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In 2012, Holly Old Crow received her associates degree with her three-year-old daughter at her side.

When Old Crow walks across the stage to accept her bachelors degree in sociology from Montana State University on Saturday, her now 11-year-old daughter and four-year-old son will be there to cheer her on.

“My favorite memories have to be any time I was able to include my children in my experience in college,” she said. “My overall goal as a parent when I came to school was to create better opportunities for my children.”

Old Crow said learning to manage time has been key to her success, while also ensuring she’s making time for her own well being, something she didn’t prioritize before college.

“Being a parent and a student and having a multitude of hats being worn, I’ve learned how to manage my time better and at some point, to make myself a priority in terms of my mental health,” she said. “… As a single parent, it’s definitely a challenge, ensuring that everything gets done and making sure those challenges don’t get overwhelming.”

Old Crow said she wouldn’t have been able to balance everything without her support system both at college and at home, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My biggest challenge was trying to maintain online schoolwork and trying to manage the lack of childcare,” Old Crow said, adding that online learning has never been something that came easy for her. “… The things I’m used to dealing with as a single parent and a student were exacerbated.”

Due to the pandemic, her son wasn’t in daycare for most of the year and her daughter, who’s in the fifth grade, was learning online three days out of the week at the start of the school year.

Before her daughter returned to full in-person learning, Old Crow said she had to not only manage her online coursework but her daughter’s too.

“I didn’t want us to have to leave here because we couldn’t make it,” she said. “It was definitely challenging but me and my little home have always pulled together a little team of support.”

During her time at MSU, Old Crow, who is a member of the Apsaalooke (Crow) Tribe, was the co-president of the American Indian Council for the past two years. She helped coordinate the annual powwows, including the virtual one that happened this year due to the pandemic.

“I really invested a lot of time into my role as the co-president and got connected with the Indigenous population here,” she said. “It was a really awesome experience.”

After graduation, Old Crow plans to attend law school in North Dakota. She said she’d eventually like to be a liaison between the federal government and tribal governments.


Nick Guidera, who is graduating with his bachelors in marketing, said MSU wasn’t one of his top three choices. At first, he felt discouraged.

“The biggest challenge I faced was my freshman year when I had that feeling that I didn’t belong in Bozeman or wasn’t on the right path regarding what I wanted to do in life,” Guidera said. “… I wasn’t the best student freshman year. I faced my fair share of troubles.”

Guidera said a pivotal conversation with a friend who told him that not graduating from college was their biggest regret pushed him to make changes to ensure he graduated. He went on to win the National Sales Competition at the International Collegiate Conference for the American Marketing Association.

Looking back on his time at MSU, Guidera said he wouldn’t change a thing. He’s interviewing for a sales and business development position with a company in Bozeman.


Quincy Balius, who completed her bachelor’s in history in three years, said she’s grown into her identity as a historian.

During her time at MSU, Balius was the first and only undergraduate to lecture with the Extreme History Project. Her topic, “Petticoats and Pants: Women’s Work in the West,” was focused on how women’s work in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries led the way for women’s suffrage movements in the West.

“My work in history has always been focused on bringing out diverse voices and telling hidden histories,” she said. “… I believe in making history accessible and relevant to everyone, and that means that we need to tell inclusive histories so that everyone can connect with them.”

Balius, who is high risk if she contracted the coronavirus, said she opted to move most of her classes online, and the pandemic has made it harder for her to connect with friends and professors.

Next year, she’ll start an accelerated master’s degree in American studies at MSU, and plans to apply for Ph.D. history programs.


CT Callaway, a Marine Corps veteran of five years, said while he might be a nontraditional student, he didn’t have any trouble connecting with his fellow students and professors.

It was this support system that helped him get through this past year when he was faced with the death of his cousin and, less than a week later, the death of his roommate.

“I just remember looking at the rest of the semester and thinking I’m not going to finish this, but I never quit. I kind of just put one foot in front of another,” he said.

Looking back on his time at MSU, Callaway said it’s the time he spent with his roommate and friend that he’ll cherish. He said his friend pushed him to succeed.

“He was my standard that I set for myself,” Callaway said.

Callaway, who is graduating with his bachelor’s in chemical and biochemical engineering, said he’s a believer in using nuclear power as an alternative method of energy. He plans to get his master’s in nuclear energy at the University of Tennessee.

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Liz Weber can be reached at or 582-2633.

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