2010 Ecampus Graduates

Amanda Hicks

B.S. Natural Resources- Cum Laude
Vacaville, CA

Sheila Allen

What does completing your degree mean to you? How do you feel it will improve your life and career? Completing my degree means that I am finally seeing my dream come true. Years ago when I graduated high school, it had been my intention to go into the field of Forestry and Natural Resources, but logistics and financial situations being what they were, I had to choose an alternative academic path. I succeeded at my newly chosen career, but always felt the draw of the natural world tugging at my sleeve. When I was given the opportunity to finally go back to what I loved, to finally get my degree in Natural Resources, it felt like a second chance. Even if it takes me a while to secure employment in a Natural Resource-related field, knowing that I completed this degree and hold all of this knowledge in my head gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride. And that shows in everything I do now. An additional bonus is that the company I currently work for has an environmental division that is always looking for talented, knowledgeable individuals to take on projects they're developing, so my degree could also mean a new career path within the same company.  

Why did you choose to complete your degree online through OSU Extended Campus? What did you like about this method of education? I chose to complete my degree through OSU Extended Campus because I was able to work my course schedule and degree plan around my job, which I needed to help me pay for school. I really enjoyed being able to set my own schedule as far as when I "attended" class, and being able to join in discussions with classmates from around the country and the world helped to offer up perspectives that I may not have otherwise considered had I been limited to just taking on-campus courses. You don't truly realize how important that global perspective is until someone in South America or Vermont shares with you how something is done in their area and your entire view is broadened just that much more. I think my classmates equipped me for working in Natural Resources in the real world almost as much as my instructors and coursework did! 

Did you have an instructor or advisor who was influential in helping you succeed as a distance student? I had quite a few instructors whom I can honestly say were influential in helping me succeed as a distance student. Dr. Erhart for example, did his best to identify opportunities for us to explore beyond the online classroom, and tried to engage us in hands-on work as much as possible. My undergrad advisor Marge Victor was hugely influential in helping me succeed. She provided regular feedback and encouragement on my academic choices and listened whenever I had a concern about a course that was giving me trouble. She was always very open and honest about whether or not certain classes were the best choice for my academic path, and would always have a list of alternatives at the ready. I never felt overwhelmed with the distance experience because of this.

What will your Ecampus degree allow you to do that you were unable to do before? My degree will allow me to explore new career opportunities that may not have previously been available to me. There's the potential for new opportunities within the same company I currently work for, but at the same time there are a multitude of career opportunities I can explore outside of my current employer that will take me in a whole new direction. For example, I volunteer as an interpretive ranger at one of our local county parks, and the county is always looking for fresh faces to hire on to help with their environmental education programs; they prefer someone with a degree in some form of natural sciences, and my Ecampus degree will most certainly make me eligible for employment with them. It's an exciting career opportunity, to be able to work towards providing education to the public on environmental and NR issues, and it's something I couldn't do without my Ecampus degree.

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