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Jim Hafer’s passion for teaching is second only to his savvy in leveraging opportunity. Hafer, an agriculture instructor at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Mont., noticed a gathering storm of local retirements forming at both Pacific Power and Light’s cogeneration plants and at Western Energy’s coal mines. He made a decision. His students could—and would—fill the coming talent gap caused by the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation.
Montana State University (MSU) junior Ashley Williams wasn’t sure about her career passion in 2004, only that she wanted to use her geography degree to work internationally and to make a difference. All that came into focus after a chance encounter with entomology professor Florence Dunkel, a USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant and a trip to Sanambele, Mali. Williams discovered her future in that small farming village of 1,000 people—she found herself as an agricultural researcher.