Montana Integrative Learning
Experience for Students

Dear Campus Community,
As you may have learned, after six years, the Montana Integrative Learning Experience for Students (MILES) Program, administered by the Office of Research and Educational Opportunities for Students (OREOS), has closed.

During its tenure, the MILES Program provided 292 awards to 162 undergraduate researchers at The University of Montana ranging from $500 Seed Grants to $8,000 year-long Fellowships from across the STEM disciplines at The University of Montana. During this time MILES participants gave 92 presentations at venues such as the OREOS Undergraduate Research Symposium (OURS), the University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research (UMCUR), as well as various regional, national, and international symposia; with funding for travel often provided by the MILES program as well. Eleven MILES participants have also been named as authors on nine publications. A majority of participants have gone on to pursue Ph.D. or Masters degrees in their fields and some are currently seeking professional degrees in medicine, veterinary medicine, and pharmacy.

We would like to thank everyone, especially Faculty Mentors, who helped guide and nurture this amazing group of undergraduates. Without your help the MILES program would not have been the outstanding success that is was.

We hope to secure additional undergraduate research funding in the future and look forward to working with the campus community once more to mentor the next generation of undergraduate researchers at The University of Montana.

Dr. Bill Holben, OREOS Director
Tara K. Westlie, OREOS Program Coordinator

What Is MILES?

Montana Integrative Learning Experience for Students (MILES) brings the excitement of cutting-edge research to undergraduates at The University of Montana. Funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), MILES provides opportunities for students to conduct original research through honors fellowships with mentoring by nationally and internationally recognized faculty researchers.

The mission of MILES is to link faculty and students from diverse backgrounds into a more integrated learning community through innovative teaching and research opportunities with attention to mentoring. We will build on the science reform movement underway at the University of Montana to catalyze, assess, and sustain innovations that better connect teaching and research with learning in all life science courses.

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MILES Vision

Our vision and overarching theme is one of providing an integrated undergraduate education that crosses traditional disciplines to train future researchers to deal with complex problems in biology. To that end, our curricular reform efforts will increase the education of biology students in mathematical and computational science including modeling and visualization, as well as communication studies and ethics. These disciplines are essential to any effort aimed at comprehensively investigating complex biological and ecological issues, yet most biology students receive only minimal exposure to them in attaining their undergraduate degrees.

Furthermore, the difficulties that arise in integrating empirical studies of organisms that are influenced by their environments at widely disparate spatial and temporal scales provide fertile ground for innovation in mathematics and computer science and we expect those programs to be synergistically stimulated as well.

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MILES Announcements

  • 2012 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) - November 7th-10th
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  • FOR THOSE CONSIDERING GRAD SCHOOL: Opportunities at over 150 colleges and universities:
  • Professional Development and Support: Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP): see
  • For Financial Support in Graduate School Opportunities: Bridges, GK-12, IGERT and NSF Grad Research Fellowship programs provide generous stipend ($30,000 per year) and tuition support for students through the National Science Foundation:

Featured Students

Chelsea Morales National Conference on Undergraduate Research 2010 Presentation
Wesley Sarmento National Conference on Undergraduate Research 2010 Presentation
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Featured Faculty

Dr. Scott Samuels Department: Division of Biological Sciences
more faculty...