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New Research Initiatives

Montana Tech, MSU Billings, University of Montana Awarded Grant to Improve Grad Student Mental Health

Montana Technological University (Montana Tech), Montana State University Billings (MSU-B), and the University of Montana (UM) were recently awarded a three-year, $500K grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant, Mental Health Opportunities for Professional Empowerment in STEM (HOPES), will allow these institutions to design, pilot, assess, and implement evidence-based, sustainable, and replicable strategies to improve graduate students' mental health in STEM fields.

This collaborative project is led by Montana Tech, which has graduate programs predominantly in engineering. MSU Billings brings special expertise in mental health interventions, and the University of Montana provides considerable experience in faculty professional development and additional STEM-related graduate programs.

Beverly Hartline, Ph.D., professor emerita at Montana Tech, will serve as the overall project leader. She will be joined on campus by co-PIs, Scott Risser, professor and department head of the Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; Charie Faught, associate professor in the nursing department; and Sue Schrader, associate professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department.

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See NBC Montana's coverage of this research.

Other Recent Research Initiatives


Thematic Faculty Expertise & Emerging Topics


Community Impact of Montana Tech Research and Scholarship

Education Programs & Outreach

Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP)

The Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP) at Montana Tech (Rayelynn Brandl, Director) has been placing scientists in the classroom for STEM education/outreach since 2005. The CFWEP provides robust educational experiences to all 36 Superfund-affected communities of the Clark Fork Watershed.

CFWEP placing scientists in the classroom for STEM outreachCFWEP provides teacher professional development along with authentic research experiences for K-12 students. To date, CFWEP has served over 68,000 students and over 700 teachers. The annual operating budget of CFWEP is $767,000, funded by the MT Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program (NRD), with additional contributions from Butte-Silver Bow, the National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency. With the projected sunset of the NRD contract in early 2024, CFWEP is actively seeking philanthropic and federal support to continue its education and outreach to disadvantaged Montana communities.

Other Examples of Community Impact of Montana Tech Research


Partnering with Montana Tech

Laboratory Facilities

Research Centers & Programs


Information for Students and Educators

At Montana Tech, Undergraduate Researchers Participate in Innovation

undergraduate research poster presentationAs an example of undergraduate research leading to innovation, Montana Tech’s PHAGES grant from the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award hosted several summer research projects on campus. These projects will discover and characterize bacteriophages (a.k.a. phages), which are tiny viruses that infect bacteria. Phages have been used to successfully treat infectious diseases caused by bacterial pathogens. The overwhelming majority of phages, the most numerous biological entities on the planet, have not yet been discovered.

Two undergraduate students, Kylie Marks, a sophomore biochemistry major from Helena and Sara Burgmeier, a senior biology major from Drummond will work with Biology Professor Marisa Pedulla and CFWEP’s Chris Doyle to isolate, purify, and characterize bacteriophages that infect a devastating fish pathogen bacteria. Partnerships with FWP Fish Scientists at the Washoe Fish Hatchery and Great Falls will test these phages for therapeutic applications in future studies. The Montana Tech undergraduates also worked with a group of middle and high school teachers and six high school students in the PHAGES Pipeline Program. The PHAGES project is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

Other Opportunities for Undergraduate Research at Montana Tech

For more information, please contact Dr. Katie Hailer, Professor, Chemistry Department Head.


Information for Montana Tech Researchers