Profile of Upward Bound student from Missoula

Season of thanks: Missoulians share what they’re thankful for this year

Braylee Crawford

Braylee Crawford looked forward to Upward Bound every summer before she enrolled at the University of Montana.

“When I heard that the program was basically on the chopping block, it really devastated me,” Crawford said.

This year, the U.S. Department of Education initially denied $1.7 million in grant funds for the Upward Bound program at UM based on a clerical error, according to the program director. UM had failed to double-space one of the application’s 65 pages, as had some other campuses.

U.S. Sens. Jon Tester, a Democrat, and Steve Daines, a Republican, were among the elected leaders who successfully advocated for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to reconsider applications based on the merits.

When Crawford — a freshman from Browning majoring in human biology for premed — learned the program would be funded after all, she said she was thrilled, not only for herself, a college student, but for high school students who will also have the chance to participate in Upward Bound and learn they have an opportunity to attend a university.

“I was so, so happy,” she said, “because not only would I get to continue to enjoy the benefits of TRiO, but I know students from not only my community but around the state would be able to enjoy the benefits of Upward Bound.”

— Keila Szpaller


Upward Bound grant restored for University of Montana

Upward Bound grant restored for University of Montana

The University of Montana will receive money to support first-generation college students and ones from low-income families through Upward Bound, after initially being denied a grant due to a clerical error, according to news releases. U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines announced Wednesday that the U.S.

Kimberly Kost from student to mentor

Kimberly Kost joined Student Support Services (SSS) TRIO at MSUB as the new Academic Coordinator last February. As a prior TRIO participant, she has come back to the program which at one point helped her to pursue her educational dreams. Now, with more experience and a great educational background, she helps students as a mentor, as a tutor, and as a coach. In the past, Kim has worked with students of diverse backgrounds in different capacities. Being a low-income and first-generation undergraduate student, she has the experience and ability of recognizing life’s obstacles that non-traditional students have to overcome in order to graduate.
Her story is full of unique events. During high school, she was the only income in her household, but she still graduated with honors. In her senior year, she got pregnant and moved out from her mom’s house. Right after graduation, she got married and a had a baby. Today, she has overcome the odds; she is happily married and has a wonderful teenager at home. She has also managed to complete different degrees.
Kim obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, an Associate of Arts in Secondary education and an Associate’s degree in Psychology. She is pursuing her master’s in Mathematics and Psychology. Kim is without a doubt a “junkie learner”, as she described herself, and would love to pass on her love for learning to our students. During the interview, Kim said “I want to push students to be more effective… help them learn how to overcome obstacles that they face as non-traditional students.”
Other personal characteristics of this wonderful professional involve her warm and welcoming personality. Always with a smile on her face, she is ready to help students with financial literacy questions, career path, and so forth.
As we say in TRIO, once that you get involved with our programs, your heart belongs to TRIO.

What does SOS/TRIO do for me…….

To Whom it May Concern:

I would like to share what the SOS/TRIO program has done for me as a student, a mom, and a professional.

I started at MSUB soon after graduating high school and then Cosmetology School in 2004. As a freshmen, I initially registered with the Student Opportunity Services (SOS), because I was a low income student and a first time college student. I figured it was a program I would do nothing with and fall out of soon, but I was wrong. I immediately noticed how friendly and welcoming everyone was. I met with my mentor to discuss my plan of study, the assistance I needed, and different activities I could get involved in. Everyone in the program were extremely friendly and displayed willingness to work around my schedule to assist me, even though they themselves had crazy schedules. I am in awe of how efficient and effective their office is with so many tasks on their schedules, and students needing help. They fight so hard to keep their program open to as many students as possible. They give me a sense of hope that there are people out there that care………just because they care. They listen to my student needs, my personal needs, and my interpersonal needs. They help me weekly, if not daily, by giving me a sense of security and confidence that I can do this and get my degree.

They are so good to everyone, and they listen, and they care. Sometimes parents need to be told they are doing a good job too. The staff always makes me feel like I am worth while. They have a new receptionist that actually remembered my name after meeting me once! Amazing. Now that is customer services/student service. They never stick up their noses or huff when you have to bring kiddos with you to their office. They always have a family friendly environment and during the week they have different activities, goodies and snacks.

Besides the wonderful mentors, SOS also helps me with studying by allowing me to rent books and smart pens. They have wonderful tutors that have helped me immensely. Without the SOS program I would not be able to afford tutoring, and lets face it, when it comes to Statistics and Chemistry, everyone needs a little help. Keith is the best tutor anyone could ever ask for; he is always available, he is always cheery, and he is always willing to go the extra mile to help his students.

SOS/TRIO also allows students to use computers available in the office and print for free. They can help with resumes, applications, work study, volunteering, as well as study guides/study groups, student resources, class registration, tutoring, and plans of study.

SOS/TRIO has helped me more than any other group/organization on campus.



Jessica Kannegiesser


Being part of TRIO and engaging with the staff/tutors/students has been an upward journey. The student Kelly Buck met over a year ago has evolved. Everyone that I have met has only cared about me overcoming the obstacles that I put there. I am no longer afraid of school. I am eager to be in school learning and achieving academic accomplishments. I also can take notes, no longer procrastinate, and understand my purpose. Thanks to all the staff at TRIO and a special thanks to Diane and Kelly.



Montana Can! Agents of Change – 2015 State Conference

MONTANA CAN! AGENTS OF CHANGE ~ 2015 State Conference

Montana TRIO at State Capitol

Montana TRIO at State Capitol

TRiO Programs in Montana combined resources with Gear UP, Montana College Access Network, and Financial Aid administrators and produced a great conference April 8-10th in Helena, Montana. TRIO Achiever speaker, Angela McLean, Montana Lieutenant Governor inspired our achievers to reach for their goals and presented each with a plaque in recognition of their success. Angela is a huge supporter of the TRIO mission and we are lucky to have such a great relationship with her. Kimberly Jones from COE joined us for her first trip to the Last Best Place and gave us great education on how to work with our legislators. Great speakers and presentations were shared allowing membership to network with professionals in each field . TRIO staff converged at the state Capitol and recognized on the floor of the Senate during legislative hearings.

Angela McLean, Lt. Governor & Natalie Black, UM graduate

Angela McLean, Lt. Governor & Natalie Black, UM graduate

Of course, our conference wouldn’t be fun without a fantastic silent auction. Included this year was a raffle for a motor cycle!

Of course, our conference wouldn’t be fun without a fantastic silent auction. Included this year was a raffle for a motor cycle!

Montana TRIO SSS students take the plunge

TRIO SSS students who participated in the “Grizzly Dip” at UM – a fundraiser for Special Olympics!033