Rainbows Over the Rockies Large Extension Logo

 RAINBOWS OVER THE ROCKIES: 
Celebrating Diversity with Leadership and Learning 
is the annual educational and networking summit for LGBTQ+ youth, families, professionals and allies. The Summit is April 30 - May 2, 2020.
This event is FREE and EVERYONE is welcome!

Thanks to everyone who attended the summit!

Many of the sessions and materials will be posted soon - keep watching this space for updates.

Give us your feedback - what went well and what we can do better next year!

   The 2020 Summit is Going Virtual!    rainbow registration button 

Follow the Summit for the latest news!

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Jump to These Sections

Leadership in Action Awards 
Video Library
Agenda
Presenters
Partners
Questions and More Information


 

Leadership in ActionIn conjunction with the Summit, youth (prioritizing those under age 18 but open to all) have the opportunity to apply for awards of up to $250. Youth who want to take on a leadership role to increase LGBTQ+ inclusivity in their community, school or family and friend groups - anywhere outreach, compassion and friendship can be found - are encouraged to apply.

These funds can be used in lots of creative ways, including:

  • Start a QSA or similar organization in your community or school.
  • Support a QSA or similar organization that is already in your community or school.
  • Hold a social or educational event.
  • Attend a leadership, educational or social meeting or camp.
  • Create materials to distribute.
  • Purchase software or hardware to meet and interact virtually.
  • Lots of other stuff – get creative!

Two easy ways to apply!

  • Go to the on-line form here (works great on computer or smart phone).
    If you can’t access the form, email responses to the below questions to deborah.albin@montana.edu.
  • Make a video answering questions 5-8 belowand email it to deborah.albin@montana.edu and answer questions 1-4 in the body of the email.

    Show off your great application and encourage others to apply by posting your video with #VirtualRainbow2020 to:

                                                                facebook icon      Twitter icon     Instagram Logo

Application Questions

  1. What is your name (or group name if applying as a group)?
  2. What is your age (or ages if applying as a group)?
  3. How can we contact you – email address (preferable) or phone number?
  4. Should you receive an award, do we have your permission to share your story on our social media sites and website? Email and/or phone number WILL NOT be shared.
  5. What change/effort/event to increase LGBTQ+ inclusivity would you like to lead in your community?
  6. What are the current or potential barriers to your idea and how do you feel you could lead your community to overcome these barriers?
  7. What do you celebrate about your identity and how or why does it make you want to be a leader in your community?
  8. If your idea to create change will cost more than $250, how much do you think you will need and why?

That's it!! Have fun and be creative - we can't wait to read your applications!! 


Video Library Lena Rainbow

Rainbows Over the Rockies presenters, partners and participants talk about the importance of LGBTQ+ Leadership and Learning and what being part of a community means to them. See all the great videos here.


Agenda (Get a printable agenda for all three days here.)  

The agenda is subject to change due to last-minute availability of presenters.

Thursday, April 30th - What's Happening Nationally 

Join presentations from professionals around the nation that explore the role of Extension, 4-H Youth Development, and other organizations that serve and support LGBTQ+ youth and families.

All times below are Mountain Standard Time (MST). What time zone am I in?

Suggested Audience: A=All;   Y=Youth;   P=Professionals;   PF=Parent/Family;   E4=Extension/4-H

10:30 am-11:00 am MST
Welcome and Land Acknowledgment

11:00 am-12:00 pm MST
Why I Care: Being Out in Rural America

-Jeff Myers, former Extension Professional & Life, Career and Executive Coach, Baltimore, MD
Join Jeff for a humorous and heartfelt conversation about being out in rural and agricultural America. The heart of  Jeff's passion comes from his own personal journey as a gay man, and a desire to lift and support other LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as their friends and families. Suggested Audience: A 

12:00 pm-1:00 pm MST
LGBTQ+ Clientele and Food Insecurity During COVID-19 Crisis
-Katherine Soule, Ph.D., Director, the University of California Cooperative-San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties Extension 
This presentation will allow participants to learn about current research and related issues affecting LGBTQ clientele, including COVID-19; develop local strategies for addressing food insecurity with LGBTQ clientele; and learn about best practices working with LGBTQ clientele. Suggested Audience: A 

1:00 pm-2:00 pm MST
Working With LGBTQ+ Youth and Families in Extension
-Kayla Oberstadt, 4-H Program Manager, Ohio State University
In this workshop, Extension educators will participate in activities and virtual group discussions to enhance their knowledge about delivering programs to LGBTQ+ audiences. Participants can expect to learn terminology, build awareness of best practices to support youth and adults in Extension programming, and recognize their university’s legal obligations in producing inclusive content. All participants will leave with steps to create an inclusive environment for their diverse audiences by providing positive education! Suggested Audience: P, PF, E4 

