MISSOULA – The University of Montana Alumni Association board of directors has announced the winners of its prestigious 2021 Grizzly of the Last Decade Awards.
These awards honor outstanding UM alumni who have graduated within the past decade, excelled early in their career and shown potential for continued success. Eight exceptional alumni won the award this year.
Brooke Andrus is a 2010 UM graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. After beginning her career in community news and media relations, she took a mighty leap of faith in 2013 when she joined the marketing team at the Phoenix-based WebPT, the nation’s leading software provider for outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapists. Under her leadership, WebPT’s content team has been honored with numerous awards – most recently as the gold winner at the 2020 CEO World Awards for Communications or PR Campaign of the Year, COVID-19-Related Information. Shortly after celebrating her eight-year anniversary with WebPT this spring, she was promoted to senior manager of content marketing.
Andrus is a third-generation Grizzly, joining her grandfather, father, mother and brother as a UM alum.
During her UM years, she was a member of the varsity cross-country team and competed in indoor and outdoor track and field. She currently is a life member of the Alumni Association and served as a Griz-Cat satellite party coordinator.
Kevin Brockbank earned three degrees at UM: a bachelor’s degree in education in 1995, a master’s degree in education in 2005 and a doctorate in educational leadership in 2017.
He spent the first 16 years of his career in higher education at Helena College and Missoula College as a tenured faculty member and administrator. His emphasis during that time was on workforce program development through partnerships with Montana businesses and community organizations.
From 2013 to 2015, Brockbank was a dean at Salt Lake Community College, where he was recognized as a national leader in the advancement of competency-based education.
Since becoming president of Spokane Community College in 2017, Brockbank has maintained a focus on growing local talent by creating new pathways to meaningful careers. Part of that work is transitioning students in Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language classes, as well as adults returning to school, into rewarding career pathways. Brockbank recently was named an inaugural member of the Aspen Institute New Presidents Fellowship.
Brockbank and his wife, Brandi Foster ’94, volunteer on local and national boards supporting business, outdoor recreation, veterans and college scholarships, with an emphasis on funding single parents.
Shelbi Dantic is a 2014 UM graduate with a degree in political science. She is a seasoned Democratic strategist with a decade of proven experience. Most recently, she managed the successful congressional campaign of Carolyn Bourdeaux, the only Democrat to flip a Republican-held House seat in 2020. In the 2018 election cycle, she served as deputy campaign manager for Montana Sen. Jon Tester’s re-election campaign.
Prior to managing campaigns, Dantic served in a number of leadership roles at an influential statewide conservation organization, Montana Conservation Voters. She was named the Montana Progressive of the Year in 2018 by the New Leaders Council, serves on the National Women’s Caucus for New Leaders Council and was an inaugural fellow of the Blue Leadership Collaborative program in 2019.
During her UM career, Dantic participated in MontPIRG and the Associated Students of UM Senate, and she was the University Center board chair. Since graduation, she has mentored political science students to help them navigate the field through MontPIRG’s internship classes.
Dantic’s parents and grandfather attended UM. Her father is a law graduate. Both her grandfather (Bob Dantic) and father (Brad Dantic) played Grizzly football.
Dustin Lind is a 2017 graduate of UM with a doctorate in physical therapy. His bachelor’s degree is in exercise science. He currently is the assistant major league hitting coach and director of hitting for the San Francisco Giants.
Lind started his career at Hamilton Physical Therapy as an orthopedic physical therapist. He also worked as an independent hitting consultant for minor and major league baseball players. He was hired in 2018 to serve as a quality assurance coach in the Seattle Mariners’ minor league system, overseeing implementation of data-driven training methods for hitters and general offensive development. He was promoted to director of hitting development and strategies in 2019 and assigned to work with all levels of Seattle’s organization to improve offensive performance.
He was hired by the San Francisco Giants in 2020 in a dual role of major league assistant hitting coach and director of hitting – in addition to new player onboarding and offensive development throughout all levels of the minor leagues. The Giants’ offense improved from 28th in offensive output to seventh during the 2020 season.
Lind has been a guest lecturer at UM in sports analytics courses and is involved in various youth baseball programs.
Dan McFarland is a 2008 UM graduate. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and human performance, with an emphasis on pre-dental studies.
