Click on each team member’s image to learn more.
Hired in 2023, Jill Baker brings many years of nonprofit experience to her role as Executive Director for Humanities Montana. She previously served as Executive Director for the Great Falls Public Library Foundation where she worked closely with the Library Director and Board to pass the first library mill levy since 2001, nearly doubling the operational budget for the local public library. Prior to joining the Library Foundation, Jill spent 17 years with Planned Parenthood of Montana leading a statewide team to coordinate successful education and outreach programs, as well as strategic partnerships throughout the state, including with youth, rural and Tribal communities.
As a fourth-generation Montanan, Jill is dedicated to lifting up the Big Sky Country’s unique voices and experiences in order to learn from our history and honor the diverse cultures that represents the Montana way of life. She is an avid reader, Master Gardener, and novice, yet determined, fly fisher.
Jenny Bevill is a dynamic educational leader with more than 20 years of experience teaching in public schools, museums, and community centers in New York City and Montana, including a decade at the Guggenheim Museum from 2004-2014. Jenny served as the Educator and Outreach Specialist at the Missoula Art Museum from 2018-2021 where she helped develop the distance learning platform, Museum as Megaphone, and the Art Host Initiative which connects Tribal nations across Montana with the museum to share contemporary Indigenous art. Jenny has taught and/or created content for many statewide arts organizations in Montana including the Office of Public Instruction, the Montana Arts Council, and Flathead Valley Community College. She has been a workshop leader for Humanities Montana since 2016 where she now coordinates the statewide Democracy Project for teens.
Democracy Project Coordinator
John Knight joined Humanities Montana in June of 2022 after many years of working in the arts as a museum professional, independent curator, and artist. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, John has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Cincinnati, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, where he co-directed two art galleries before moving to Montana in 2017. He has exhibited his own art nationally and internationally, and has worked regionally as an arts professional with the Open AIR artist residency program and the Missoula Art Museum. John is thrilled to bring his experiences in the arts to Humanities Montana. He believes that the humanities serve to build strong and diverse communities throughout the state of Montana.
Julie Ramone joined Humanities Montana in May 2022 and is excited to bring her years of nonprofit and tribal program experience to the team. She attended the University of Montana in Missoula and Montana State University in Bozeman and completed a BS degree. Julie believes that the humanities support diversity, equity and inclusion.
Megan J. Hill Sundy is the grants manager at Humanities Montana. She supports innovative humanities focused organizations in local Montana communities through grants counseling and participatory grant-making. She moved to Montana in 2001 to earn a BA in Classics and a BA in Liberal Studies from the University of Montana. Since that time, Megan has been serving Montanans across the state developing, implementing, and evaluating nonprofit programs in underserved and underrepresented communities. To honor her deep connection with Montana’s landscape and rich sense of community, she obtained an MS in Measurement and Evaluation from American University in 2020 to ensure that community voices are heard and real needs are addressed. Megan is a champion for humanities as a means to bring people and communities together to examine, reflect, and understand the human experience.
Taylor Willmarth is an undergraduate student at the University of Montana studying political science and journalism, with an emphasis in international affairs. He joined Humanities Montana in fall 2022 as the Social Media Intern. Taylor grew up in Great Falls and has worked with many nonprofit organizations across the state. He was a high school fellow with the Forward Montana Foundation, and founded and served as chair of the Great Falls Chapter of Montana Youth Action. In 2021, Taylor spoke on the power of youth in politics in the Why It Matters series hosted by Humanities Montana. He is looking forward to learning valuable skills through his internship with the organization this year, while simultaneously contributing to a cause he believes in.
Social Media Intern
Glory Blue Earth-Highley
Glory was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana. After high school, she moved to North Carolina where she met her spouse and the father of her three daughters. She comes from a military family—with all branches represented—and is immensely proud of her veteran family members.
Glory and her family were living history interpreters at the Outdoor History Museum in Nevada City, Montana under the guidance of Dan Thyer. The focus was daily life in the mining community, specifically Native American women in mining camps, marriage, and family culture. At that time, she lived in Anaconda and volunteered reading and teaching Native American studies in the schools, focusing on integrative art and hands-on learning. She was part of the Anaconda Coalition for Tolerance Education, helping coordinate Native American education for the community. She also advocated for the Arthritis Foundation, as her daughter is diagnosed with Polyarticular JIA. Senator Steve Daines told her daughter’s story on the Senate Floor, helping CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program)—a bipartisan initiative—to be reauthorized for six years. Her daughter was his guest at the State of the Union Address. Glory is a member and registered Sioux with the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes through her mother’s lineage.
In 2015, she completed her 1000-hour degree in massage therapy from Healthworks Institute in Bozeman. She maintains a small practice in Deer Lodge and works for Rock Creek Cattle Company and Whispering Willows Spa as a massage therapist. She is an apprentice healer with a focus on healing the mind, body, and spirit. Glory currently is the president of the Montana Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association. She also sits on a community board for Friends of Law Enforcement Officers working to bridge the relationship between law enforcement officers and the community of Powell County.