2:00 pm-3:00 pm MST
Understanding the LGBTQ Community and Implications on 4-H Youth Programming
-Jeff Howard, Ph.D., State Coordinator for Administration: Organization and Faculty Development, University of Maryland Extension
Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) people are part of the majority of communities in the United States, and in recent history societal acceptance is rapidly increasing.  LGBTQ youth are coming out at much earlier ages as well as straight children having same sex parents is an increased norm.  This presentation will help to develop a better understanding of the LGBTQ community, how youth development practitioners can be prepared to support them, and implications on youth programming will be discussed. Suggested Audience: P, PF, E4  

3:00 pm-4:00 pm MST
Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of all Genders and Sexual Orientations 1.0 - Overview
-Joseph Rand, Associate Extension Professor, University of Minnesota
-Kayla Oberstadt, 4-H Program Manager, Ohio State University
-Katherine Soule, Ph.D., Director, the University of California Cooperative-San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties Extension
During this session, participants will become familiar with the 4-H PLWG-approved document, Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of all Genders and Sexual Orientations. The document includes the following topics: importance of terminology, ensuring paperwork is inclusive and affirming, programmatic and facility considerations, communication practices, responding to clientele’s concerns, and recognizing non-discrimination policies of respective states. Presenters will share background information regarding the development and need for this document. The authors will also recognize the collaboration utilized nationwide from members of the Access, Equity, and Belonging Committee to make this document a reality. Suggested Audience: E4

4:00 pm-5:00 pm MST
Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of all Genders and Sexual Orientations 2.0 - Q & A
-Joseph Rand, Associate Extension Professor, University of Minnesota
-Kayla Oberstadt, 4-H Program Manager, Ohio State University
-Katherine Soule, Ph.D., Director, the University of California Cooperative-San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties Extension 
During this session, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue regarding the 4-H PLWG-approved document, Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of all Genders and Sexual Orientations. All participants are welcome to offer reflections about the document and how it may be implemented in their states. This opportunity will allow for the identification of potential supportive resources that may be requested to implement these practices successfully. Suggested Audience: E4 

New just for youth
7:30 pm MST
Rainbow Games: A Virtual Hang Out for Youth
Let's have fun and get to know some of the other youth summit participants! This sole purpose if this session is to meet other youth, have fun in a shared space and build community with others across the Rockies. This will be like no other meet and greet you will ever attend. We'll be silly, we'll be serious, but we'll never be embarrassing! 

Rainbow Games will be facilitated by Cami Armijo-Grover, Education Director at Bridgercare, a nonprofit family planning clinic in Bozeman, MT. When not socially isolating Cami and her high school Peer Educators can be found teaching topics like consent, birth control and the difference between gender, sex assigned at birth. and sexual orientation in local classrooms. They also love to answer anonymous questions from students like, "Can my parrot consent if I teach it to say 'Yes?'" "When do I know it's the right person and the right time?" and "When will we get boobs?" (from a 5th grade class on puberty). 
Log on to this session via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83583962920

Friday, May 1st & Saturday, May 2nd - Montana Speaks!

Join presentations from our experts from Montana for youth, professionals, parents, families and allies. 

All times below are Mountain Standard Time (MST). What time zone am I in?

Suggested Audience: A=All;   Y=Youth;   P=Professionals;   PF=Parent/Family;   E4=Extension/4-H

Friday, May 1st

10:00 am-10:30 am MST
LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth: One Organization's Caring Approach
-Erika Willis, MS, Executive Director, Tumbleweed
Join Erika for a conversation about homeless LGBTQ+ youth, which make up 40% of the youth served by Tumbleweed in BIllings. Tumbleweed meets at-risk youth and young adults where they are and strives to create a continuum of care, making space for hope and opportunity. Founded in 1976, Tumbleweed is a non-profit, community-based agency serving homeless, trafficked, runaway, and otherwise at-risk youth and their families and support systems.
Suggested Audience: A

10:30 am-11:00 am MST
The Outdoors Are For All Of Us: Making the Outdoors Accessible for LGBTQ+ Youth

-Dan Sandberg, Assistant Director, Outdoor Recreation Program, Montana State University
This session will focus on the opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth to get involved in the outdoors at MSU, in Montana, and beyond!  We will highlight some of the benefits of outdoor recreation, how to get and stay connected, and connect youth with mentors and programs that are helping create accessible outdoor spaces and activities for LGBTQ+ youth.  You’ll leave this session with tools and inspiration to get outside, learn, and play! Suggested Audience: A

