Current Student Profiles

Featured IGP Students


Ramey Growing Thunder, DIS Student

Ramey Growing Thunder’s many passions and pursuits have led her to the University of Montana’s Doctoral of Interdisciplinary Studies ProgramShe was born and raised on Fort Peck Indian Reservation and is a member of the Dakhota Nation and a Navajo descendant. After spending two years at Fort Peck Community College, Growing Thunder transferred to Montana State University in Havre and obtained an undergraduate degree in Education. With this degree in hand, Growing Thunder returned home to work as a teacher for grades ranging from Kindergarten through12th. She also worked as an instructor at Fort Peck Community College and taught native languages on the reservationpushing hard to implement the language and culture of the Dakhota people. Eventually, Growing Thunder found herself at the University of New Mexico pursuing a Master of Arts in Language, Literacy, and Socio-Cultural Studies. She was particularly interested in focusing her studies on American Indian Education. While contemplating pursuing a doctoral degree, she realized the University of Montana’s Doctoral in Interdisciplinary Studies would allow her to combine the study of all the disciplines she was interested in: Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology, Native American Studies, and Educational Leadership. Growing Thunder, for her dissertation in this program, will work on creating a culturally place-based K-12 educational model. Dr. Kathryn Shanley and Dr. S. Neyooxet Greymorning serve as the co-chairs on her dissertation committee. She notes she is striving to expand “the reexamination and production of a Dahkota culturally placed-based educational model that is constructively implemented for the diverse educational needs of students.” Growing Thunder hopes that with this model she can contribute to the cultural education of the students that live at Fort Peck as well as other schools that may need a culture model. Outside of the university environment, Growing Thunder serves as the Director of Fort Peck’s Language and Culture Department. Her next ambition is to establish a tribal immersion school, where students will exclusively speak the Nakhoda and Dakhota languages and engage in cultural traditions. Growing Thunder’s list of accomplishments is vast. Yet, she notes her biggest accomplishment is being awarded Administration for Native Americans Grant specifically for language preservation. Growing Thunder cares deeply about preserving the Dakhota and Nakhoda languages because she believes connecting with culture and tradition gives members of the Fort Peck community a sense of belonging. With that belonging, Growing Thunder notes, “comes the roles and responsibilities of how to be in life.” Having navigated her way from the local community college level up to the doctoral level, Growing Thunder is living proof that it is possible. She hopes to serve as a role model and urges those on Fort Peck Indian Reservation to strive high, go to school, and return home to help. Growing Thunder has done all this while raising a family. She has three sons and a husband. On top of all this, Growing Thunder is a successful artist. She has paid her way through all of her university education by selling handmade beadwork and star quilts.

Photo of Sandra Ashley a MIS student

Sandra Su’sana Ashley (Redpath), MIS Student

A descendant of the Saponi and Shawnee Nations, I graduated from California State University, Sacramento, in the 1980s with Bachelors of Arts degrees in Native American Studies, and Journalism.  Since that time, I have been the editor of the Tacoma Indian News, the director of Indian Education of a southern Tacoma school district, and have been working independently on Indian Education curriculum materials. I have also visited over sixty schools, K-12, in both Washington and Montana, to bring Indian Education to the classroom.  Presently, I am working on my Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Montana, combining courses from the Native American Studies department, Curriculum and Instruction from the Education department, and additional courses on Indian Law, Native linguistics, and traditional knowledge.  In advancing the writing and teaching the true Native American history, my goal is to show the necessity of multicultural education, the need to incorporate traditional knowledge in all areas of study, and to utilize these tools to positively impact Native communities today.  By providing an accurate historical representation, cultural activities, and a means to reconnect to the environmental knowledge about Mother Nature, Native youth can find hope in applying tribal perspectives so that a new generation of Native people will be able to overcome intergenerational trauma and pass on their unique ways of knowing and doing to the next generation.


Ranalda Tsosie, Ph.D. Student

Doctoral student Ranalda Tsosie came to the University of Montana with the goal of making a difference in her community. After earning her Ph.D. in May, we have no doubt she will.

Current IGP students - Fall 2020

MA-MS Interdisciplinary Studies

Sandra Ashley

Melea Burke

Brittany Galvin

Maura Ganz

Josh Rosenau

Antonio Torres

DIS Students

Tim Anderson

Katherine Christison

Rebecca Durham

Brittany Garner

Ramey Growingthunder

Anna Marbut

Alan Okagaki

Peter Phillips

Scott Robinson

Joe Sol

Cassie Williamson