OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Board Chair - Bismarck
Sarah Vogel is a lawyer from Bismarck. In 1988 she was the first woman in the United States to be elected to lead a state Department of Agriculture. Her legal practice has been in North Dakota and nationwide and has centered on representing farmers and ranchers against unfair treatment by federal agencies, state agencies, and businesses. She is now semi-retired and working on a book about the 1980s farm crisis.
Vice Chair - Bismarck
Marilyn Foss was born and raised in Minot. She graduated with a B.A. from UND in 1973 and with a J.D. from UND in 1978. She has practiced law in Bismarck since 1978, mostly with clients in the banking industry. Previous employers include Bank of North Dakota (special assistant attorney general and loan officer), MDU (counsel), Office of the Attorney General (assistant attorney general) and Department of Banking and Financial Institutions (Commissioner). Foss has been in private practice in Bismarck since 1985 and currently serves as general counsel for the North Dakota Bankers Association.
Lyle Best enjoys variety and has had many varied experiences in life, including washing dishes in the 7th grade to earn his 35 cent hot lunch ticket, smoke jumping for the US Forest Service, assembly line work in a German VW plant, 20+ years as a physician for the Indian Health Service, and his current work as a genetic researcher. Lyle is a lifelong learner and an avid reader of history, government, religion, ethics and science. His wife and he are currently living with his son's family on their ranch 14 miles SE of Watford City. He also has a daughter who lives with her family in Berkeley, CA, where she is an energy efficiency consultant; and a son who is a family physician, living with his family in Invergrove Heights, MN.
Dina Butcher has worked the past twelve years as a private investigator in her family owned business, but prior to that had extensive experience in state government, serving as North Dakota Human Rights Division director for Gov. John Hoeven, director of Community Services Division and senior staff member for Gov. Ed Schafer, as well as director of his state Leadership Initiative, and deputy agriculture commissioner in the 1980s. She owned and operated Association Management Services, Inc., for nine years, working as a lobbyist for various agricultural interests, managing agricultural associations, and launching grass roots businesses.
Dennis Cooley received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Rochester in 1995. His teaching and research interests include theoretical and applied ethics with a focus on pragmatism, bioethics, business ethics, personhood, and death and dying. He is the author of Technology, Transgenics, and a Practical Moral Code, Death’s Values and Obligations: A Pragmatic Framework, and co-edited Passing/Out: Identity Veiled and Revealed. He is Secretary General of the International Academy of Medical Ethics and Public Health; Editor of Springer’s International Library of Bioethics; Associate Editor of Elsevier’s Ethics, Medicine and Public Health; and Director of the Northern Plains Ethics Institute.
Public Humanities makes an essential contribution to North Dakota and everywhere else it is encountered. It teaches critical reasoning skills, which everyone recognizes as a public good, but also incorporates our wrongly neglected creative thinking and value engagement that are part of who we are as people interacting with others in our private and public lives.
Patty teaches sociology at North Dakota State University where she is a pioneer in teaching online classes. She is one of the early instructors to encourage students to volunteer in the community which later became known as service learning. She taught at Great Falls College- Montana State University and United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. She was a police detective with the Fargo Police Department and is a motivational speaker and corporate consultant. Patty lives in Fargo and has 4 children and 6 grandchildren.
Dr. Johnson is an Associate Professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He serves as the Assistant Medical Director for the Diabetes Center at Altru Health System in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Johnson completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of North Dakota-Fargo Program and is Board Certified in Family Medicine.
Joan was born and raised in North Dakota. After living and making her home in other parts of the country, she came back to her beloved home state where she enjoys the smell of freshly turned soil, the open skies, and the fresh smell of rain. She graduated from NDSU with a BS degree in CDFS/Family Life Education. She is retired from the JCPenney Company and has been devoted to the humanities through her community involvement. She enjoys reading, cooking and entertaining, the arts, and gardening. She and her husband David Locken have 6 children and 14 grandchildren.
I look forward to exploring with HND the opportunities for learning and growing in this ever-changing world.
Ann Crews Melton
Ann Crews Melton is an associate editor at the State Historical Society of North Dakota and a freelance writer particularly interested in religion, gender, race, and identity. She holds degrees from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. A native Texan, Ann moved to the northern plains from New York City, where she worked as an editor at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She lives with her husband and daughters in Bismarck.
I believe the work of Humanities North Dakota is essential, especially as people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds learn to engage with one another within North Dakota’s rapidly changing population.
Born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation in ND and enrolled member of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Leslie attended Indian Boarding School at Stephan, SD then graduated from UND with a B.S. in 1979 and a master's degree in 1992. She is a full-time faculty member at Turtle Mountain Community College since 1989. Leslie, her husband Clark, and her children and grandchildren reside on the reservation and are involved in the traditional way of the Ojibway.
Prairie Rose Seminole
Prairie Rose has a passion for community and civic engagement. She brings experience serving on a diverse range of boards such as the Fargo Film Festival, Native American Voices, Fargo Human Relations Committee, Center for Interfaith Projects, among many more. She has been a part of efforts, institutions, and organizations that have seeded, supported, and strengthened public history, cultural heritage, civic education, and community engagement on local, state, and national levels. Prairie Rose grew up in North Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of ND on the Fort Berthold Reservation.
Barb Solberg graduated with a B. S. Ed and MA degrees from the University of North Dakota. She taught humanities both in public schools and at Minot State University including literature, writing, and communication. She left the classroom in the mid-1990s to be a pioneer in web-based learning as the instructional designer and faculty developer for online learning at Minot State University. She subsequently became an online learning consultant with one of the two foremost online learning software companies. Solberg and her husband, Richard, have two adult children and five grandchildren all of whom reside in North Dakota. She enjoys traveling, reading, theater, concerts, and sharing time with friends. She is the unofficial archivist and historian at her church and often presents on local history.
I believe the humanities enrich our lives as well as our view of the world. My hope is to share that enthusiasm with those who aren’t as deeply steeped in the humanities.
Growing up in Minnesota, Linda Steve graduated from Moorhead State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting. She has been a Certified Public Accountant in Dickinson since 1981 and now semi-retired in her private practice. Steve has served as a member and officer of many boards of directors and committees, both state and local, including nonprofit and for-profit organizations. She lists among her favorite those which expanded her interest in the arts and humanities. She has two adult children. Her interests include reading, traveling, exploring other cultures, walking for exercise as well as her morning coffee, and politics.
Serving to bring the Think&Drink program to Dickinson has been just one small way that I can help promote the humanities in North Dakota. Through the humanities, we can open the minds of people to the world!
Amy Stromsodt, CFRE, is a Development Director for the North Dakota Community Foundation working out of the Foundation’s Larimore, ND office. She is a UND grad and a former ND House member. Amy is an active volunteer having served 6 years on the ND Supreme Court Disciplinary board, 12 years on the Emerado School Board and the ND Association of Fundraising Professionals Board. She is a Bowhay Institute of Legislative Leadership Development Fellow and alumni of the American Council of Young Political Leaders. She has traveled internationally and brings her unique perspective to the Humanities ND Board.