While at UM, McFarland played Grizzly football, where he describes his position as wide receiver/water boy/benchwarmer. He balanced the difficult pre-dental curriculum with being a student-athlete to complete his degree. While preparing for admission to dental school, he served as the youth sports director at the Missoula Family YMCA from 2009 to 2011. Upon acceptance to dental school, McFarland attended the well-respected University of Pacific Dental School in San Francisco.
McFarland graduated from dental school with honors and in the top 15% of his class in 2014. He then pursued additional training in cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery and endodontics. McFarland has been working in private practice in western Montana for six years. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Montana Dental Association, Three Rivers Study Club and the Missoula Chamber of Commerce.
McFarland is a member of the Grizzly Scholarship Association and provides sponsorships for golf tournaments and sporting events. He previously served in Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Missoula and has been a volunteer dentist at Project Homeless Connect/Project Community Connect.
Dan Shook is a 2012 UM graduate in recreation management. He currently serves as a National Park Service interpretive ranger at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge.
He started his career as a seasonal ranger with Montana State Parks and continued throughout his senior year of college in the Montana State Parks AmeriCorps program. After graduation he fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming an interpretive ranger with the National Park Service, working at both Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Yellowstone National Park in the Old Faithful District before accepting a full-time, permanent position in 2014 at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
At the Wright Brothers Memorial, he developed a unique storytelling program titled “The Death of Impossibility,” which combined the park’s history with audience-participation problem-solving.
In September 2016, he was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of Health Connect South in Atlanta. His inspirational speech to nearly 500 health care professionals linked the story of the Wright Brothers and the importance of strategic thinking and collaboration when spearheading innovation, such as finding a cure for cancer.
He transferred back to Montana in 2018 and the Grant-Kohrs Ranch, where he continues bringing history alive and connecting with park visitors while interpreting the values and legacy of the nation’s open-range cattle ranching history.
He has deep roots in the UM community, including his ancestor James V. Burnett, a skilled brick mason who was contracted to lay the bricks for Main Hall.
Shook is a U.S Navy veteran and helped develop Milltown State Park through AmericCorps. He also works to raise awareness for organ donation following his wife’s double-organ transplant in 2019.
Tom Snyder is a 2011 UM graduate with a degree in finance. While at UM, he worked on a business plan to open up a restaurant. As he explored various cuisines and cultures, he fell in love with Brazil and the nation’s cooking styles, using simple ingredients to make flavorful and healthy dishes. He is the founder and owner of Five on Black Brazilian restaurant, with locations in Missoula, Billings, Great Falls and Bozeman.
The 2011 winner of the College of Business’ annual John Ruffatto Business Startup Challenge, Snyder’s Five on Black is one of the UM business competition’s top success stories.
Since graduation, Snyder has stayed connected to the College of Business as a judge and adviser of the startup challenge and sponsors its “Feasibility Award.” He is a guest speaker at the College of Business and serves as a mentor through the University’s BlackStone LaunchPad program.
He is past president and a current board member of the Missoula Downtown Association. He serves on the North Riverside and Parks planning and development committee and sponsors the Feeding Families Fund, set up through Five on Black.
He is a member of the Hellgate Venture Network, a community of Missoula entrepreneurs.Snyder’s spouse, Lauren (Dooley), also is a 2011 graduate of the College of Business.
Ashleen Williams is a 2011 UM graduate in political science. She currently is the Senior Barksdale Fellow at the University of Mississippi, working toward her doctorate in history and teaching classes.
Williams was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Bahrain in 2011 and a Mitchell Scholarship to Northern Ireland in 2013 to study applied peace and conflict studies. Following her time in Northern Ireland, she moved to Yemen and Qatar for Arabic language studies and work. In 2016, she moved to Oxford, Mississippi, as a fellow of the honors college at the University of Mississippi. Her current teaching schedule includes honors, international studies and public policy. In 2021, she received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities for her promise as a future leader of higher education, and she was selected as a national Humanities Without Walls Pre-Doctoral Fellow.
During her UM years, Williams participated in ASUM as president and senator, the Mount of Olives Arabic Language and Culture Club, College Democrats and the Alumni Association Community Lecture Series planning committee. She now is a member of the Alumni Association’s Montana Emissaries and is a volunteer for the Davidson Honors College.
She is one of several members of her family to have attended UM, including her mother, two uncles, grandfather and grandmother.
Contact: Jodi Moreau, associate director, UM Office of Alumni Relations, 406-243-6124, firstname.lastname@example.org.