By Andi Bourne

Robinett Siblings Both Hilleman Scholars


August 3, 2017

Liam Grundler, 2016 MSU Hilleman Scholar

Nino Robinett poses with his mother Tracey Youbles and sister Eliana at the Parent Send-off Celebration. Eliana was in the inaugural 2016 Hilleman Scholar Program. They are the first siblings to be in the program.

BOZEMAN  – Recent Seeley-Swan High School graduate Nino Robinett was among 50 students selected for Montana State University's (MSU) Hilleman Scholars Program. He joins his sister Eliana who was among the inaugural class last year.

The program started in 2016 to recognize the effort and potential of Montana students who exemplify the story of Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman, after losing his twin sister and mother within two days of his birth, was raised by an uncle and aunt and helped the family by raising chickens.

After graduating from MSU – then Montana State College – on a scholarship in 1941, Hilleman become the world's leading vaccinologist. He developed more than 40 vaccines for human and animal health, nine of which are commonly given to children. Among them are vaccines for measles, mumps, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia.

"More than 70 years ago, a farm kid from Miles City changed the direction of his life thanks to a scholarship to MSU and in so doing changed the direction of the world, saving hundreds of millions of lives along the way," MSU President Waded Cruzado said. "We want to honor the legacy of Maurice Hilleman and the potential of the sons and daughters of Montana through this scholarship. We want to help them be the next ones to change the world." 


In honor of Hilleman's legacy, the Hilleman Scholars Program is for Montana residents. Hilleman Scholars are selected based on personal essays, nomination letters, grades and financial need. But paramount in the selection process is evidence of significant academic, leadership and career potential.  

"While this scholarship provides them with assistance, it is not a full ride or a free ride. To be accepted as a Hilleman Scholar, students must commit to work at their education beyond ordinary expectations and help future scholars that come after them," Cruzado said.  

Robinett heard about the program from his sister and thought it was a good idea to apply for it as well.

"From what I was told this program was one of the best," wrote Robinett in an email. "Just to learn new things, meet new people, have some fun and get that college life experience."

Robinett is majoring in health enhancement for K-12 and minoring in coaching. He started the program July 17.

"So far I have learned that the writing class we have to take is nothing like high school English," wrote Robinett.

Hilleman Scholars are eligible for up to $8,000 for their first year and $4,000/year for each year thereafter. Contingent upon satisfactory academic progress and exemplary commitment to the program in the first three years, scholars can also be eligible for an additional $3,000 at the end of their junior year to apply toward a study abroad experience. Scholars are expected to graduate in four years.

Robinett recommends the program to others and wrote there are a lot of benefits.

"There are tutors for math and writing centers to help you on your papers. The program offers help if you need it," wrote Robinett. "The mentors, the scholars who got accepted into this program last year, are helpful as well. If there is any problem you are having they are willing to help."

For more information about the scholarship or to apply for 2018 visit:


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