Max Yates, Montana State ’21, was recently honored by his university for his work advocacy and support of Native American students on campus. The MSU’s Department of Native American Studies awarded Yates with the Daniel Voyich Community Involvement Award, named for the campus’ director and advisor to the MSU American Indian and Alaskan Native students for 30 years.
Yates helped establish and expand MSU’s American Indian Success Center tutoring program, and led the program for three years. How did this all start out for Yates? “I just simply went up and asked if there was any way that I could get involved, if they had any tutoring programs or anything,” he said. “We tried to establish the program based on mutual respect, recognizing that I am not indigenous. So I simply came in and sat in the center one day, and they said, ‘There is a tutor here if you want him.’ Students were a bit reticent to start using me at first but then it started picking up and they started utilizing my services. Now we have over 11 tutors.”
In 2020, Yates was also named a Truman Scholar, a prestigious and competitive national scholarship awarded to college juniors from each state who have demonstrated leadership potential and have answered the call to public service. He was one of 17 in Montana State’s history, and the only fraternity or sorority member to receive the honor last year. See local news coverage of Yates’ honors and read about his plans after graduation here.