Broadening Horizons and Pursuing Passions: UM Graduate Spotlight
There’s so much to choose from at the University of Montana, but for many students it’s the ability to not choose that makes their time at UM so impactful. Graduating senior Cassidy VanderVoort knows what it means to be able to pursue all of your passions— and find new ones on campus.
A Laurel High School graduate, VanderVoort arrived at UM to study history with the intention of becoming a teacher. She soon realized she wanted a career path with less structure and the opportunity to engage directly with history. That led her to pursue museum experience, which she found working as an AmeriCorps intern for the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. That role allowed her to learn more about museum management while sharing her love of history by leading tours for school groups and visitors to the Missoula area. She further expanded her horizons working as an intern for UM’s Humanities Institute, where she moderated Zoom discussions and helped grow the institute’s social media following.
VanderVoort’s academic experience encompassed nearly every program UM’s History Department offers. Not only does she leave UM as a history major, but also holding a minor in geography, a minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies and certificates in Public History and African American Studies. She praises program coordinators for encouraging students to make the most of their classes and credits.
As for her extracurriculars, VanderVoort was excited to be able to participate in choir at UM, something she initially thought she might have to give up after high school. She also enjoys getting outdoors and exploring Montana. She and her friends have no plans to put a stop to their annual camping trip after graduation. She says one of her biggest takeaways from a UM education is “that you don’t have to give anything up.”
This summer, VanderVoort will continue working at Fort Missoula, while taking on a part-time job at the National Forest Museum’s visitor center. History enthusiasts can also catch her leading walking tours for the Missoula Downtown Association. Beyond that, she’s exploring graduate school options for 2023— in Washington state or possibly overseas. Wherever she goes, VanderVoort credits her time at UM with opening up the many paths that lay ahead.