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Getting to know Reni Powell

OSU Summer Session assistant director

Reni Powell interacts with a student from behind a booth during a "Warm up to summer" event which offers free lemonade and a prize wheel.

OSU Summer Session Assistant Director Reni Powell discusses Summer Session registration with a student during March’s Warm Up to Summer event on campus.

By Heather Turner
March 8, 2016

Summer Session Assistant Director Maurine “Reni” Powell came to Oregon State in 2003. She has held various roles within OSU Summer Session including executive assistant to the director, academic program specialist, interim director and Summer Session assistant director. She also serves as co-owner/vice president of Oregon RV Appliance Repair, Inc. Reni earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management information systems from Oregon State and is currently pursuing an MBA in general management from Marylhurst University.


“Originally from Flint, Michigan and am currently living in Tangent, Oregon.”

How long have you worked at Oregon State?

“Since February 2003.”

Why did you choose to work for Oregon State Summer Session?

“After working for 20+ years in the private sector, I decided to try the public sector. When I began working with Summer Session, it was a nine-month split appointment between Summer Session and the Vice provost for academic programs office, which meant I’d have summers off to work with my husband running our RV appliance repair business. That lasted for two years, then my responsibilities shifted to a full time position within Summer Session.”

What do you like most about your position as assistant director of Summer Session?

“I enjoy working with the campus community and the challenges presented to find unique and innovative ways to implement new programs within Summer Session. For example, in collaboration with OSU Professor Aaron Wolf, Summer Session helped to develop the Natural Resources Leadership Academy beginning in summer 2012. This program has functioned annually since and puts a unique twist on the standard college-based learning environment, allowing both the graduate student (credit) and working professional (non-credit) the opportunity to learn side-by-side, sharing and networking on natural resources topics with individuals from around the globe while integrating leadership and emphasizing collaboration across all disciplines. As a result, I have had the opportunity to interact with folks from around the world, such as the Chinese delegates in 2015 from Beijing, whom I would have not otherwise met. It’s been a joy!”

OSU Summer Session Assistant Director Reni Powell stands near Weatherford Hall on the OSU campus, wearing a white turtleneck shirt and a purple cardigan.

OSU Summer Session Assistant Director Reni Powell.

What do you wish others knew about your job?

“There’s more to understanding the nuances of Summer Session than often meets the eye. The position focuses on program management for existing and new summer/inter-session courses and programs. To accomplish this, it requires a diverse understanding of the processes and guidelines required within admissions, registrations, financial aid, course scheduling and student billing in order to make all the pieces fit, especially when you are trying to implement a program (i.e. blending credit and non-credit) that tests the limits and needs of each of those areas. For me, it’s much like a puzzle in which you are constantly trying to determine how to make the square peg fit into the round hole, which seems to be something I have a knack for.”

What made you decide to get into this field?

“I can’t say that I actually chose the field of summer session within higher education, it’s more like it chose me. I had never set foot on the OSU campus until I interviewed for the position back in 2003. A year later I started my BS degree in business administration (accounting/information systems) and by 2010, I completed it. All of which has contributed greatly to my ability to understand and weave the operational functions of summer session programming together.”

“I enjoy working with the campus community and the challenges presented to find unique and innovative ways to implement new programs within Summer Session.”

In 2015, you were honored with the Western Association of Summer Session Administrators highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. What does winning that award mean to you?

“This award acknowledged the contributions I’ve provided to WASSA since becoming actively involved with the organization in early 2011, along with the appreciation of fellow WASSA colleagues as a result. Within that time, I’ve been involved in the planning of the annual conference since 2011, served as a presenter and facilitator for various conference sessions and served in numerous positions within the organization.

My commitment to WASSA is not something I take lightly, as the organization and its members have challenged me in ways that provided priceless opportunities to improve upon my leadership and management abilities, while also helping me grow as an individual and professional.”

What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment in this position?

“Providing ways to support and implement efficient processes to manage summer session programming, while helping to build a solid reputation for myself and summer session.”

What advice would you like to give to students, alumni, faculty and/or advisors?

“Learn your strengths and weaknesses, embrace them and maintain a ‘can-do’ attitude in all that you do.”

What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?

“My husband and I have owned and operated Oregon RV Appliance Repair (Tangent, OR) since 1989. He has worked in the RV industry for more than 30 years. The business operates from a large shop located on our home property, located about a mile south of Linn Benton Community College on Highway 34, making it quite convenient for raising a family. Maintaining the small business environment during the busy season, in addition to fulfilling my role here at OSU, I often take time off to manage the repairs right alongside my husband. Thus, over the years, I often run into colleagues from OSU who’ve brought their RV in for repairs only to be surprised by my connection between the two.”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“In addition to the RV and camping world, my family enjoys riding motorcycles and generally being outdoors. I have a 2002 Suzuki VL 800 Intruder and my hubby has a 2005 Suzuki C-50 Boulevard. As of June 2016, I will have completed my 18-month MBA program with Marylhurst University and plan to get back to riding and enjoying the outdoors, along with bit of normalcy back in my life.”