Student Support Services

Meet Our Staff & Mentors

Our Staff


Kimberly Kost

Laura Gittings-Carlson

E-Mail Laura

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.


Kimberly Kost

Kimberly Kost
Academic Coordinator

E-Mail Kim

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.


stephenStephen Stefan
Academic Counselor

E-Mail Stephen

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.  


Kimberly Kost

Sonja Jones
Program Coordinator

E-Mail Sonja

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!


Our Mentors

Phone: 406.657.2171


AJA.J. Jenson
Peer Mentor

E-mail A.J.

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.


ChrisChris Grudzinski
Peer Mentor

E-mail Chris

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.        


djDJ McGee
Peer Mentor

E-mail DJ

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!


mattMatt Grooms
Peer Mentor

E-mail Matt

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.


mattDave Ballew
Peer Mentor

E-mail Dave

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.


mattDeena Ledford
Peer Mentor

E-mail Deena

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.


mattKrystal Page
Peer Mentor

E-mail Krystal

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.