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Staff

Darlene Samson, Interim Director

Darlene SamsonPhone: (406) 243-4199
E-mail: darlene.samson@umontana.edu

Darlene's Study Tip: As a parent, full –time employee, and past student, I came to appreciate utilizing good time management strategies. Juggling  roles can be very difficult, but using time-management skills makes it manageable. Use a planner and involve your family. Reward yourselves at the end of the week and do something fun as a family! Also, I find "hitting every subject every day" helps with long-term retention and memorization.

It's hard to believe that I've been working with TRiO SSS for the past 20 years! Everyday present's new challenges at TRiO, and I find working with students is one of my most rewarding responsibilities. Advising is one of the most underestimated characteristics of student success and I'm proud to be one of many UM professional Advisors on campus!

I'm a native Montanan born and raised in Anaconda. I've spent time living in almost all the major cities in Montana and have a colorful work history! I have a fantastic family! My husband is a UM alum and we have two daughters who are in middle and high schools in Missoula. We enjoy following our daughter's activities which includes dance, soccer, basketball, track, gymnastics, and violin! When we aren't following our daughters' activities, we spend as much time as possible playing at Swan Lake!

Janet Zupan, Instructor and Advisor

Janet ZupanPhone: (406) 243-4210
E-mail: janet.zupan@umontana.edu

Janet's Study Tip: Strive to be an active, reflective learner. Move beyond memorization and recitation, to the ideas, concepts, and spirit behind every subject. Your college experience can be mind-altering. Approach it with verve!

I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico (long ago!), but sped off from there and through my childhood to follow my dad in his career as a test pilot in the Air Force. He and my mom came from the Scott's Valley in Northern California, so for lack of a hometown, I adopted that one in my heart. In 1990, I earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature from California State University, Chico. I then came to The University of Montana, seeking an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry). Two years into that degree, I met and married a native Montanan (a move that extended my stay in this beautiful state!) We've been raising our three children together since 1992. After graduating, I've served as the director for Hellgate Writers, Inc., and worked as a poet-in-residence for the Missoula Writing Collaborative. I became part of the TRiO SSS staff in 1997 and feel very lucky and pleased about that!

Heather Hibbard, Instructor and Advisor

Heather HibbardPhone: (406) 243-5032
E-mail: Heather.Hibbard@umontana.edu

Heather's Study Tip: Complete your homework, even if it won't be graded or turned in. It will help you process and understand class content, and material from homework and reading assignments often appears on tests and quizes.

I grew up in a small town in north central Washington, but family on both sides came from Montana, which helps explain my love for this beautiful state. I moved to Missoula to complete my bachelor's degree in Communication Studies after two years of college in Seattle. I attempted big-city life a second time during a post-degree internship in Seattle and quickly realized that Montana was home. Returning to Missoula has proven to be a very good decision. I met my husband, re-discovered skiing, backpacking, camping, and rafting, and started working for TRiO SSS!

The TRiO SSS staff has over 50 years of combined experience in TRiO programs. In a visit to our offices, you will find a welcoming, approachble, knowledgeable staff, and a diverse, hard-working, dedicated group of students. We take the goal of graduation seriously, and look forward to helping students toward this goal!

Peter Donaldson, Program Coordinator

Peter DonaldsonPhone: (406) 243-5032
E-mail: Peter.Donaldson@mso.umt.edu

Peter’s Study Tip: Ask questions!  If there’s something you don’t understand (in an assignment, in a class lecture, in the course readings, or in reviewing your notes), don’t be afraid to find someone to help.   Your professors and TA’s are there to help you learn, so stop by during their office hours if you have questions.  Also seek out tutoring opportunities on campus or work with your classmates to start a study group.  No one can know everything, and the only way to learn is to ask!

I am originally from the Bozeman area and, while I enjoy traveling whenever possible, am so happy to have found a home here in Missoula and at the University of Montana.  I'm excited to be a part of the TRiO programs on campus - as an employee and as an ongoing student.   My employment background has focused on administration and Human Resources, and I am now working to complete my degree in Sociology with a focus on inequality and social justice.  The TRiO staff has been hugely helpful and inspiring as I’ve sought to continue my education and I encourage all eligible students to come talk to us about the variety of services we offer to help ensure a successful college career