UM Awards Prestigious Provost’s, Dean’s Scholarships

Tim Nichols, dean of the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana, congratulates a student. (UM photo by Coral Scoles-Coburn)

MISSOULA – A talented group of first-year students will arrive at the University of Montana this fall as Provost’s Honors Scholars and Dean’s Leadership Scholars.

The scholarships are among the most prestigious awards for incoming students in UM’s Davidson Honors College and significantly reduce the cost of attending the University.

Provost’s Honors Scholars are awarded to students around the nation based on academic performance, public service, leadership, personal qualities and potential for future impact. Based on the same criteria, Dean’s Leadership Scholars are recognized for academic excellence, demonstrated leadership and potential.

The students hail from across Montana, Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Washington, California and more. They will study diverse fields ranging from forestry and physics to finance, pharmacy and more.

DHC Dean Tim Nichols said this year’s incoming students are accomplished scholars, athletes, artists, scientists and leaders in their schools and communities.

“The academic and co-curricular achievements of this class are exceptional,” Nichols said. “We are thrilled to welcome them to the Davidson Honors College, where they will be surrounded by other talented, motivated students for an elevated, enriched and enlivened UM education.”

The class of 2024 Provost’s Honors Scholars are:


Michael Papaianopol is from Byers, Colorado, and will pursue pre-medicine at UM. He served as president of his local Future Business Leaders of America Chapter and captain of the Knowledge Bowl Team. He’s also a certified phlebotomist.


Lindsay Torres of Decatur, Georgia, will pursue a degree in visual arts at UM. She was a member of her school’s National Art Honor Society, captain of her school’s show choir and a member of the Atlanta Young Singers and Georgia All-State Chorus. She was an arts camp counselor and painted a mural for her community’s farmer’s market. Torres enjoys roller dancing, video games and exploring the earth and space through scientific illustration.


Mick Perryman is from Moscow, Idaho, where he served as student body secretary and ran cross-country. He is passionate about reading, writing and the environment and will study English at UM. Perryman loves to ski, hike, hunt, fish and camp. He also makes focaccia bread and lemon meringue pie.


Ella Book from Lombard, Illinois, will major in environmental science at UM, where she is eager to explore climate change and its impacts on biodiversity. Book was president of her school’s Key Club and parliamentarian for its new FFA Chapter. She was named a 2024-25 Illinois State Scholar.


Madeline “M.T.” Thunberg is from Crown Point, Indiana. The editor-in-chief of her high school’s yearbook, Thunberg will study journalism at UM. She volunteers with her local YMCA, was drum major for her high school band and was crowned homecoming queen. She also makes a “famous” banana bread.


Hudson Weber of Monkton, Maryland, is a passionate fly-fisherman and will study aquatic wildlife biology at UM. Weber is an artisan baker who has summited Trapper Peak in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains.


Lyla Ackerman of Helena was named the Distinguished Young Woman of Montana in 2024. She will pursue a biology degree at UM in hopes of teaching either in schools or other educational settings. She “grew up” in Helena’s Grand Street Theater and was selected for Montana’s All-State Choir. She also served as a YMCA camp counselor and attended a science camp in the Seeley-Swan Valley.

Larkin Brown of Bozeman has been involved in “Team Yellowstone,” the Leo Club service organization, and has shown sheep in 4-H. Brown also volunteers at the Bozeman Public Library and started an aluminum recycling program at her school.

Juliette Burbidge of Helena will pursue mathematics, business and finance at UM. She’s a competitive gymnast and track and field athlete and works at her hometown’s Big Dipper ice cream shop.

Gavin Emerson of Kalispell will be a first-generation college student. He is interested in business and cybersecurity at UM. Emerson is graduating with a full International Baccalaureate diploma. He served as student body treasurer, played varsity football and rugby, and attended Montana Boys State.

Gabriel Hendrix of Missoula earned the UM High School Mathematics Award. He describes himself as “a curious, passionate learner” and will study biology at UM. Hendrix was a Montana Geography Bee champion and is an accomplished classical guitarist. He also was a high school track and cross-country athlete and sang in the choir.

Caeley Luoma of Great Falls will study psychology and Spanish at UM. Luoma was her high school’s design and theme yearbook editor and senior class treasurer She also participated in CYC, a Catholic leadership program for high school students. Luoma loves to vacuum, and her favorite thing is Aquaphor ointment.

