Pi Alpha Alpha


UM's Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha (UMPAA) fosters innovative applied learning experiences and scholarship in public administration, policy and affairs. This is facilitated through the assertion of public service values, which are at the core of the University of Montana’s MPA program. By serving the students, alumni and associates of the University of Montana, UMPAA strives to enhance the experiences of its members and community by providing opportunities for professional development, applied learning and networking through academic and professional support.

UMPAA is a chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA), a registered Trademark of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

Become a Member

  1. Fully admitted MPA student;
  2. Completed 18 MPA approved credits (electives or core classes);
  3. Maintain a 3.7 GPA or higher;
  4. Alumni with a 3.7 GPA or higher are also eligible to apply for membership. If you cannot locate your unofficial transcript, contact the MPA Director.

2021-22 UMPAA Officers

Chance Carter

President: Chance Carter

Chance Carter (he/him/his) is a third year JD/MPA student. Chance graduated from UM in 2015 with a BFA in theatre practice and performance. Originally from Des Moines, IA, Chance has called Missoula home for the past 10 years. Before coming back to school Chance had a career in the performing arts working as an actor and production/stage manager for a variety of non-profit theaters. Most recently, Chance spent five years acting and teaching theatre residencies to k-12 children across North America as a part of the Missoula Children’s Theatre North American tour. Chance enjoys studying the intersections between law and public policy and believes that both should be used to benefit the lives of all members of our community. When not studying, Chance enjoys spending time outside with his camera and hiking with his partner, Dalton, and their two spoiled huskies, Ruby and Roy.  

Vice President: Emilie Sayler

Alex Dreussi

Treasurer: Alex Dreussi

Alex Dreussi (he/him) is a rising 3L JD/MPA student at the University of Montana. He enjoys hiking, biking, running, and hanging out at the dog park with his two Great Pyrenees mixes, Kevin and Timber. Alex has traveled to over fifty countries, worked in four national parks, and wears sandals even in the winter. Despite being raised in Ohio, he considers Montana his home.

Claire Grisham

Secretary: Claire Grisham

Claire is currently in her first year of the MPA program with a concentration on nonprofit administration. She grew up in western Washington, exploring the cedar forests and gaining an appreciation for public lands and all they have to offer. These interests led her to the University of Montana where she received her B.S. in Natural Resource Conservation. Prior to graduate school, Claire completed a service term with the AmeriCorps Energy Corps program where she had her first experience working with government, nonprofits, community groups and citizens to achieve a common goal. Through this Claire discovered her passion for public service and this experience is what led her to pursue the MPA program. Claire is excited to join the UMPAA team and connect her fellow students with new opportunities! In her free time Claire enjoys hiking, biking, experimenting with food, and fawning over all the animals in her life!

Rachael Foe

Outreach Coordinator: Rachael Foe

Rachael (she/her) is a second-year MPA student and is enjoying the many opportunities to pursue her interests in environmental management through the program. Rachael grew up in Michigan and has lived in various western states since completing an undergraduate degree in history education from Northern Arizona University. As a government, economics, and history teacher, Rachael witnessed the importance of making learning relevant by weaving it into community participation. Inspiration from her students and an enthusiasm toward environmental issues led her toward graduate school. The quality and flexibility of the MPA program at UM is deeply satisfying as Rachael navigates a career shift and the past year of change from the pandemic. Rachael is a distance student currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico…indeed a land of enchantment. She is excited to help bring enrichment to all students in our MPA program! In her free time, Rachael swims with a master’s team and loves exploring the southwest with her husband, Chris, and two fur-children, Tala (husky) and Lou (mutt).

Dalton Johnson

Allied Membership Manager: Dalton Johnson

Dalton Johnson (he/him/his) serves as the Allied Membership Manager for the University of Montana Chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha. He received a B.A. in organizational communication and minored in nonprofit administration from the University of Montana. Dalton is an experienced leader with a strong focus on developing effective working relationships and supporting collaboration across all levels of an organization. He intends to graduate with a Master of Public Administration spring of 2022.

Dalton is a human resource generalist for the City of Missoula, where he performs various Human Resource functions.

In 2020 he was appointed to serve as a commissioner of the Montana State Library by Governor Bullock. Previously, Dalton served as student regent (2018-19) of the Montana University System, nominated by Montana Associated Students and confirmed by the Montana Senate.

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Christina Barsky
LAW 149