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A special chemistry with water

Master of Natural Resources program gives alum new career channels

Kristy Trevino

After more than a decade entrenched in the field of chemistry, Texas resident and Oregon State Ecampus graduate Kristy Trevino decided to uproot her career to pursue her passion for water conservation.

By Tyler Hansen
Feb. 1, 2017

Kristy Trevino spent four years earning her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from a private school in Texas, then quickly transitioned to a chemistry Ph.D. program in Colorado. That was another six years.

As you would expect someone with her educational experience to do, she found work as an engineer at a chemical lab in New York.

Her investment – time and money – in the field of chemistry was significant. She zig-zagged the country and devoted a decade of her life to studying the science and several more years capitalizing career-wise on her academic success.

Kristy was a chemist because chemistry is what she’d always done. Until one day it wasn’t.

“I was working in industry doing something I was not happy with,” she says. “I decided to go back to school to change careers to what I love.”

In those words were her criteria for starting fresh: Finding happiness and doing what she loves. That blueprint led her to Oregon State University Ecampus, where she discovered an online Master of Natural Resources program that would satisfy her passion for water conservation.

Kristy wasn’t starting from square one – no one with two college degrees is a fish out of water – but this was new territory in some respects. She conducted extensive research on similar programs at several institutions, but Oregon State helped convince her that it was the best place to build a new career.

“This degree fulfills all the educational needs for my love and passion of water, and it sets me up for whatever the next chapter in my life holds.”

“I had a very pleasant experience with professors and program administrators in getting information about the MNR program and if they thought I was a good fit,” she says. “All of this was before I applied to OSU, so I was very happy with the commitment the school showed.”

The MNR program is delivered 100 percent online by OSU Ecampus, affording Kristy the flexibility to help care for her son while learning online and satisfying the urge to learn about issues that had piqued her interest previously.

When she traveled to Oregon State’s main campus in Corvallis, Oregon, in June 2016 to accept her master’s diploma, Kristy spoke of the happiness she was seeking, partly because of her confidence that fulfilling career opportunities were in her future.

But even she might have underestimated all that would come her way:

  • She parlayed her knowledge gained in the MNR program into an adjunct professor position at the University of the Incarnate Word, teaching environmental science courses as well as chemistry.
  • This year she began serving as the lead advocate for the conservation of San Antonio’s water supply, representing all of the city’s water-related nonprofit groups.
  • And she was elevated to the role of staff editor of the Texas Water Journal following an internship with the Texas A&M University-produced, peer-reviewed publication.

After being so deeply rooted in chemistry for so long, Kristy proved that it’s never too late to change your career plan. And for her, water was the source of new life.

“This degree fulfills all the educational needs for my love and passion of water, and it sets me up for whatever the next chapter in my life holds,” she says.

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