University of Montana Western logo.
Apply Visit More Info

Student Spotlight: Aryana Mitchell

September 9, 2020

Aryana Mitchell is a sophomore from Great Falls, Mont., majoring in Elementary Education at the University of Montana Western.

A 2019 graduate from Great Falls High School, Mitchell found her career aspirations by participating in a pilot education program her senior year. Montana Western was a highly recommended school by counselors and teachers at GFHS.

After participating in X-Day, Montana Western’s spring preview event, Mitchell knew she found her college of choice. The smaller, hometown atmosphere was the perfect fit for her, she explained, as she can be shy in new situations. 

Following an uncertain Freshman year with all the changes and obstacles that COVID-19 brought, she welcomes this new school year and is staying positive. She understands that routines will look different, but is adjusting and making the best of the situation.  

When the campus moved to remote delivery of courses last semester during the pandemic’s onset, Mitchell completed her block courses from home and made it onto the Dean’s List for the spring semester. Her “can do” attitude, assistance from passionate professors and focus on academics allowed her to not let the difficult situation stop her from reaching the goals she had for her first year of college.

As she continues with her classes, both online and in-person, Mitchell has also joined the university’s Communications Department as a work-study employee for the opportunity to write about events and people at Montana Western.

“UMW has opened up so many opportunities and new experiences for me; learning happens both in and outside the classroom here,” shared Mitchell. “This was one of the reasons I chose to attend UMW,” she said.

Due to the Experience One program at UMW, Mitchell has experienced teaching and observing rural classrooms for the first time through the Elementary Education program. Mitchell also worked at a local preschool in her spare time, taking full advantage of the block schedule approach that UMW offers. These opportunities have provided immersive experience and insight in working in different types of classrooms.

“I really enjoyed the knowledge I gained from being in a rural classroom,” said Mitchell. “By combining the rural classroom experiences with the ones I had from being in a larger and more urban elementary school in Montana, I plan to take all of it into my future classroom.”  

Mitchell would like to teach English as a second language and intends to continue her education to eventually become a librarian where she can share her love for books and reading.

For more information about Experience One and the University of Montana Western, or to schedule a visit, call 877-683-7331 or visit