University of Montana

Senior Personnel

Ke Wu

Professor at UM in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Dr. Wu has been involved with multiple programs working with Indigenous communities: NSF-funded S-STEM project (NSF# 1356717) and NSF TCUP projects (NSF# 1622543, 1505371), which provides professional development opportunities in research and best practice for tribal college and university STEM faculty members.

Project role: Dr. Wu oversaw the Willow project. In the remaining months of the project, she will coordinate the dissemination of the Research Publication and Grant Preparation component of the Willow model, assist the quantitative and qualitative research activities in the Social Science Research component as well as project budget related issues.

Blakely Brown

Professor at UM in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences. Dr. Brown has been involved with NIH, USDA, NSF and New Zealand Ministry of Health funding projects that collaborate with Native American, Indigenous, Maori and Pacific Islander communities including serving as Co-PI on the NSF-funded AGEP-T COSMOS project (NSF# 1432694); Partnerships to Prevent Childhood Obesity on the Flathead Indian Reservation (R13HD080904), and Expanding the Role of Family in Culturally Appropriate Childhood Obesity Prevention Strategies (P20GM103474).

Project role: For the Willow project, Dr. Brown coordinates the development and implementation and dissemination of a mentoring program and activities for Native American faculty in STEM.

Michael Patterson

Professor and Associate Dean of the W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. Before his retirement from UM, he taught social science theory and methods classes and oversaw academic affairs in the college. Dr. Patterson has been associate editor for several journals and was co-PI on a Native Student internship program associated with Yellowstone National Park.

Project role: Patterson directed the initial adaptation and implementation of the institutional support component and a seminar for Willow on hermeneutics.

Ruth Plenty Sweet Grass-She Kills

Night Wind Woman, Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills (formerly Ruth Hall), Hidatsa, Mandan, Dakota, and Nakota, is the Food Sovereignty Director at the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College.

Project Role: Dr. Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills initiated the idea for the project while finishing up her Ph.D. dissertation examining experiences of Native students in natural resource management programs. She was a senior member of the Willow-AGEP project through her association with UM, initially leading the project's Social Science Research component. In the remaining months of the project, she will continue working on the adaptation, implementation, and dissemination of the Willow model, as well as the research component, external evaluation, and other project activities.

Primary Support Personnel

Anne Grant, Program Manager

Anne Grant, M.S. Environmental Studies. Anne is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe and descendant of the A'aninin, or "People of the White Clay," now located at Fort Belknap Reservation. Her interdisciplinary thesis focused on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Anne has collaborated with a number of diverse organizations, including Piegan Institute, Learning World's Institute, the Native Science Field Center, Nizi Puh Wah Sin Blackfeet Language Immersion program, and Hopa Mountain. Prior to working with Willow, Anne served UM as Elouise Cobell Fellow for the College of Humanities and Sciences. 

Project Role: Ms. Grant manages communication and workshops across the Alliance institutions and assists the project team in the process of adaptation, implementation, and research of the Willow model.

Amy Kinch, Institutional Support

Amy Fowler Kinch, M.A., is the founding director of the Faculty Development Office at UM, a holistic program that supports faculty research, teaching, service, and career satisfaction. From 2005 to 2010, she worked as the program manager and oversaw the policy development component for a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant to promote the recruitment and retention of women faculty in the sciences and support indigenous women scientists.

Project role: Kinch will coordinate the initial adaptation and implementation of the institutional support component.

Katherine Swan, Grant Preparation & Management Program

Katherine Swan, B.S. is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy (derived from "Stone Child") Indian Reservation. Katherine has been writing grant proposals for nearly 15 years and possesses a lifetime of experience living and working in Indian country. Katherine is the Proposal Development Manager at UM, a role in which she coordinates proposal development activities on campus. Specific tasks include developing training materials for researchers, seeking funding opportunities, providing PIs with a critical review of proposals, and working alongside PIs to develop and refine supplementary documents for proposals.

Project role: Ms. Swan will assist with the adaptation of the curriculum for the grant preparation and management workshops.

Jennifer Harrington, Social Science Research Specialist

Jennifer Harrington is Cree and Metis, and a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe of North Dakota. Jennifer is finishing her graduate program in Resource Conservation at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at UM. Jennifer has been working with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to develop recommendations on improving consultation between federal agencies and tribes, particularly in regard to environmental degradation and restoration on reservation and aboriginal territories. Her work with tribes has given her a new perspective on resource management that is far more sustainable than the more recent colonial view of natural resources as a commodity. Ms. Harrington is interested in continuing work with tribes on environmental issues that include the indigenous perspective and needs into restoration plans, to improve environmental health and to improve the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government.

Yukiko Maeda, Social Science Research Specialist