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UM Fellowship to Support Montana Child and Family Service Organization

Tara Smart leads a busy life. The Missoula resident has spent the past twelve years as a school psychologist in local schools, is both a wife and a mother, and is now a doctoral student in UM’s Department of Counselor Education, located in the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences.  In spite of her demanding schedule, however, Ms. Smart remains focused on her passion: advocating for children and helping others to understand the unique needs of special education students. 

Thanks to the vision and funding of some generous UM alumni, Ms. Smart will get the chance to pursue her passion as the first recipient of UM’s Intermountain Children’s Home Doctoral Fellowship.  Intermountain is a 104-year old, nationally recognized Montana nonprofit specializing in meeting the diverse needs of children and families facing mental health and emotional challenges.  The organization has grown dramatically in the past twenty years and now annually serves more than 1300 children and families across western Montana.

This doctoral fellowship will allow Ms. Smart to collaborate with Intermountain in providing a systematic evaluation of the social impact of the organization’s outcomes for children and families.  The goals of the fellowship are to 1) assist Intermountain in highlighting its hallmarks of distinction and to determine which segments of its services are invaluable to children and families, and 2) provide UM’s Counselor Education Department with consistent data regarding the needs of emotionally distressed children and which interventions are deemed the most impactful on the lives of them and their families.

Intermountain and the University of Montana are furthering their growing collaboration with the establishment of the Intermountain Children’s Home Doctoral Fellowship; The University of Montana already offers a graduate course in Intermountain’s Relational Development therapeutic approach, and both organizations have collaborated to provide Complete Your Dreams scholarship assistance to Intermountain clients seeking a college degree.

This fellowship is generously funded by UM alumni Warren ‘65 and Betsy ‘66 Wilcox.  Warren is a former chairman of the UM Foundation Board of Trustees, and Betsy is on the Board of Directors of Intermountain and the Advisory Board of UM’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences.