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Alum wins award on heels of encounter with first lady

Price’s resolve as an Ecampus student wows UPCEA Region West

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Not long after meeting Michelle Obama, the accolades keep coming for Sarah Price, a 2012 graduate of Oregon State University who last week was recognized on a regional scale for overcoming obstacles and attaining success as an online student.

Sarah Price with Ecampus directors

Sarah Price receives her Outstanding Non-traditional Student award alongside Ecampus executive director Lisa L. Templeton, far left, and Ecampus director of marketing Jessica DuPont at a conference in Park City, Utah.

Price received the Outstanding Non-traditional Student award from the University Professional & Continuing Education Association at their Region West conference in Park City, Utah, marking another recent milestone in a life that was previously plagued by adversity.

A resident of San Diego, Price earned a liberal studies degree online with Oregon State Ecampus and used education to carve out a better path for her family. Her childhood was beset by homelessness, extreme poverty, food insecurity and teen pregnancy, but she always saw a college education as her ticket to a better future.

“My whole childhood, my parents said, ‘We’re gonna win the lottery,’ and that was their plan. I thought we just had to hold on until that day came,” said Price, now a mother of three and the wife of a United States Marine.

“But I learned that you can’t live life that way. Good things aren’t going to fall into your lap. You have to make it happen for yourself.”

Price, 26, graduated from high school in 2002 in Albany, Ore., one year ahead of schedule while she was five months pregnant. She then struggled as a campus-based Oregon State student before finding her way to OSU Ecampus, where her grades soared. Once saddled with a 1.43 GPA, Price graduated in June with a cumulative 3.14, having posted a 3.55 over her final two years.

Her determination and success impressed the Oregon State community, and she was one of five students given the privilege of meeting Obama when the first lady gave OSU’s commencement speech in Corvallis this summer.

“Sarah’s story is an inspirational reminder of the obstacles many of our learners face on their way to earning their degrees,” said Lisa L. Templeton, the Ecampus executive director. “Spending time with her was a very meaningful experience and reinforced why we’re here and why we do what we do.”

Read more about Price’s story of success and watch a video about her accomplishments.

UPCEA’s West Region represents more than 60 universities and colleges. Ecampus student Erika Busch won the region’s Outstanding Non-traditional Student award last year.