2012 OSU Ecampus graduates

Debora Williams

B.S. in Environmental Sciences
St. Augustine, Fla.

Debora Williams

What does earning your OSU degree mean to you?
I’m very excited to be completing my degree. It has been long overdue, but online school has made my dream to finish a reality and it will be in a field of study that I enjoy. In 2009, I like so many others found myself unemployed, but I saw it as an opportunity to get out of my rut and finally pursue a new career. Within 2 1/2 months I had a contract job with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE).

While beginning a new career with the Corp I also decided to go back to school. My new job already deals with the marine environment and I hope to create a niche there with my new environmental science knowledge. By having my degree it will improve my career by hopefully helping me obtain a permanent position with the USACE in Jacksonville, Florida. I like what I do at the Corp, but having my degree will increase my responsibilities and my income.

Why did you choose to complete your degree online through OSU Extended Campus? What did you like about this method of education?
Prior to enrolling at Oregon State University online, I had visited the site many times over the course of four to five years. However, as I stated above I was in a rut; content. I had been with a transportation engineering firm for 12 years and it was there that I had planned to retire. Unfortunately, the company I worked for suffered from the economy and in the fourth round of layoffs it was my turn. I saw this as a turning point in my life as if my time had come.

Within six months of being unemployed, I had a new career and I was back in school. I chose Oregon State, because you offered a B.S. in Environmental Science and you offered it on line. What I like about online school is that it is flexible for those of us who have a full time job and I can attend from the convenience of my home. The adjustment for me was easy and maybe it is because I’m older and more disciplined.

Did you have an instructor or advisor who was influential in helping you succeed as a distance student?
Nearly all of my teachers have influenced me in one way or another. My classes dealing with water have rooted me further in wanted to pursue a career where water is involved. It started with Oceanography, a course which I thought I would not like. However, that was not the case and I found myself fascinated and sharing my newfound knowledge with my Facebook friends. Also, my course in Introduction to Water Science and Policy confirmed a desire to work in this field. In the Water Science class we had a wetlands lab assignment, and I felt like it came naturally to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this lab.

At my job with the USACE I have performed field work on beach re-nourishment projects, and work with sounding equipment and data. Those teachers of water courses brought to light what feels right for my new career path. However, all of my teachers and advisors were influential for my success as a well-rounded distance student, but even more credit goes to my supportive friends, co-workers and family who saw that this was important to me during a very difficult time.

What will your Ecampus degree allow you to do that you were unable to do before?
As a 50-year-old person, receiving my degree with honors has given me a new-found confidence in myself. As we all know, most people need a degree to be heard these days. Well, I will have that degree and I hope to become a permanent employee with the USACE. Since I am already in the operations divisions at the USACE I hope to fulfill a niche where water and native aquatic species are threatened by invasive species.

Back to 2012 Ecampus graduate profiles.