By Lynnette Harris | July 20, 2021

Michelle Burrows               Paul Hill        Julie Lamara

The Department of Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education is marked a milestone this spring with the first three graduates – Paul Hill, Michelle Burrows, and Julie Lamarra — from the career and technical education (CTE) doctoral program.

Paul Hill earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dixie State University in 2009. After earning his master’s in leadership from Southern Utah University in 2011, he began serving as a county faculty member with Utah State University (USU) Extension.

“After starting my career as an Extension faculty member, I immediately felt like I belonged,” said Hill. “The land-grant mission aligns with my personal values and I love living in and serving the citizens of Utah.”

Hill always planned to pursue a Ph.D., he was just waiting for the right program.

“The CTE Ph.D. is the perfect degree for working in Extension education,” said Hill. “What I learned regarding the diffusion of innovations as well as program design, development, and evaluation have helped me become better at what I have been doing already as an Extension faculty member.”

Hill thanks Professors Debra Spielmaker and Brian Warnick for their assistance during his time in the program.  

Michelle Burrows earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science and master’s degree in agricultural literacy from the University of Nevada, Reno. She began her career at USU as a guest lecturer with agricultural education Assistant Professor Tyson Sorenson, and fell in love with the atmosphere.

“My experience here at USU has been so much more than earning a degree,” said Burrows. “While this was the end goal, I was also able to gain experience in teaching undergraduate classes, supervising student teachers, mentoring undergrad researchers and helping fellow grad students.”

Burrows appreciates the research opportunities provided to her during her time as a graduate student.

“My advisor, Dr. Sorenson, was adamant that I have as many experiences as possible during my Ph.D. experience to better prepare me for my future career,” said Burrows. “I’d like to thank him for his support and for reaching out to me about this opportunity.”

Burrows also thanks her fellow graduate students and her family for their support and assistance during her time at USU.

Julie Lamarra, a Washington native, received her undergraduate degree in art from Westminster College with a minor in psychology. After graduating in 2007, she became one of the first graduates of Westminster’s master of arts in teaching program. Lamarra taught high school career and technical education courses for eight years before pursuing her doctoral degree in career and technical education (CTE) from USU.

“I worked at a local charter school and taught a wide variety of CTE courses,” said Lamarra. “I always knew that I wanted more and found that USU had a lot of opportunities for me. The CTE program fit well with my prior education and what I was currently doing in my career.”

Lamarra is a full-time assistant professor of practice in USU’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences’ outdoor product design and development program. She is grateful for the support of her family, committee, and students, and others who helped her along the way.