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A shared spotlight, but her time to shine

Even with a show-stealing dog, Mosser finds her a groove as a double major

Ecampus business administration student Christine Mosser and her dog, Chesty

Christine Mosser balances her life as a double major in business administration and Spanish while shuttling her dog, Chesty, to events as the Marine Corps mascot. (Photos by Staff Sgt. Mike Coleman | United States Marine Corps)

By Tyler Hansen
April 27, 2016

This story is supposed to be about Christine Mosser, and rightfully so. After two decades away from college, she’s barreling full steam ahead as a double major in business administration and Spanish, learning online with Oregon State Ecampus while living 2,400 miles away in Washington, D.C.

She has lived all over the country, worked a variety of interesting jobs, raised two kids, and she volunteers extensively in her community.

But as intriguing as Christine’s life is, she is repeatedly nudged aside – but only temporarily – so people can ask about … her dog, Chesty.

Chesty, a 3-year-old English bulldog, is a big deal. His name is officially Chesty XIV, and he holds the rank of corporal as the mascot for the United States Marine Corps.

When she’s not studying, Christine – whose husband is a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps – acts as part public relations person, part proud mom while coordinating Chesty’s schedule for official military events. He wins over crowds everywhere while marching in parades, greeting dignitaries and performing other duties.

Christine Mosser and her dog, Chesty

Chesty’s ability to garner attention helped his owner, Christine Mosser, win an Ecampus social media contest and a black OSU Beavers sweatshirt.

“It’s taken seriously but not too seriously,” Christine said with a laugh the day before an event earlier this spring. “He’s been in the Marines for three years, and he hasn’t done anything truly embarrassing. He loves everybody and everybody loves him.

“As long as he doesn’t do anything bad before tomorrow, he’ll receive a good conduct award. It’s a cookie. He’s earned it.”

Chesty was front and center in March when Christine was randomly selected as the winner of a social media contest that asked OSU Ecampus students to share photos of their favorite places to study during winter finals week.

But not even a lap-hogging bulldog can truly steal the spotlight from Christine as she makes early progress toward a pair of bachelor’s degrees.

She enrolled in Oregon State’s online program in business administration because much of her career experience is in business. And she opted to also major in Spanish with Ecampus because of how valuable Spanish-language proficiency is in today’s business world.

If one thing is certain, it’s that Christine knows what her strengths are and that she trusts herself to make wise decisions.

“I have 25 years of real-world work experience, so I have a good feel for what knowledge will be useful when you’re out there,” she says. “In the three classes I’m taking right now – one for each major and one for my minor in leadership – the information is real-world applicable immediately.

“And that’s important to me. It validates that I made the right choice with OSU Ecampus after doing research on about 50 schools.”

Further validation has come as a result of highly interactive course activities and effective group exercises. In her Business Now class, Christine is on a four-person team whose members are located in D.C., Pennsylvania, Seattle and Corvallis and range in age from 19 to 42.

“In the three classes I’m taking right now … the information is real-world applicable immediately. And that’s important to me. It validates that I made the right choice with OSU Ecampus… .”

The diverse nature of Oregon State’s online learning environment is representative of what Christine has seen in the workforce.

“So much of what you do is team-based, and you’re not always going to work alongside people of like age and experience,” she says. “You learn on the fly, maybe falter a bit, and in the end we help each other succeed. There’s a real sense of community.”

A lot has changed in the 20-plus years since Christine was last enrolled as a college student – and not just technologically. She’s had ample time to venture down a different path to figure out who she is and what she brings to the table. The two-decade detour served her well.

Now that she’s back in the classroom, she’s eagerly marching toward graduation – with Chesty leading the parade, of course.

“I think I’m better off for waiting to finish my degree because I know what’s in front of me and I can take advantage of the opportunities,” she says. “I’ll have the same skills I had before, but I will have honed them and added new skills.

“I think that once I graduate, the world will be wide open to me.”