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Big dreams have humble beginnings

OSU Ecampus alumna overcomes adversity to earn degree

Growing up in a small village in Guyana – which Secota described as “a third-world country” when she was growing up – Secota Douglas always had dreams that were bigger than her surroundings, including earning a degree from a prestigious university such as Oregon State.

By Heather Doherty  
Sept. 25, 2017

When the world is telling you to stop, Secota Douglas says go. All the way to the top.

Growing up in a small village in Guyana – which Secota described as “a third-world country” when she was growing up – Secota always had dreams that were bigger than her surroundings, including earning a degree from a prestigious university such as Oregon State.

“I am the direct descendent of people who, after facing so much adversity, decided, ‘You know what, we can still push forward,’” she says. “For me, no matter how difficult a situation is or may look, hope is something that keeps driving me forward – especially when I look at my family. I always want to do better for my mom, so it means a lot to me to graduate.”

Secota, who earned a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Policy online through Oregon State Ecampus in 2017, is one of the first in her family to graduate from college.

She says her degree helped her see backdoor dealings of how policies are made, why they are made, and how much work goes into getting legislation passed.

“For me, no matter how difficult a situation is or may look, hope is something that keeps driving me forward.”

Secota traveled to Oregon State's campus to walk in the 2017 commencement ceremony.

Secota traveled to Oregon State’s campus to walk in the 2017 commencement ceremony.

“Surprisingly, that amount of work didn’t deter me, it just drives me to be able to one day help pass one of those legislations that can help me do good for the environment,” she says.

Secota plans to enroll in a master of natural resources program where she can learn more about how she can improve the environment and prevent exploitation of natural resources. It’s a cause she gained interest in after experiencing it firsthand.

“I do see that my degree, along with an advanced degree, can help advance my career and bring about some change in this area,” she says.

Graduation day this past June was especially notable for Secota, who traveled to campus for the first time from Denver to join her classmates celebrate their achievements.

“Graduating means just the world to me. And I know it means the world to my mom, and to my family,” she says. “And that just makes me feel that much more accomplished.”

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