The 71st Commencement exercises will be held May 11, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in the Toepke Center at Dawson Community College. Dr. Jim Cargill, President of Dawson Community College, the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and the Class of 2012 are proud to announce Ryan Sokoloski, Makoshika State Park manager, as the keynote speaker for the 2012 exercises.
After the Commencement exercises, graduates, families and friends are invited to a reception honoring the DCC Class of 2012 which will be hosted by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in the Toepke foyer.
Keynote Speaker Bio: Ryan Sokoloski has been employed at the park since 1999 where he has been a positive facilitator of park resources and welcoming face to visitors from far away as well as the Glendive community. More recently he has been an active participant on the Board of Trustees for Dawson Community College as Chairman.
Sokoloski is a product of Eastern Montana. Being born and raised in the small town of Circle, Sokoloski still feels most comfortable in rural Eastern Montana where the people and culture still carry on the same way of life that make Montana the great state it is.
Growing up in Circle, his fascination with all things outdoors began at an early age. He learned some important life lessons during those formative years; including cactus will make your hands, elbows, and knees itch for at least one full day after you pull them out. Never try to jump a barbed wire fence when your shoe laces are untied. A mad bull can turn on a dime. Snapping turtles are amazingly quick. And when the fishing is good, there is no such thing as “just one more cast”.
Upon graduating high school (and after all his bumps, cuts and bruises healed) Ryan enlisted in the U.S. Army. Ryan began his enlistment in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and was later transferred to Ft. Hood, Texas. While at Fort Hood, Ryan was selected as a top soldier in his battalion and sent to try out for a coveted position with the First Cavalry Division – Horse Detachment. He spent the remainder of his Army career riding horse and wearing the uniform worn by the Cavalryman of the 1870’s. With this unit, Ryan traveled extensively throughout the U.S. performing in shows, parades, rodeos, and equine programs. During his time stationed at Ft. Hood, Ryan met and later married his wife Carrie. After Ryan’s enlistment and honorable discharge from the Army; he and wife Carrie moved back to Montana to start a family and go to college.
Ryan began classes at Dawson Community College in 1999. He earned his Associates Degree three semesters later and transferred to the University of Montana-Western in Dillon. After three years he graduated from Western, earning a Bachelors of Science with minors in Biology, Wildlife Biology, and Wildland Interpretation. Throughout his college years, Ryan worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Through the various jobs and positions held, Ryan found the most rewarding jobs to be with Montana State Parks. He has worked at several parks throughout his young career and is currently the park manager, in the same park he first worked as an intern, Makoshika State Park in Glendive Montana.
Sokoloski is the proud husband to his best friend and “trophy wife” Carrie, with whom he loves to share laughs and life-experiences with. He, and wife Carrie, are the proud parents of two great children, Jasen and Hunter. Ryan most enjoys re-experiencing the various wonders of life through the young eyes of his kids.
In his list of personal accomplishments and professional affiliations, Ryan is most proud of his friends. The people he surrounds himself with, give him new reasons to enjoy every day and through those friends he has had opportunities and exposures to new ideas that he otherwise might not have. Ryan is a Certified Interpretive Guide, with the National Association of Interpreters. He is the Americans with Disabilities, Regional Representative for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. He is one of three Montana park managers who have graduated from state park leadership school National Association of State Park Directors at North Carolina State University. Ryan has also successfully completed the state Leadership & Management Development Program. Currently Sokoloski is the Board Chairman of Dawson Community College. He is an active member of his church pastoral council, as well as a firefighter on the West Glendive Volunteer Fire Department. Ryan has coached both little league baseball and junior high football here in Glendive Montana. While in the Army, he earned numerous awards and recognitions. While in public school, Ryan was an accomplished athlete and participated in football, basketball, track and field, and baseball; he also successfully competed in Forensics.