November 11, 2022

USU Uintah Basin Alum Amy Farnsworth Uses Her Degree to Give Back to Community


Amy Farnsworth didn’t come from a supportive family. She didn’t have parents who’d check her homework, or encourage her to follow her goals or reach for a dream job.

She moved to the Uintah Basin when she was 17 and started her own family. It was there she found the support she needed to go to Utah State University, get a degree, and chart a new path for her life.

“I came from Dallas, you know, this large city, and to move to the Uintah Basin where everybody knows everybody — at that time we just had so much help and support,” said the first-generation college student. “I just am so grateful for it, even 20 years later.”

Robert Peterson, associate director and director of students at USU Uintah Basin, said Farnsworth’s journey “exemplifies a success story.”

“We’re delighted that USU Uintah Basin helped to play a part,” he added.

Community Support

Following her divorce, Farnsworth pursued a degree in elementary education so she could match her work schedule with her kids’ school times. But like many post-traditional students, that also meant balancing family and working as a student teacher around her own classes as she learned.

While being able to pursue her education close to home was helpful, she attributes the support of her family and community to her success.

“My former husband, he was very supportive,” she added. “He remarried, and he and his wife would take the kids on the nights that I had classes until 10 or 10:30 at night, because you know, that was just so late for little kids to be out. And they were wonderful about the schedule because it would change every semester.”

Farnsworth is also grateful for her classmates in the elementary education program. Her cohort, many of whom were also post-traditional students balancing childcare and school, formed an invaluable support system.

“You know that support was just amazing, because we all understood, and everybody kicked in to help,” she said. “We had study groups. Sometimes somebody would have a sick child, and so other people would pick up and take notes for them. And because it was that same group of students for three years, we knew each other so well.”

Community resources were also a crucial help as Farnsworth earned her degree, from the local vocational rehabilitation center, and the Duchesne County Adult Education Center in Roosevelt, to local scholarships and financial available for USU Uintah Basin students.

“Looking back, there were different things that they offered because they were trying to meet the needs of their students,” Farnsworth said. “I think I realize that more now, and I have a greater understanding of that than I did going through the program.”

Degrees Changing Lives

Not only is she proud of her degree from USU Uintah Basin, Farnsworth uses the skills she learned earning her degree to pay it forward in the community.

“I have been able to utilize the knowledge and the learning that I received through that program in so many other ways, not just in elementary education,” she said, “and that's something that I feel really has you know, enlarged the opportunities that I have been able to experience and offer to our community.”

After graduating in 2004, she homeschooled her youngest child, was an online K-8th grade teacher with Alpine Online, helped Uintah School District form Uintah Online, and now runs her own business, Vernal Tutoring.

“Amy’s influence in the community is well received and is helping to pay it forward to other first-generation students,” Peterson added. “Amy adheres to our land-grant mission at Utah State University by helping to make her community stronger.”

While she started offering tutoring services for elementary students, her business has grown to also help adults studying for GED tests, Uintah Basin Technical College entrance exams, those with special needs learning life skills, and more.

“I never would have dreamed that, you know, tutoring for me would be helping so many people and using that elementary education degree in such a way,” Farnsworth said. “I finished my high school diploma through the local adult education school, and then fast forward 11 years later, I enrolled at USU into the teaching program, and I got my degree. So I've been in that same point as some of the adults that come in, and I just really can understand what they're trying to do and some of the circumstances that are coming from.”

She added it’s important for her to be a role model, not just for her family, but for others who come from troubled backgrounds.

“I'm hopeful that people will see that anybody can do this, you know,” she said. “Whatever their background, if it's something they really aspire to do, there are people out there that can help.”

For more information about student support resources in the Uintah Basin, visit

Operating campuses in Vernal and Roosevelt for more than 50 years, Utah State University Uintah Basin gives students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university, all in the backdrop of the outdoor oasis that is the Uinta Mountains and Ashley National Forest. With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees and more than 125 programs available, as well as access to the renowned Bingham Research Center, USU Uintah Basin offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at

Amy Farnsworth
Not only is she proud of her degree from USU Uintah Basin, Farnsworth uses the skills she learned earning her degree to pay it forward in the community.

Kat Webb
Content and Marketing Copywriter
University Marketing & Communications 

Dana Rhoades
University Marketing & Communications
(435) 722-1788 

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