Joseph Hickman, Director
Phone: (406) 243-4202
Joe's Study Tip: Always go to class and participate in class discussions and activities. When final grades are due, professors are more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to students who were active in the class. I know that more than once I received and ‘A’ in a class when I really deserved a ‘B’ simply because the professor knew me by name and recognized that I was actively engaged in every class session.
I was a TRiO-eligible student who grew up in western Montana but only recently returned to the state to work at The University of Montana. I graduated high school in Deer Lodge, but left to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks where I majored in Biological Sciences with a minor in Spanish. I also received my Master’s degree from UAF in Anthropology, specifically in the field of Ethnobotany.
I discovered the TRiO programs while in graduate school when I began teaching Marine Science, Wildlife Biology and Spanish for the Upward Bound Math/Science program at UAF. After five summers working for them and spending the academic year working as a Spanish teacher at a grade school in Fairbanks, I decided a career in TRiO was for me.
I left Alaska in 2003 to work for the TRiO – Student Support Services program at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa as an instructor and later as Assistant Director of the SSS program. In 2006 I returned to Alaska to take a position as Director of the TRiO – Student Support Services program at UAF, where I worked until 2011.
Then in 2011, my family and I had the opportunity to move to Missoula when I was offered the position as Director of TRiO – Student Support Services & TRiO - Upward Bound at UM. After being away from Montana for so many years it is great to be back home and to have the opportunity to work with so many promising students who come from a similar background as myself.
Darlene Samson, Advising Coordinator
Phone: (406) 243-4199
Darlene's Study Tip: As a parent, full –time employee, and past student, I came to appreciate utilizing good time management strategies. Juggling roles can be very difficult, but using time-management skills makes it manageable. Use a planner and involve your family. Reward yourselves at the end of the week and do something fun as a family! Also, I find "hitting every subject every day" helps with long-term retention and memorization.
It's hard to believe that I've been working with TRiO SSS for the past 20 years! Everyday present's new challenges at TRiO, and I find working with students is one of my most rewarding responsibilities. Advising is one of the most underestimated characteristics of student success and I'm proud to be one of many UM professional Advisors on campus!
I'm a native Montanan born and raised in Anaconda. I've spent time living in almost all the major cities in Montana and have a colorful work history! I have a fantastic family! My husband is a UM alum and we have two daughters who are in middle and high schools in Missoula. We enjoy following our daughter's activities which includes dance, soccer, basketball, track, gymnastics, and violin! When we aren't following our daughters' activities, we spend as much time as possible playing at Swan Lake!
Janet Zupan, Instructor and Advisor
Phone: (406) 243-4210
Janet's Study Tip: Strive to be an active, reflective learner. Move beyond memorization and recitation, to the ideas, concepts, and spirit behind every subject. Your college experience can be mind-altering. Approach it with verve!
I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico (long ago!), but sped off from there and through my childhood to follow my dad in his career as a test pilot in the Air Force. He and my mom came from the Scott's Valley in Northern California, so for lack of a hometown, I adopted that one in my heart. In 1990, I earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature from California State University, Chico. I then came to The University of Montana, seeking an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry). Two years into that degree, I met and married a native Montanan (a move that extended my stay in this beautiful state!) We've been raising our three children together since 1992. After graduating, I've served as the director for Hellgate Writers, Inc., and worked as a poet-in-residence for the Missoula Writing Collaborative. I became part of the TRiO SSS staff in 1997 and feel very lucky and pleased about that!
Heather Hibbard, Instructor and Advisor
Phone: (406) 243-5032
Heather's Study Tip: Complete your homework, even if it won't be graded or turned in. It will help you process and understand class content, and material from homework and reading assignments often appears on tests and quizes.
I grew up in a small town in north central Washington, but family on both sides came from Montana, which helps explain my love for this beautiful state. I moved to Missoula to complete my bachelor's degree in Communication Studies after two years of college in Seattle. I attempted big-city life a second time during a post-degree internship in Seattle and quickly realized that Montana was home. Returning to Missoula has proven to be a very good decision. I met my husband, re-discovered skiing, backpacking, camping, and rafting, and started working for TRiO SSS!
The TRiO SSS staff has over 50 years of combined experience in TRiO programs. In a visit to our offices, you will find a welcoming, approachble, knowledgeable staff, and a diverse, hard-working, dedicated group of students. We take the goal of graduation seriously, and look forward to helping students toward this goal!
Peter Donaldson, Program Coordinator
Phone: (406) 243-5032
Peter’s Study Tip: Ask questions! If there’s something you don’t understand (in an assignment, in a class lecture, in the course readings, or in reviewing your notes), don’t be afraid to find someone to help. Your professors and TA’s are there to help you learn, so stop by during their office hours if you have questions. Also seek out tutoring opportunities on campus or work with your classmates to start a study group. No one can know everything, and the only way to learn is to ask!
I am originally from the Bozeman area and, while I enjoy traveling whenever possible, am so happy to have found a home here in Missoula and at the University of Montana. I'm excited to be a part of the TRiO programs on campus - as an employee and as an ongoing student. My employment background has focused on administration and Human Resources, and I am now working to complete my degree in Sociology with a focus on inequality and social justice. The TRiO staff has been hugely helpful and inspiring as I’ve sought to continue my education and I encourage all eligible students to come talk to us about the variety of services we offer to help ensure a successful college career.
Emily Pritchard, Program Assistant
Emily’s Study Tip: Always take notes, even if the subject seems simple. Taking notes during class can help you remember the content more effectively and also give you a great reference to look back at when studying for tests and quizzes because it’s in your own words. And as a bonus, taking notes makes you an active listener which may help the time go by faster and easier during dry lectures.
I was born and raised in the corn fields of Iowa, but I have come to love the mountains and foothills of Western Montana. After getting my undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Iowa in 2009, I decided that it was time to leave the nest and head west. I moved to Missoula three years ago to pursue a graduate degree in Anthropology/Cultural Resource Management and while I have completed this degree, I haven’t been able to leave this beautiful part of the country. While I am still an aspiring anthropologist, I have found a second passion in the mission of TRiO-Student Support Services. Even though I am relatively new to the workings of the TRiO-SSS program, it is easy to see the value and importance of these types of programs and it feels great to be a part of it all.
*TRiO SSS is funded each year at $437,886, 93% of which is federal funds. More information on the federal TRiO programs is available on the US Department of Education website.