Fisheries and wildlife sciences advisor
By Tyler Hansen
May 31, 2016
Megan Hughes is an academic advisor in Oregon State’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Her role involves working with Ecampus students in the online fisheries and wildlife sciences program as well as first-year students on the Corvallis campus. She started working at OSU in 2008 in the Registrar’s Office as a records specialist and veterans certifying official. In 2011, she joined the fisheries and wildlife advising team. Megan has OSU in her blood – she earned a B.S in Animal Sciences with an option in equine sciences from the university in 2002, and she finished her Ed.M. in College Student Services Administration in 2012.
Describe your role as an advisor for Ecampus fisheries and wildlife (FW) students.
“In our department, each new student is assigned to one of the three FW Ecampus advisors. The advisor reviews the student’s transfer courses, makes exceptions if possible, and prepares any petitions needed. The advisor then contacts the student to set up an initial advising appointment in which they cover the curriculum, the program and answer any questions.”
“Each term, advisors contact students about advising (by phone, email or Skype), which is required before they can get their registration PIN. Additional contact is made with students who are placed on academic warning or probation at the end of each term. In addition to Ecampus advising, I also advise FW Corvallis campus freshmen, serve on departmental committees and work on special projects.”
Why did you decide to get into this field?
“When I was considering a career change, I remembered how much I enjoyed working with college students as a peer leader and riding instructor when I was an undergraduate at OSU. I also thought about the positive impact that my academic advisor had on my college career, and that is what made me want to become an academic advisor.”
In 10 words or fewer, what do you like most about being an advisor?
“I enjoy making a positive difference in the lives of my students. (Sorry, 12 words but two were very tiny!)”
What is most fascinating to you about fisheries and wildlife sciences?
“I’m continually amazed by the boundless enthusiasm that students and faculty in this discipline show for the conservation of our natural resources. We have some really cool people who do some really awesome things!
“Check out the research projects that our faculty are working on around the world on an interactive Google map.”
What do you consider to be the main benefits of online learning?
“I believe it is the flexibility of the online program because it allows students to be around the world, in various work and family dynamics, and still have the ability to pursue their dreams and educational goals.”
What do you do to build a connection with students who you’ll likely never meet in person?
“I give them my friendship and let them know that we are in this together.”
How have you evolved as an advisor since you began working with students online?
“At first, I needed more preparation time before each appointment but, with experience, that need has dwindled. Also, I used to be a bit nervous with ‘meeting’ new students over the phone. Now, it feels like an adventure each time I get to meet the next new person and hear their story.”
What’s the best piece of advice you can give students?
“Time management. Use a physical calendar (posted in your study area) that shows the days for entire term. For example, try the term-at-a-glance calendar in the OSU Learning Corner.
“Write on it all that you need to do for each course from your syllabi. Color code exams, assignments, etc. This will help you understand what you need to do for your classes and remind of what is due so you can plan ahead (even though your computer is turned off).”
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
“I enjoy spending time with my husband, friends, family, church group and cat. I also like to do crafty things like make cards and sewing projects. In addition, I do Civil War re-enacting in the summer with the Northwest Civil War Council in Oregon.”