Pair of Great Falls College students earn top honors for their efforts
Michele Uhrich receives an Eagle Feather blessing from Great Falls MSU adjunct faculty member Don Fish for her academic achievements. Uhrich and fellow Great Falls College graduate Julius Scott have been named Montana All-American scholars.
GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Great Falls College MSU students Julius Scott and Michele Uhrich took very different educational paths to arrive at the same destination: Montana All-American scholars.
Scott, 21, just graduated from Great Falls College's computer technology program with plans to transfer to a four-year institution. He is still looking at transfer options and the COVID-19 pandemic has made that decision a little more difficult.
Uhrich, 58, graduated from Great Falls College with a degree in accounting after years working as a bookkeeper in the Great Falls area.
Both received high honors.
As members of the Beta Eta Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, which helps high-achieving college students such as Scott and Uhrich reach their potential, the two were nominated for and earned a place on the Montana All-American team. They now can be selected to the national All-American team.
Even though they come from very different backgrounds, the two settled upon attending college in remarkably similar ways.
For Uhrich, she had thought about getting an accounting degree for years until one day, she decided to go for it.
"I kept telling myself when I was younger that I should go and get my degree, but I never did," she said. "Finally, I said, 'This is it. It's now or never.' It feels really good. If I can do it, anyone can."
Scott said he didn't consider himself college material while attending Helena High. In fact, he said he struggled to gain traction in high school, but then just decided one day he was going to give college a try.
Well, more than a try.
"I came with the mindset that I was going to do what I needed to do in order to reach my goals," he said. "You can start from anywhere and do great things."
Scott was the student body president this past school year, and he worked part-time at the info desk for the college in addition to being a top student.
"I never really wanted to be student body president, that opportunity came up at a time when I thought, 'You know what, why don't I throw my hat in the ring,'" he said. "I was just really concerned with academics."
He knew he wanted to study computer technology because "I played around with computers basically all my life," he said.
One thing he wants fellow students to know is that there are scholarships and other opportunities out there.
"I'm someone who was able to go to college debt free," he said, adding he had a mixture of grants and scholarships. "I have no debt"
Uhrich, who grew up on a ranch outside Wolf Point on the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana, worked in the Great Falls area for years as a bookkeeper.
"I'm very proud of myself and what I was able to accomplish when I went back to college," she said.
As a descendant of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, in addition to her other academic honors, Uhrich was one of six Great Falls College students to receive an Eagle Feather blessing.
"I'm proof that you can go to college and be successful," she said. "It was a bit of a rough start, but I started meeting new people and it blew up – in a good way. I started coming together with a lot of people a lot younger than me, some of my instructors were a lot younger than me. It's been a really positive experience."
Uhrich is finishing up a couple classes this summer before hitting the job market.
Like Scott, Uhrich also worked at the front desk, so Scott was able to see first-hand her work ethic.
"Our relationship kind of built when we worked on the help desk together," he said. "It's really great to see that non-traditional students get recognized as well." "It's incredible what Michele has been able to do. I have nothing but the highest regards for her."
Scott Thompson | Director of communications and marketing
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