Measures of success

The University of Montana educates agile, lifelong learners prepared to solve complex challenges. We embrace social mobility as a core value, helping students realize their full potential and launch purpose-driven lives. We share the stories and aspirations of some of our 2017-18 graduates.


Jen HaasMeet Jen Haas. Jen, far right, graduated from UM this year with a degree in geography, concentrating on geographic information systems. Originally from North Carolina, Jen came out to Montana with the Conservation Corps and fell in love with the outdoor opportunities that surround us. Jen’s time in the geography department at UM provided her with the knowledge, connections and presentation opportunities that earned her a internship with the City of Missoula where she developed an interactive, digital hike-and-bike map system for Missoula residents. Now, Jen will apply the GIS theories and processes she learned in the classroom while working as a National Park Service trail manager in Glacier National Park. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #GrizGrads

The U.S. Department of Labor has identified geospatial technologies as a high growth industry, estimating job growth at 29 percent over a 10-year period. Many of UM's GIS students secure professional positions prior to graduation.


UM is home to the only school psychology specialist training program in Montana and has had 100 percent job placement for school psychology specialist graduates over the past decade.

Phoebe BeanMeet Phoebe Bean from San Francisco, California, and Ketchum, Idaho. Phoebe graduates from UM this year with a degree in psychology. While studying at Colorado College during her freshman and sophomore years, Phoebe knew she was interested in psychology but it wasn’t until she transferred to UM in the fall of 2015 that she discovered her passion for neuropsychology. Phoebe has spent the last three years working as a research assistant in Dr. Stuart Hall’s neuropsychology lab and will begin the clinical psychology Ph.D. program on campus in August. Phoebe looks forward to continuing her graduate studies with the phenomenal faculty at UM and is thrilled to call Missoula home for the next few years.


Ethan Germann

Meet Ethan Germann from Great Falls. Ethan is graduating this spring with his bachelor’s degree in communicative sciences & disorders. As part of the only CSD/Speech-Language Pathology program in the State of Montana, Ethan found his small, close-knit program at UM to be incredibly supportive and engaging. Through his work with active student groups and hands-on research with internationally known faculty, Ethan set himself apart and was recently accepted into a graduate program for speech-language pathology at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah. Ethan attributes his success to the unique, hands-on opportunities his program provided and his ability to connect with experts in communicative sciences and disorders while attending UM. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #UMHealthAndMedicine

Communicative sciences & disorders students at UM have produced 79 co-authored publications over the past three years, including peer-reviewed journal articles and national presentations.

97 percent of resource conservation graduates are employed or in graduate school. Of those employed, 62 percent work in Montana.

Acacia ProbertAcacia Probert is graduating with a degree in resource conservation and will spend the summer working for Discover Your Northwest as a visitor information specialist along the Lochsa River corridor in Idaho. She’ll be at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center, Lochsa Historical Ranger Station and leading interpretive presentations at campgrounds. This fall Acacia will apply for the Peace Corps. She is from Dubois, Idaho, a small town of less than 400 people. She says UM has helped shape her into who she is today: someone she’s proud of. She says her peers and her professors have inspired her and made her hopeful for a better tomorrow. Acacia especially recognizes the role two faculty played in her journey: Laurie Yung, for being so involved in her students’ lives, and truly caring about their success inside and outside the classroom; and Jill Belsky, who helped Acacia find her path in life. In addressing Professor Belsky, Acacia says, “Your classes have been the best and most influential throughout my entire academic career. I am excited to begin exercising all the lessons you have taught me in the real world, in real communities, making real differences.” #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads


Mitch Everts

Meet Mitch Everts from Helena. Mitch is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. He’ll continue to work as a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Northwestern Mutual after he graduates. He oversees digital recruiting efforts across Montana and northern Wyoming. Mitch met his fiancée, fellow UM student Azarel Noah, in the University Center two years ago and this fall they’re getting married on the Oval – congrats Mitch and Azarel! Mitch says that studying communications helped launch him into his career and the faculty in the communication studies department have been wonderful mentors. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads
Written and verbal communication skills are two of the top five attributes employers look for in job candidates, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

UM’s teacher education program has the most comprehensive field experience component of any teacher prep program in Montana. That means UM students spend more time in actual classrooms than any other education student in the state.

Tyson HubbardMeet Tyson Hubbard. Tyson graduates from UM this year with degrees in mathematics and secondary (K-12) education. After starting at Flathead Valley Community College, Tyson transferred to UM where he felt immediately at home and was able to connect with faculty and students in the education program. Tyson will begin his teaching career at West Valley School in Kalispell this fall, teaching 7th and 8th grade math. He looks forward to connecting with his students on a personal level to provide guidance and mentorship, just like he received from his teachers and faculty at UM. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads

Katie O'Connor

Meet Katie O’Connor. Katie graduated this year with her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and will be starting a prestigious post-master's fellowship this fall at Eastern Michigan University Counseling & Psychological Services. One of only a handful of fellowship positions of this type in the country, Katie was uniquely positioned for this role due to her high-quality training in the Department of Counselor Education and her clinical internship work at UM’s Curry Health Center. At UM, Katie fostered distinctive connections with faculty, staff, and fellow students that helped guide her to a career in direct support of college mental health. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads #UMHealthAndMedicine

Students in UM's counselor education graduate programs have a 100 percent placement within 18 months of graduating.