11:00 am-12:00 pm MST
Open To All – Montana: Shifting the Culture & Building Inclusive Spaces
-Kim Leighton, Regional Philanthropy Officer, Pride Foundation 
Open To All – Montana began around a table in Helena with seven local business leaders in 2016 with a vision to create more safe and affirming places for LGBTQ+ people, identify supportive businesses and non-profit organizations and help shift the culture. We now have over 315 businesses across the state of Montana signed up with Open To All – Montana. We have businesses and organizations in all of our largest communities, as well as almost 30 businesses in rural areas such as Chinook, Corvallis, Ennis, Lewistown, Glendive, Miles City, East Glacier and more. The Initiative works with these businesses on strategies such as updating a non-discrimination policy, modifying facilities to be gender inclusive, holding LGBTQ-specific events and announcements. Open To All – Montana is critical in sending a message of support to LGBTQ+ people that they are valuable and they matter; and elevating supportive business and organizational leaders. It is even more successful with the help of our supporters across Montana.
Suggested Audience: A

12:00 pm-1:00 pm MST
Navigating Allyship through the Genderverse
-Zuri Moreno, TransVisible Montana
Join TransVisible MT to learn and practice effective allyship for transgender, non-binary, and two-spirit community members. In this training, folks will explore gender as a fluid part of the human experience that expands beyond the binary, learn about the challenges that misinformation and cisnormative systems create, deepen their understanding and comfort with using pronouns in everyday interactions, and identify effective (and ineffective) allyship qualities.
Suggested Audience: A

1:00 pm-2:00 pm MST
Building Inclusive Schools and Communities for LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse Youth
-Heidi Wallace, Executive Director, EmpowerMT
-Spencer Czech, BSW, Youth Programs Specialist, EmpowerMT
The session creates long-term collective impact by empowering participants with skills to transform their school & organizational cultures into more safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse Youth. Goals include: learn skills in identifying our own cultural lenses and in understanding the lenses of others; build a shared language and foundation of understanding around oppression and its impact on LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse youth; identify skills and actions necessary to improve multi-tiered systems of support for LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse Youth; and build tools for effective leadership, collaboration and advocacy in the school and community.
Suggested Audience: P, PF, E4

2:00 pm-3:00 pm MST
Medical Management of Gender Transition
-Katherine Mistretta, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
This presentation will cover the pharmaceutical treatment options for those seeking medical gender transition. We will explore the different medications that are offered as part of the treatment plan for gender diverse children, adolescents, adults and older adults. Medications used for both reversible and partially irreversible stages of gender transition will be reviewed, including dosing, side effects, and monitoring.  Suggested Audience: P

3:00 pm-4:00 pm MST
State of Affairs: LGBTQ Legal and Policy Overview in Montana

-SJ Howell, Executive Director, Montana Women Vote 
This workshop will provide a brief overview of the current state of LGBTQ policy in Montana, as well as potential challenges and opportunities we face in the coming year.  We will discuss what rights, protections, and ordinances exist across the state, what work is currently happening, and what might arise during the 2021 legislative session.  Bring your legal and policy questions as we'll make sure there's time for Q&A as well! Suggested Audience: A

4:00 pm-5:00 pm MST
Building Connection and Addressing Mental Health

-Hannah Wilson, LCPC, CST, Owner, Prickly Peach Sex Therapy  
Stigma, isolation, othered, and so many other words come up when discussing or contemplating mental health. In this engaging conversation, participants will dive in to learn practical skills when it comes to connecting with their peers. One of our core needs is to feel a part of a group. Finding a way to be seen and understood is fundamental in forming enriching relationships with one another. Allowing ourselves to become our most authentic selves and to be a supportive to each another. Laughter, story telling, and uncomfortable eye contact are sure to be a part of the session. Join us for connection (and all the feels) and if we were in person, candy. Suggested Audience: Y

Saturday, May 2nd

10:00 am-11:00 am MST
Cultivating LGBTQ+ Affirming Spaces within 4-H
-Maru Gonzalez, Assistant Professor and Youth Development Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, North Carolina State University
4-H professionals are called on to "make the best better" for all young people. How 4-H personnel extend the scope of this message to LGBTQ+ youth? How can they navigate resistant environments and implement practices that fully validate and affirm LGBTQ+ youth? This interactive & informative workshop will explore best practices for supporting LGBTQ+ youth within 4-H. Participants will have an opportunity to dialogue, ask questions, apply their knowledge to hypothetical case scenarios and leave equipped with resources they can apply within their counties and beyond.
Suggested Audience: PF, E4

11:00 am-12:00 pm MST
Spilling the Tea: Transforming Identity and Passion into Social Change
-McKeely Shannon, High School Program Manager, Forward Montana Foundation
-Terry Bradley, Development Manager, Forward Montana
Come join Terry and McKeely from Forward Montana Foundation to spill the tea! We know community organizing can be an unfriendly place for most young people. It’s boring, wonky, and feels slimy some of the time. Our goal is to deepen young Montanan’s’ culture of civic engagement and build the knowledge, skills, and leadership of young Montanans who reflect the diversity of our state. This is turn creates change in their communities, with more young people becoming lifetime voters and activists, running for and winning public office, and advancing issues and conversations that address the complex challenges facing young Montanans today and tomorrow. In this workshop we will give skills for young people to transform different aspects of their identity and their passion for issues into social change. Participants will discuss how people with diverse race, ethnicity, age, gender and sex, and sexual orientation bring new viewpoints into leadership roles.Suggested Audience: Y

