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Getting to know Melissa Whitney

Ecampus enrollment services specialist

Melissa-Main

After figuring out her desired career path with the help of an Oregon State advisor, Oregon State Ecampus Enrollment Services Specialist Melissa Whitney is excited to pass that same positive experience to the prospective Ecampus students she serves. Melissa began working at Ecampus in 2012, after serving as a student administrative assistant at OSU Facilities. In addition to her day-to-day job, Melissa operates her own side business as a professional photographer for Melissa Whitney Photography, where she focuses on portraits, engagement photos, weddings, landscapes and more. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from Oregon State University.


By Heather Doherty  
July 11, 2017

Hometown:

“McMinnville, Oregon”

When did you begin working at Oregon State Ecampus?

“April 9, 2012”

What excited you about the opportunity to work for OSU Ecampus?

“What excited me about the opportunity to work for OSU Ecampus was the possibility of working with others who are making the decision to go back to school. I am one of the first people a prospective student connects with when they get ahold of Ecampus, and I get excited to be a part of someone’s decision to go back to school. I know personally how difficult of a decision that can be, so it is awesome to work with people who are motivated to complete the degree they started, 5, 10, maybe even 30 years ago! It’s inspirational to hear the reasons they want to finish what they started.”

“I love the people I get to work with! All of us have the common goal of providing prospective and current students the best experience possible. It is awesome to work with a team that continues to be innovative in the ways we serve our students," Melissa says.

“I love the people I get to work with! All of us have the common goal of providing prospective and current students the best experience possible. It is awesome to work with a team that continues to be innovative in the ways we serve our students,” Melissa says.

Describe what you do in your role. Who do you serve, what types of questions do you answer?

“I work with prospective students interested in earning their degree online with Oregon State Ecampus. A lot of the prospective students I work with are coming back to school after being away from it for a while, so it is a big commitment and a really big decision these folks are making. My role is to help someone decide if OSU is the best fit for them. I answer questions about admission requirements, the admission process, the programs we offer, how online classes work and more.”

What do you like most about your job?

“I love the people I get to work with! All of us have the common goal of providing prospective and current students the best experience possible. It is awesome to work with a team that continues to be innovative in the ways we serve our students.

“I also love that I get to talk to people from all over the world and to hear their stories about what is motivating them to go back to school.”

What made you decide to get into this field?

“I was never one of those people that had a specific career goal in mind, and it was honestly throughout my college years when I started figuring out what my interests were. My college background is a little disjointed because of some family things that came up, and I was a nontraditional-aged student when I went back to school to finish my degree.

“I had never thought about working in higher education until I met with an advisor on campus who asked me if I had ever thought about it. At that point, I had honestly never considered it, but after speaking with her, I suddenly felt like I had a sense of direction and purpose. The biggest reason I completed my degree at OSU was because of the support I received before ever being admitted to the university. That support was pivotal in deciding to come back to school and finish my degree at Oregon State University, and if I can play a small part in someone’s life to make an educated decision about moving forward with OSU, that feels pretty awesome.”

“I get excited to be a part of someone’s decision to go back to school. I know personally how difficult of a decision that can be, so it is awesome to work with people who are motivated to complete the degree they started, 5, 10, maybe even 30 years ago! It’s inspirational to hear the reasons they want to finish what they started.”

What advice would you like to give to prospective Ecampus students?

“I personally know the challenges, the barriers and the fears of going back to school. I took a giant leap of faith to finish my degree, and it was the first step to so many opportunities. So, the advice I would give to a prospective Ecampus student is that sometimes you have to take that leap and know that you will have people here to support you.”

What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?

“I have been to 29 out of 50 states, and to 10 different countries. I have a slight obsession with Route 66, and am planning a trip to drive the ‘Mother Road,’ hopefully within the next year or two.”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“I’m a bit of a weekend warrior, and love planning and taking road trips to places I have never been. I’m an avid photographer and blogger, and like to document places I have visited. My favorite things to photograph are ghost towns and abandoned places. I love to get outdoors and check out a new hike or explore new territory. I also love doing research to find off-beat, weird and random places to eat, visit and, of course, photograph.”

3 Comments

  • Erica says:

    We’re all so lucky to work with Melissa. She is a ray of sunshine every day. I loved getting to read her story!

  • Zane Leek says:

    Melissa is the best!

  • Robin W.W. says:

    Great article about an awesome person! It’s great to see someone that loves what they do and can pass that energy on to other’s to help them find their path. Way to go Melissa!

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