2012 OSU Ecampus graduates

Sara McDonald – Tailored program leads to a job, then a degree

B.S. in Natural Resources
Hammond, La.

What does earning your OSU degree mean to you?
I grew up on the East Coast and I've never even been to Oregon, yet I have a lot of pride for OSU and I'm grateful that I was able to finish my degree through Ecampus. After a lot of years of work toward my degree, it's hard to believe that I've finally made it. Getting my degree is a personal milestone for me. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment not just in finishing my degree, but in completing a program that was challenging, demanding and so very relevant to what I want to do in my life. I have grown so much throughout this process.

Why did you choose to complete your degree online through OSU Ecampus? What did you enjoy about this method of education?
I applied to OSU Ecampus when my son was only 3 months old because I wanted to be able to stay at home with him while working on my degree. I began my degree in biology and transferred to OSU knowing that I wanted a degree in science, and the natural resources program seemed a perfect fit. The program combined my interest in social issues with my passion for biological sciences. Coming from a private liberal arts school, I was worried about how my credits would transfer, but the program was so flexible that it was easy for me to fit my past coursework in with my OSU curriculum.

Did you have an instructor or advisor who was influential in helping you succeed as a distance student?
My advisor, Marge Victor, was very supportive in helping me tailor my natural resources program to suit my interests. I ended up going with an individualized specialty option, and Marge was very encouraging about my decision, which helped me feel more confident in pursuing this less-traditional route. She was also pleased to help me arrange an internship, which led to my employment with a local land trust, a job that I have now held for the past year.

What will your Ecampus degree allow you to do that you were unable to do before?
The natural resources program was a fantastic way for me to begin to look at the natural world from a more astute perspective. It has undoubtedly helped me in my work with the land trust and has helped me bring a lot of new information to the organization in order to further our mission to conserve land in Southeast Louisiana. Many of my classes have also helped me learn to "read" my own land better, and as an aspiring farmer and land manager, what I have learned will hugely influence my approach to land management.

Back to 2012 Ecampus graduate profiles.