12:00 pm-1:00 pm MST
The First of Its Kind: A Hate Crime Law Protecting LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit Citizens
 
-Jerico Cummings, ASMSU Student Director of Diversity and InclusionMontana State University
The Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota is the first tribe in the United States to enact a hate crime law with the goal of protecting their LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit citizens. Before enacting this law, the tribe had to legalize same-sex marriage on the reservation which then called for the protection of such citizens. A brief historical overview of the traditional gender systems that existed pre-colonization will be introduced, followed by the effects that colonization had on this demographic, and how contemporary revitalization efforts led to the hate crime law’s enactment.
Suggested Audience: A

1:00 pm-2:30 pm MST
Strengthening Supports and Active Allyship for LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse Youth 
-Heidi Wallace, Executive Director, EmpowerMT
-
Spencer Czech, BSW, Youth Programs Specialist, EmpowerMT
Participants will have the opportunity to hear first-hand from teen LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse Montanans on their experiences in the school system and identify systems changes needed to improve multi-tiered systems of support to LGBTQ+ Gender Diverse youth. Students will also have the opportunity to engage their peers across the state of Montana while creating a resource map that will help create a more comprehensive list of resources and supports accessible to LGBTQ+ Montanans, while also revealing the gaps present within our state.  Goals include: increase comfort with and awareness of the experiences of LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse youth; and identify systems changes needed to improve multi-tiered systems of support to LGBTQ+ Gender Diverse youth. Suggested Audience: Y

New just for youth
2:30 pm-3:15 pm MST
How Well Do You Know Your Rainbow?
Designed for youth specifically, this trivia event will test your knowledge of all things LGBTQ+! Discover fun new facts about LGBTQ+ history, current events, our "United" states, and sexual health for this population. We'll learn and laugh together! Every participant will receive a free copy of Self Discovery Journal for Teens and Young Adults: 200 Questions and Writing Prompts to Find Yourself and the Things You Want to Do in Life by Gerald Confienza 
Log onto this session via Zoom:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81610758080

2:30 pm-3:15 pm MST
Mental Wellness for Sexual and Gender Minorities
-Glee Dunbar, MSW, LCSW, MHPP
In this presentation attendees will learn about common mental health concerns and risk factors faced by sexual and gender minority youth. Attendees will gain an understanding of what protective factors they can enhance and how to combat risk factors. Attendees will also learn about common adjustment concerns parents of LGBTQ+ youth may face and how to be empathetic to this adjustment. Suggested Audience: P

3:15 pm-4:00 pm MST
Parents of LGBTQ+ Youth: Panel Discussion to Talk About What Keeps You Up At Night
 
During this session, we will have four parents of LGBTQ+ kids who will be sharing a bit about their experience raising a child who identifies as LGBTQ+, share what they have learned and continue to learn, and most importantly, be in community with other parents and caregivers of LGBTQ+ youth who are walking along this journey also.  This session will provide time for participants to ask questions and engage in conversation with the panelists. 
Suggested Audience: PF 

4:00 pm-4:45 pm MST
See The People
-Kimberly D. Richardson, Deer Lodge County Agent, Montana State University Extension
Communication is a vital aspect of our everyday life whether we are engaging with our significant others, partners, children, friends, youth and colleagues and one of the most difficult aspects to master. Understanding how to effectively address individuals is key in creating an inclusive environment where individuals feel safe, heard, and respected.  This session is focused on the basics of types of biases, person first language, and usage of pronouns as it directly relates to improving effective communication. Participants can expect to leave with a basic knowledge of the topic enabling them to “See the People” they interact with every day. Suggested Audience: A

4:45 pm MST
What’s Next?
The first annual Rainbows Over the Rockies: Celebrating Diversity with Leadership and Learning will wrap up with a discussion and Q&A about the Leadership in Action Awards, which will award youth $250 to lead a community effort to increase LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Youth leaders will be on hand to offer ideas and inspiration and we will reflect on the ideas from the three days of summit presentations. Suggested Audience: A