UM Master of Public Administration graduates have 77 percent job placement within one year at an average starting salary of $56,000.

Shane St. Onge
Meet Shane St. Onge from Kalispell. After completing a bachelor's degree in political science two years ago, Shane entered UM's Master of Public  Administration program. "If you want to have skills to make a positive impact on your community, the MPA program helps you acquire those skills," Shane says. He's demonstrated that commitment to public service at multiple levels. He works as a research assistant in the University's social science research lab. He's done city services survey work for the City of Missoula. He designed and implemented a storm water program for Missoula County. And he helped launch Big Sky Poll, a service that gathers and analyzes statewide public opinion data about issues important to Montanans. After graduating this spring, Shane will take his service to the national level. He was selected as a Baucus Leader this spring and will spend his summer interning with the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He'll return to UM in the fall to begin law school and put his data visualization skills to work for UM's Data Office. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads

Lucy Tompkins

Meet Lucy Tompkins. Lucy graduated in December with undergraduate degrees in journalism and anthropology, and will join her peers to celebrate at Commencement in May. She has worked as the K-12 education reporter at the Missoulian this spring, after working several years at UM’s student paper, the Montana Kaimin. During her years at UM, Lucy had the opportunity to travel to several of Montana’s Indian reservations to report on health care disparities, and to travel to Berlin to report on the refugee crisis. Inspired by that trip, Lucy applied and was selected for a Young Professional Journalist Fulbright Scholarship, which will allow her to spend a year living in Berlin and reporting on Syrian women refugees. Lucy said she’s incredibly grateful to all the professors who work tirelessly to support their students and make them feel at home at UM. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads

In a recent survey of Montana journalism graduates, more than 90 percent of those responding said they either had a job or were self-employed shortly after graduation. Of the most frequently mentioned job categories, journalism, marketing and public relations were at the top.


Seven UM graduates in life sciences received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships worth $138,000 this year. Only 2,000 of the fellowships are awarded nationally with about 100,000 STEM graduates eligible to apply.

Hannah Fay

Meet Hannah Fay. Her business card lists her as a researcher, a science communicator and an entrepreneur. The Austin, Texas, native graduated from UM last December in microbiology. She says one criteria she looked for in a college was the strength of its undergraduate research. "That was a big driver," she says. "UM seemed like a good place for that and it has been. I was in a lab my first week and did mentored research all four years." The Davidson Honors College  gave her research scholarships and funded travel to two conferences where she presented. But Hannah didn't spend all of her time in a science lab. She started her own science communication consulting business supported by UM's Blackstone LaunchPad and participation in two business startup challenge competitions. And she was a founding member of the Missoula Interdisciplinary Science League, a nonprofit organization that organizes science-advocacy events. Hannah heads to Buffalo, New York, in the fall to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular oncology at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Ryan Graham-LaughlinMeet Ryan Graham-Laughlin. He will graduate this spring with a degree in media arts focused on filmmaking. As lead producer for a UM student production group called KPCN: The Peer Connection Network, Ryan led teams that produced videos supporting student success. Recently he worked as a boom operator on a promotional film for the video game “Far Cry 5.” After graduation, Ryan plans to launch his own independent contractor business. “I’ve already made a lot of great connections, so I know finding gigs won’t be a problem,” he said. His professional portfolio class helped him create his brand, logo and website for Ryan Graham-Laughlin LLC. He says his student job with KPCN was great for getting his name out there, too. “It was one of the most perfect jobs I could have asked for as a student.” #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads
Recent UM media arts graduates are working as film producers and editors, creative directors, web designers, motional graphics artists, animators, project managers, user interface designers, video game developers, media managers, film festival directors and more.

97 percent of UM Forestry and Conservation graduates are employed or in graduate school.

