Montana American Indian Student Scholars

The Commissioner sought liaisons in each of the MUS campuses to identify currently enrolled American Indian students for a unique pilot designed to provide support for American Indian students and their families. Each of the MUS and Community College campuses submitted names for program liaisons.

City College - MSU-Billings

Josh Tarango
  My name is Josh Tarango. I’m 28 years old and originally from a very small town in Northern California called Burney. I moved to Billings three years ago with my wife and three daughters. I’m Navajo and Blackfoot as well as a little bit of Filipino, Spanish, English and Irish mixed in. I’m currently in my second year of the welding program at MSU. I’ve received the Horatio Alger scholarship for two separate semesters, as well as the Gianforte Manufacturing scholarship, the Facilities Services scholarship and the Brad James Black Memorial scholarship. With my maintained GPA of 3.5, I received the honor of being inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. I’ve also been lucky enough to become President of the Beta Upsilon Rho chapter of PTK. When I graduate, I will become a member of the local 30 pipe fitters’ union and hope to gain employment as a welder at a local shop, railway or mill. In my free time I enjoy fishing, swimming, being outdoors, at home DIY projects and family game nights with my girls.
Rexx Brady   My name is Rexx Brady, I am a 47 year old non-traditional student from the Northern Cheyenne Nation. I have called Billings my home since September of 2006. My major is Automotive Technology and I am currently in the one year Diesel certification program. I am the Inter-tribal Indian Club President and I have a 2.4 GPA. It is my hope that one day I will have my own automotive repair shop with a mobile repair unit, so that I can make house calls to those that cannot make it to the repair shop.
Jonethyn Collins   Hello, my name is Jonethyn Collins. I am Oglala Lakota (Runsabove) and Nez Perce (Blackeagle), but my uncle James Wick and many others raised me as a Northern Cheyenne. I am from Ashland, MT. I’m currently a freshman in the Diesel Technology program at Montana State University-Billings and in my second semester. My current GPA is 3.24. My academic goal is to graduate with my associate’s in diesel technology and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Montana State University.


Flathead Valley Community College

Adelaid Boeck   Ta'c meeyi, my name is Adelaide Boeck. I am an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe, a direct descendent of Chief Joseph, daughter of Chief Levi McCormack. We originated in the Wallows of Oregon and reside on the Lapwai Indian Reservation in Idaho. I attend Flathead Valley Community College for preparation of the Surgical Technologist Program in fall of 2017.  I have over twenty years of experience in emergency medicine, fire, security, and hazardous materials response.  I currently serve two Judges appointed positions at the Flathead Valley District Court.  I am the Native American Representative on the Youth Placement Committee for Youth Court, and am on the Foster Care Placement Review Committee for Child Protective Services.  I plan to one day attend Rocky Mountain College to graduate as a Physician Assistant and return home to provide health and wellness care for the ongoing health needs of Native Americans.  During my summers I visit my brother in Joseph, Oregon and attend his Longhouse Ceremony and my sister in Pendleton to help in her restaurant (during Round-Up days).  We celebrate our family reunion at our lake cabin on Spirit Lake in Idaho.  This is important to me because we are one of the last families of Chief Joseph and keeping our connections are what will help to pass down our traditions and heritage. I am grateful for this opportunity as a Montana American Indian Scholar and am looking forward to tackling any challenges ahead.  Qe'ti'yewyew'


Helena College University of Montana

Thea Ostwald  

Hello everyone! My name is Thea Ostwald. I'm part of the Cowesses First Nation of Canada.  I'm a Montana native and proud of that. Our state has so much to offer. I love taking the back roads and seeing our states beauty. I'm currently finishing my A.S at Helena College. At Helena College I help build a club. The Montana Student Education Association. This club volunteers at local elementary schools and creates comradery with peers. I will soon be transferring to the University of Montana-Missoula. There I will finish my bachelors in Elementary Education and minor in Native American Studies. My goal is to keep the Native culture alive by integrating Indian Ed for all in my classrooms. By being a mentor, I wish to encourage empowerment and giving back to communities.


Montana State University-Bozeman

Eric Marceau   My name is Eric Marceau and I’m a Montana WWAMI medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine. I am a first descendant, Salish, originally from Charlo Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation. I first started college at Salish Kootenai College back in 2010. While at Salish Kootenai College I obtained my associate's degree in general science. After graduation, I attended Stanford University where I graduated with my Bachelors of Science in 2017. I enjoy working with students and want to continue to see students succeed and to reach their goals of obtaining their degrees.
Connie Brownotter   Hello! My name is Connie Brownotter. I am an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. I graduated from Phillips Academy in 2014 and I am a Gates Millennium Scholar. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Early Childhood Education and minoring in Native American Studies. I want to attend graduate school someday and I plan to return to the Standing Rock Reservation to work with and for my people. I am passionate about working with individuals within my community to improve the quality of life for all of the members of my tribe. I am particularly interested in helping youth combat suicide, substance addiction, and mental health disorders. I am also interested in language revitalization, immersion school programs and bison restoration.
Dawson Demontiney  

My name is Dawson Demontiney and I am from Rocky Boy, Montana. I am a junior in civil-engineering and I am married and have three children, all boys. When I graduate I want to become a Project Engineer. After working under a Professional Engineer, I want to obtain my Professional Engineering Licence(P.E). After I obtain my P.E, I will start my own Design-Build company.

I want to become an engineer because, I would ultimately like to help improve our Native People’s way of life. One thing we lack on the reservation is engineers. I want to improve infrastructure, and buildings.

