UM Summer Program Offers High School Students Early Taste of College

High school students from nine states participated in the inaugural Summer Exploration program in July. The program introduced them to UM, college life and Missoula.

MISSOULA – High school students from nine states traveled to the University of Montana campus this July for the inaugural Summer Exploration event, a program designed to give students an early introduction to college life.

Students earned one college credit and participated in one of two courses offered through the program, held July 24-31 and hosted by the UM Summer Office, UM's School of Public and Community Health Sciences and the Wild Rockies Field Institute.

Seven students stayed on campus for the week to take Introduction to Public Health, taught by UM’s Dr. Tony Ward, Anna Kiley and other members of UM’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences. Ten students also traveled to Glacier during the week to take Climate Change in Glacier National Park, taught by WRFI instructors Ashley Carruth and Stephanie Fisher.

Becka Simons, associate director of UM Summer, said participating students ranged in age from 15 to 17 and came from states as far away as Wisconsin, Texas and Illinois.

“Summer Exploration was presented as a holistic program where high school students could learn, explore and grow in beautiful indoor and outdoor classrooms,” Simons said. “We received extremely positive feedback from the students, who enjoyed meeting new people and getting a taste of the precollege experience.”

In addition to classes, students visited with UM President Seth Bodnar; participated in informational field trips, including to the Bison Range on the Flathead Indian Reservation and the Missoula City-County Health Department; participated in team-building activities; celebrated health workers; and explored the UM campus and beautiful city of Missoula.

UM Summer hopes to expand these precollege academic programs to encourage more high school students to meet new people, engage, learn and explore a precollege environment.

More information on the program is available at Summer Exploration 2021 or by emailing Simons at


Contact: Becka Simons, associate director of UM Summer in the Office of the Provost, 406-243-5674,