Ridge Scholars 2021

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Tre Blohm is a PhD Graduate student at the University of Montana getting his degree in Anthropology. He also a certified Molecular Diagnostic Technician, a Licensed Clinical Lab Specialist and Junior Research Scientist at a local biotechnology company, FYR Diagnostics. Outside of school and work he loves to ski, play video games, and fly fish. re writes, "My research has focused on identifying ancient DNA from prehistoric individuals in the modern-day nation of Ukraine. I perform excavations at Verteba Cave, Ukraine where I excavate and catalogue findings. Then, the human remains are scrutinized for markers of disease. If found, I bring them back to labs in the US and perform ancient DNA analysis to identify pathogenic microbes. I try to link the conditions of past health states to modern health and look for ways to understand the spread of past and present pathogens."

Learn more about Tre here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tre-Blohm-2

Read more of Tre's research here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03532-0 and here https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352409X21000109



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Gabriella Graceffo is a second-year candidate for the MFA Poetry and MA Literary Studies programs. She is from Dallas, TX, and uses intermedial approaches to study trauma’s impact on memory. She has been published in the MacGuffin and the University of Chicago and has received an honorable mention from the Academy of American Poets. Her project, Under the Skin, explores abandonment, medical trauma, and family dynamics with illness through a collection of poetry, photography, and a nonfiction essay. In May of 2020, Graceffo traveled to Glasgow, MT with permission to photograph the abandoned Air Force base at St. Marie. Featuring smashed nursery wings, pitch-black operating theaters, moss rooms, and more, the hospital becomes the backdrop for a poetry collection of personal and political interactions with medical practices that question how trauma lives in the body. 

Learn more about Gabrielle and her work here: www.gabriellagraceffo.com


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Emily Hicks, MS, is a doctoral student in the Psychology department at the University of Montana. She is part of the Indians into Psychology (InPsych) program, and hopes to one day work with indigenous people as a neuropsychologist. Emily writes, "My research focuses on both the individual and combined impacts of physical activity and being in nature on cognitive functioning. The study will explore whether there are differences in executive functioning, cognitive flexibility, and prospective memory between groups who engage in movement outside versus inside and groups who are sedentary outside versus inside. Indigenous students will be the primary participants as there is a severe lack of literature regarding the impact of physical activity or the natural environment on native individuals."

Read some of her publications here: https://www.oatext.com/hope-as-a-protective-factor-for-cognitive-difficulties-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.php

 and https://www.oatext.com/improving-mammography-access-for-women-with-disabilities-outcomes-of-the-cdcs-right-to-know-campaign.php

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Elizabeth (Lila) Osborn is a second-year MS student in Geography at the University of Montana, with a concentration in Community and Environmental Planning. She is originally from the Hudson Valley region of New York, and completed her BA in Geography at the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2020. She's had a great time getting to explore Montana and all that it has to offer this last year, and look forward to the next one! Lila writes, "My research examines food insecurity in Butte, Montana, with particular focus on factors tied to the city’s unique mining history. At the base of the Continental Divide and atop vast mineral resources, Butte was once the largest and richest city west of the Mississippi River. Work, everyday life, and local identity in Butte were intimately tied to the mining industry. When mining operations started to shutter in the late 1970s, Butte began a period of economic decline and population loss. Today, Butte reports notable conditions of unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity. My research recognizes that food insecurity stems from factors related to poverty and access at individual and community scales. Further, it highlights how the physical environment and geographic context in which people live deeply affect their health and wellbeing. I hope to understand Butte’s conditions of food insecurity today, how they are related to post-industrial decline, and the history of response and intervention in the problem."