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Behind the scenes with Randy Ocampo

Computer science academic advisor

Randy Ocampo, Ecampus computer science academic advisor

He might sacrifice sleep in order to pack all of his work and hobbies into each day, but computer science academic advisor Randy Ocampo prefers it that way. (Photo by Hannah O’Leary)

Randy Ocampo knows only one way to live life: full tilt, full time. He spends his days working as an academic advisor to students in the Oregon State Ecampus online postbaccalaureate computer science program. How does he fill the rest of his hours? Well, he has an always-on-the-go family at home. He’s pursuing his MBA on campus with Oregon State. And when he’s not consumed by those two aspects of his life, he’s an avid photographer, paints custom cars, does mixed martial arts and the list goes on. Randy is himself an OSU computer science graduate and also a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He developed a desire to help students thanks to the ample support he received from his advisors and instructors when he was an undergraduate student.


By Tyler Hansen
Sept. 18, 2017

Hometown

San Diego, California

When did you start working at Oregon State?

“My first job at OSU was as a veterans services student worker in the Office of the Registrar in 2012. The year after, I was hired on as a records specialist in the same office. A year after that, I was hired as a veterans certifying official. I remained in this position until I was hired in my current role.”

Describe your advising style in 10 words or fewer.

“ ‘Like the angel on your shoulder.’ Most students already know what they need to do, they just need that little nudge or assurance to tell them to do the ‘right’ thing. I provide them the resources and encouragement to meet their goals.”

What do you like most about advising Ecampus computer science students?

“I like that I get to help students by sharing my own experiences in the program with them. Many Ecampus students in the program are working professionals, trying to raise families and are reassured that they, too, can do it when they hear my story.”

Thousands of students in numerous countries are studying computer science online with OSU. How has the program’s global nature enhanced your ability to meet each student’s diverse needs?

“In my prior role at OSU, I was serving active duty military and veterans. I’m accustomed to working with students all over the world. If anything, I would say that this program has allowed me to reconnect with some of them. I advise students in several countries, many of them on active duty serving abroad. This program has allowed them to take part in (learning opportunities) that would otherwise not be possible.”

“I like that I get to help students by sharing my own experiences in the program with them. Many Ecampus students in the program are working professionals, trying to raise families and are reassured that they, too, can do it when they hear my story.”

You’re working full time, pursuing your MBA, raising a family and have many hobbies. That shouldn’t be possible. What’s your time management secret?

“No sleep! That and I make sure to include my kids in everything I do. My family is important to me and as long as I do right by them, I do not think I can go wrong. We all have similar interests and hobbies. You will find one or both of my kids building robots, skateboarding, riding motorcycles or doing Brazilian jujitsu with me.

“It is a great feeling when my kids see my wife and I studying for school and working full time, and say, ‘I want to be just like you guys.’ ”

What’s your fondest memory of serving in the Navy for seven years?

“My fondest memories would have to be at the flying club where I was stationed at Naval Air Station North Island (in San Diego). I loved flying there and doing ‘touch-and-gos’ out of that base. I also miss going sailing in the bay with my close friends during the lunch hour.”

How does being a nontraditional student yourself help you connect with advisees who have some of the same life circumstances?

“My similar circumstances give students reassurance that they too can succeed while working and raising a family. They also know that I understand their struggles and can offer my own experiences to help them, what worked for me, what didn’t. It also helps that I have taken many, if not all, of the same classes that they are taking.”

What’s the best piece of advice you can give students?

“Listen to me! Well, listen to yourself first, and then listen to me. Be honest with yourself; find out if this is what you really want. Many students like the idea of being an engineer or programmer, but find out they do not really like doing it.”

Please tell us about a recent success story involving one of your advisees.

“I had a student contact me recently and credited me with helping them graduate when they thought it would not be possible. It is hearing things like this that definitely make my job worth doing.”

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

“The song that never ends, of course. No, probably anything by Jack Johnson. I never get tired of listening to his music.”

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