Glory Blue Earth*
Deer Lodge (2024)
Carol Bradley was a newspaper reporter in her home state of Tennessee, New York and Washington DC before escaping to Montana 25 years ago to write for the Great Falls Tribune. She was a 2004 Nieman fellow at Harvard and is the author of two books about animal welfare. She lives in Great Falls with her husband, Steve L’Heureux, and a pair of rescued border collies.
Great Falls (2025)
David Allan Cates
David Allan Cates is the author of five novels, a collection of short stories, and two collections of poetry. He’s published dozens of short stories and poems in literary magazines, and his essays and travel articles have appeared in Outside Magazine and the New York Times. He was born in Wisconsin, raised cattle on his family’s farm, worked on constructions sites, in offices, restaurants, and on boats. He’s driven taxi, played professional basketball in Costa Rica, and has taught writing at all levels, from prison classes, to public high schools, to universities. He currently teaches private students and serves as the director of Missoula Medical Aid, an NGO that provides public health and surgical services in Honduras, and supports nutrition and agricultural development projects there. He and his wife raised three daughters and live in Missoula.
David Allan Cates
Jeremy Carl is a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute, a policy think tank devoted to restoring and promoting the principles of the American Founding.
Prior to joining Claremont, Jeremy worked for a decade as a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and served as a policy advisor to many national political figures. He also served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior and was a Presidential appointee to the National Board of Education Sciences.
Jeremy received a BA with distinction from Yale University. He holds an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He has long had an interest in the humanities and is a supporter of the Gallatin County and Montana Historical societies and Montana Shakespeare in the Park.
He lives in Gallatin County with his wife and their five children where he loves spending time in the great Montana outdoors.
Jennifer Brevik Corning was adopted into Montana’s geography and rich culture 40 years ago. Completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in Billings, she has since worked in electronic and print media, grant writing, and public relations. Service as a trustee for organizations across the state has exposed her to the varied needs and aspirations of communities in Montana. Her free time is filled with family and friends, reading, hobbies, dogs, and any and all outdoor activities.
David Dietrich received his Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Montana College of Law. He is a fourth generation Montanan with a diverse ranching, real estate and estate planning background. His Billings-based law firm, Dietrich &Associates, P.C., has provided real estate tax and estate planning services to the region for over 24 years. He is passionate about promoting and enhancing the appreciation (for grade school children through college students) of literacy and the performing arts, notably in the South Central and Eastern Montana region. David and his family enjoy living in the Big Sky Country; he is an avid outdoor digital camera user, skier and hiker.
Billings (2024) – Chair
Ray Ekness is the director of the University of Montana Broadcast Media Center overseeing Montana Public Radio and Montana PBS-Missoula. He’s a former UM School of Journalism professor and chair of the Department of Radio-Television. He worked in commercial radio and television in Montana, North Dakota, and Idaho before joining UM in 1989. Ekness has helped produce many Montana PBS programs, including the popular “Backroads of Montana,” “Remembering the Columbia Gardens,” “To Helena and Back: The First Special Service Force,” and “Building Bridges: Back to Ireland.”
Jeanette M. Fregulia is the Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History in Carroll College, Helena, Montana. She holds an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance History from the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research and publications center on commerce, trade, and cultural exchanges between Medieval/early modern Italy and the eastern Mediterranean, and also on the history of the Middle East and Islam. In addition to articles and book chapters, her first book, A Rich and Tantalizing Brew, a History of How Coffee Connected the World was published in March 2019, by the University of Arkansas Press. She has two additional books under advance contract with Taylor and Francis.
Lynda is from a fourth generation Meagher county cattle ranch established in 1878. She earned a degree in Ag Business from MSU and has served as an officer in state and local cattle organizations. One of three Montanans on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, she sits on the Export Growth committee working to increase global demand for beef. History, art, music and community service have influenced her life since childhood. She is a graduate of REAL Montana and currently Chair of the Stillwater County Library board.
Ramey Growing Thunder
Ramey Growing Thunder was born and raised on Fort Peck Indian Reservation and is a member of the Dakhota Nation and a Navajo descendent. After two years at Fort Peck Community College, she transferred to Montana State University-Northern in Havre and obtained her undergraduate degree in Education. With this degree, Growing Thunder returned home to work as a teacher for grades K-12. In addition, she worked as an instructor at Fort Peck Community College and taught native languages on the reservation, pushing hard to implement the language and culture of the Dakhota people. Since then, Growing Thunder has obtained a Master of Arts in Language, Literacy, and Socio-Cultural Studies from the University of New Mexico and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Montana, working toward creating a culturally place-based K-12 education model.
Ramey Growing Thunder
Mary Hernandez is the Director of the Institute for Peace Studies at Rocky Mountain College with a mission to promote peace and conflict resolution, and to engage in cultural education. She owns Invisage Consulting to provide organizational development, technical support for nonprofits, and facilitate community conversations. Mary strengthened her advocacy for social justice and health issues after earning a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication with the minor in theatre arts from Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings).
