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Meet the Director of Ag in the Classroom: Debra Spielmaker


Introducing… Debra Spielmaker

A graduate of … Bingham High School

Now working as … Director of Utah Agriculture in the Classroom, providing professional development for K-12 and pre-service teachers, regarding the integration of agricultural concepts into science, social studies, and nutrition.

Employer … Utah State University

Check out this website … http://utah.agclassroom.org

Debate was her favorite high school class because … “This course/activity prepared me with the real-world skills of organization, gathering evidence to support my thoughts/opinions, how to do research, how to think on my feet, how to speak and communicate effectively, how to take initiative, work as a team, and be a leader. These are characteristics that employers desire.”

Debra’s first job … was as working at a turf farm.

The worst job?  Shelf Stocker … on the night shift … during the holidays.  (Enough said?)

A Career Highlight … In 2004, Debra earned the E. G. Peterson Extension Award. This award is a high honor; Utah State University lights the ‘A’ on Old Main as a part of this recognition.

Advice to students: Practice, practice, practice, in the area of writing is very important. Writing is a skill you can always use in both technical and academic fields!

And more …

  • Debra describes her most significant education/work experience beyond high school: “I participated in an internship/work-experience job every summer in my area of interest, agriculture. I worked for the forest service, in a nursery, on a dairy farm, and horse breeding farm.
  • About developing core skills: “I wish I had done more to improve my math skills. My parents weren’t great at algebra and gave up helping me with math in 8th grade. I took college algebra and trig in high school and was a B student, but I really question my comprehension of the subject. I didn’t pursue this frustrating subject as a senior and in college I avoided more math…wish I had sought out a tutor in high school it would have really helped in so many university courses. I also wish I had done more writing and had more constructive feedback from teachers. Practice, practice, practice, in the area of writing is very important. I learned this after five years in my profession. High School debate helped with writing but I am amazed how much writing I have to do now.”

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