Robert LivesayMeet Robert Livesay. Robert is graduating this spring with a master’s degree in forestry. He’s got a job lined up as a stream hydrologist working on the Teton River near Choteau for an environmental consulting firm. Robert is from near Corvallis, Oregon. He spent much of his youth raising show pigs for 4-H and state competitions. Robert received a bachelor's degree in geosciences from UM. He says, “I spent a large portion of my time here at the Franke College of Forestry and Conservation up at Lubrecht Forest, hiking hillslopes and drilling bedrock wells. My favorite memory from fieldwork is that I drank fresh groundwater from a 30-foot deep well I drilled and didn’t get giardia!" #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads

Asia CaluoriMeet Asia Caluori. Asia will graduate from UM’s College of Business with a degree in management information systems in May. During her college years, Asia interned at financial services firm KPMG in San Francisco and received three academic scholarships and a fellowship. She had two job offers before she even graduated! She plans to work as a technology consultant for Advanced Technology Group in Missoula, though she hopes to work remotely from Europe this summer. “UM, specifically the MIS department, allowed me to develop relationships with faculty and professors who were adamant in helping me to be on the right path to finding a career that would both make me happy and feel financially secure.” #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads
94 percent of UM's management information systems graduates are employed or are in graduate school within three months of graduation. The avarage starting salary is just over $60,000.

Economists project that Montana will need an additional 16,000 health care workers by 2025. UM offers more than 50 degree programs in health and medicine to help meet that demand.

Teague RutherfordMeet Joshua “Teague” Rutherford. He will graduate from UM in May with a biology degree and minors in global public health and Native American studies. A member of the Gros Ventre Tribe, Rutherford grew up on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation and then Billings. At UM, he found a home, serving as vice president of GrizMed, the college club for pre-med students. In July, he departs for dentistry school in Arizona, to become perhaps the first dentist from his reservation. Attending UM helped him find his way. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads

Read more about Teague


Wendy Schneider

Meet Wendy Schneider. Wendy, shown here with her son Collin, will graduate from UM on May 12 with an undergraduate degree in exercise science and has been accepted into the physical therapy program at Northwestern University in Chicago. Her stellar academic record and application caught the attention of that university, and she was awarded generous financial scholarships. As a nontraditional student, mom, and career-changer, Wendy exemplifies the resilient, ambitious students we have at UM. In fact, the UM education college recently presented her with the Tom Whiddon Award, which honors a student who demonstrates academic excellence while overcoming adversity. At UM she contributed to ground-breaking research, published articles and had hands-on clinical experience that set her apart from peers at other institutions. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #GrizGrads

The UM Athletic Training Program in the Department of Health & Human Performance boasts a 96 percent first-time pass rate on the Board of Certification Examination.

UM's wildlife biology program has been ranked #1 in the U.S. and Canada by Academic Analytics

Sydney YoungMeet Sydney Young. Sydney will graduate with honors from UM this May with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology. She will be sworn in as a Montana game warden two days after she graduates, making her one of only four female wardens among the roughly 75 spread across Big Sky Country. From Snoqualmie, Washington, Sydney has worked toward becoming a warden since spring 2017. “I’m very excited for the opportunity to protect the natural resources of the Last Best Place,” she said, adding that Associate Professor Lisa Eby’s dedication to students and the field of fisheries helped shape her academic journey. #GoGrizGoAnywhere#grizgrads

Tsiambwom AkuchuMeet Tsiambwom Akuchu. "T," as many of his pronunciation-challenged friends call him, will graduate from UM this May with a graduate degree in theatre with an emphasis in acting. A native of Cameroon who grew up in Atlanta, Akuchu developed a dance piece titled "Every^Man (Alright)," which was selected to be performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this summer. His work represents the African-American experience from slavery to the present, and it already is opening job leads for its creator. T said his UM education has him dancing toward success.
#GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads
85 percent of UM Theatre & Dance graduates are employed or engaged in professional study. In a recent survey, 91 percent of graduates said they attained skills critical to their current career.

UM's Blewett School of Law ranks 7th in judicial clerkship placements and 16th nationally in federal judicial clerkships, topping schools such as Columbia and NYU and ahead of every law school in the west except for Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, and Cal-Irvine.

Emily gutierrez Caton

Meet Emily Gutierrez Caton. Emily will graduate this spring with a Juris Doctor from UM's Alexander Blewett III School of Law, the only law school in Montana. She is a native Montanan who grew up on a ranch north of Whitefish. Emily worked for a 9th Circuit judge in Idaho after her first year of law school and in the Montana Attorney General's Office after her second year. She says attending a small, state law school gave her numerous opportunities to get involved with the state's legal community and to meet many Montana leaders. After graduation, Emily will serve as a judicial law clerk for Chief Judge Sidney Thomas of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the largest federal circuit in the country. Federal judicial clerkships are prestigious positions following law school, and hers includes a $60,000 annual salary. Following her clerkship, Emily plans to practice law in Montana. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads

Richard MehlbrechMeet Richard Mehlbrech. Rich will graduate with a doctorate in physical therapy from UM in May. He is now completing his final clinical experience at the VA Puget Sound in Seattle as part of the Health Professional Scholarship Program, which was funded by a competitive scholarship. Rich will work for a VA facility for the first two years upon graduation as part of the program. Rich says that UM has helped equip him with the knowledge required to give back and provide rehabilitation services to those in need. #GoGrizGoAnywhere #grizgrads
100 percent of UM students in the Doctor of Pharmacy and the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs are employed at graduation.