UM and EmPower Place to Host College Readiness Event

March 14, 2018

MISSOULA – High school students and their families are invited to “Get EmPowered for College” from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at Missoula Food Bank, located at 1720 Wyoming St.

The free event takes place in the upstairs learning kitchen and is hosted by the University of Montana and EmPower Place, a collective effort by spectrUM Discovery Area, Missoula Food Bank and Missoula Public Library.

Students and their families can drop in any time during the event to learn more about opportunities at UM and Missoula College, as well as about how to navigate financial aid and admissions applications. Representatives from UM and Missoula College’s admissions, financial aid and TRiO Student Support Services departments will share information and answer questions.

Free dinner is provided, and high school students can enter to win raffle prizes.

“Our goal is for everyone to feel empowered to continue their education beyond high school,” said Amanda Duley, staff scientist for spectrUM. “Making connections and building relationships with people at the University of Montana who are dedicated to student success can help families and their high school students feel confident about applying for and enrolling in college.”

“Get EmPowered for College” is an initiative of EmPower Place, which is funded by the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. Dedicated to nourishing the bodies and minds of Missoula’s next generation, EmPower Place is a hands-on learning center rich with science exhibits, literacy and STEM activities, library books, role models and free meals and snacks.

EmPower Place will be open during “Get EmPowered for College,” and families with younger children are invited to drop in to explore the space’s exhibits, books and activities and meet role models from UM’s We Are Montana in the Classroom initiative.

“‘Get EmPowered for College’ embodies spectrUM, EmPower Place and our collective-impact partners’ shared goals of promoting social mobility and access to higher education for all K-12 students in our community,” said Holly Truitt, director of spectrUM and UM’s Broader Impacts Group. “We’re dedicated to ensuring that all Missoula students feel a sense of belonging in higher education and excitement about the bright futures that await them in college and beyond.”

Now in its 10th year, spectrUM is UM’s hands-on science center, serving more than 200,000 Montanans annually through in-museum and statewide mobile programming. In addition to EmPower Place, spectrUM also engages in collective-impact efforts in the Bitterroot Valley and on the Flathead Reservation.

SpectrUM is part of UM’s Broader Impacts Group, which harnesses the University’s research and creative scholarship to foster social mobility and a vibrant, homegrown workforce for Montana. BIG and spectrUM are supported by an array of local and national funding sources, including the National Science Foundation, Montana NSF EPSCoR, NASA, the U.S. Department of Education, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Jane S. Heman Foundation and the Martin Family Foundation.

EmPower Place at the Missoula Food Bank is free and open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more information call Truitt at 406-243-4828 or email


Contact: Holly Truitt, director, UM Broader Impacts Group and spectrUM Discovery Area, 406-243-4828,