I enjoy being involved in college events. I have a passion for obtaining a large American Indian student center at MSU Bozeman. MSU has taught me how to become a problem solver. I am beyond grateful for the support I receive at MSU, I am also grateful for the people who have been mentoring me through college.

Rikki Ollinger  

My name is Rikki Ollinger I’m a senior at Montana State University. I’m proudly enrolled Blackfeet from Browning, Mt. My major here at MSU is Microbiology. I have had many challenges throughout my academic career, as have many Native students, however persistence and faith have guided me through this hard path. My future goal is to attend dental school, return home and join a team of Native dentist to aid in a future of outstanding oral health care.  I’m proud to be representing and encouraging other Native Students Across Montana, and give a special thanks to the American Indian Scholars program at MSU for the recommendation and encouragement to share my career obstacles and achievements with other Native students.


Montana Tech

Taymee Brandon   My name is Taymee Brandon, and I am a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians community. As a Montana Native, I love the state and have lived here my entire life. I was born in Havre, Montana, and spent my childhood there. I graduated from C. M. Russell High School in Great Falls, Montana. I then attended the University of Montana to pursue my passion for science, and in May of 2016 I graduated cum laude with a Chemistry, B.S., University Scholar Distinction. My research and thesis were related to water quality, so I am continuing my work at Montana Technological University by pursuing an Environmental Engineering, M.S. with a water quality focus. I intend to use my degree and my research as a tool to improve the water quality in Montana and its reservations. Upon graduation, I will pursue a PhD in Analytical Chemistry or Oceanography. I am a Gates Millennium Scholar, Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership Scholar, and a member of the PNW-COSMOS community. I’m grateful that as an American Indian Student Scholar I have the opportunity to use my knowledge and my story to encourage and mentor other Native students to pursue higher education.
Kile Denny  


My name is Kile Denny. I am a Junior at Montana Tech. I was born and raised near Lame Deer, Montna on my family ranch. As a Northern Cheyenne descendant, my family and I understand the importance of staying connected to the land, as well as, maintaining what we have. I love where I live and couldn’t imagine calling any other place home. From the values of my past combined with my desire to preserve the future, my decision to pursue a degree in Environmental Engineering was founded. I am currently working towards my Bachelors degree and plan on getting my Masters degree. I’m a member of AmeriCorp, our campus AISES chapter and Environmental Engineers of Montana Tech. Each club understands the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community. From this, I look forward to the change and difference I will be able to make in other students’ lives.

Jessica Elliott  

Hello! My name is Jessica Elliott and I am a non-traditional student earning a bachelor’s degree in Mathematical Sciences and a minor in Biology at Montana Tech, and I am also studying at the University of Montana Western online to earn a teaching degree for K-12 education. I graduated with honors from Highlands College in May 2017, where I was active in social science research and traveled the state of Montana to present my research at community colleges. I am a descendant of the Blackfoot tribe, and I also have Spanish, German, Norwegian, and Scottish ancestry. My academic goal is to graduate in the Spring of 2020 with a Math major, Biology minor, and U of M Western education degree, so I can focus my energy toward guiding our nation’s youth on their journey to academic success.


The University of Montana Western

Emanuelle LaChance  
My name is Emanuelle LaChance. I am an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes, and a descendant of the Lower Brulé Lakota Tribe. I was born in Missoula, Montana. I went to school in Ronan,MT and did until my sophomore year of high school when I transferred to St.Ignatius, MT. I have two siblings, a brother and a sister. My great grandmother raised me for 13 years until she passed away. After her passing I moved in with my grandparents, Mike and Terri Durglo.
Augustina Wofford   Augustina Wofford is a sophomore at the University of Montana Western. She is double majoring in Visual Art and Psychology, with the plan of becoming an art therapist. She chose to become a Native American mentor to help others, and for a chance to use what she has been learning in her psychology classes."


University of Montana

Photo of Sage Stone  

My name is Sage Stone. I’m an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in Rocky Boy, MT. I am in my second year of college. I like to hang out with my friends and play sports especially football and basketball. I’m involved in Greek life and my fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Photo of Jordynn Paz   Hello! My name is Jordynn Paz. I am a sophomore at the University of Montana. I am from Garryowen, Montana and a member of the Crow Tribe. I am vice president of the Kyi-Yo student organization, a member of the American Indian Business Leaders, and I am in the Beta Phi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. I like to watch movies and sleep.
Photo of Shalbilyn Tall Whiteman  

My name is Shalbilyn Tall Whiteman. I am part of the Blackfeet Nation. I grew up in Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Reservation. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Political Science and minoring in Social Work. Some of the student groups I participate in are the Kyi-Yo student organization, American Indian Business Leaders, Trio and American Indian Student Services Mentor.

Photo of Cody Campbell   Hau, My name is Cody Campbell. I am an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Central South Dakota. I'm a transfer student from Sinte Gleska University. I plan on pursuing a Psychology degree with a minor in Native American Studies. I enjoy playing/watching sports, fishing and spending time with family and friends. My future goals are to eventually help the Native community and youth to achieve their goals and encourage higher education.  Anpétu wasté yuhá po.


See Past Scholars...


Home        Privacy & Security       Accessibility        Contact Us       State Authorization       Search       Site Index

Montana University System • Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
560 N. Park Ave • PO Box 203201 • Helena, MT 59620-3201 • 406-449-9124

© 2018 Montana University System. All Rights Reserved.