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Merci Lee was raised all around Montana, although she was born in Polson. She spent the majority of her ado- lescence in Kalispell, which she just moved from last year and is planning on moving back to in a couple more months. She struggled with addiction from a very young age—let's just say it runs in her blood, which is the un- derlying theme of her poem. She has come a long way in the past few years. She now has a two-and-a-half-year- old daughter who changed her life the second Merci found out she was going to give birth to the little precious soul. That little girl is the best thing that could have happened to her. She gives Merci the motivation to better herself day by day. And that's all it is, she takes it day by day, trying to re-learn who she thought she was. Trying to find her new self. Tressa Mancini grew up by and still lives near Bozeman. In between tackling algebra and working a busy service position, she likes to remember where she lives: Big Sky Country. More invigorating to her than the beauty of the land is the rich history that comes with it. Jeanine Schoessler is an online gamer, crafter, and music-lover. She has enjoyed crafting web experiences for higher education, businesses and non-profits since 2006 and created her business satinflame design in 2014. She loves spending time with her wonderful husband and her fluffy cat and dog. Her passions include trav- eling and sharing the Chinese language and culture with those around Bozeman. She is a recent graduate of the Leadership MSU program and currently works at OP/TECH USA while studying business at Great Falls College. Kara Smith is a graduate of CM Russell High School, where she studied photography under the guidance of The- resa Jacobs, developing a love of film and darkroom skills. She has provided photography services for non- profits, such as the Boy Scouts of America, as well as local sports teams including The Great Falls Americans jun- ior hockey team. While Kara has photographed commercially for web and print, she prefers to simply capture the beauty in the world around her. Her plans for the future include returning to her native Texas to complete her education. When Kara is not working toward her associate’s degree, she enjoys camping, kayaking, and play- ing with her dog, Chugs. Maria Sylvester is the author of “The Heebie-Jeebies.” Luke Volkomener is the author of the essays “Applying Epictetus’s Philosophies” and “The Problem with the Next Small Step for Man.” He completed his painting published here on November 8, 2015, over one-and-a-half hours. 52
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