She has volunteered and worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years with organizations including Venture Theatre, Yellowstone Public Radio, Yellowstone Art Museum, Yellowstone Boys & Girls Ranch (Empowering Youth Project), American Diabetes Association, Leadership Montana, and Tumbleweed Runaway Program.
In service to nonprofit boards and committees, Mary has most recently completed terms on the RiverStone Health Foundation board, and the executive committee of the American Civil Liberties Union National board and its ACLU Montana affiliate board.
Beyond work, Mary enjoys time with family and friends, discussions with her book club of 30 years, food adventures, taking in the visual and performing arts, and travel.
Carla Homstad has lived in Montana, both east and west of the divide, for most of her life. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in History from the University of Montana and worked as a consulting historian in Missoula for 20 years. In that capacity her work covered such topics as water rights, tribal histories, and cultural landscapes. She recently retired to focus more on writing poetry. She currently lives in Stevensville, the Bitterroot Mountains her constant companion.
Lathie Poole has been a Montana resident for fifty years, applying her skills to ranching, running a clothing store and art gallery, and working as a fixed-base operator for the Madison County airport before she and her late husband, Lee, built Moonlight Basin ski resort from the ground up. Lathie also serves on the board of the Bozeman Art Museum and is an active member of her church.
Arian Randall was born and raised in Helena, Montana and currently lives in Montana City with her husband and two boys. She has worked for the Forest Service since 2008 and has been the Deputy Forest Archaeologist on the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest since 2014. Arian has a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Montana State University and a Master of Science in Cultural Resource Management from St. Cloud University in Minnesota. She comes from a long line of Montanans with her family first arriving in Virginia City in 1864. She is even a direct descendant to former US Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Arian has always had an interest in humanities and connecting people to history. She believes using archaeology, history, nature and art are key elements for building a sense of place and getting people to care about their community.
Montana City (2025)
Francine D. Spang-Willis is of Cheyenne, Pawnee, and settler descent. She is an oral historian, business owner, and educator based in Bozeman, Montana. She enjoys engaging with the landscape through hiking, fishing, skiing, and occasionally ice climbing.
Spang-Willis graduated from the Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) program at Columbia University in 2021. Her thesis, Becoming Wild Again in America: The Restoration and Resurgence of the Pablo-Allard Bison Herd, was cited as a thesis of exceptional distinction in the OHMA program’s 2021 Jeffrey H. Brodsky Oral History competition. She served as an Obama Presidency Oral History Fellow from 2019 to 2020. She also holds a Master of Arts in Native American Studies from Montana State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Rocky Mountain College.
As the owner of Appearing Flying Woman Consulting, LLC, she collaborates with diverse organizations, communities, and individuals on oral history and community-centered projects. Various organizations have also invited her to share her knowledge and expertise on oral tradition, oral history, project design, settler colonialism processes, Cheyenne leadership, and bison and land recovery and restoration. She also has had diverse roles in higher education, the US federal government, and the nonprofit sector.
Esther Beth Sullivan
Dr. Esther “Beth” Sullivan grew up in Livingston, Great Falls, and Bozeman. She loved visiting her grandparents and extended families in Lima and Helena. The daughter of two amazing Montana teachers, she and each of her siblings went on to become teachers themselves. Beth earned her bachelor’s degree at Rocky Mountain College, and then taught middle school language arts in Missoula. She pursued graduate school in theatre studies at Washington State University (MA) and University of Washington (Ph.D.). From there she taught as a faculty member in the Theatre Department at Ohio State University and served in various administrative roles for 16 years. When she married a fellow Rocky alum who happened to live in Alaska, she moved to Anchorage where she began work as the director for the Rural Alaska Native and Adult Distance Education Program at Alaska Pacific University (APU). Over nearly 14 years at APU, she served as faculty member, program director, department chairperson, and academic dean. At the end of 2018, she and her husband retired and returned to Montana. Across her career from Montana to Ohio and Alaska, she is proud to have developed academic programs that expanded access particularly for first generation, rural, and Indigenous students. She is also proud of the work she did to integrate cultural studies across curricular offerings, especially through the arts. She is happy to be back in Montana, living close to Rocky, in the shadows of the Rims, under the brilliant Billings sky – and humbled to be working on the board of Humanities Montana.
Esther Beth Sullivan
W. Clark Whitehorn
W. Clark Whitehorn earned a PhD in History from the University of Colorado. He is currently executive editor for Bison Books, the western trade imprint for the University of Nebraska Press. His previous publishing experience includes serving as editor-in-chief at the University of New Mexico Press, director of publications at the Montana Historical Society, and director at the University of Nevada Press. He is also a veteran of the US Coast Guard. He and his wife, Charlene Porsild, who is President and CEO of the Montana History Foundation, live in Helena, and their son, Noah, attends Montana State University in Bozeman.