Unite Summer Program Bringing Local Students to Montana Tech

Unite Summer Program Bringing Local Students to Montana Tech


50 students from Butte High School, Anaconda High School, and Helena High Schools have been accepted into Montana Tech’s new Unite summer program. Unite is a five-week, pre-collegiate summer experience for talented high school students from groups historically underserved in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The eleven Anaconda High School scholars are: Farahbeth Barrington, William “Liam” Barrington, Jaiden Connors, William Griffis, Timothy “Raine” Lofing, Mollie Nadeau, Alack Rosman, Carter Sampson, Caleb Thompson, Joseph Turner, and Cayden Sisco.

The twenty-two students from Butte High School are: Aaliyah Andersch, Rhiannon Anderson, Mekia Best, Jessica Bleile, Amanda Brooks, Kazmyrn Criscoulo, Kaden Dean, Alysa Deweert, Jordan Dupris, Brandon Graft, Kadden Littlefield, Madison Mckernan, Hogan O’Donnell, Sydney Olsen, Trevor Phillips, Katherine Radoicich, Taylor St. Pierre, Valerie Williams, Brenda Fode, Abbigale Pesanti, Penelopy Littlefield, and Ashley Maloney.

Seventeen students from high schools in Helena have been accepted into the program. They are: Sarina Bogy, Donovin Cambell, Berkalie Campbell-Woods, Samantha Christensen, Shyanne Christensen, Navaeh Davis, Tabitha Flemings, Micah Franks, Dakota Hurley, Angel Jimenez, Drake Kelly, Nick King, Emmy Nguyen, Emma Rainey, Abigail Robo, Chloe Wickham, and Kailynn Wickham.

As one of 18 host sites nationwide, Montana Tech will have a total of 50 students working with faculty on campus this summer. The summer program is funded by a grant from the Army Educational Outreach Program. Unite encourages students to pursue college majors and careers in engineering and other STEM-related fields through a program of focused hands-on rigorous academics, enrichment, and career exploration.

Staff members from Montana Tech’s Institute for Educational Opportunities identify and recruit students from Butte, Anaconda, and Helena into the program. “We offer a program that encourages the scholars to pursue college majors and careers in engineering and other STEM-related fields through a program of focused hands-on rigorous academics, enrichment, and career exploration,” noted Amy Verlanic, Executive Director of Montana Tech’s Institute for Educational Opportunities. “We are pleased to see such a high number of students accepted into the program.”

From June 17 through July 18, the students will spend four hours/day conducting research with Montana Tech faculty members and the remainder of their time in the classroom learning. On Friday, July 19, students will present their research findings and poster at a mini-symposium in the Montana Tech HPER.

The sponsoring Montana Tech faculty members and their course descriptions are as follows:

  • Montana Tech Assistant Professor Joel Graff will instruct students on ecosystems. In the Graff lab, students will be building and monitoring small-scale ecosystems with the goal of producing a crop for harvest
  • CFWEP Program Director, Rayelynn Brandl, and Chris Doyle, Program Coordinator for the Institute for Educational Opportunities, will explore the CFWEP Summer Unite Beaver Mimicry project. This project engages students in learning about overall watershed health, specifically as related to global climate change and water storage.
  • Montana Tech Electrical Engineering Assistant Professor Bryce Hill will teach students about Audio Digital Signal Processing. In this research, students will record audio sounds use MATLAB software to learn to code schemes to manipulate those signals. Students will make musical recordings as well as analyze the signals incorporated into the sounds they record.
  • Associate Professor, Stella Capoccia, will help young scientists develop their interests as naturalists, particularly as it relates to vertebrates in Montana. Students in this section will learn the basics of Montana’s wildlife and understand the different habitat unique to this region.
  • Environmental Engineering Department Head and Assistant Professor Katherine Zodrow and Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Dario Prieto’s project aims to identity local sources of biomass (wood, grasses, pinecones, etc.) that could be used to adsorb soil and water pollutants typical to the area. Students will learn the basics of material sampling, leaching from rocks, and adsorption.
  • Metallurgical Engineering Department Head and Professor, Jerry Downey, and David Hutchins will help students explore the real-world challenges of keeping mining waste safely out of surface waters via plastic encapsulation. This project will include all phases of the research including field sampling, polymer material science, environmental engineering, and analytical chemistry.

For more information, please visit https://www.institute.mtech.edu/upward-bound-1.