Montana State University

University Communications

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172220
Bozeman, MT 59717-2220

Tel: (406) 994-4571
Fax: (406) 994-4102
Location: 437 Culbertson Hall

Create, Opportunities for hands-on, active learning

Hands-on Learning

An MSU student-built robot won a national NASA contest at the Kennedy Space Center by digging the most simulated moon dirt in 15 minutes in May 2010. Montana MULE (Modular Unmanned Lunar Excavator) was the only robot that met and surpassed the 10 kilogram minimum requirement, defeating robots from 21 other colleges and universities.   Related Information
MSU architecture students partnered with Ronald Omyonga, a well-known Kenyan architect, to help build sustainable housing in Kibera, Africa. Kibera, an area of Nairobi, is Africa's largest slum with an estimated 750,000 people living in an area about the size of the MSU campus. Students will examine sustainable materials and help design homes that will be built in Nairobi by residents.   Related Information
A Montana State University team that debates ethical questions in competition won first place in the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl. Taking the top spot advanced the Ethicats to the national competition, marking the team's third trip to nationals since it was organized in 2006.   Related Information
Through a partnership with Reach, a local organization devoted to empowering adults with disabilities, students in Professor Laura Stanley's industrial engineering class worked with adults with disabilities to help them develop efficient ways of working independently.   Related Information
MSU's School of Architecture program was among five university architecture programs featured in the December 2010 issue of Architectural Record magazine. The magazine, cited three MSU projects including the Hyalite Pavilion, a structure students designed and built on the Hyalite Reservoir near Bozeman which also won a 2010 AIA Montana Honor Award.   Related Information
Several students in MSU's Science and Natural History Filmmaking program have won prestigious Student Emmy Awards, sponsored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
  • In 2009, MSU student Jen Grace won a student Emmy for her 17-minute children's film about worldwide amphibian declines and environmental toxins. Related information
  • In 2008 MSU film graduate Katy Garton Magruder won a Student Emmy in the College Television Awards. "Little Mom Full of Color" is a film about the final year in the life of Magruder's mother, Susan Garton, who suffered from metastasized melanoma and kidney failure. Related information
  • In 2005, Paul Hillman earned second in the documentary category for his film "Henry Wood Elliott: Defender of the Fur Seal." Related information
  • In 2004, MSU student Praveen Singh won a student Emmy in the documentary category with his film, "Indian Leopards/The Killing Fields." The film was also named Best of Festival at the Asian Film Festival, a professional venue in Asia. Related information
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MSU was selected as one of 14 schools in the nation to receive funding to support a Beckman Scholars Program. The funding will continue through 2010 and provides five MSU students $19,300 each to conduct research for two summers and the intervening academic year. The purpose of the program is to provide scholarships to advance the education, research, training and personal development of undergraduates majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, and the biological and medical sciences.   Related Information
A new partnership between MSU's Department of History and the Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center provides hands-on opportunities in historical research, digital archiving, cultural resource management and museum studies. The Center, which contains the second largest archival collection in the National Park Service, gives students experiences with collecting, cataloguing and digitizing artifacts, and working with exhibits.
The College of Nursing installed a cutting-edge simulation laboratory, completed in fall 2008, to allow student to experience emergency and critical patient simulations before caring for patients in hospitals. The unit is like a miniature intensive care unit and includes two life-sized patients, an adult and a baby, that can be programmed to exhibit symptoms of various health conditions.
Three groups of MSU researchers sent experiments on the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which launched in March 2008. A team of MSU microbiologists, led by Barry Pyle, is studying how space affects common bacteria that accompany astronauts into space; other MSU scientists, led by Dave Klumpar and Tim Minton, launched experiments to see how conditions in space affect materials that could be used in or on spacecrafts  Related Information
MSU students and faculty in the physics department are key participants in controlling the science operations of two major Sun-observing satellites currently in orbit, NASA's TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer), and Japan's "Hinode" (Sunrise). One of TRACE's four ultrviolet telescopes was built by an MSU graduate student.
Paleontologists from MSU began using a mobile laboratory that enabled them to chemically analyze fossils the same day they're excavated, before degradation began. The mobile lab was acquired in partnership with paleontologists from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and was used at digs in Eastern Montana.   Related Information
Five MSU architecture students and their professors designed and built a structure that set a new Guinness World Record for largest sculpture made of canned goods. The students broke the record by building a giant helping hand from nearly 46,000 cans of food at the Rothbury Music Festival in Rothbury, Michigan.   Related Information
Nick Andrews, a sophomore from Helena majoring in film and photography, was selected as one of six college students to appear in the inaugural of mtvU's College 500 show. The show featured two teams that competed on challenges held at universities across the country. Geared to college-aged students, mtvU, which is affiliated with MTV, can be viewed online at The College 500 can be accessed at:   Related Information
