Alumni & Friends
On this page, we profile some of the more than 1,000 UM alumni who have participated in the Montana Model UN class, conference, team, and club. Did you participate? If so, thank you for keeping our tradition of excellence going for more than 55 years. We would love to hear from you! We also appreciate hearing from MMUN alumni and community members who have work or volunteer experience in international affairs. Please contact Professor Adams.
MMUN alumni and friends provide vital financial support for the conference and team. We invite you to join them. Thank you!
UM students have long been interested in international affairs. After World War I, there was an International Club on campus. During World War II, the formal name of the Western Alliance was the United Nations, and students formed a UN group. In 1945, the United Nations organization was founded. Nationally, the first Model UN conference was held in 1947. Our first records of the Montana Model UN Team are a team list from 1959 and a yearbook photo from 1960.
The first Montana Model UN High School Conference was held in 1966. Louise Krumm remembers, "While driving back from the 1965 conference in Los Angeles, the then chair Kent Price suggested the establishment of a high school MUN. The 1966 MMUN team sent 'snail mail' invitations to all high schools in Montana, appointed a volunteer staff, designed an agenda, convinced the UN in New York to send a representative, and pulled off a miraculously successful first conference."
The MMUN conference has been held each year since 1966. The MMUN Team was inactive for at least 10 years, due to lack of travel support. Since 1997, the MMUN conference and team have both been in continuous existence, contributing greatly to the international understanding of Montana high school students and the international competence of UM students.
Many MMUN alumni pursue international careers. Below we feature the following alumni:
- Louise and Donald Krumm
- Elizabeth and Jeff Serviss
- Jennifer Isern
- Amanda (Mandy) Johnson
From her home town of Havre, Louise Snyder Krumm "always had one eye on the world beyond." She was the first American Field Service exchange student from Havre, spending most of her senior year in Denmark. At UM, Louise took her junior year off to study and travel in 10 countries around the world. Upon her return she added a major in Political Science to her French degree and began a lifelong commitment to Montana Model United Nations. Louise was a MMUN team delegate in 1965 and part of the group that decided to start the MMUN high school conference. In 1966, Louise served as chair of the first conference, a role that later became known as director or secretary general. Donald Krumm was also part of the 1966 MMUN conference leadership. (For Louise's MMUN memories, please see the History section above.) After graduating from UM, getting married, and finishing graduate school, Louise and Don moved to Washington DC where they began distinguished careers in international affairs.
For 28 years, Louise served on the faculty of Georgetown University as a professor, overseas project manager, and director of the Center for Language Education and Development, which provided English language and academic preparation to Georgetown’s international students and designed, established, and administered intensive English and teacher training programs in Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. While based in Washington D.C. she lived and worked in China and Poland, and oversaw programs in the Philippines, Viet Nam, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. In 2002, Louise began a second career with the U.S. Peace Corps. She served for several years as Country Director in Togo and Niger, West Africa and later worked at Peace Corps headquarters, where she diversified country director selection to include more women and minorities. When she retired, she had participated in selecting one third of the 75 people then serving as Peace Corps country directors. Recently, Louise completed a six-year appointment as President of Togo-based Hope Through Health, an organization that provides financial and technical support for community based health care facilities.
Don had a 30 year career as a Federal Civil Servant. He worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was involved with the U.S. preparations for Habitat, the UN Conference on Human Settlements. Following Louise’s lead, he and the family spent 1980-1981 in China just as the country began opening to the world. For Don, that experience led to 15 years with the State Department’s newly created Refugee Bureau where he ultimately served as Director of Emergency Operations. In that position, he worked closely with major UN humanitarian response organizations including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Program (WFP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in hotspots including Sudan, Iraq, El Salvador and Afghanistan. After retiring from the State Department, Don spent 12 years with the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) a US Agency for International Development (USAID) organization charged with stabilization issues in countries emerging from conflict, including East Timor, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia and Yemen. Highlights included coordinating the safe return to their homes of 250,000 Kurds who had fled to the mountains on the Turkey-Iraq border following the first Iraq War in 1991. In 1992, Don led a yearlong effort assessing and responding to humanitarian needs resulting from the disintegration of the Soviet Union into Russia and 14 other countries.
