Teaching at Pullman High School for the past ten years, Tina DaVault has seen many of her former students go on to be Cougs.
And so it seems fitting that DaVault incorporates Washington State University into her fast-paced curriculum as often as she can.
“Being so close to WSU, I try to bring in lots of industry and academic people. Examples include presentations from WSU alumni working in floral design, scientists doing genetic research and even people from Career Services giving tips on job interviews,” DaVault said.
While growing up on a cattle ranch in southern Oregon, DaVault dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. Following high school, DaVault enrolled in WSU because it was the “go-to university for animal sciences in our state,” she said.
With several friends in the agricultural education program, DaVault spoke with an advisor to see other career options within agriculture. “Before I knew it, he had me signed up for ag ed. It sort of happened by accident.”
Looking back on her time at WSU, DaVault said challenging courses she once dreaded have a positive impact on her job as a teacher.
“I had lots of good professors,” she said. “Everett Martin was especially tough. I learned a lot in his Meats class in a short period of time. I now have a lot of respect for the high standard he set.”
Overall, DaVault found her WSU education to be very helpful in the classroom. “We were required to take a wide range of ag classes, which prepared me because general agriculture is what I teach my students,” she said.
DaVault finds that her own attitude can pique student interest in a topic “When I get excited about something, the kids usually do too,” she said.
As FFA co-advisor, DaVault spends lots of extra time preparing students for competition and assists in planning weekly activities for the group. “Students seem to enjoy the leadership aspect FFA has to offer and we have lots of freshmen that participate in activities.”
Agriculture classes at Pullman High can be viewed as a four-year pathway for students interested in the area, DaVault said. The first two years are spent learning the science while the following two incorporate more hands-on activities and technology development skills.
DaVault said the best part of her job is getting to know her students well. “I really enjoy watching students mature over the years and then seeing what they do with their lives after high school.”
by Brianna Brue, Marketing, News, and Educational Communications intern