Seven students from MSU's College of Agriculture completed summer internships in Extension offices across the state. MSU Extension is a statewide educational outreach network that applies unbiased, research-based university resources to practical needs identified by the people of Montana in their home communities. The Extension Internship program placed interns in county Extension offices to provide practical, experiential learning opportunities in counties, and on campus.   Related Information
In 2009 MSU added the Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems degree program, which brings together coursework in plant sciences, agriculture, food and nutrition, and ecology. Nationally unique in combining food systems and bioenergy systems, the program enables student interns to grow, harvest, market and distribute produce through a diversified market garden that provides produce for an on-campus CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, two local Farmers Markets and the local food bank.   Related Information
MSU researcher and recent master's graduate Chris Arrasmith is working with doctors at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Tennessee to build a handheld laser microscope that could reduce the number of biopsies needed to diagnose skin cancer. The project, which Arrasmith began working on when he was an undergraduate at MSU, is funded by a five-year grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.   Related Information
Three graduate students in the Exercise Science program won awards for their research presentations at the Northwest American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Seattle. MSU won three awards for the second year in a row, which has never happened before for a single program, according to professor Dan Heil, exercise physiology professor. Awards were presented to Stephanie Howe and Sarah Willis (Best Master's Research Abstract) and Bjorn Bakken (Best Master's Research Poster).   Related Information
A group of six juniors from MSU finished third in the pre-construction event at the Associated Schools of Construction's regional competition in Reno, Nev., in February 2009. Pre-construction deals with the building process between design and breaking ground, such as estimating costs, logistics of the work site and legal aspects. The team beat out teams composed of mostly senior students from schools from across ASC regions six and seven, including big-name schools like Arizona State and BYU.   Related Information
John Old Elk, a sophomore from Billings majoring in cell biology, won third place in the American Indians in Science and Engineering Society's national contest. Under the supervision of Michael Babcock, professor of psychology at MSU, Old Elk tested the effectiveness of a cocktail of common drugs in protecting the brains of gerbils from cerebral ischemia, a type of stroke.   Related Information
Students in MSU's School of Architecture annually test bridge designs in the "Load the Bridges Day" competition. Professor Bruce Wrightsman wants his second-year students to have a hands-on opportunity to build a bridge to scale that meets four criteria: spans 10 feet over Mandeville Creek, weighs 120 pounds or less, is capable of holding 360 pounds, and can be disassembled.   Related Information
MSU's fall 2008 Engineering Design Fair featured dozens of high-tech projects. Highlights included a maze-solving robot, sun-tracking solar panels, and a portable solar-powered cooler that could be used in remote locations where electricity and refrigeration aren't available. The Design Fair is an opportunity for students to showcase the results of their projects.   Related Information
Craig Jolley, a postdoctoral researcher at MSU, was one of 40 graduate students and postdocs from the U.S. and Europe to earn admission to a prestigious summer field institute in Reykjavik, Iceland. The school is sponsored by NASA's Astrobiology Institute and the Nordic Network of Astrobiology Graduate Schools. Iceland--like Yellowstone National Park--is an ideal gathering spot for astrobiologists, scientists who study life in the universe.   Related Information
Each year College of Business accounting majors gain experience and help others through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). VITA was established by the Internal Revenue Service to assist people who find it difficult to pay for tax preparation services. Students offer help locally and in other areas of the country where help is needed.   Related Information
MSU students from multiple disciplines gain hands-on experiences through unique collaborative projects such as the REHAU MONTANA project. The goal of REHAU is to research, design, engineer, and construct a house that features sustainability, low-energy use and a disability-friendly design. The house will be built and lived in by an MSU alumni.   Related Information
The College of Nursing has implemented "Sim Man," a life-sized patient simulation model used to help students practice diagnosing and treating a variety of medical symptoms. The technology will be available at all four MSU campuses.
The country's oldest and most established online learning program for science teachers is housed at MSU. The National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN), established in 1993, has offered more than 12,000 course enrollments to science teachers from all 50 states and many foreign countries. About 30% of enrollments are Montana teachers. NTEN has earned prestige among online science programs for its combination of MSU's rigorous content with active learning techniques and interactive network of science educators. NTEN is a program of Extended University's Burns Technology Center.
The Alderson Program in Entrepreneurship was named one of the best minor in entrepreneurship programs in the country two years in a row by Entrepreneur magazine. Students working in the Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West have contributed more than 9,000 hours of supervised research for start-up companies in Montana. These students gain immeasurable practical experience while earning a minor in entrepreneurship  Related Information