Louise and Don have mentored many UM students and alumni, and Louise has served as a Trustee of the UM Foundation. They "continue to value the formative education they received at the University of Montana and remain awed at the sophisticated program Montana Model United Nations has become."
Elizabeth (Russell) Serviss and Jeff Serviss staffed the high school conference from 1984-1989. Later, from 2005 to 2020, all 5 of their kids participated in the conference as high school students. During those 16 years, there were just 2 years without a Serviss at the conference!
Before serving as a MMUN staff member, Jeff was involved as a high school student delegate from 1980-83. His favorite MMUN memories "are chairing the General Assembly and helping coordinate the crisis. I also met my wife while we were serving on staff."
Elizabeth says, "My favorite memories include chairing the International Court of Justice and working with the students during the crisis situation, sharing what I had learned about terrorism from Richard Drake's terrorism class. I also enjoyed meeting all the other members of the MUN staff, especially the staff member who became my husband. I think the fact that the kids can remember so well what countries they represented at MMUN really speaks to the value and impact of the experience for them - not just our kids, I mean, but all of the students who have participated. We actually still have 8 of the placards - and it would have been 9, except that 2020 was virtual.”
Dr. Jennifer Isern participated in MMUN from 1986-1989. She co-directed the high school conference in 1987 with Kathy Sherry and in 1988 and 1989 with Loey Werking-Wells. She majored in political science at UM, then went on to earn advanced degrees in development economics, finance, and international business.
Dr. Isern has more than 30 years of experience working on investing and financial and private sector development in more than 70 countries. Over her career, she has held increasingly senior positions with organizations such as USAID, CARE, the World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation. In 2019 she founded her own firm, Catalyze Global Impact LLC. Dr. Isern's passion is "combining financing, technical assistance, and innovation in high impact projects to improve the quality of life for people around the world.”
Dr. Isern went to high school in Billings, where MMUN was not available. She says, "it was a delight to encounter the program at UM. I especially enjoyed facilitating MMUN for Montana high schoolers given their energy and enthusiasm in adopting their selected country profiles and issues. My co-directors and I looked for ways to make the experience especially meaningful and focus students on critical geopolitical issues to bring the United Nations to life on the UM campus. Later, when I interned at UNDP in New York during graduate school, my thoughts frequently returned to MMUN experiences as I passed the General Assembly and other meeting rooms at UN Headquarters.”
Amanda (Mandy) Johnson is a U.S. diplomat who got her start with Montana Model UN. In 1994, Mandy participated in the high school conference as a Hellgate High senior. At UM, she double majored in French and history and double minored in German and political science. She was Co-director of the MMUN conference in 1997 and Director in 1998.
In 1997, Mandy co-founded (re-established) the MMUN Team with UM students Candace Maynard and Ben Darrow. “We had gone to our advisor, CAS Dean Flightner, in 1996 noting that MMUN was outdated and still following a Cold War-era construct with East and West voting blocs almost a decade after the Berlin Wall fell. We argued that we needed to create a collegiate team to learn how MUN conferences were conducted in the post-Cold War era.” The team represented UM at the National Model UN Conference in New York in 1997 and at the UC Berkeley Model UN conference from 1998 to 2000. In 1998 and 1999, “we drove non-stop switching out drivers using university vehicles to save money on lodging. It paid off as we were awarded outstanding delegation in 1998 and honorable delegation in 1999. By 2000 with United flights to San Francisco, we were given funds to fly." For her work with Model UN, Mandy was featured in Montanan Magazine.
After graduating in 2001, Mandy joined the US Foreign Service, where she has worked ever since. She has served in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. MMUN alumni Carson Relitz Rocker and Elizabeth Murphy also joined the Foreign Service in the early 2000s - all mentored by Ambassador (ret.) Mark Johnson who founded the Montana World Affairs Council. Mandy is currently a Diplomat in Residence recruiting for the U.S. Department of State in the Plains states.