Two UM Students Receive Nationally Recognized Scholarships for Women

A picture of Angela Mishler
Angela Mishler

MISSOULA – Two University of Montana students have received nationally recognized scholarships that seek to support women students making contributions to their fields of study and communities.

Angela Mishler, an undergraduate student from Park Rapids, Minnesota, was awarded the Jeannette Rankin Emerge Grant. The Emerge Grant supports women and nonbinary students from Montana and Georgia who show a strong commitment to their educational and career goals and work to have positive impacts on their families and communities. The Jeanette Rankin Foundation aims to “transform futures through education” with their Scholar, Emerge and Montana Tribal College Scholar Grants.

Adyasha Nayak, a graduate student from Sambalpuer, in Odisha state, India, received the Philanthropic Educational Organization International Peace Scholarship. The PEO is a more than 150-year-old “sisterhood of women helping women reach for the stars” through five different funding programs. The International Peace Scholarship supports international women graduate students as they pursue degrees in the U.S. or Canada.

Dually enrolled at Missoula College and UM, Mishler is pursuing certification in licensed addiction counseling and minoring in chemical addiction studies. She also plans to become a licensed clinical social worker to counsel those who experience co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.

Mishler was inspired to become a counselor after witnessing family members battle mental health issues and seeking help from therapists herself. She has already served in this field, having previously worked at the Western Montana Mental Health Center. Mishler is also a mother to two daughters.

A picture of Adyasha Nayak
Adyasha Nayak

“Getting the courage to go back to school at an older age is a huge accomplishment for me, and I am equally proud of being a mother, a full-time student and a positive contributor to this society that I live in,” Mishler said.

Nayak is a doctoral student in UM’s Forest and Conservation Sciences program studying social science-based conservation. Her childhood trips to wilderness areas, as well as her parents' love of learning and encouragement to be independent, ultimately inspired Nayak to pursue science. She is also an artist and has used her talent to support conservation campaigns in India. Nayak plans to become a conservation practitioner focused on cultural preservation of traditional ecological practices. After completing her studies, Nayak aims to return to India.

“I want to promote equitable resource use around protected wilderness areas; generate sustainable livelihood streams, particularly for rural women; and assist wildlife managers in aligning their objectives with traditional socio-ecological systems,” said Nayak.

Both Mishler and Nayak worked with UM’s Office of External Scholarships and Fellowships to complete their applications.

“Both scholars have already made a difference in their communities and fields,” said Dr. Kylla Benes, director of the office. “They are prime examples of how UM students use their education to make real, positive impacts in the world and scholarship foundations recognize this potential.”

Mishler is UM’s fifth Jeannette Rankin Scholar, and Nayak is UM’s fourth PEO International Peace Scholarship awardee.


Contact: Kylla Benes, director, UM Office of External Scholarships and Fellowships, 406-243-5241,