Grace Simser from Manhattan will study theoretical mathematics and Spanish at UM. She describes her love of reading as a pillar of her personality. Simser was a school mentor and is active in competitive speech and drama. She also serves as a 4-H ambassador. Simser plays the violin but loves to play the “fiddle” more.

Anna Stensrud of Missoula will pursue integrated physiology and pre-medicine at UM. She’s been involved in Health Occupations Students of America and shadowed health professionals at St. Patrick’s Hospital. Anna was a member of National Honor Society and taught both dance and golf. She will play golf for the Grizzlies next year.

Aidan Stevens is from Missoula and attended the DHC’s Kermit and Kathleen Schwanke Summer Institute. She will study environmental science and climate change studies at UM. While in high school, Aidan ran cross-country, started a glass recycling program and interned with the Citizens Climate Lobby. Stevens loves languages and is learning French and Gaelic. She’s also an avid hacky sacker.


Turin Latino of Vienna, Virginia, was born in Montana and both of his parents are UM alumni. He lived abroad in both Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Latino is an outdoor enthusiast who will study environmental science and sustainability at UM. He ran cross-country during high school and “aspires to get his hands dirty but is equally excited by Roman history and practicing speaking Russian with friends.”


Emerson Neldner of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, will study environmental science and sustainability at UM. Neldner was a mentor for the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, edited her high school’s yearbook and was a varsity lacrosse athlete. She also plays the banjo, and published two middle-grade fantasy novels while in high school.

The class of 2024 Dean’s Leadership Scholars are:


Abby Pettit of Palmer, Alaska will study mathematics, chemistry, biology and health sciences at UM. Pettit was the varsity captain for her school’s basketball, soccer and tennis teams. She works at a local specialty crop and vegetable farm.


Maxwell Bloom is an Eagle Scout from Rocklin, California. He is a talented musician who plays French horn, trumpet and trombone. He’s also an enthusiastic and accomplished outdoorsman, having solo hiked the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. Bloom will study wildlife biology at UM.


Josie Macek of Evanston, Illinois, plans to major in anthropology at UM. Macek is passionate about the environment, social justice and women’s empowerment. She plays trombone in several high school bands and was selected for the Super State Concert Band Festival. She also works at a nature preserve and enjoys practicing American Sign Language.


Bethany Lavoie of Belchertown, Massachusetts, will pursue a major in wildlife biology at UM. Lavoie was her school’s student council president and environmental club secretary. Shealso played volleyball, worked as a lifeguard and enjoys hiking, skiing and photography. She also sings and plays bass in a rock band and plays piano, guitar and ukulele.


August Allen from Lakeville, Minnesota, is an aspiring physician assistant. She played competitive volleyball, is a member of the National Honor Society and loves visiting national parks. Allen also is president of the Letters of Love Club, whose members correspond with local hospitalized children.


Ben Cleary of Helena will pursue a visual arts major at UM. He participated in a mock-trial, and is an accomplished cellist, having participated in both All-State and All-Northwest music festivals.

Isha Vanderbeek of Lewistown will study music education at UM. Vanderbeek was involved in Key Club and a local democracy project. She plays six instruments and was selected for UM’s All-Star Band.

Franka Streifler from Eureka will pursue a media arts major at UM. Her twin sister is also a DHC Scholar. She founded a student-led theater group and was president of her school’s Key Club. Streifler participated in First Robotics and Montana Conservation Core, and studied abroad in Germany. She’s also an especially fast tree skinner.

Elannah Flat Lip of St. Ignatius was raised on both the Crow and Flathead Indian Reservations. She is president of her school’s Indian Club, and her Indian name means One Who Gives Away Good Things. Flat Lip will study pre-med at UM and hopes to provide quality health care to Native American children. She is a four-time Academic All-State athlete and enjoys horses, bead-work and traditional pow-wow dancing.


Camden Fletcher from Spokane, Washington, will study business administration at UM. Fletcher played varsity football and lacrosse and served as a youth lacrosse mentor. Camden worked on a farm since childhood and opened and runs his own concrete sealing business.


Note: Photos of the Provost’s Honors Scholars and Dean’s Leadership Scholars are available online.

Photo: Tim Nichols, dean of the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana, congratulates a student. (UM photo by Coral Scoles-Coburn)

This release is online at:

Statewide, hometowns