Hello! I’m Tammy (Twenhafel) Oertel, 1994 U of I graduate with a BS in Speech and Hearing Science and member of the 4-H House pledge class of ’95. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve on the Alum Board. I appreciate everything that 4-H House afforded me during my time on campus, and now that my children are themselves entering the college years, giving back to my home-away-from-home in this capacity is an exciting and welcomed prospect.
I grew up in southern Illinois (shout out to the CC, aka Clinton County) on a dairy and grain farm. I attended Kaskaskia Jr. College for one year, then transferred as a sophomore. Though my career path was not in agriculture, and I loved the broad experiences and diversity I experienced at U of I, my heart was never far from my roots. This made 4-H House the perfect place for me to live and grow. It makes me smile when I hear someone call me T-Squared, because that nickname transports me right back to life at 805 W. Ohio.
Upon leaving C-U, I completed graduate school at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and married Jason (U of I and AGR alum). We live on the family farm near Brighton, IL. Our son, Tyson, is currently a freshman studying ag business at Western Illinois University. Our daughter, Shelby, is in her senior year at Southwestern High School and busy exploring her post-secondary options. I’m employed as a speech-language pathologist for Southwestern CUSD 9, home of the Piasa Birds…A legend of local folklore and, while not a very attractive creature, one of the most unique school mascots you’ll encounter. I’m not exaggerating; Google it and you’ll see what I mean. I’m also involved with our church’s outreach programs for the local area, including the Pack-a-Sack initiative, which provides food for students in need over weekends and holiday breaks during the school year.
On the recreational side, I enjoy my role as a fan of the Cardinals, Blues and (of course) the FIGHTING ILLINI. It also doesn’t take much convincing to get me to attend a concert- Recent favorites include Garth Brooks, The Indigo Girls, John Mayer, and Cher (You seriously haven’t lived until you’ve sang “If I Could Turn Back Time” at the top of your lungs, wrapped in black feather boas with your 4-H House Sisters, in a packed arena 20-plus years after college).
My three years at 4-H House set the course for my life, and my relationships from that time have been steadfast through the most intense of joys and deepest of sorrows along with everything in between; I know they’ll continue to be a constant in the beautiful chaos that is life. My main goal as a member of the Alum Board is to ensure that young women experience the unique sisterhood that only 4-H House can offer. One of my favorite quotes is from Ken Blanchard: “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Working together makes us all better, and our cooperative sorority exemplifies that. In a huge sea of Orange and Blue, the Emerald has been a beacon of strength and success for 85 years. With our cornerstone tradition of working together, we can help carry 4-H House well beyond ourselves to the children of the future. I-L-L- and Sisterly Love!