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UMW Students Selected to 2023 Western Regional Honors Council Conference

UMW Press Release:

University of Montana Western students Draylen Sawyer, Jonah Lindsey, and Kimberly Giannone have been selected to present at the 2023 Western Regional Honors Council (WRHC) Conference at the University of Montana's Davidson Honors College from March 30 – April 1, 2023.

The WRHC is a professional organization of faculty, administrators, and students dedicated to the promotion and advancement of undergraduate honors education. The WRHC represents honors programs and honors colleges at institutions of higher learning across the 13-state Western Region through annual regional and national conferences.

This year, three University of Montana Western Honors students were selected to present at the WRHC in Missoula. Draylen Sawyer’s presentation will focus on the history of Japanese American Internment Camps, Jonah Lindsey will be presenting “Subterranean Circuits: Undergraduate Field Testing of Electrical Resistivity Tomography,” and Kimberly Giannone will showcase her photography portfolio in “Sweat and Sagebrush, a Look Inside Ranching in Southwest Montana.”

Giannone’s “Sweat and Sagebrush” will feature twelve framed photographic prints from her portfolio documenting the ranching community in Beaverhead County over the last three years. Her oral presentation on Friday, March 30, will highlight more of the photography from the project as well as the history of the ranching community in Beaverhead County and the possible future as the economics around ranching continue to change.

Giannone grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began working on “Sweat and Sagebrush” when she moved out west and started classes at Montana Western.

“I have had the privilege to be exposed to and be a part of the tight knit, hardworking ranching community here in Southwest Montana. I am most proud that I have worked on this project by my own volition. ‘Sweat and Sagebrush’ came from a place of wanting to have a better understanding and it has continually progressed into attempting to provide a voice for the ranching community, to showcase the work, determination, and ingenuity that ranching requires and to let folks in the outside world know that it isn’t all cowboy clothes and the Yellowstone show. It’s real life,” she said.

“Sweat and Sagebrush” will also be featured in the 2023 edition of Scribendi, a nonprofit annual print publication that publishes creative work from undergraduate honors students. Giannone competed with over 300 other submissions and passed a rigorous voting process to be published in the final production. Scribendi will host its release reception for the 2023 edition on March 30 during the WRHC conference.

Giannone would like to thank all the professors she has had at Montana Western for their support during this project and the Sloan Family Foundation for the scholarship that allowed her to go back to college and pursue her goal of obtaining an undergraduate degree. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2026 with a degree in Environmental Sustainability and a minor in Fine Arts.

“I sincerely believe that being able to attend college at the University of Montana Western and having the opportunity to connect with my professors on a personal level has helped this project to blossom in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. I’m grateful to be a UMW student and a member of the community,” she said.

To find out more about the 2023 WRHC conference and to view the entire weekend of presentations, please visit

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