HELENA – Carroll College students Geri Cutler and Mary Knight were recently awarded the 2023-24 George M. Dennison Civic Engagement Scholarship by Montana Campus Compact for volunteering significant time, energy, and resources – while pursuing a degree – to projects that make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. They were two of ten Montana college students statewide to receive this scholarship. The college students who applied demonstrated a commitment to George M. Dennison's vision of fostering resilient, fair, and upstanding communities through volunteerism, civic engagement, and service.
A senior biology major and chemistry minor from Helena, Mont., Geri Cutler is heavily involved in Special Olympics MT. She is currently in her second year as the president of the Carroll College Special Olympics Club and in her fourth year as a unified partner for a local young adult Special Olympics team, the Helena Halos. On campus, Geri works to create inclusive events for people with and without intellectual disabilities. As a Unified Partner, she participates in sports that involve unified teams, which include both individuals with and without intellectual disabilities.
“My vision for my community and the world is one in which everyone is included regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, or ability. This means constructing a community and, at large, a society, in which individuals are not defined by social constructs and can participate fully in society however they see fit,” said Cutler.
Mary Knight, a sophomore from Denver, Colorado, majors in international relations and political science. She has actively participated in disaster relief efforts in Florida, with two trips completed and plans for more. Additionally, Mary manages social media for her father's non-profit organization. Last summer, she worked with Americorps, focusing on wildfire mitigation and the removal of invasive trees.
“Human civilization is built on supporting one another. As Americans and as humans, our best trait is our willingness to step in and help,” said Knight. “I believe that the first step towards making a difference is to do what you can, when you can. Helping people doesn’t have to be a full-time job. It can be volunteering on weekends or during breaks.”
Montana Campus Compact advances the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. The Dennison family and several private donors have generously donated the funds to award ten $1,000 scholarships. The scholarship is a cost-share program between MTCC and campus network partners.