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Food For Thought Fundraiser 2023

August 12, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm MDT


Technology & Philosophy

At the Crossroads

WHAT:  Table Talk Fundraiser for Philosophy
TOPIC:  Technology & Philosophy: At the Crossroads
WHEN: Saturday, August 12th (5pm-10pm)
WHERE: Carroll College (Helena, MT)
TICKETS: $150 (includes dinner & drinks)

The Event



Our “Food for Thought” fundraiser is a limited capacity event with dinner and beverages, entertainment & thought-provoking table talks led by guest scholars. 

Join us in 2023 at Carroll College where you’ll enjoy a fun night of “thinky” mingling, inspiring conversations with inspiring people, a catered meal & beverages, and entertainment.

Our 2023 theme is “Technology & Philosophy: At the Crossroads”  The intellectual terrain is vast & we’re about to go on a ride!

***With musical guests Ken Nelson & Friends and an opening live theater performance written by Ross P. Nelson & performed by Mitch Conway. Facilitators & Topics below.**

Funds raised support philosophy in the community.

Hosted by Carroll College on behalf of John & Victoria Cech.

About Stephen Maly

Stephen Maly recently retired from Helena Civic Television and relocated to Bozeman to pursue opportunities to further a multi-disciplinary project called the Global Civics Initiative. Stephen’s academic background includes an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in international affairs from the University of Colorado (Boulder). He spent a year at the University of Sussex as a Rotary Scholar and enjoyed a two-year fellowship in Canada from the Institute of Current World Affairs. As a self-described “paradiplomat,” Maly has produced documentaries about Montana’s formal ties with China and Taiwan, the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, and Canada, as well as programs on UN Peacekeeping in the Balkans and transnational peace parks in conflict zones. He is currently working on a book of essays as part of the Global Civics endeavor, and is as curious and perplexed as anyone about the mixed, oftentimes contradictory roles that advanced technologies—droned, satellites, surveillance systems, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and a host of others—play in the realm of foreign affairs.

About Robert Whited

Robert Whited is the Director of Information Technology at Carroll College.  More details coming soon…

About Bonnie Sheehay

Bonnie Sheehay is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Montana State University specializing in philosophy of technology, ethics, and social & political philosophy.  She earned her PhD in philosophy from University of Oregon. Within the scope of technology, Bonnie’s work addresses ethical issues of current technologies, especially as these are used in the criminal justice system in the U.S. Her work focuses on the way these technologies reinforce or exacerbate racial inequities in the carceral system. She also collaborates on research grants with computer scientists and librarians on a range of ethical issues related to artificial intelligence. Her current project examines the treatment of prisoners who die in prison and are buried in prison cemeteries.

About Ross P. Nelson

Ross P. Nelson is a award-winning playwright, co-founder and president of Raven’s Feather Productions, and a techie!  He has both an MFA in creative writing (from New Orleans University) and a degree in Computer Science (from Montana State University).

With respect to his artistic work, he has had over two dozen of his short plays have produced in the US and overseas, was honored (back in the day) with an emerging playwright award from Playground San Francisco, had a ten-minute play featured on The Movie Network in Australia, and is the author of prize-winning short fiction and two technical books. He taught undergraduate playwriting at UNO, and more recently at Carroll College.  He  is a member of the Dramatists Guild and served as playwright-in-residence at the Can Serrat artists colony in Spain during October 2017.

In the tech world, Ross worked for Intel in Silicon Valley, helped create one of the first laptop computer systems at Gavilan, worked for Answer Software, got into multimedia at Kaleida Labs and followed that project to Apple Computer after the Labs were shut down by Apple and IBM. In the process he spent a few years at IBM’s Almaden Research Center working on a web-scale data mining project called WebFountain, and developed some search quality analysis tools for their enterprise search product. Later he joined Google, working first on the Google Calendar project, then Google+.

When I’m not in front of a computer, Ross enjoys wine tasting, cycling, and largely unsuccessful attempts to learn to play musical instruments like the piano or harmonica, and non-musical instruments like the bagpipe.  He has also been seen fencing, tap dancing, and playing the tuba, though never all at the same time, and none of those very recently. Ross is also an excellent photographer and parents four cats with his wife Marie Z, Bourgeois.  


