TORRINGTON – With March being National Women’s Month, The Torrington Telegram will continue highlighting prominent women in Goshen County.
This week’s feature is on Tami Afdahl, the Director of College Relations at Eastern Wyoming College (EWC). Afdahl moved to Torrington in September of 1999, when she began working at EWC.
“My first job with the college was Coordinator of High School and College Relations,” Afdahl said. “In December of 2001, the college created the Marketing and Public Relations Office, and I applied for the director position and got it.”
Afdahl grew up in Sheridan with her brother Steve. She went to Big Horn schools from elementary through high school. After graduating high school, Afdahl attended Sheridan College where she met her husband Juel, before both transferred to Black Hills State University.
Before moving to Torrington in 1999, Afdahl and her husband moved around a bit in South Dakota and had their first son, Canton. They had their second son Blake after moving to Torrington.
Shortly after moving to Torrington, Afdahl’s husband Juel got a job teaching business at Torrington High School. Juel worked at the high school until his passing in July of 2020 after a battle with cancer.
“When my husband got sick in October of ‘17, the community just rallied around us,” Afdahl said. “They just circled around us and supported us and helped us through things we didn’t even know we needed help with.”
Her son Canton is a student at EWC and is on the rodeo team. He also works part time as a brand inspector at the sale barn. Her youngest son Blake is at Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, N.M., where he is also on the rodeo team.
Both of her sons are Ropers on their respective rodeo teams. They also occasionally do a bit of steer wrestling, but mainly stick with roping.
When it comes to her job at EWC, Afdahl enjoys making connections with all the different students who come to the school. She enjoys going into the classrooms and interacting with students on campus. It helps remind her why she loves working at EWC when things can get a bit stressful.
“You just have to remember why we’re all there and go spend some time with the students,” Afdahl said. “You’re changing lives for people. You’re training and educating them to go on and have careers and to be contributing members of society.”
She said one of the most enjoyable parts of her job has been watching students grow during their time at EWC and then to follow them after moving on to their own careers and start their own families.
The things that stress Afdahl out the most about her job is the safety of students and staff and the financial situations the college faces.
With funding already a difficult part of higher learning, the pandemic of the past year hasn’t helped matters, but being close with other colleges has helped get through these difficult times.
“We have sister colleges in the same boat and colleges from other states in the same boat and we’re lucky we get to network with those people and realize they’re in a similar situation to us,” Afdahl said.
Even though Afdahl has been at EWC for 21 years, she still has many goals she would like to accomplish before one day retiring.
Some of her short-term goals at EWC include expanding their digital footprint and redesigning the website to have more of a digital presence which will help get EWC in front of more potential students.
“I just want to contribute and continue to get the word out about EWC and tell the stories and let people know what all the great things are that we have to offer.”
When she does eventually retire from EWC, Afdahl is a bit unsure of what she might do once she retires but can’t think of being anywhere other than Torrington.
“I honestly can’t think of being anywhere but Torrington,” Afdahl said. “It’s just hard to say what the future has in store for us, and we’ll just see where the paths take us and the boys.”