EPSCoR-supported VISTA member serves Blackfeet community

An AmeriCorps VISTA member supported by Montana EPSCoR is serving the community surrounding Blackfeet Community College, fulfilling the VISTA mission of helping to end poverty with education, and building pathways to higher education for first generation and low-income Montanans.  

Marissa Bremner, a graduate of BCC in Browning, has served since January, building the capacity of the college’s Native Science Field Center by recruiting and supporting a cohort of student fellows, and helping establish partnerships and learning opportunities, including organizing a Water Summit at BCC. With Center director Helen Augare’s support, Bremner has worked with BCC’s High School Fellows Institute, which engages native high schoolers in hands-on, immersive science learning in a college setting. Bremner supported student fellows in studying hydrology and traveling from Browning to the Hungry Horse and Kerr Dams, as well a wild bird sanctuary. 

AmeriCorps VISTA is known as the domestic analog to the Peace Corps. “VISTAs” (as they are known) take an oath of service, and sign on for a year supporting a local community’s work to end poverty. Montana EPSCOR and the Institute on Ecosystems partner with Montana Campus Compact (MTCC) to support the placement of AmeriCorps VISTAs with Montana tribal colleges. MTCC is a higher education network that includes Blackfeet Community College, Salish Kootenai College and 15 other public, private and tribal Montana institutions all committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility. 

“Marissa has been a dedicated and hardworking VISTA,” said MTCC Director Josh Vanek. “Her passion for connecting students with hands-on science learning opportunities is an inspiration!”


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