Panhandle Appointments

New Faces in Panhandle Extension

Recent faculty and staff appointments at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center and Panhandle Extension District

Extension Educator-Learning Child in Box Butte County

 Deborah A. Zuelow has been appointed as an Extension Educator based in the Nebraska Extension Office in Alliance. Her appointment was announced by Dr. Jack Whittier, Director of Research and Extension for the Panhandle. She is scheduled to begin her duties Oct. 1.

Deborah Zuelow
Deborah Zuelow

Zuelow will develop and deliver educational programs and resources as part of Nebraska Extension’s Learning Child Issue Team, made up of Extension professionals and other partners. She will work closely with parents, teachers, early childhood professionals and caregivers of young children. Nebraska Extension’s Learning Child program is designed to help create environments and experiences for children up to age 5 that result in improved school readiness and enhanced social emotional growth and development.

Whittier said, “Having Deb join our team in the Panhandle in this important position will benefit young children and parents as children prepare for life. We are pleased that we were able to attract Deb to western Nebraska.  Her experience and education in early childhood development will add to the University of Nebraska’s ability to educate and serve residents of the Panhandle.”

Zuelow has a master’s degrees from Doane College in curriculum and instruction and early childhood education, and a bachelor’s degree from Doane in elementary education and special education. Currently she is a child-care director in Hastings. She also has teaching experience at several schools in Nebraska and Kansas.

4-H Extension Assistant in Box Butte County

Ashley Fenning of Bayard has been appointed 4-H Extension Assistant for Box Butte County, based in Alliance. Her appointment was announced by Extension Educator John Thomas, unit leader for Extension in Box Butte County. She begins her duties Feb. 26.

Asley Fenning
Ashley Fenning

Fenning will be responsible for planning and implementing educational programming for 4-H youth in Box Butte County, with the aim of helping youth develop leadership skills, citizenship, responsibility and life skills. She will work in collaboration with leaders and community volunteers to develop an effective volunteer network to support and carry out the 4-H and youth programming. In addition, she will be developing and carrying out complimentary programming for youth not directly involved in 4-H, such as school enrichment, after-school, or in-service day projects.

Fenning is currently the office manager and program assistant for Morrill County Extension at Bridgeport, a position she has held since September 2017. She received a bachelor’s degree in general biology in 2017 from Chadron State College. Prior to receiving her degree she was a 4-H intern for Scotts Bluff County Extension. She graduated from Bridgeport High School. In addition to playing basketball in high school and college (for Western Nebraska Community College and Colorado Mesa University), she has coached high-school and junior-high volleyball.

Her work and intern experience with county extension involves frequent work with youth-related programs and activities, including county fairs. She will be replacing Deb Kraenow, who worked for 12 years as Box Butte County 4-H Assistant.


Extension educator for Food, Nutrition and Health in Morrill County

Tammie Ostdiek has accepted an offer to serve as Extension Educator in Food, Nutrition and Health for Nebraska Extension, based in Morrill County.

Tammie Ostdiek
Tammie Ostdiek

Her acceptance was announced by Dr. Jack Whittier, Director of Research and Extension for the Panhandle. She is scheduled to begin her duties June 6, 2018, after completing her duties as a teacher in Goshen County, Wyo.

Ostdiek will be based at the Extension Office in Bridgeport and will serve Morrill, Scotts Bluff, Banner, Kimball, Cheyenne, Deuel and Garden counties, as well as statewide. She will teach and coordinate food, nutrition and health programs regionally in nutrition education and health promotion; food safety education; and food literacy. The primary targeted audience includes youth up to age 18 and the adults who influence them.

She will work in collaboration with other UNL research and extension faculty, as well as closely with other Nebraska Extension experts, in addition to individuals, families, schools and communities.

Ostdiek has taught family and consumer science for the past four years at Goshen County, Wyo., dividing time between Lingle-Fort Laramie and Southeast School at Yoder. Prior to that she taught FCS for more than 30 years at Bluffs Middle School in Scottsbluff.

A Sidney native, she grew up in Sidney and Broadwater, graduating from Bridgeport High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in home economics education and a master’s degree in human resources and family sciences from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has a husband, Dave, and two grown children.