2007 Ecampus Graduates

R. Mary Jo Cancilla-She Could Write a Book

B.S. in Liberal Studies

Mary Cancilla

Mary Cancilla places her cap on her daughter at the Ecampus graduation reception.

Southern California native R. Mary Jo Cancilla had her bachelor's degree in the works for almost 10 years. She earned her Associate of Arts in Sign Language Interpreting in 1991, but commitments to work and family put her education on hold. When she wanted to complete her undergraduate studies, it was OSU's reputation that made her choose Extended Campus' Liberal Studies program.

With her Ecampus degree complete, Mary is excited to see what life has in store for her now.

"I'm definitely inspired to make more of my life," Mary says. "I feel that I've discovered my innate abilities. I believe I have the potential to do something great with my life. I don't know if that will mean writing a book or finding a new career, but I'm looking forward to finding out what it is."

As a wife and a mother, Mary faced challenges when pursuing her degree including personal struggles, a full-time work schedule, raising her daughter and efforts to adopt another child with special needs. Taking online classes with Ecampus provided flexibility and the most convenient opportunity for her to complete her bachelor's degree.

Mary Cancilla and Family

Mary Cancilla and her family before the 2007 graduation ceremony.

"Having worked so hard for so many months, I truly believe that my degree from OSU has provided me with the confidence to believe that I am-and deserve to be-a strong role model for my daughter," Mary says.

She also feels that taking classes online let her access her full student potential. "I'm rather shy in person and don't talk in a traditional classroom," Mary says. "In several of my online classes, there were deep discussions on the board, and some became quite heated. I loved actively participating in those, and I know I wouldn't have participated had I been in a traditional classroom."

Mary and her father, who both attended OSU's graduation ceremony in Corvallis, will never forget this Father's Day, as it was the day Mary received her diploma.

"My step mom said, ‘You have no idea how much this means to him,'" Mary recalls from that day. "I looked over at my dad and he was crying. During the graduation ceremony, I sent my dad a text message up in the stands and said, ‘Happy Father's Day.' He told me my graduation was the best father's day present he has ever gotten."

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