Trustee: UW needs more distance learning options


LARAMIE (WNE) — Rock Springs resident Laura Schmid-Pizzato, who was appointed to the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees on Tuesday, told the Laramie Boomerang she’s largely interested in increasing access to UW education for citizens throughout the state.

A part-time lecturer at Western Wyoming Community College, Schmid-Pizzato said she thinks the university should be able to increase course offering to residents around Wyoming who aren’t able to relocate to Laramie.

“I want to make sure they have the opportunity for higher education,” she said. “I taught online classes and there’s lots of different ways to provide the education.”

Schmid-Pizzato fills a vacancy left by former board president John MacPherson, who resigned in July.

Schmid-Pizzato earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in Spanish from UW and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah. She is a licensed clinical social worker and is currently the recovery services manager for Southwest Counseling Service in Rock Springs.

She received a phone call a few weeks ago from Gov. Matt Mead’s policy director, Mary Kay Hill, who told her she was a candidate for UW’s governing board.

Schmid-Pizzato said she was surprised when Hill expressed interest in her. Considering how active she’s been in the statewide discussions concerning substance abuse and mental health, she initially assumed Hill was calling in regard to that work.

“I actually thought when they were calling, they were wanting me to be on the opioid task force,” she said.

She then went to Cheyenne for a face-to-face interview with Mead and Hill last week before she was selected.

By Ashley Detrick