Misha Craddock may have finally found her place at the University of Montana Western.
The Montana Western junior spent her college underclassmen years exploring her options. She bounced around different community colleges in California and majored in many things including music and philosophy. Nothing really fit until she found the small university in Dillon, Mont.
“I spent time all over the place exploring different things, trying to figure out what I wanted,” said Craddock. “Then I came to Montana Western and really loved it.”
Craddock is a major in the environmental sciences program and was recently awarded the 2013 Subaru Minority Student Scholarship from the Geological Society of America (GSA). The scholarship provides Craddock with $1,500 to use towards her degree. The award also allowed her to attend the 2013 GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo., and gives her complimentary membership to GSA for a year. Craddock was one of seven recipients who represented all parts of the country.
Craddock brings diversity to Montana Western. As a minority, she represents African American, Native American and French ethnicities. While she grew up in Northern California, she attended a French immersion university in France.
While at the GSA conference, Craddock presented on work done with the restoration of Arctic grayling habitat in Montana’s Big Hole valley by the university’s environmental sciences program.
The conference also allowed her to explore various graduate school programs, get a behind-the-scenes look at the industry and meet many interesting people in Craddock’s field.
She thanks the block-scheduling Experience One program for her success at UMW.
“The block scheduling was a huge selling point for me,” said Craddock. “In my science classes, we are outside four of the five days. It has gotten me really excited about the things I am learning.”
She says Rob Thomas has had an incredible impact on her education. Not only has she taken the most classes from Thomas, the professor also nominated her for the Subaru scholarship and attended the conference with her.
Thomas also presented on undergraduate research at the conference. In 2009, the professor was named as the U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Craddock also has found inspiration from Sheila Roberts, a geology and geochemistry professor, and Linda Lyons, who she has worked with at the community garden.
While not in class, Craddock has a work-study job in a lab at Montana Western and volunteers as a coach for the swim team at the local YMCA, where she works with children ages 7-14.
As far as what the future holds for Craddock, she is keeping her options open. She continues to explore different graduate schools while considering joining the work force after graduation.
Ninety two percent of students with bachelor’s degrees from Montana Western’s environmental sciences program find employment within the field.
“I like the option of not feeling like I have to go to grad school to find a job,” said Craddock.
As Craddock prepares for her senior year at Montana Western, she knows the environmental sciences program was exactly what she was searching for the whole time.
“I finally found Montana Western and the program was exactly what I was looking for,” said Craddock. “I got lucky.”