About Ed Glowienka

Ed Glowienka is a Professor of Philosophy at Carroll College.  Ed grew up in Philadelphia, the son of parents who never attended college and who sacrificed significantly for his education. He went to the University of Scranton to study biochemistry, but left with a degree in philosophy with minors in German and theology. He then spent two years working with Spiritan missionaries, teaching philosophy to students from six African nations at the Spiritan Missionary Seminary in Arusha, Tanzania. Ed earned his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2013. His research is in early modern philosophy, with projects in both metaphysics and moral philosophy.  His research interests are in early modern philosophy, ethics, and metaphysics. He is the author of Leibniz’s Metaphysics of Harmony He has been awarded three NEH grants for the seminar Re-Enchanting Nature: Humanities Perspectives. Ed enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, basketball, and forcing philosophical questions on his kids. He is reminded that he wrote his undergraduate thesis on the philosophy of technology, and so has been thinking about tech in one way or another for a long time. His favorite piece of modern technology is probably his Bluetooth speaker.  

About Mark Smillie

William “Mark” Smillie is the Department Chair of Philosophy at Carroll College.  He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. His special interests include the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, philosophical anthropology, ancient and medieval philosophy, environmental ethics, bioethics, and business ethics. He serves on the Ethics Committee at St. Peter’s Hospital, is the advisor for Phi Sigma Tau Honor Society, and is a founder and board member of St. Andrew School, a K-12 school in Helena.  Away from the classroom he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking in beautiful Montana, and photography. Dr. Smillie’s book, Augustine and the Environment, co-edited with John Doody and Kim Paffenroth, was released in September, 2016.

About Noal Petty

Corporal Noal Petty is an officer at Helena Police Department (HPD) and an adjunct professor of criminology, criminal justice, and sociology at Carroll College and Helena College.

Noal graduated from Montana State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and from Capella University in 2013 with a Master of Science degree in Public Safety Leadership. 

He has been with HPD since April 2007 and recently returned to the Patrol Division after spending six years assigned to the Montana Analysis and Technical Information Center (MATIC).  This assignment was part of the HPD’s Detective Division.  In this position, Noal worked with Federal, State, and local law enforcement partners with the purpose of facilitating the sharing of criminal justice information across the state.   

Noal oversees the Junior Police Leadership Academy (JPLA) as well as the Helena College Reserve Officer Program.  He is an active instructor within the HPD in Verbal Judo and other Active Shooter training.  He has also been a School Resource Officer and worked on HPD’s motorcycle unit.

Noal is married to his wonderful wife of 11 years, and they have 3 fantastic and busy boys.

About Robert Seidenschwarz

Robert Seidenschwarz earned his B.A. in Political science at the University of Montana. Professionally, Mr. Seidenschwarz began as a registered representative at IDS Financial Services in 1982. In the spring of 1987, he left to become one of the founders of the firm S.G. Long & Co. He is a licensed financial advisor specializing in retirement and estate planning for individuals and businesses.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Robert is an active and high-profile supporter of business and citizen education on numerous global education initiatives and business development relationships. Robert served as President of the Montana World Affairs Council (MWAC) for 13 years and now serves as President Emeritus. His vision of a critical thinking and informed electorate led to several educational programs that have become institutionalized state-wide for the Council, most recently Econoquest, which focuses on civic and economic literacy. He has helped advocate programs such as the nationally recognized World Quest competition, which brings high school students from the cities and towns of Montana to compete in a global education quiz. Other programs include Council in the Classroom and Distinguished Speaker Series. Robert created and hosts MWAC’s Council on the Radio program, which reaches over 25,000 viewers per program, and he has conducted over 400 hundred interviews of world-class leaders in their respective fields.

As a visiting scholar at Central and Southwest Asian studies at the University of Montana, Robert co-hosts the University of Montana Brown bag luncheon with Dr. Mehrdad Kia, Director of the Institute. Robert is a frequent speaker at local community organizations on geopolitical issues with unique insights into global energy markets and their economic consequences. His work has included monthly briefings on international financial and energy matters to various U.S. Intelligence agencies. Robert has participated in numerous public events serving as a moderator on a series of wide-ranging topics, adding to his experience and expertise on economic and geopolitical issues.

The Venue

Carroll College

Preliminary Information

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What Your Donations Help to Support

75% of your fundraiser ticket purchase is tax-deductible.  Proceeds help to support our philosophy in the community programs.  Our programs are free to the public and support critical, creative thinking, the exchange of ideas, and the application of philosophy to everyday life.  More broadly, they are opportunities for people of all backgrounds and ages (from children to elders) to gather, to learn from and with one another, and to uniquely cultivate their personal and civic selves.  By investing in philosophy, you are investing in community.


Food for Thought 2023

We look forward to seeing you!


August 12, 2023
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm MDT
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Carroll College
1601 N. Benton Ave,.
Helena, MT 59625 United States
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Marisa Diaz-Waian
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