ALAMOSA—Jandy Stelter may have started her great story at Adams State University, but she continues to fill her pages with travel, dedication to her teaching profession, supporting her favorite political candidate, and rooting on the Green Bay Packers.
Stelter received her bachelor’s degree in 2005 and earned her master’s in 2007. Originally from Colorado Springs, she currently lives and works in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“The foundation I got from Adams proved not only to be adequate but excellent. I found myself more comfortable with the assignments and projects (at the graduate level) than many of my peers. I plan to pursue a doctoral degree.”
Her current occupation as a Special Education Teacher for fourth graders on the Autism Spectrum and Teacher Mentor (local and international) keeps her motivated to improve her students’ lives.
The dedicated service she provides for her students has not gone unnoticed. She was a Utah Teacher of the Year finalists. “In those moments before the announcement was made I found myself far less nervous than I had imagined. I was full of appreciation for all the other nominees in the room. I was literally sitting among the ‘best of the best’ in my profession. These are people spending evenings and weekends working for the betterment of our future. I realized their pay was likely similar to mine and their weeks as long. We were all there, together and it felt so nice to celebrate what we had accomplished.”
Within her community Stelter received the KSL (102.7 FM or 1160AM) Teacher Feature Award. Every week KSL recognizes a teacher who is nominated by the community as someone who goes above and beyond. “I was recognized in a schoolwide assembly on December 14. My story was broadcasted in January, airing about 20 times throughout the week.” The radio station also posted the article on their Facebook page. “I feel as though the work I do makes a difference and I am thrilled to be recognized.”
While attending Adams State, she volunteered for President Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. She traveled across the state doing crowd control at many of his visits and was chosen as a 2008 Democratic National Convention volunteer. That year the convention was in Denver. “While volunteering it dawned on me that I should be voting in the sessions, not handing out signs.”
Upon moving to Utah in 2010 Stelter was determined to be a delegate for President Obama. “After a small but successful campaign I was elected.” In Charlotte, NC in 2012, she had the honor of nominating President Barack Obama for his second run for president on behalf of the Democratic Party. “What a high, I was addicted and knew that I'd run again.”
When the presidential election year came around again, Stelter eagerly backed Bernie Sanders. “I felt his views and agenda put politics aside and people first. For about a decade I had been looking up to him and following his work in the Senate. When he announced his bid for president I jumped on the chance to campaign again.”
This election was much larger and more difficult for Stelter to win, as she ran against 27 other people in her district alone. There were two rounds of voting. After being elected in the first round, she wasn't required to participate in the second. “I instantly felt camaraderie among the nearly 2,000 others across the nation. We had teleconferences, late night training sessions and made countless phone calls on Bernie's behalf. Being a Bernie Sanders National Delegate was a thrill to say the least.”
The chapters of Stelter’s life are varied and span across continents. In 2016, she visited the Netherlands and Belgium, Vietnam, South Korea, England and Wales. She traveled with her partner, Andy Rivera, when he presented his research at World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in the Netherlands and Belgium. She had been to those countries before and acted as his travel guide. “I used my down time to explore the areas I hadn’t visited before.”
Riding a scooter in the world famous swarms and visiting friends drew her to Vietnam. “While there I met two educators who needed some training in working with children with disabilities. I have since mentored both of them and a few of their colleagues.” She visited a former co-worker and friend in South Korea and as a self-proclaimed nerd, attended the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Plays over winter holiday in England. “I had never been to Wales and figured since I had been to England before; I should spend some of my time across the pond exploring new territory.”
Her adventures in the states include supporting her favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers. “I was born into the ‘Packer life.’” Visiting her paternal grandfather in northern Wisconsin over the Fourth of July weekend is a Stelter family tradition. “I have been to the stadium, Lambeau Field, several times and gone to several away games but attended my first home game in October when they smashed the New York Giants for the first time this season.” She has always been a fan and as a child learned the team is owned by its fans. “I became a shareholder in 2011 and gave my nephew a share for his first birthday. Attending one live game a season is what is in my budget but I never miss a game. Of course, I have an official cheese head.”
Memories of Adams State
Attending Adams State, Stelter lived life to the fullest and took advantage of opportunities just as she continues to do now. She participated in many different clubs including Student Ambassadors, Cheer Team, Grizzly Activity Board, Club Fantabulous, Special Olympics Coach, holding many positions on the EPLS Club and on the AS&F Board.
“My favorite memories from Adams are based mostly in being silly,” Stelter said. “I loved homecoming week and especially looked forward to performing in the Medicine Show with the Exercise Physiology Leisure Science (EPLS) Club. The healthy competition we had with Tri Beta and the business club made everything more fun.”
She fondly remembers organizing programs for her residents as a Resident Assistant and later as a Resident Director. “The fun I had attending retreats and professional conferences seemed endless and is hard to put into words. Attending sporting events in matching hand painted shirts and probably being obnoxious was evened out by attending concerts and seeing stage productions on campus.” She also had a work-study position at the Rex Activity Center climbing wall. “It made for lots of excitement and learning.”
Stelter considers the late Cindy Young one of her most influential professors. “She made such a huge impact on me and was such an amazing person. She pushed me to what I thought were my limits expanding my knowledge base and broadening my horizons.” Dr. Ted McNeilsmith, emeritus professor of sociology, Dr. John Taylor, professor of theatre, and Ken Marquez, vice president of Student Services, also left lasting impressions on Stelter, “all for very different reasons.”
Her story is nowhere near an ending…this Saturday, she leaves for Italy.