Native American Students

Resources for Native American Graduate Students

Students Studying at Payne Native American Center

These resources are intended to assist Native American students succeed in their graduate academic program by providing relevant information focusing on campus resources, scholarship opportunities for Native American graduate students, law resources as well as educational resources.  

Available Resources

The University of Montana SIGP Program

The UM SIGP Program was established in the fall of 2005. Indigenous (Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian – U.S. Citizenship) graduate students pursuing degrees in STEM at The University of Montana are eligible to apply for the scholarship program established by the A.P. Sloan Foundation. The UM SIGP Program is intended to increase the number of Indigenous Americans earning master’s and doctoral degrees in STEM disciplines. Dr. Aaron Thomas, Director of Indigenous Research and STEM Education, is the principal investigator of the UM SIGP program.

The UM SIGP program provides supplemental funding to selected graduate students on a competitive basis. The amount for master’s level students is $20,000 over the duration of their program. Doctoral students are awarded $40,000 over the duration of their program. In addition to the supplemental funding, students may be offered tuition waivers, faculty mentoring, and academic support services through The University of Montana Graduate School.

The program has attracted an extraordinary group of Indigenous American graduate students who are pursuing degrees in the natural sciences. Among our students, research has ranged from wild rice, black bears, white bark pine trees, fish, neurology, water, buffalo, toxic dumping, to many other areas close to the heart of indigenous peoples.

If you are an Indigenous American who is interested in a graduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM), we are very interested in talking with you. We believe you will see that the UM SGIP program can offer you a unique opportunity to earn your graduate degree. Not only will you be given the opportunity for financial support, you will also have access to top faculty here on campus and the chance to connect with other Indigenous Americans pursuing graduate degrees.

Montana University System SIGP Program Overview

Since November 2001, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) has been proud to partner with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in managing two innovative graduate scholarship programs focusing on increasing the number of underrepresented American minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate programs. The Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership (SIGP), initiated in 2003 through a partnership between the University of Arizona and the Sloan Foundation, was expanded in the fall of 2005 to include the participation of select faculties and departments at The University of Montana (Missoula, MT) and Montana Tech of The University of Montana (Butte, MT). In 2012, the Montana University System (MUS) SIGP program was expanded again to include students and faculty at Montana State University (Bozeman, MT). The Partnership now includes the three MUS schools, University of Arizona, Purdue University, and the University of Alaska at Anchorage and Fairbanks.

 UM SIGP Students (past and present)

Kodi Augare

Florence (Flo) Gardipee

Chauncey Means

Daniela Aranda Caro

John Gilham

Jada Molton

Kirsten Barnett

Vernon Grant

Chelsea Morales

Donald Belile

Celina Gray

Michael O'Brien

Nicole Benally

Kristen Green

Sierra Paske

Anthony (Tony) Berthelote

Jennifer Harrington

Kim Paul

Meredith Berthelson

Aislinn Heavy-Runner Rioux

Clarice Pina

Daniel Bird

Katie Hoffman

Michael Powell

Michael Ceballos

Harold Kihega

Michael Price

Jackson Chief Elk

Cierra Keith

Jeffrey Ross

Shelby Cole

Brandon Kittson

Wendy Running Crane

Kelly Crispen

Michel Kohl

Casey Ryan

Kenneth Edmo

Karly Law

Ruth Short Bull

Kari Eneas

Moses Leavens

Robin Stewart

Leanne Falcon

Martin Lorenzo

Rachel Smith

Ren Freeman

Roger MadPlume

Ronalda Tsosie

Sattie Fisher

Josh Marceau

Sarah Twoteeth

 UM SIGP Eligibility Criteria

A scholarship applicant must be accepted into a qualifying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) program. A primary research advisor must be identified, and each UM SIGP applicant must have a teaching assistantship (TA) or research assistantship (RA) as defined by the UM TARA policy.

Explanation or evidence of indigenous affiliation (U.S. citizenship) required.

Qualifying STEM Programs:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Forest Management
  • Geosciences
  • Geography
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Environmental Studies (Scientific Concentration Only)
  • Anthropology (Archeology and Forensic Anthropology Only)

SIGP Application

To apply for the UM SIGP, fill out the application. You can view the application deadline and access the application form. Thank you for your interest in the UM SIGP and The University of Montana.

Contact Information

Please contact Aaron Thomas (email or phone 243-2052) if you have any questions or need more information.