It was after eight years and the birth of their first son that Three Irons decided to take a second chance at graduating. With a child to lead by example, he made significant changes in his life. He recently celebrated 10 years of sobriety. A forest firefighter for more than 15 of the years since his first experience at MSU, he was interested in geography and maps; these interests guided him to the Geospatial and Environmental Analysis program in MSU’s Department of Earth Resources and Environmental Sciences.
“Jan. On Jan. 1, 2012, we went back to Bozeman,” he recalled. “In the first half, I got all the A’s, I made the dean’s list. After that, the goal was back .
While pursuing his studies, Three Irons was approached by Tracy Sterling, head of the Department of Earth Resources and Environmental Sciences, to apply for the Udall National Fellowship. In 2014, Three Irons began working with the crow tribe by conducting research into the number of common crow speakers remaining on the reservation. Three Irons, whose first language is Raven, used GIS mapping technology to track geographic concentrations of fluent speakers on the reservation and update old tribe data. This research earned him the recognition of being the first recipient of Udall from the State of Montana in the tribal political category of the award.
Three Irons completed his bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2015. He had finally achieved the goal he had been focusing on for over a dozen years. Going further had never even been on his mind, but that was before Eggers told him how his experience and research acumen could help the research being conducted by the Crow Water Quality Project in conjunction with the Crow Environmental Health Steering Committee.