Jeannie Origbo is the Director for the Montana Education Talent Search grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Jeannie has worked in education since 2005 with experience at both the secondary and post-secondary level. She worked as a teacher for Hays-Lodge Pole School district for six years before beginning work with the Montana University System. She is committed to providing educational opportunities for all students.
Maria Lillrose is the Re-Entry Manager for the Montana Educational Talent Search program, seeking to assist students returning to school at the post-secondary level. Maria has a BA in education and a TEFL certificate. She has over 10 years teaching experience in a variety of settings, including the Peace Corps and the IEFA program within the Helena School District. Maria is passionate about helping students to discover and achieve their potenial in all areas of life.
Joe Jessepe (Blackfeet and Prairie Band Pottawatomi) is the Pre-College Advisor for Blackfeet target area, serving Browning High and Middle Schools and Heart Butte High and Middle Schools. Joe assists students in completing FAFSA's, College, and Scholarship applications, some of his former students have been awarded the Gates Millenium and Horatio Alger scholarships. Several students from the Blackfeet target area are now attending Dartmouth and Stanford Universities.
Shonna Dillon is a Crow Tribal member with Ogalala Sioux and Irish heritage. She is a mother and grandmother to many beautiful children. After obtaining her A.A.S at Little Big Horn College in 2002 she went on to receive her B.S in Science from Rocky Mountain College in 2005. She has experience in many areas as she worked as a Teacher and Advisor for Little Big Horn College as a faculty member, at TRIO Student Support Services for Chief Dull Knife College as Director, and most recently at the Crow Tribal Headstart program as the Disabilities/Mental Health Coordinator. She believes in supporting the youth in her community to help expand their experiences and help make their educational dreams become a reality.
Casey Figueroa (Apache, Tohono O'Odham, Yaqui, Mexican, Irish) is a Flathead Area Pre-College Advisor. Casey earned his Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts and is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in Native American Studies from MSU-Bozeman. Casey is an artist and educator, with over 20 years of experience working with Native Communities across the United States. Casey's artwork focuses on Contemporary Native visual expression and exploration of Native Identity.
Crystal Little Owl is a mother of two and a proud member of the Aaniiih (Gros Ventre). She is originally from the Fort Belknap Indian reservation but has been living in the Flathead valley for 7+ years. Crystal holds a bachelor of Science in Community Health degree from the University of Montana. She believes in the value of higher education and all the possibilities it can open.
Kim Wombolt is a Pre-College Advisor for the Montana Educational Talent Search grant program. Kim has a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University in Education and a second Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Eastern Montana College. Kim has almost 20 years experience supporting youth and families with non-profit organizations across Montana. Kim is a wife and mother of 2 and believes that Education is the great equalizer of opportunity.
Megan Buckridge graduated from the University of Montana with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Sciences. She also holds a secondary teaching license with endorsements in mathematics and business education. Megan believes education is empowering and one of the best opportunities for individuals to invest in themselves and their future. She has lived in Montana her entire life and is passionate about helping Montana youth develop a plan, including higher education, for after high school graduation. Megan lives in Great Falls with her husband and three children.
Talent Search is one of the TRiO programs (Talent Search, Upward Bound, Student Support Services) created by Congress in 1965 to provide equal opportunity for higher education to all Americans.