About Data/Institutional Research

Office Overview

Helping You Make Informed Decisions

The University Data Office is a service unit. Our mission is to provide data and analysis to help others make the decision that best serves their needs and the needs of the University as a whole. We use our experience and expertise to interpret data requests and help guide people to the questions they most need answered. The unit has a two-tiered structure: a core data team focused on data quality and standards, external survey responses, and construction of tools to help ensure data consistency; and data analysts integrated across campus who aid in cross-unit communication and knowledge sharing.

We are here to help.



Core Data Team

Dawn Ressel joined the University Data Office in 2012 as an Associate Vice President and Chief Data Officer. Her primary role is to advance the University’s mission by developing platforms and processes for the effective facilitation of institutional research, data analysis, business intelligence, and data governance.  She earned a master’s degree in Statistics from the University of Arkansas and has over 25 years of experience with data analytics within higher education.

Dawn enjoys traveling the US in her RV and visiting our national parks with her family which includes several four legged children. While at home she relaxes by creating scrapbooks of all the trips. She and her family enjoy the beauty of Montana and spend most of their free time shooting wildlife photos.


Pope Ashworth has been in the University Data Office for six years in various roles. She is constantly learning from her colleagues; her degree from the University of Virginia is in French Language and Literature. Her primary role in the Data Office is communicating with constituents both on and off campus about their data needs and coordinating the office's efforts to meet those. She thoroughly enjoys this "human" side of data analysis.

Pope loves to ski with her husband and kids, ride mountain bikes, and cook for and with friends. When she’s not doing any of those things, you will likely find her trying to wear out her dog.

Brenda Ingersoll (aka Avery) works for both Institutional Research (which also has an aka: The Data Office) and the Registrar’s Office as a system analyst.  That means she creates tools for campus to use to get student information to help, inform, advise and teach students of this university. Her goal – provide you with what you need to make this university the best for students, faculty and staff and the community.  She has been involved with the creation of UMDW Finance Database, InfoGriz Student reports, and Tableau Dashboards.

Brenda graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor's in Business Administration. First a Griz, Always a Griz!!

She lives in Butte with the love of her life, Mark, and works remotely with and for the university and all of you.



Cathy Burleson has been with the Institutional Effectiveness office since 1997. She has a Master's in Statistics from the Florida State University. Her primary focus is extracting, cleaning and manipulating data to produce information on students for national and state reporting, college guide surveys, grant applications, and more recently data quality issues on a larger campus-wide scale.

Her volunteer activities outside of work include being a Family Promise volunteer coordinator at her church to help provide shelter and meals for homeless families. Other interests include reading spiritual writings, meditating, yoga, cooking, being with friends and family and enjoying the beautiful outdoors of Montana.






Joran Elias has worked in the Data Office since 2012. He has graduate degrees in Math and Statistics from the University of Montana. Joran works with all kinds of institutional data, with a focus on data quality and building tools to make handling institutional data more efficient.

When not in the office he enjoys running, skiing, and biking - pretty much anything that gets him outdoors in the mountains.

Stella Phipps has been with the University of Montana since 2013.   Currently, she works with campus and community stakeholders on the university’s Priorities for Action and other strategic initiatives, reporting descriptive statistics on student involvement in high-impact practices. She holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and a Master's in Applied Sociology with an emphasis in quantitative research from Northern Arizona University.  Her background is primarily inferential statistics; she brings over a decade of experience in exploratory research and outcomes assessment in higher learning environments. With the exception of a stint in grassroots organizing, the entirety of Stella’s career has been in higher education. 

Stella is involved in public land and indigenous advocacy work in Montana.  The remainder of her free time is spent contra dancing, hunting, mushroom foraging, and developing recipes from wild food, which she then inflicts upon unsuspecting friends, family, and coworkers. No poisonings to report yet.


Shane St. Onge was born and raised in the Flathead Valley and started his undergraduate degree at the University of Montana in the Fall of 2012. His parents, grandparents, and siblings also attended the University of Montana. Since beginning his education in Missoula, he has earned his BA in Political Science and Master of Public Administration. Currently, he is attending Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. Before joining the Data Office, Shane worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Social Science Research Laboratory where he assisted with research software and administration of lab spaces. Shane is a Big Sky Poll Fellow and a recent OCHE Academic Research and Student Affair Fellow.

Hub and Spoke Team


Cindy Ferguson is the Director of Data and Info Systems for Undergraduate Enrollment Management. She has worked at the university for 28 years. She is responsible for ensuring data accuracy in all facets of undergraduate admissions and evaluations.   She works closely with her colleagues in the Data Office to evaluate the efficacy of the admissions funnel from name buys to graduation through statistical reporting.

When away from the office, Cindy enjoys gardening, cooking, spending time with her granddaughters and traveling.


Lindsey Peterson, director of technology solutions in the Office for Student Success, has 23+ years of higher education “hats”, including information technology, institutional reporting, payroll, event planning, budget management, financial aid and student accounts, recruiting, and advising. 

She joined the University of Montana in 2019.  Equally at ease with people and data, she loves to solve business problems and remove bottlenecks.  Her Bachelor’s in flute performance and Master’s in Business Administration came from Seattle Pacific University.  She has traveled to 22 countries, loves to play flute in a theatre pit, and hopes to be able to keep up with her sons as they enter their teen years. 

Jeff Wimett is a Program Manager in UMOnline and has worked in various capacities for the University of Montana's Summer, Winter, Online and Continuing Education programs since 2003. Jeff primarily performs budget and enrollment analysis for the University of Montana's online learning initiatives, but also provides assistance to faculty and departments seeking to offer for-credit UM academic programs via alternate funding models. Jeff is a UM alumnus and acquired a Bachelor's in Japanese Language in 2000 before returning to obtain a Master's in Public Administration 2014. In his free time Jeff enjoys genre fiction, building desktop computers, European board games and casual video gaming.

Student Internships

Michelle Dezihan

Suchan Jeong

Tony Layton