Seeing Double in the AEC Department
Story and Photos by Laramie Adams
As students walk through the Agricultural Education and Communications Building, they may feel they are seeing the same person in several locations. The reality is they are seeing two different people who happen to look a lot alike.
Courtney Meyers, a Texas Tech University agricultural communications professor, and Gaea Wimmer, an agricultural education doctoral student and instructor, are twins in the Tech Agricultural Education and Communications Department. Meyers and Wimmer are more than just sisters; they are also best friends.
“We don’t know what it is like not to be a twin,” Meyers said. “It is always nice to have a friend and someone to talk to.
Meyers and Wimmer grew up in Fulton, Kan. During high school the twins were involved in many of the same activities. They had many of the same classes and the same friends, as well. Meyers and Wimmer were both involved in the National FFA Organization through high school, and it’s obvious the twins have a strong passion for FFA.
“Gaea and I were FFA jocks—rock stars,” Meyers said with enthusiasm.
As she smiled, Wimmer added they were very involved in FFA, and it was a motivating organization to be in while in high school. The twins were proud to say they were both district FFA officers their senior year of high school. Wimmer was the district president and Meyers was secretary.
“We did just about every event,” Wimmer said, “but it is funny because the way our FFA events in Kansas were set up, they would almost always have two events on the same day. I don’t know how it happened, but I would always do one event and Courtney would do the other. If I was doing horse judging, she was judging dairy cattle.”
When Wimmer and Meyers finished high school FFA judging, both of them had been involved in many of the events offered. Wimmer’s favorite competition was the agricultural sales career development event.
Meyers was also on the team, which won state, and they went to Louisville, Ky., for the National Agricultural Sales Career Development Event.
Meyers enjoyed dairy cattle judging the most, and she won the state FFA dairy cattle judging competition her senior year. Meyers calls winning the competition her unique fact of her high school FFA career.
After high school, Meyers and Wimmer went to college at Kansas State University. In 2003, Meyers earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Meyers went to the University of Arkansas where she received her master’s degree in agricultural extension and education in 2005. She then went to the University of Florida where she obtained a doctorate in agricultural education and communication in 2008.
Wimmer received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education at Kansas State in 2003 and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, secondary education, at Kansas State in 2006. She also taught six years of high school agricultural education at Centre High School in Lost Springs, Kan.
Meyers and Wimmer currently teach at Tech. Meyers started teaching as an assistant professor in fall 2008 and currently teaches three classes in the agricultural education and communications department.
In fall 2009, Wimmer came to Tech to work on her doctorate and is currently an instructor in ag leadership.
Meyers and Wimmer both said the faculty in the Tech Agricultural Education and Communications Department made them feel welcomed.
“When I moved here, everyone was very nice in the department,” Meyers said. “They were eager to help when I needed to get settled.”
After deep consideration and prying from her sister, Wimmer chose to come to Tech and credits her sister for a smooth transition.
“For me, coming in and knowing people through Courtney made my transition easier,” Wimmer said. “The other graduate students have been really welcoming to me, and I was kind of worried about that, knowing I am related to a professor.”
Meyers and Wimmer both said there is an advantage to being in the department.
“If students are looking to come to Texas Tech,” Wimmer said from an instructor’s point of view, “they should know there are professors and other faculty in the department who really want them to be successful and accomplish their goals.”
“We have four full time faculty in agricultural communications,” Meyers said, “and that is really the largest department, that I know of, that really emphasizes agricultural communications. We teach almost everything a student needs.”
Meyers and Wimmer both see a certain quality in the students in the department.
“So many of the students come from a rural background and they are used to hard work,” Meyers said. “The students in the department are very respectful. The students have a mixture of hard work and respect that I really enjoy.”
Students with experience from Wimmer’s class know she enjoys conversing with students outside of class.
“The students that I am having the most fun with are the ones who have came to visit with me,” Wimmer said, excitedly. “It has been nice getting to know their faces, names and a little more about them.”
Meyers and Wimmer have definitely proved themselves to be successful, and they have a proud family who supports them. Meyers is the wife of Daniel Meyers, and they are proud parents of Isabel Ashley.
Meyers is a member of several professional societies including the American Association of Agricultural Educators and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She has also won many awards including the Raiders Who Rock award in 2009 and the Best Research Article in 2006.
Wimmer has also won several awards throughout her educational career. She was awarded the Kansas Association of Career and Technical Education–Outstanding New Career and Technical Educator award in 2008. She also won the National Association of Agricultural Educators Region II Outstanding Young Member award in 2009.
Meyers and Wimmer share many of the same hobbies, music and venues in Lubbock. They both enjoy teaching classes, watching television, reading books and going shopping.
Meyers and Wimmer both have a certain tenacity and passion that comes out when they talk about teaching along with basic teaching philosophies they use in their careers.
“One component of my teaching philosophy is student success,” Wimmer said. “I really want to make sure I can do whatever I can to help the students be successful.”
Meyers encourages students to learn how to succeed in the classroom.
“One of my underlying principles is self efficacy,” Meyers said. “I want all students to feel like they can do it. My goal is to present the information, challenge students to learn, practice learning, and then someday I want the students to say ‘Yes, I know how to do that.’”
Meyers and Wimmer both share many of the same beliefs. The twins are a true example of success, and they are definitely a positive addition to the department. They have both showed extreme dedication to their educational careers, and this is what makes them beneficial to the university.