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Behind the scenes with Josie Miranda, HDFS academic advisor

Josie Miranda stands outdoors with her right hand clasped over her left wrist.

By Heather Doherty  
November 28, 2016

Originally from Hayward, California, College of Health Academic Advisor Josie Miranda grew up the oldest of four in a bilingual, bicultural household. Being the first in her family to attend college is just one of the many unique opportunities Josie has experienced in her life – and she uses it to help guide Oregon State students. Josie earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies, and two minors – one in Native American studies and one in English – all from UC Davis. She received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in ESL (English as a Second Language), as well as a master’s degree in psychology, both from the University of Phoenix. Josie previously worked at the Sacramento Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center before accepting a job as a program coordinator for the Women’s Center at UC Davis. There, she was responsible for creating programs around gender, race and sexual orientation. She later worked as an academic advisor for the University of Phoenix. Josie now serves as an academic advisor for human development and family sciences (HDFS) Oregon State Ecampus students. She says she loves how the programs she advises on help students make a difference in the world.

Describe your role as an advisor for Ecampus human development and family sciences students.

“As an academic advisor, I guide, support and encourage my students as they move through their program and on to graduation. I provide information about their major and university requirements, help them plan out their courses, identify support resources and assist them with navigating through the myriad of university policies and processes that are a necessary part of the college experience. I see my relationship with my students as a partnership. I truly love my job!”

What made you decide to get into this field?

“I’ve always believed in the importance of education and lifelong learning. I was the first in my family to attend a university, and I know from personal experience that my success was in part thanks to the guidance I received from my own academic advisor. I love that I now have the opportunity to pay it forward.”

What’s the best part of your job? Tell us in 20 words or less.

Ecampus academic advisor Josie Miranda poses in front of a brick wall.

Josie Miranda is an academic advisor for Oregon State Ecampus students studying human development and family sciences.

“It’s a privilege to congratulate a graduating senior because I’m usually familiar with the challenges they faced along the way.”

What is most fascinating to you about human development and family sciences?

“The common denominator with my HDFS students is that they sincerely want to help others improve their lives. The HDFS major takes a holistic approach to examining human development across the entire life span, which means our students have enough breadth and depth of knowledge to work with a variety of populations or focus on issues of interest. For example, one student might want to work with foster children while another might be interested in drug and alcohol prevention education.”

What are the benefits of online learning?

“The first and most obvious is that students can complete their program around work and family commitments. Military students can continue their education even after they’ve been deployed. Also, our students benefit from having access to support services available to them through both Ecampus and the College of Health.”

“I learn about the ‘person’ first, and then we talk about the ‘student.’”

How do you build a genuine connection with students who, in many cases, you’ll never meet in person?

“I conduct orientation appointments with each new Ecampus HDFS student. During the orientation, I learn about the ‘person’ first, and then we talk about the ‘student.’ I try to write emails that provide clear, concise information, but in a more ‘informal’ voice so that it doesn’t sound like a generic, automated message. I also encourage them to touch base with me as often as they’d like or need, and I try to check in with them from time to time as well.”

How have you evolved as an advisor since you began working with students online?

“Because I rarely meet my students in person, I’ve had to learn to pick up cues from both phone conversations and/or email since I can’t read their body language. It’s amazing what you learn if you really stop and just listen or carefully read an email.”

What’s one piece of advice would you like to give to Ecampus students?

“Embrace your educational experience and make it your own. Don’t be afraid to take classes for no other reason than that they look interesting to you. If you’re in a course that you may not find interesting, use the opportunity to continue to improve your writing, research and critical thinking skills. There’s no such thing as a ‘wasted’ course!”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“I enjoy reading, playing instruments, camping, going for walks/hikes and watching classic sci-fi and horror movies (from the silent era to the 1950s). I’m also a huge World War I buff.”

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