Utah State University Uintah Basin is expanding local support for education students and concurrent enrollment, naming Cynthia White as a program coordinator II.
Utah State University Uintah Basin is pleased to announce the addition of Melanie Brunson to the campus faculty. Brunson has been hired as a lecturer in the Business Education department.
“We were looking for someone who is passionate about teaching and who loves the Uintah Basin and our communities, and we are so thrilled to have found Melanie to fill our business education faculty position,” said James Y. Taylor, associate vice president for USU Uintah Basin. “Melanie brings a strong academic and instructional background and a commitment to students. We could not have found a better candidate and we look forward to growth and success in our business education program.”
Brunson joins the USU faculty after 11 years as a business & technology teacher at Altamont High School. In this position, Brunson taught accounting and business communications, while also teaching computer science, digital literacy, sports and entertainment marketing, keyboarding, career and college awareness, web page design and digital graphic design. In 2018-19, Brunson was named the Altamont Teacher of the Year.
“I’ve loved teaching kids, but I did a lot of reflection on how my experience can extend beyond just teaching kids at Altamont,” Brunson said. “I could help other teachers learn how to teach and that could have more of a ripple effect to help even more kids. I hope my experience will be able to help the next generation of business and marketing teachers.”
Brunson was also the school’s adviser for Future Business Leaders of America. In this role, Brunson assisted students as they prepared for regional, state and national competitions, made travel arrangements for competitive events and oversaw student meetings, activities and fundraising. Students in the FBLA program saw success at regional, state and national levels under Brunson.
Brunson did not take the traditional route to teaching. Instead of graduating school with the intent to teach, she fell into teaching after getting some experience in the job market. She uses this experience to shape the way she teaches and likes to bring hands-on experiences to her students.
“Most of what I teach I didn’t learn it in a classroom,” Brunson said. “When I got my master’s degree, I didn’t really intend on going into teaching. I worked for about five years in health IT. I got a lot of hands-on experience. When I decided to leave that field and go into education, it made it really easy to create project-based learning in my classroom. Sometimes we would get old computers and just put them on the floor and take them apart and talk about the pieces.
“I wouldn’t have been able to have that knowledge without my experience in IT ,” Brunson said. “Nobody goes into a job and is asked to take a multiple-choice test. You are expected to learn how to problem solve and get along with other people. I’ve really tried to mirror my classes to the types of things that students might encounter in the workplace.”
Prior to teaching, Brunson worked for five years as an IT applications specialist at the Uintah Basin Medical Center. She also worked as an adult education teacher at UB Tech, helping adults prepare to earn their GEDs and also teaching computer technology courses.
Brunson earned two degrees from USU, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Spanish in 1990. Brunson would go on to earn a Master of Science degree from USU in Management Information Systems in 2007, graduating summa cum laude.