2012 OSU Ecampus graduates

Amy Reule – High school dropout rewrites her educational history

B.S. in Liberal Studies
Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

Amy ReuleWhat does earning your OSU degree mean to you?
Earning my OSU degree means more to me than words can express. Ten years ago, I started my educational journey as a high school dropout with an eighth-grade level of education. I was a single mother with three kids struggling to get by – determined to give my kids more. Along the way, I met my spouse, an OSU graduate. He became a father to my children and one of my greatest supporters. Together, we completed our beautiful family with two more children.

When I think of my degree, I don’t just think of my sacrifices but their sacrifices. I owe my degree to my husband, daughter and four sons.

Lastly, I gained something I never expected to find – a greater confidence in myself. I started this journey with little education, but I persevered with my family cheering me on every step of the way. It is because of them that I will graduate with honors in a B.S. in Liberals Studies and a minor in writing. It is because of them that I will purse my master's at San Bernardino State. Te quiero mi familia!

Why did you choose to complete your degree online through OSU Extended Campus? What did you like about this method of education?
I chose Oregon State because of what the institution symbolizes to our family. My husband and I both came from poor backgrounds. College became our ticket out of poverty. We have great pride for the institution that has allowed us to grow professional and personally. In addition, the convenience of online classes has allowed me to be near my children. I am not 30 minutes away in some classroom. I am in the next room while they sleep or sometimes right next them as they do their homework or play. If they need my help, I just stop and return to my discussion board or homework at a later time. A traditional classroom could not accommodate me in this way.

My experience with Ecampus has been richer due to the in-depth class discussions that would have been impossible in a lecture hall with 60-plus students. I’ve experienced college with my peers – middle-aged parents – trying to provide for their families while pursuing a higher education. More importantly, OSU Ecampus has allowed me to earn a degree from a reputable institution. My degree will be from a university prospective employers can easily recognize. Go Beavers!

Did you have an instructor or advisor who was influential in helping you succeed as a distance student?
I believe all of my advisors have been instrumentally in my success. I cannot name just one because I’ve spoken to almost everyone within the Ecampus student services. Every single individual within that department has been extremely helpful in working with me to schedule classes or has given me suggestions on what classes would be beneficial towards achieving my academic goals. They have encouraged me as a student because they are sympathetic to my situation and have taken the time to listen to my concerns.

Although my family deserves much of the thanks, my success as a student could not have been possible without my advisors, professors, and fellow students. Professors like Hake and Larison have pushed me to work harder while providing great lectures and excellent feedback. I have a deep respect and admiration for the Ecampus English department; they will definitely receive an honorable mention in anything I am able to get published. My fellow students have encouraged and commiserated with me over the late hours of writing term papers or studying. I look forward to meeting some of them in person at graduation.

What will your Ecampus degree allow you to do that you were unable to do before?
My degree has allowed to turn a passion into a career – education and writing. Although I plan to teach special education, illustrating and writing children’s books is another career avenue waiting to be explored. I would have never had the confidence to purse my passions without my degree.

There is a difference between wanting to do something and feeling empowered to do it. My degree has given me the confidence to effectively speak about education with authority and conviction. I didn’t return to school until my late twenties and had three small children. As a Latina, I feel moved to motivate my future students to push for something greater and never settle for what they think they could accomplish. Education is worth fighting for no matter how uphill the battle may seem. In the beginning, my oldest child surpassed my skills in math and English. I couldn’t tutor him. It broke my heart, but I didn’t let it stop me. I am living proof that it’s never too late. I've learned your kids will only grow to admire and love you even more for admitting your weaknesses and turning them into strengths.

Back to 2012 Ecampus graduate profiles.