When Zoe (pronounced Zoh) Smith speaks about Montana, she pays respect to the raw survival instinct it demands, its rough-and-tumble roots, and its gruff no-nonsense attitude. Without a doubt, Zoe radiates these same qualities, sharing the essence of her home state. The delightful surprise, though, is that she embodies them without sacrificing an incredibly warm and supportive spirit.
Though she was born in Georgia, she comes from a long line of Montanans and has lived in the state for nearly her entire life. She was raised by her single mother from a very early age and sees her as a role model for how to be a tenacious person in the world. With a toddler at home, Zoe’s mom put herself through college to ultimately pursue a career in social and criminal justice. Witnessing this strength as a small girl, Zoe identified her own goals at a young age: she would pursue a professional career in order to ensure her ability to support herself independently. She also knew she wanted to go to school in Bozeman because they offered great technical programs — well, that and they had the best skiing.
Her journey was different than her mother’s, but Zoe blazed a trail of her own: she became a mechanical engineer. Studying engineering was not the easy path for Zoe, especially as a woman in a very male department, but that is exactly what fueled her. With grit, stubbornness, plenty of fear, and a fair amount of courage, she persevered and successfully made it out the other side.