Questions for Undergraduates Exploring Social Topics (QUEST) is a joint effort between the University of Montana’s Davidson Honors College and an established community partner. It began in 2017 when two current DHC students sought to establish an interdisciplinary program with community impact. Through QUEST, teams of students work collaboratively to research, design, and present policy solutions to a major, cross-disciplinary challenge facing the Missoula community. Past collaborations have included partnerships with Mayor John Engen, Missoula County government, and the Missoula Food Bank.

Through two semesters of guided research and independent study (HONR 495), students gain knowledge related to the topic, develop a solution, and present their proposals to a panel of academic and community experts. The top team is eligible for a scholarship and internship with the City to continue their work on the important challenge topic. QUEST is supported by Assistant Dean Kaetlyn Cordingley and a rotating team of past QUEST participants who take on student leadership roles.

 The QUEST Program is an experiential learning opportunity that combines the best of academic innovation and civic engagement. QUEST is open to students from freshmen to seniors. We invite any interested DHC students to be a part of this opportunity.

Take a closer look at QUEST by exploring our digital brochure.

If you are interested in the program, please contact or


Noah Hill

Noah graduated from the University of Montana and the Davidson Honors College in 2019 with a degree in microbiology. During his time at the DHC, he helped found the QUEST program to provide a forum for students to apply academic research skills to current interdisciplinary issues in a way that would positively impact the Missoula community. In addition to his work with the QUEST program, Noah was selected to participate in the inaugural cohort of Baucus Leadership Fellows sponsored by the Max S. Baucus Institute, and conducted independent research examining the relationship between when college students declare major and how that affects graduation timelines. Noah is currently a law student at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. He focuses his studies on tax and intellectual property and serves on the Montana Law Review while working for a full-service law firm in downtown Missoula.

Reid Hensen

Reid graduated in the fall of 2017, studying psychology, minoring in business, and working to understand how people interact with their environments and what psychological impacts that may have. The QUEST program came as an idea to apply research methods that students are learning to real-world scenarios in the places that they live. He is thrilled at the opportunity to start this program. An avid backcountry skier and mountain biker, Reid loves getting outside and exploring. He now lives in and works in Sun River, ID.

John Engen, Mayor of Missoula

With each year and each new challenge, we continue to carry on the legacy of our partner, the late Mayor John Engen, who believed so firmly that students could make a great and meaningful impact on our community. Mayor Engen was a great advocate and friend of the QUEST program. We are so grateful for his partnership.

The Mayor is responsible for the oversight of departments and the execution of policies. The Mayor's office assures that all City services are delivered to the citizens of Missoula in an effective, efficient, and equitable manner and in compliance with City Council policy. In order to achieve this purpose, the Mayor’s office oversees long-range planning and improvement of departmental management and service delivery. Further, the Mayor’s office serves as a catalyst for developing community-wide goals and mobilizing the resources to attain them. The Mayor’s office is the primary outreach arm of the City government to other cities and other government entities.