November 17, 2022

USU Uintah Basin Hires Two Engagement Program Coordinators


Utah State University Uintah Basin has hired two new employees who will serve as engagement program coordinators. Molly Ellender joins the campus as the Campus Engagement Program Coordinator I while LaNae Walker joins the campus as Community Engagement Program Coordinator II. Both joined USU Uintah Basin on Nov. 1.

Ellender will be responsible for planning the campus’s commencement activities and will be coordinating several initiatives and events enhancing campus culture for the Uintah Basin students, faculty, and staff. She will also develop and implement campus-wide activities like training, holiday and retirement parties, Fall Carnival, and the onboarding of new employees. Additionally, Ellender will be tasked with identifying and coordinating community enrichment classes, fostering USU’s mission “…by serving the public through learning, discovery, and engagement.”

“Molly’s experience and education matched extraordinarily well with the required qualifications and responsibilities for this position,” said Jim LaMuth, director of programs at USU Uintah Basin. “The committee was drawn to her skills in developing and implementing programs with multiple stakeholders when she worked for Juvenile Justice Services. We are looking forward to her bringing those talents to our campus.”

Originally from Montana, Ellender has earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Montana. She joins USU from the Department of Workforce Services, where she worked to mentor and coach youth accessing education funds. Before that, she spent eight years as a Counselor with the Split Mountain Youth Center, where she led their School-Based Outreach program. She and her husband married in March and share their home with three cats; Gumbo, Bug, and Smudge.

Walker will be charged with the stewardship of external relations and strategic relationships with community and education partners, stakeholders, and at large community events. Additionally, Walker will serve on community boards and committees on behalf of the campus, strengthen alum relations, and coordinate social media information on behalf of the campus.

“LaNae immediately stood out to us in her interview,” LaMuth said. “Her previous work with external partners was exactly what we are looking for in this position. Additionally, she convinced us that we needed someone with a background in psychology to manage our social media accounts. We are excited to have her be part of the student services team at USU Uintah Basin.”

Walker joins USU from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, where she has been the Eastern District director overseeing operations and program management for the Blanding, Moab, Price, Vernal and Roosevelt offices. She has served several roles over her 15-year tenure with Vocational Rehabilitation, including executive secretary, counselor, and counseling supervisor. In these roles, she has developed lasting community partnerships and sat on multiple community boards and committees, which she is looking forward to continuing in her work with USU.

Walker is an Aggie, earning a master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling and a bachelor’s in Psychology. Originally from Roosevelt, she has been living in Vernal for the last 23 years. She has three sons, two in college and a 10-year-old at home. She enjoys being outdoors with her chocolate lab and completed her first half-marathon in September.

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

Molly Ellender
Molly Ellendar

LaNae Walker
LaNae Walker

Jim LaMuth
Student Services Director of Programs
(435) 722-1725 

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