Presenter Bios 

Dusti Borsheim

Dusti Borsheim (sher, her, hers) is honored to be a part of the parent panel as a mother to three unique individuals who range in age from 22 to 15, two of them who identify as being a part of the LGBTQ community. Dusti values education and has recently returned Montana State University as a student and will be graduating in May with a Master’s degree in School Counseling.  She hopes she can offer support at this seminar by offering up her own vulnerability and mistakes as a parent and wife, as well as share insights into what she’s learned through the field of counseling. She also comes with the experience and wisdom of 22 years of parenting and 24 years of partnership with her husband, Devlan Geddes. Dusti has been an involved member of the Bozeman community over the years serving as a volunteer for several organizations including Bozeman United Methodist Church, Family Promise, President of the Parent Organization at Headwaters Middle School, Parent Activity Councils at CJ Middle School and Hawthorne Elementary, Eaglemount, SafeZone trainer through Diversity and Inclusion and Extension at MSU, Vacation Bible School, Thrive, the Bozeman Children’s Museum, and a few others! She originally hails from North Dakota, however, has been blessed to call the community of Bozeman “home” for the past 17 years. She enjoys hiking, horses, travel, good food and wine, family celebrations, and friendships. She’s currently trying to learn how to golf and is considering a return to roller derby! Dusti hopes that she can offer support to others in her future role as a counselor and that people see her as an approachable, caring person to share this beautiful life with!

Terry Bradley

Terry Bradley is the Development Manager for Forward Montana. Terry (He/Him/His) is an enrolled member of the A’Anniih (Gros Ventre) Nation. Out of six children, he is the second to graduate from high school and the first to graduate from college. His professional experience ranges from diversity and inclusion best practices to fundraising and events management. Outside of work, Terry can be found producing the It Takes a Nation podcast, thrift shopping, and talking to his various houseplants.

Jerico Cummings

Jerico is a senior at Montana State University from South Dakota studying sociology and Native American studies. He's been involved with the MSU Diversity and Inclusion Studnet Commons (DISC) for four years now, and currently serves as the Program Director of Diversity and Inclusion in the Office of Student Engagement. Outside of school and work, Jerico enjoys getting outside, hanging out with his friends, and researching Indigenous Queer Theory.

Spencer Czech, BSW

Spencer Czech is the Youth Programs Specialist for EmpowerMT. After growing up in Cut Bank, Montana, a small town on the edge of the Blackfeet reservation, Spencer moved to Missoula in search of a more inclusive and accepting community. The injustices that transpired in his hometown inspired Spencer to pursue a degree in Social Work with hopes of creating a more just society and advocating for those whose voices need to be amplified. Spencer is a Bachelor's of Social Work Graduate from The University of Montana. As Youth Programs Specialist, Spencer supportsEmpowerMT's work as the contact for Montana's GSA Network and facilitates EmpowerMT’s queer youth programs. Spencer is passionate about creating spaces where LGBTQ+ folks feel safe and empowered to be their authentic selves. In his free time, Spencer enjoys listening to music, playing video games, and spending time with his partner, Caleb.

Glee L. Dunbar, MSW, LCSW, MHPP

Glee Dunbar is the founder of Manhattan Area Counseling. Glee moved to Manhattan, MT from North Carolina after her husband started as a counseling professor at MSU. Go Cats! Glee has held several positions in the mental health field including several crisis management positions. During a project as a BSW student, Glee realized the numerous mental health risk factors gender and sexual minorities faced. From that moment on, Glee dedicated her BSW and MSW research to the LGBTQ+ community. Glee presented has presented her research on how to be inclusive in healthcare settings, provided trainings to mental health providers, school personnel, and students, lobbied against HB2, collaborated with producer of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel regarding inclusive practices for transgender students in sports, started and facilitated a transgender support group, collaborated to start a local PFLAG chapter, was Board President of PFLAG chapter, completed media interviews on concerns for sexual and gender minorities, advocated for LGBTQ+ population at community events, and participated in panels as a LGBTQ+ ally.

EmpowerMT

EmpowerMT supports, mobilizes, and engages LGBTQ+ and Gender Diverse youth and allies as leaders in tackling
individual and institutional transphobia and homophobia in an effort to build safer schools and communities. This is
accomplished through their local LGBTQ+ drop-in groups, Youth Forward and Be You Crew, the coordination of the
Montana GSA Network which is a resource to statewide Gender and Sexuality Alliances (formerly Gay-Straight Alliances)
led by youth leaders and adult mentors, and by coordinating a coalition of statewide partners working towards LGBTQ+
inclusion through the Montana Safe Schools Coalition. EmpowerMT is a sought-out resource and model for supporting,
empowering, and creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in Montana.

