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With her diploma in hand, military sergeant puts self-doubt to rest

Taniah Johnson, a 2019 OSU Ecampus graduate, discusses how she is able to apply the concepts she learned in her human development and family sciences degree program directly to her work as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.

By Tyler Hansen
Aug. 19, 2019

Self-doubt is an obstacle many people encounter when they contemplate applying to a university. Taniah Johnson felt this firsthand as she considered applying to learn online with Oregon State University Ecampus.

As a staff sergeant in the United States Air Force, Taniah knew she wanted to further her education. She’s a person of ambition, someone whose strengths lie in helping others, and she wanted her post-military career to align with those strengths.

But Taniah didn’t think she would be able to succeed as an OSU Ecampus student.

“I didn’t think I was smart enough for college,” she says now. “I was extremely scared to submit my application. I honestly didn’t think I’d get in. It’s Oregon State University, and I don’t know anyone in my Air Force career who has gone to such a recognized school.”

Fast forward a few years, and there are few success stories as awe-inspiring as Taniah’s. She pushed past the fear of applying and was accepted to Oregon State’s online bachelor’s program in human development and family sciences. Her time as an Ecampus student coincided with raising two young children as a single mom, getting stationed overseas in Japan and earning promotions in rank.

In June 2019, Taniah and her family made the journey across the Pacific Ocean to attend Oregon State’s annual commencement ceremony. She was front and center at the festivities as a member of the 150th graduating class in OSU’s proud history.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how self-doubt never stood a chance against someone as dedicated as Taniah is to improving the lives of others – and her own.

“Earning my degree means that I have accomplished something that I never thought I’d be able to do,” she says. “Anyone who has ever thought that a higher education wasn’t for them, take that thought, throw it on the ground and stomp on it.”

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