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Getting to know Amy Leeds

OSU Professional and Continuing Education enrollment specialist

Amy Leeds, enrollment specialist, OSU Professional and Continuing Education (PACE)

Nearly four years into her tenure at Oregon State University, Amy Leeds says no two days as an enrollment specialist are the same.

For many nontraditional learners, the road to obtaining knowledge and new skills can be long and winding. The good news is there are people like Amy Leeds who love road trips and, more importantly, have expertise in helping students navigate their way to their educational goals. As an enrollment specialist with OSU Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), Amy juggles a variety of tasks that have a common purpose: making education more accessible. She is well-traveled, with roots in the Midwest and experience living on both U.S. coasts. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Emporia State University in Kansas and a master’s from the University of Central Missouri.


By Tyler Hansen
Aug. 28, 2017

Hometown

Emporia, Kansas

When did you start working at Oregon State?

October 2013

Describe a typical day for you as a PACE enrollment specialist.

“I’m happy to say that there is never a typical day! Generally, you can find me performing audits on the Ideal-Logic registration system, running reports and troubleshooting issues as they arise. I’m also working on special projects for marketing and enrollment. Additionally, I create business processes and enrollment policies to better streamline our procedures and increase student satisfaction.”

You’ve spent most of your life in the Midwest and on the East Coast. What brought you out West?

“My husband was offered a great opportunity at Hewlett-Packard shortly after he completed his doctorate at the University of Maryland. We were thoroughly impressed with the area and the people, so we were thrilled when they offered him a position. We packed up and drove cross-country with our two cats, which was certainly an experience in itself.”

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

“It’s honestly a toss-up between the PACE team and our students. We have a fantastic, talented team of people at PACE who are experts at their jobs and are highly supportive of each other. Each person’s thoughts and opinions are encouraged and valued.

“Our students are wonderful, engaging learners who are interested in taking our courses because they either want to grow their professional skills or they are interested in pursuing a new career or hobby. That level of enthusiasm coming from them is inspiring and makes me want to keep finding ways to better their experiences with PACE.”

“Our students are wonderful, engaging learners who are interested in taking our courses because they either want to grow their professional skills or they are interested in pursuing a new career or hobby.”

How does your previous work in student advising help you serve learners who are interested in PACE’s offerings?

“Since I started working in higher education eight years ago, I’ve always worked with nontraditional students. At my previous university, I was a graduate advisor to students who worked full time, were currently serving in the military and had families to take care of. I was always impressed with how motivated they were to complete their education while juggling all of these other important responsibilities. As an advisor, my ultimate goal was to understand what my students hoped to attain with their education (i.e. better career prospects, personal enrichment, or a little bit of both?) and provide resources to help them succeed.

“This is similar to our students at PACE. They are mainly nontraditional students who want to obtain a new professional skill, are interested in exploring a new hobby or want to learn about a new, up-and-coming field. There is a great deal of satisfaction in talking with a student who is interested in a certain topic, finding out what they hope to gain from it and then steering them to the course or certificate series that will best help them achieve it.”

PACE’s course and program catalog runs the gamut – from beer analysis to forestry to web design to pharmacy law. Of the 100-plus courses, which one seems the most interesting or enjoyable?

“I am impressed with the quality of all of our courses so this a hard one to answer. Personally, I would have to say the Master Gardener Online course. We have excellent instructors, and our students really enjoy the course. Plus, the Willamette Valley has some of the most beautiful gardens and landscaping that I’ve ever seen, so I would love to learn more about this subject.”

A total solar eclipse passed over Oregon on Aug. 21. Was it as cool as everyone expected?

“It really was quite amazing. I wasn’t very sure what to think since I’m always a little wary of things that are super-hyped up. I am happy to say that it surpassed my expectations, and I am thrilled that I got to experience it with my family. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

What’s the go-to piece of advice you give prospective PACE students?

“We are lucky that the majority of our courses allow our students the flexibility to access the content at their convenience. I always advise our students to log into the course when they can and always maintain a line of open communication with their instructor.”

“I have lived in six states: Mississippi, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Maryland and now Oregon. Out of all of them, Oregon has been my absolute favorite place to live, and I hope this is our final one.”

Your employee bio says you like long road trips. What’s the best one you’ve taken?

“I loved the cross-country drive from Maryland to Oregon that my husband and I did when we moved here in August 2013. Each state had a unique beauty to it, but the drive through Wyoming and then through the Columbia River Gorge were the highlights of the trip. Shockingly beautiful scenery that I never knew about and would have missed out on if we decided to fly instead of drive.

“I hope to do it again when our son is a little older so we can share the experience with him. He’s 18 months old now, so we’ll probably wait a few more years before we take him on that journey. I highly recommend adding a cross-county drive to your bucket list.”

Tell us something surprising thing about you that people don’t know.

“I have lived in six states: Mississippi, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Maryland and now Oregon. Out of all of them, Oregon has been my absolute favorite place to live, and I hope this is our final one.

“Although I lived in Tornado Alley for 19 years, I’ve never actually seen a tornado until two weeks before I moved out of Kansas. My husband and I were running errands around town and a tornado fell out of the sky about three miles away from us. We quickly did a U-turn and drove home. Thank goodness it was a small one and no one was injured.”

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