Kassia Finn, LMT

Kariss Finn (she/her/hers) is a CranioSacral Therapist, Bodywork Instructor, Sex Educator, and LGBTQ+ Ally Trainer. Kassia is lucky to be the parent of a trans-son and two gender boring kids. In part because of her son, she has dedicated her professional life as a Licensed Massage Therapist and CranioSacral Therapist to working with the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans folx, and people dealing with past emotional and physical trauma. Her strong belief in the power of positive physical touch is well matched with her chosen profession and population. Because gender non-congruence is often one factor in people not seeking massage therapy she is now looking to create a continuing education course for bodyworkers to address this and encourage other professionals to take steps to become an affirming practitioner. When not working with her clients or teaching bodywork Kassia spends many hours educating the youth of Bozeman with sex positive, anatomically correct, queer affirming sex education through the Our Whole Lives Program. She also works with BridgerCare to facilitate trainings for health care clinics all over Montana on how to be an affirming ally. Everything from how to alter intake forms to how to ask for pronouns and much more is covered in these trainings. She has found incredible fulfillment in helping make this state a safer place for her loved ones and all of those in the LBGTQ+ community. 

Maru Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Maru Gonzalez (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor and Youth Development Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at North Carolina State University. Currently, Dr. Gonzalez is Program Director for #PassTheMicYouth, a youth-led podcast and blog which seeks to amplify youth voices, shine a spotlight on youth activism, and provide educators with resources for developing critical consciousness. She also serves as co-PI for the Empowering Youth and Families Program, an opioid prevention education program for youth and their caregivers in rural North Carolina. In addition to her efforts domestically, Dr. Gonzalez has collaborated with policy makers, students, and educators in Chile, Peru, Spain, and the Dominican Republic on initiatives aimed at cultivating supportive and affirming schools for LGBTQ+ youth in the region. She has also served as a regular guest commentator on CNN and CNN Español and frequently contributes to The Huffington Post.

Jeff Howard, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeff Howard is currently serving as the State Coordinator for Administration of Organization and Faculty Development with University of Maryland Extension.  He is the former Assistant Director and State 4-H Program Leader where he oversaw the 4-H youth development program including over 55,000 youth members annually.  He has been with the land grant university system for 33 years, serving in Texas and now in Maryland.  His experience includes serving as a County Extension Agent, District and State 4-H Specialist and moved into Administration in 2006.  He has a bachelors of science in agriculture, a master’s degree focused in adolescent development and his doctorate focused on youth leadership.    He has served as PI or Co-PI for in excess of 2.1 million dollars in grants over the course of his career and published numerous curriculum pieces and journal articles supporting the youth development field of study. He is as a former Board of Trustee with National 4-H Council and National 4-H Congress.  His scholarship focus is in International Youth Programming and also advocacy for inclusion and cultural acceptance with a particular focus on LGBTQ youth.  He has presented 13 international and national workshops and invited talks on LGBTQ programming for youth development professionals and volunteers.

SJ Howell

SJ Howell joined Montana Women Vote as Executive Director in 2012.  Since then, Howell has led successful policy change campaigns at the state legislature, managed electoral organizing and ballot initiative campaigns, and expanded MWV's work to include a multi-issue, multi-strategy approach.  Before coming to MWV, Howell worked as a community organizer at the Western States Center, a regional social justice non-profit, in Portland. While not working, Howell brings their community organizer skills to outdoor recreation, enjoying a stiff drink, and parenthood.

Kim Leighton

Kim is the Regional Philanthropy Officer for the Pride Foundation. Kim was born and raised in Helena, Montana and graduated from the University of Montana in 2003. Throughout their career in Montana, they have worked with the YWCA of Missoula’s Domestic Violence shelter as an advocate and also as the Program Director at NARAL Pro-Choice Montana, working both on the policy level as well as doing grassroots advocacy throughout the state to ensure that reproductive freedoms remain protected in Montana.  They have volunteered on several political campaigns as well as Non-Discrimination campaigns in Montana. Over the last six years, Kim has committed much of their work with Pride Foundation to their LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Initiative, partnering with Empower MT and the Poverello Center to convene the first Youth Homelessness Summit in Montana. They are eager to continue this work to elevate the voices of those most impacted and searching for increased support systems and solutions. Kim joined Pride Foundation’s staff in 2013 after being a donor and engaged supporter. They are constantly moved by the passion, dedication and thoughtful and intentional approach taken to address the growing disparities and issues affecting LGBTQ+ people across the Northwest, particularly LGBTQ+ youth, youth of color; and trans*, non-binary and two-spirit people.  

Katherine Mistretta, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

Dr. Katy Mistretta is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who graduated with her doctorate from University of Colorado in 2019. She has been working as a family nurse practitioner with Bozeman Creek Family Health since 2013, after graduating with her Master of Science in Nursing from Montana State University. Dr. Mistretta offers comprehensive care to individuals across the lifespan, and she specializes in gender-affirming and transgender health care. She is passionate about offering inclusive and evidence-based care to those seeking medical gender transition and works with gender diverse individuals of all ages. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Mistretta is an assistant teaching professor at MSU College of Nursing and is co-founder of the non-profit organization, Gender Equality Montana, whose mission is advocate for Montana’s gender diverse and transgender individuals. When not working you can find her running in the mountains with her husband and playing outside with her two children.

