Research Education

restoration ecology

New Emerging Graduate STEM pathways of note at Montana Tech

Montana Tech’s Earth Science & Engineering PhD program, Established 2020, had 7 students enrolled in Fall 2021.  The Restoration Ecology, MS program, Established 2020, had 11 students enrolled in Fall 2021, and is currently operating at capacity.

unmanned aerial; drones
Example of a Montana Tech Invention Licensed by Alpha Tech. “Fiber Creation and Deposition on Arbitrary Surfaces With Gas-Modified Electrospinning”. Emily A. Kooistra-Manning, Lane G. Huston, Jack L. Skinner, Jessica M. Andriolo;; Published Online: January 21, 2020

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Development and Analytics certificates [established April 2021] at Montana Tech is available at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  In the first offering in Fall 2021, the UAS certificate courses had 6 enrolled students, including both students enrolled in continuing education (4) and full time undergraduates (2) programs.  The UAS certificates also served as a key component of a submitted NSF NRT proposal.  The figure shown below illustrates examples of how the UAS courses are being used to track environmental contamination.

Undergraduate Research at Montana Tech (Prof. Katie Hailer, Point of Contact)

In Summer 2021, Montana Tech’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) supported 10 research projects, involving 14 undergraduate students and 12 mentors from science and engineering departments across campus. Students completed either part-time (200 hours) or full time (400 hours) research experiences with their mentors.   Students presented their work at a summer research symposium held on Tech’s campus in August 2021.  Many Tech undergraduates continued working on undergraduate research projects (URP) during the academic year.  These URP students will present their work in the spring at a local conference, such as the Montana Academy of Sciences conference. 

Research days at Montana Tech


techxpoMontana Tech’s Techxpo (Susie Anderson, Coordinator) is an annual, campus-wide event aimed at showcasing the many exciting research and design projects developed by Montana Tech’s students. Students in any degree area who are involved in a research project (i.e., graduate, undergraduate, senior design) at Montana Tech or at the Highlands College are encouraged to participate in Techxpo. 

techxpo students
Montana Tech environmental engineering seniors Zach Maassen, left,
Joseph Rowe, Dustin Kaste, CJ Kissell and David Hutchins
demonstrate the team’s award winning solution for
off-grid drinking water treatment during the third annual
Techxpo Design Showcase in the Tech HPER
Thursday morning.
Imaged courtesy: Walter Hinick, The Montana Standard

A panel of industry professionals judges the students’ projects, and the top project in each degree area is awarded a cash prize. A cash prize is also awarded to the Best in Show. This event is free and open to the community, as well as industry partners, alumni, and local area high school and middle school students. Techxpo is a great opportunity for Montana Tech’s students to display their tremendous accomplishments and talents but also a way to promote math and science education to visiting students.  The 11th Annual event will be held on April 28, 2022, in the Montana Tech HPER.  Up to 115 projects will be on display featuring posters and live demonstrations.  The students responsible for each project will be on hand to discuss their work and to answer questions.

Digger Integrity Day

digger integrity dayDigger Integrity Day (Dawn Atkinson, Coordinator) at Montana Tech were held on October 20, 2021. This year's Digger Integrity Day featured an escape room from which students tried to escape with their academic integrity. The Writing team devised two different scenarios for students to try: one focused on contract cheating and another on plagiarism. This campus education and engagement event coincided with the International Day of Action against Contract Cheating (IDOA), which was sponsored by the International Center for Academic Integrity. Montana Technological University is a member of this organization (see