Forestry student receives Truman scholarship

Jaiden Stansberry, a senior in the forestry program at the University of Montana in Missoula, is one of just 60 Truman Scholars this year — chosen from 709 candidates. Stansberry is in the Davidson Honors College and is  also completing a Fire Science and Management minor. Stansberry’s application focused on wildland fire.

She is studying fire science and management at UM and works summers as a wildland firefighter in Yosemite National Park, where she spent much of her childhood. Because of her father’s work there, Stansberry grew up at Yosemite — she calls herself a park brat and says her experience as a firefighter gave her an edge in the scholarship competition. The application process requires a policy proposal, and her focus was recruitment and retention of leaders in fire management — by drawing more seasonal workers into the NPS apprenticeship program.

University of Montana Forestry School
University of Montana Forestry School

Grad students in the Truman program are selected for their leadership potential, commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit sector, and demonstrated academic excellence.

Jaiden Stansberry

Growing up in the National Park Service encouraged a dedication to natural resources for Jaiden. She is currently studying forestry with a minor in fire sciences and management and has worked as a wildland firefighter for the National Park Service for the past two years. Her experience inspired her to focus on prescribed fire implementation and challenges. She intends to pursue an MS in natural resources stewardship with a concentration in forest sciences to expand her knowledge of the influence of policy in forest management. Jaiden is particularly interested in designing prescribed fire programs for the National Park Service to support natural disturbances on a landscape while mitigating fuel to protect property and life. She hopes to encourage collaborative efforts between National Parks and local tribes to perform burning in areas with cultural significance. In her free time, Jaiden can be found flyfishing the Blackfoot River and traveling to different National Parks.

The Truman Scholars receive $30,000 for graduate studies, leadership training, career counseling, and internship opportunities in  federal agencies. Stansberry said her experience at the University of Montana has been just what she’d hoped college would be. “It’s been a phenomenal time here, and I’m really glad this is the school I ended up going to,” she said.

She’ll work this summer as a firefighter at Glacier National Park, then head to Washington DC for her internship after her first year of grad school focused on wildland fire policy. We certainly congratulate Jaiden and wish her the best; you can the full story feature by Abigail Lauten-Scrivner of the UM News Service [HERE], and there’s more about the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation [HERE]. Brief bios of the 2024 Truman Scholars are posted [HERE] and it’s a mighty impressive read.

 ~ Thanks and a tip of the hardhat to Steve for this.