Zuri Moreno

Zuri Moreno (they/them) is a TransVisible MT coalition member and Policy Associate at ACLU Montana. They are a first generation US citizen who's Indigenous mother immigrated from Colombia in the 70s and who grew up in South Florida. As a founding member of TransVisible MT, they support the planning of the annual Leadership Camp, as well as outreach and community engagement. Their work at ACLU MT focuses on policy change at the MT legislature, public education, and community organizing around criminal legal system change, Indigenous justice, and LGBTQ rights. Zuri's life backround has led them to be a vocal supporter for bringing an intersectional lens to the work of both ACLU and TransVisible MT. When not mobilizing community members for projects or events, you can find them enjoying the sunshine with their cat Dogwood or wandering in the woods.  

Jeff Myers

Jeff's passion for LGBTQ+ Diversity and Inclusion training is particularly focused on rural and agricultural audiences.  The heart of  Jeff's passion comes from his own personal journey as a gay man, and a desire to lift and support other LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as their friends and families.  Jeff's most recent article, What difference did I make? Living as a Gay Man in my Home Rural Community can be found on his LinkedIn page, https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeff-myers-6396bb5/. Jeff retired as an Area Director for University of Maryland Extension, worked for Penn State Extension, and owned and operated Del-Myr Farm, the family registered Holstein operation.  Jeff served in national leadership roles in Extension and the Dairy Industry.  Jeff additionally serves as a Life, Career and Executive Coach.

Kayla Oberstadt

Kayla (she/her/hers) is a program manager for Ohio 4-H Youth Development. In her various roles giving oversight to Older Youth Leadership Development, Kayla has made an intentional focus on creating safe spaces in Extension education. Through the LGBTQ+ Summit and Diversity Dialogue, she chaired a committee that welcomed over 150 participants from 15 different states for a two-day program of education, inclusion, and respect. This effort has been nationally recognized by Epsilon Sigma Phi and the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP) for diversity and multicultural impact. Kayla focuses on youth-adult partnerships to bridge the requests and current issues faced by young people to be supported by adult staff and volunteers who work with youth. She actively serves in professional development support roles through the National 4-H Access, Equity, and Belonging Committee and NAE4-HYDP Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce.

Laura Prindiville

Laura Prindiville (she/her/hers) will share her story as part of the parent panel. Laura serves as the Philanthropy Director for Gallatin Valley Land Trust.  She has spent nearly 30 year working in the nonprofit sector with an emphasis on fundraising, program development, and community outreach and has been fortunate to be able to contribute to the work of such venerable institutions as Family Promise of Gallatin Valley, the Bozeman Public Library Foundation, Children’s Museum of Bozeman, and Women’s Voices for the Earth. A native of Wisconsin, she was instilled with progressive values at an early age by her wannabe hippie parents and is an active community member and volunteer. She holds a degree in English Literature from Marquette University.  Laura and her husband have lived in Bozeman since 2002 where they raised two sons who are both handsome and clever.

Joseph Rand

Joe Rand (he/him/his) is an Associate Extension Professor at the University of Minnesota. He has facilitated equity and inclusion workshops related to LGBTQ+ youth within the Minnesota 4-H program, the broader Minnesota Extension program, and with a variety of youth and family service organizations throughout Minnesota. He serves as an advisor for his local Gender and Sexuality Alliance comprised of rural queer youth and allies. He also serves on the national LGBTQ+ subgroup of the Access Equity and Belonging committee of the 4-H Program Leaders Workgroup working to create equitable spaces within youth development settings for queer and trans youth. He received his M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership at the University of Minnesota.

Kimberly D. Richardson

Kimberly is the Deer Lodge County Extension Agent and Chair of the Montana State University Extension Diversity Team.  She holds a Master of Science in Ruminant Nutrition and Microbiology (MSU/NMSU) and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Medicine (NMSU).  She is currently providing researched based programming for the constituents of Deer Lodge County in agriculture, horticulture, 4-H, youth development, family consumer science, pandemic awareness, and community development disciplines.    

Dan Sandberg

Dan Sandberg is the Assistant Director of the MSU Outdoor Recreation Program.  He has worked to support programming at MSU such as the Queer Frontier program, as well as women and queer climbing nights and ice climbing classes.  For more information, visit www.montana.edu/outdoorrecreation/.  

McKeely Shannon

McKeely (She/Her/Hers) is the High School Program Manager at Forward Montana Foundation. The mission of Forward Montana Foundation is to educate, engage, and organize young Montanans to shape their democracy to improve their lives and the lives of their fellow Montanans. While based out of Bozeman, she has the chance to travel around our beautiful state of Montana frequently. Her goals in her travels are to connect with people who are just as stoked about opportunities to engage young Montanans as she is!

