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After the Army, Ecampus student focused on doing what he loves

After a long career in the U.S. Army, including four tours in Saudi Arabia, Bryan Zacher was ready to pursue his dream job of working outdoors with salmon and steelhead populations. So he turned to Oregon State University Ecampus.

By Tyler Hansen  
Nov. 3, 2017

There was a pit in Bryan Zacher’s stomach as his 22-year Army career came to a close in 2013. He hadn’t put much thought into life after the military, so he jotted down a list of his hobbies.

Fishing. Hunting. The great outdoors.

Then he had an idea that changed his life trajectory: Turn what you enjoy doing into what you do for a living.

That’s how Bryan came to enroll with Oregon State University Ecampus, pursuing his bachelor’s degree online in fisheries, wildlife, and conservation sciences. Now he’s on track to graduate from an accredited university with a degree that will give him a leg up in the job market.

“The thing that really drew me to Oregon State is that they have the No. 2 fisheries and wildlife program in the nation. That’s kind of the Ivy League of the fish and wildlife sciences,” said Bryan, who now works for the U.S. Forest Service in central Oregon.

But before he applied to OSU, Bryan had questions about getting started. He was new to the world of higher education, having spent two decades working on the Patriot missile system, making four tours in Saudi Arabia and serving on recruiting duty.

Thankfully, he found a support system for veterans at Oregon State that makes the application process easy to navigate, from admissions and registration to utilizing his post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

“The folks at the veterans service office at OSU are very knowledgeable, very helpful and very expedient with answering your questions,” he said. “That’s a good feeling knowing that you’ve got a support staff like that behind you.”

And with an entire university behind him, Bryan is focused on the task at hand: building a new career doing what he loves.

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