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Hopa Mountain helps students find their way through higher education

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Posted at 8:17 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 22:17:24-04

Hopa Mountain is gearing up to host an online College Prep Retreat program for rising seniors.

Amidst the pandemic, colleges throughout the nation have altered their admission process and recruitment tactics, at times leaving prospective students with questions.

“Hopa’s mission is to invest in citizen leaders—Rural and Tribal citizen leaders—that are improving education, ecological health, and economic development. And when you meet a young person like Kimi, you know that she’s going to do that,” Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer said.

Sachatello-Sawyer is the co-founder of Hopa Mountain and has seen countless success stories walk through and out of her doors. A developing story is that of Kimi Monforton.

Monforton is an upcoming senior at Gallatin High School in Bozeman who has big aspirations for college.

“After taking Advanced Chemistry in high school, I really enjoyed it and wanted to pursue that in college. I am looking for a college that has a strong research program and STEM department,” Monforton said.

Upon connecting with Hopa Mountain, Monforton began research at Montana State University’s chemistry lab. Allowing her to gain experience working in a research setting and introducing her to college-level work.

Recently, Kimi presented her findings to her peers and mentors, people who have helped her along her way and who she will network with for the foreseeable future.

Hopa Mountain has too many success stories to count, including students in doctorate programs, graduate school, and completing a four-year degree, according to Sachatello-Sawyer. Schools Hopa students attend include Brown, Yale, Stanford, the University of Arizona, and plenty more.

Sachatello-Sawyer says although transitioning to an online format has been difficult, students from the state have access to online lectures, advising and retreats, with representatives traveling to neighboring communities.