson Honor’s College Dean, 406-243-2534,