2012 OSU Ecampus graduates

Andrea Barker – Earning a degree and living life, too

Master of Health Physics
Omaha, Neb.

What does earning your OSU degree mean to you?
Earning my master's degree from OSU is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. I finished my undergraduate degree in 2005 and wanted to go on into health physics. There are no health physics programs in my area. When I learned about the Ecampus program at OSU, I knew it would give me the opportunity to earn a degree and be able to work in a field I loved. Also, I knew OSU to be a well-respected and prominent university that would garner respect for my degree when people learned from which institution I had graduated.

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 online through OSU because it made the degree I was striving for a possibility. There were no opportunities in my area to earn this degree. I would have been forced to uproot my family in order to finish my degree with another university, and that was just not an option.

I really enjoyed earning my degree online. When I started my degree progression, I worked two jobs and had a 9-month-old baby at home to take care of. With traditional classes, I would not have been able to complete them with my work schedule. The online offerings also made it possible for me to finish my coursework around my daughter's schedule so I could spend the maximum amount of time possible with her.

The online class forums also made it possible to interact with other students in my field that I would not have been able to interact with locally. There was a real sense of community among the students in the classes even though we were spread throughout the country.

Did you have an instructor or advisor who was influential in helping you succeed as a distance student?
There were many instructors who helped me succeed at OSU. Every instructor I interacted with during my time at OSU was helpful and wanted to help me succeed. Dr. Higley was always very helpful in responding to my questions and helping me resolve any issues that I had during my courses. Being a distance student presents an occasional challenge, but these were never more than momentary considerations thanks to Dr. Higley and the wonderful administrative staff in the Nuclear Engineering/Radiation Health Physics department. Everyone always worked very hard to ensure that things went smoothly and I had all the information I would need to complete any tasks.

What will your Ecampus degree allow you to do that you were unable to do before?
My degree gave me a great sense of personal accomplishment. I can look at my diploma and know that I worked hard to earn something so valuable. I completed my coursework while working full time and supporting my growing family, and I never had to miss out on any aspect of my life.

My degree also helped me get my dream job. Without my degree, I would not have been able to get a job at a public utility company where I teach others about radiation protection. I really love what I do and I get to use all of the knowledge I gained while at OSU to help others better understand their job in protecting the public.

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