about us: Beyond the horizon

Expanding Your Horizons is now Power Your Future! 

We rebranded our annual STEM conference to Power Your Future (PYF) – but it’s the same great stuff! 

30+ dynamic workshops hosted by women in our local STEM industry
400-500 7th & 8th grade girls exploring STEM
20+ Northwest Montana schools 


Here's our story...

Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) is a national network whose mission is to provide young women with opportunities to meet and interact with inspiring female role models who are active in STEM careers.

In 1983, EYH was first introduced to the Flathead Valley by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at Flathead High school for girls in grades 6th through 12th. Pretty cool!

In 2007, the Soroptimist International clubs of Bigfork, Kalispell, Polson and Whitefish stepped up to continue the Flathead EYH program – growing, organizing and fundraising for this super rad, one-day conference held at FVCC. Each year, 400-500 girls rock it (and rocket!) for a day mentored by awesome, STEM-career women and volunteers.

Through the years, as the demand for STEM programming steadily grew, these powerhouse EYH organizers dreamed of expanding their scope.

This dream became the STEAM Alliance whose mission is to become THE central resource that connects those offering STEM opportunity to those seeking it.

Meanwhile…another group of local professionals, Northwest Montana STEM Partners, were dreaming up a STEM scene in the Flathead Valley that would inspire future generations by providing diverse scientific and technical opportunities.

In 2019, the Partners joined the STEAM Alliance and as a 501c(3) entity, we are setting goals and taking names (literally) to cultivate a STEAM ecosystem that serves as the hub for all things STEAM in the valley

Our team

Man oh man, our team is dedicated! When we are finished at our day jobs, we become the STEAM Alliance. Why? Because we believe in your potential and your opportunities. We are here to help you feel capable, empowered and uninhibited as you learn, grow and explore STEAM right here in our beloved Montana.

Tom Ritzdorf

Board chair

When asked to name a dream job, THIS guy described at least three! Doing is what Tom does best. We share his dreams to eliminate plastic waste and like to imagine with him how humans might first arrive on Mars. When he gets back from “somewhere in time”  and the plasma storm and haze dissipates,  we’re pretty sure Darwin and a sampler pack of dinosaurs will emerge from the doors of the DeLorean, scratching their heads in wonder. 

Denny Olson

Vice chair

Denny brings WILD talent, both literally and figuratively, with over 50 years of teaching nature – innovatively, creatively and humorously. If you’ve been to the mountains, you probably crossed paths with Doc Wild or stumbled into one of his outdoor classrooms. Or maybe that was Dr. Loonacy…or perhaps, The Mad Herbalist?…could it have been Critterman? He’s all this and more and we’re happy he hangs out at the STEAM Alliance no matter what character he channels that day!

Diane Yarus


This financial report nerd might have invented the sewing machine if she was born in a different age. Thankfully, she’s of our time, sharing her mad skills, relentless drive and passion with us! But, you might catch her in the holodeck interviewing “Speranza”, aka Jane Francesca Agnes (Oscar Wilde’s mother). And, of course she’d choose Thor! She IS the hammer…and the HEART.

We give ourselves credit for electing as our Treasurer a college math teacher who teaches teachers MATH! YAY US! Laura, a water and mountain lover (hello Montana!) and self-proclaimed cat lady, likes to throw down some kind of art-math fusion when she teaches and has been known to make math pun, er phun…I mean, FUN! She’s no joke, sum will say. 


Amy Stewart

Board Member

Are those backpack or accordion straps? Either way, the hills are alive and this one is listening! Someday she wants to make documentary films, but for now, she’ll keep wandering the globe, never far from wifi so she can keep her day job. After hours, she drops some tech skills at the Alliance and maybe a few beats. How did this former off-the-gridder get so plugged in?


Ben Young

Board Member

High school science teacher, owner of two small businesses, hunter, fisherman, major birder (we mean serious birder, folks), soccer player, soccer coach, adventurer with his wife and four kids…we’re going to run out of space in your bio, Ben! We’re happy and fortunate that Ben added STEAM Alliance Board Member to his extensive list. We promise to keep him busy busier. 

Cody Carter

Board Member

Cody was born and raised in the Flathead Valley where he enjoyed extreme sports such as bridge jumping, rock climbing and free diving and now enjoys teaching his kids to do the same. When we approached him to join the STEAM Alliance, he quickly accepted because extreme board membering naturally made his list of thrill-seeking aspirations. We value Cody’s problem-solving skills and experience and insight as a product development engineer, although we’re all reasonably concerned for our survival should he ever plan a STEAM Alliance board outing. 


We are the conduit, the channel…
the duct, the pipeline, the tube. 

Join us!
we’ll get you there.