How long have you been at Oregon State?
I moved here from Alaska in 2008 with eight kids in tow to attend graduate school at Oregon State. I graduated in 2010 with a master’s in adult education and a specialization in virtual learning environments. Soon after that I was hired as an OSU Ecampus advisor for the natural resources program. In 2014, I became the program coordinator for natural resources and I’ve been here ever since.
Awesome. What should people know about the program?
The program has seen steady growth since its inception. We’ve had two big curriculum revisions- most recently in the summer of 2018. Our revisions help us adapt to the changes in the field of resource management, the needs of employers, and the interests of the students. We are constantly analyzing and making sure we’re meeting their needs.
Tell me about the students you advise.
I love our students! They’re on the forefront of whatever is going on in the world. Right now there’s a huge interest in issues like sustainability, climate change, food issues and more. Our students go everywhere and do all kinds of jobs from land management to environmental education to law.
Do you have a natural resources background?
No. My bachelor’s degree is in visual communications. I became interested in natural resources and education while living in rural Alaska for 20 years. I homeschooled my eight children, and we often had moose and other wildlife wandering through our back yard. Most of our family memories are intimately connected with wilderness or wildlife.
Wow. Tell us more about that experience.
Alaska was one of the first states to have a state-funded homeschool program, and I got very involved in a leadership role in alternative education. My kids used an online curriculum and that was how I first got involved with online education. It was great because we lived in the middle of nowhere, but my kids had the opportunity to participate in scientific field studies and communicate with people all over the world.
Tell us about your large family!
The tribe has grown up and I have only one left in the house. She will graduate from high school in 2019. The other seven are either in college or already finished with their degree; four have graduated or are currently at Oregon State, one graduated from the University of Oregon, one from Western Oregon University, one currently taking a gap year. It’s important to me that they not carry a lot of student debt, so they all worked and paid their own ways through school. I am really proud of my kids.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love gardening and cooking and spending time with my expanding family as my kids get married. My son is getting married this summer, and his fiancé has a six-year-old son, so I’m becoming a grandmother, and I’m loving it. We are a very nerdy family. We get together on Mondays and play Dungeons and Dragons.
What do you like to cook?
I love baking bread. I’m working on perfecting my sourdough right now.