Meet Our Staff & Mentors
Welcome to the SSS/TRIO Staff Page!
My name is Laura. I started college by obtaining an Associates Degree while working full-time to pay for tuition, right out of high school. After this degree, I decided to take some time off and work. About seven years later, I felt I was ready to go back to college. As an older, nontraditional student I received my Bachelor's of Science in Sociology & Anthropology from MSU-Bozeman while working three-quarters to full-time. Fast forward a few more years and I completed my Master's in Public Administration at MSU Billings while working full-time and taking care of a busy family. I enjoy creating artwork, listening to music, learning new things, and spending time with my husband, two boys, and our dogs.
Hi, I’m Kim…
I got married right out of high school; actually, I got married the day before I graduated and was four months pregnant with my son at the time. I came back to school after being out for seven years, so I took several remedial math classes. Now, seven years later, I have two Bachelor’s degrees (one in math and the other in English) and am working toward my Master’s in English. My hobbies include: baking and cooking, making lotion and soap, reading, and quilting.
Hello, I grew up in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Before attending Mansfield University, I took a year off between high school and college. While obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media: Broadcasting and Creative Writing Minor, I was a first generation college student who participated in TRiO SSS. In my senior year, I served other students as a TRiO Peer Mentor. I also completed my Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations from Shippensburg University. After graduate school, I moved to Montana to volunteer with the AmeriCorps VISTA program. I spent my AmeriCorps service doing Economic Development in Red Lodge. In my free time, I enjoy working out, photography, writing, hiking, traveling, and learning.
Hello, My name is Sonja Jones (Choriki). I grew up in Billings, MT and graduated from MSUB with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Throughout my college career, I was very involved with several organizations and spent my last year as the Student Body President for MSUB. I also worked for the TRiO Upward Bound summer programs while I was on campus and was a part of the TRiO program ETS growing up. In the future, I plan to go back to school and receive my masters and possibly a PHD. In my free time, I like to stay active. I enjoy golfing, snowboarding, archery, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding. If it’s an outdoor activity, I probably enjoy it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m any good at it!
My name is A.J. and I am originally from Southern CA, I moved to Billing in the summer of 2016. I attended community college straight out of high school with the intention of studying accounting. In the middle of my freshman year, I took a semester off, and 26 years later I am now enrolled at MSUB. Because of my life experiences, I have changed my focus of study to Psychiatric Rehabilitation; my goal is to be a Licensed Addiction Counselor. In my free time I enjoy skateboarding, kayaking, building and playing cigar box guitars.
Hello, my name is Chris Grudzinski. I am a returning nontraditional student at the prime age of 38 with aspirations of obtaining my BS in Human Services. Prior to returning to college, I served 15 years in the United States Army as an infantryman. While serving on my second combat deployment, I was wounded in action and received the Purple Heart. After my military service, I developed a passion to help others, especially Veterans that are struggling get the help they need. With this passion, my wife and I started a nonprofit that helps collect and distribute food to Veterans in need. My ultimate goal is to be a licensed counselor and use outdoor adventures as a form of therapy.
Hello, my name is David and I am student mentor at SSS TRIO. I was a military child and moved times before I came to Montana. I am currently attempting a double major in Psychology and Biology with the hopes of one day being able to further our understanding of the brain. I am here to do my best and to help others succeed any way I can. If you ever want to hear a nerdy science joke, I’m your guy!
Hello, my name is Matt Grooms. I grew up in Portland, Oregon and moved to Billings shortly after I graduated high school. I am currently a junior and majoring in Business Management with minors in Accounting and Information Systems. I was out of school almost ten years before starting here at the college. I decided to come back to school after 11 years, multiple car accidents and putting in 10 years at Wal-Mart. My hobbies include anything to do with movies and comics, as well as gaming and table top games. My favorite table top game would have to be HEROCLIX.
I was born in California, however I have lived in Billings most of my life. I have an A.A.S. in Desktop/Networking Support, which is just fancy for “I’m an IT guy.” After obtaining my Associates degree I spent seven years in the IT field. I am currently a senior in Business Management for my B.A.S. After graduation I hope to get accepted into a graduate program to obtain a M.S. in Cybersecurity. My goal is to become a manager or an IT Security Specialist. I love movies and games.
Hello, my name is Deena. I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. I moved to Montana in the Fall of 2016. I started my college career right out of high school, shortly realizing I was not ready to commit. After taking a six-year break searching for my purpose in life, I started working towards an Associate of Science degree at a local community college in Spring 2015. While working towards that degree, I gained confidence as a student and fell in love with learning. With this confidence, I started my Bachelors of Science in Psychology here at MSUB Spring 2017 and will graduate in Spring 2018. I look forward to helping TRIO students in any way possible in achieving success in their college career, even if sometimes it seems difficult. I am a huge dog lover. In my free time, I love taking my Australian Shepard, Willow, for a walk or curling up and reading a book.
Hello everyone. I started college at 18, but before graduating, I moved to Glasgow, MT to be with family. While in Glasgow, I earned my Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. I moved to Billings in the Summer of 2017 to finish my Psychiatric Rehabilitation Degree. After graduation, I plan on working my hours to get my LAC. When I am not busy with school and work, I spend most of my time with my 11 year old daughter cooking, eating ice cream, listening to music, and whatever else we choose to do.