Katherine E. Soule, Ph.D.

Dr. Katherine Soule is the Director for the University of California Cooperative in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties Extension and youth, families, and communities advisor. In this capacity, Soule oversees youth, family, and community development programs that reach thousands of youth, individuals, and families each year. Soule chairs a National 4-H Vulnerable Populations Workgroup and serves as the Superintendent of Research & Development for the national Cultivating Change Summit, focusing on supporting individuals who identify as members of LGBTQ+ communities in the agricultural industry. She is working to help others around the nation increase the inclusivity of their cooperative extension programs for individuals who identify as members of LGBTQ+ communities through related work with universities and other youth-serving organizations. Locally, she is involved in research and offers related workshops for professionals, volunteers, and community residents. 

TransVisible Montana

TransVisible Montana is a coalition consisting of transgender, non-binary, two-spirit and allied Montanans from social justice organizations and local communities. We create a space for trans, two-spirit, and non-binary individuals to build community and take the lead on projects in their communities. THey promote awareness and education within all Montana communities on issues affecting trans, two-spirit and non-binary individuals.

Heidi Wallace

Heidi Wallace (she/her/hers) is the Executive Director of EmpowerMT. Heidi’s life experiences as a sixth generation, non-Indigenous Montanan led her to pursue a life of creating positive change in individuals and communities. Heidi has a Bachelor’s of Social Work and a B.A. in Native American Studies from the University of Montana where she was honored in 2010 with the Distinguished Alumni Award. For the past 18 years, Wallace’s focus has been on advancing youth leadership and creating just institutions by assisting organizations and communities to dismantle oppressive practices. Through her work with EmpowerMT, Wallace has influenced policy change and trained thousands of individuals to build safer and more inclusive schools, organizations and communities.

Erika Willis, MS

Erika brings over 25 years of experience working with people, teams and ideas to Tumbleweed. She thrives in environments where there is learning, growth and change and is deeply inspired by the growth process of people, ideas and businesses. Erika has been fortunate to accomplish some things in her life, but what she is most humbled by and proud of is being a mom to two great young men. A weekend for Erika hits a little bit of everything. A big long hike in the Beartooth Mountains is bliss. A workout that might be just a little over the top is fun. A night out on the town dancing or an evening at home alone are both weekend activities. She has embraced her introvert tendencies.
If you had a super power, what would it be? I would be able to beam myself anywhere. I am both very adventurous and efficient. So being able to wiggle my nose and be in New York City and home again by morning would just be the best.
What makes you laugh? I seriously like nothing more than laughing so hard it hurts. Kids make me laugh. My kids make me laugh, a lot.

Hannah Wilson, LCPC, CST

Hannah Wilson (she/her/hers) is the proud owner of Prickly Peach Sex Therapy. She is currently working on her PhD in Clinical Sexology through IICS and finds importance in empowering people to find their authentic selves. She has always had a passion for sexual education and the importance of inclusion. After working many years with homeless in Seattle, she found an importance of working with those struggling with mental health and the means in which people cope. When she returned to Montana, her commitment never waivered to address the pitfalls of sex education. She has worked as a sex educator for a reproductive health clinic, a therapist for a community health clinic, and many other roles to find a way to integrate mental health, sexual health and physical health. She has worked to find ways to create inclusive Electronic health records for trans clients, effective ways to provide inclusive healthcare, and creating spaces to discuss sexuality in a culturally competent way. Currently she works as a instructor for the MSU Psychology department as well as a part time Sex Therapist. When she isn't working you will find her with cake, reading a book with her sweet dog, Dax by her side.


2020 Summit Partners (to date) 

MSU Extension Community Development Partner Logos
Western Rural Development Center 
MSU Office of the President
MSU College of Agriculture 
MSU College of Arts & Architecture 
MSU College of Education and Health and Human Development 
MSU College of Letters & Science 
MSU College of Nursing 
MSU Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering 
MSU Honors College 
MSU Office of Dean of Students 
MSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion 
MSU Diversity & Inclusion Student Commons 
MSU Counseling and Psychological Services 
Montana IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence 
oSTEM at Montana State University 
MSU Queer-Straight Alliance 
MSU Black Student Union 
Bozeman Health 
Bridgercare 
Bozeman High School Sexuality and Gender Alliance+ 
Shodair Children’s Hospital 
EmpowerMT 
Forward Montana 
Abuse Support Prevention Education Network (ASPEN) / ASPEN Queer-Straight Alliance 
TransVisible Montana 
Hopa Mountain
Gender Equality Montana (GEM) 
Rev. D. Gregory Smith, LCPC
Tumbleweed
Planned Parenthood of Montana
Pride Foundation
Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Manhattan Area Counseling


Questions and More Information

Community Development Program
Montana State University Extension
deborah.albin@montana.edu / 406.994.1907