Hilary VanVleet is a student at Montana Tech studying Professional and Technical Communication, concentration Public Relations. Hilary has a long history of engagement with her communities and academics. Since 2015, she has been involved with Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) as an attendant and volunteer facilitator. In 2017, Hilary won the Silver Presidential Service award for volunteering over 200 hours in one year. Since coming to Montana Tech, Hilary has been involved as a club leader in the Swing Dance club, which tries every week to provide a venue and music, along with lessons, to teach people in Butte how to dance. Hilary is involved in the university choir, the business guild, TRIO Student Support Services, and the Montana College Access Network (MCAN). Over the summer, she worked with Montana Tech Upward Bound to provide mentorship for first generation, low income students from Butte, Anaconda, and Helena high schools. In addition to her extracurricular activities and volunteer experience, Hilary is an academic achiever. She has been on the Dean’s List (GPA>3.5) and on the Chancellor’s List (GPA=4.0) for the past several semesters. Hilary hopes inspire others and give them the tools to be active members in their own communities.
I started at Montana Tech in 2017 with intentions of becoming a civil engineer. I had my reservations, but I quickly secured an internship at a civil engineering firm my first summer. I had the opportunity to practice being a civil engineer but I truly enjoyed working with the clients. When I returned to school I realized that I could be a civil engineer but I did not have a passion for it. I changed my major to Professional Technical Communication, concentration in public relations my sophomore year. I got to create items that were designed with a purpose, utilized my interpersonal skills, and was challenged to think critically about how we use communication (oral and visual) to connect with others. I began working at the Institute for Educational Opportunities. I was the lead photographer at events, created digital media for outreach, and assisted with design and writing support. This position introduced me to the Montana College Access Network (MCAN). MCAN provides low-income and first-generation students with the tools they need to succeed in higher education. My involvement and efforts with both these programs allow me to help students have access to support resources they need to succeed in college.