Esther Kim is a first-year CSSA student with an assistantship with the CSSA Program in the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Next fall, she will be transitioning to the Dean of Student Life Central GTA.

Twitter: @estherehkim

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The 2013 cohort #cohorties

(missing: Richard Arquette & Scott Brueck)

 

It’s unbelievable! We’re down to the last week of the school year and just days away, the class of 2014 will be graduating with their master’s degree from Oregon State University. As a first-year student, I admired many 2nd and 3rd year cohort members and looked to them for guidance, advice, and an a ear to talk to when school, work, and life got a bit hectic. Thank you to the class of 2014 and I wish you all the best in you future endeavors! Y’all are the best! #CSSAlove

It’s been a whirlwind of a ride and I’m still in shock that we, the first-year cohort, are half way through the program! There were many times when I doubted myself, wondered what I was doing in grad school, underestimated my work abilities, and struggled to maintain friendships and relationships from home. I’ve been learning that through this journey, going through these emotions and experiences is a lifelong process, and you have to invest time in what matters most to you. This past year has been quite the roller coaster ride but graduate school has taught me very valuable lessons that I will carry with me onto the next year.

 

1. Always ask yourself “why?”. Throughout this year, I have been challenged on multiple levels from my instructors, supervisor, and advisor on ways to further my education and learning in order to be the best professional and individual. At times, I was struggling to find the reason as to why they would had me do that extra hard assignment or why they had me read extra 40 pages when I thought I knew the material already. Why are they pushing me so hard? The professionals around you know exactly what your potential is and in order to reach your potential, some pushing and challenging has to be done. Reflecting on this year, I begin to recognize that everything is done intentionally and if it wasn’t for the professionals continue to challenge me, I wouldn’t be reflecting, thinking, processing the same way as I would have if they didn’t do so.

2. Make time for yourself. I can’t emphasize this point enough during your first term and year of grad school. The transition period can be rough regardless if you came straight from undergrad or have taken a few years off school. It can be overwhelming at times to balance your time with school, work, and other obligations. Regardless if it’s watching TV for one hour a day, working out, or traveling to Portland on weekends, make sure you make time for yourself and do something that you enjoy that will take your mind off of grad school. You have to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically in order to succeed and accomplish all that you wish to do. #selfcare

3. Make meaningful relationships. Student affairs is all about connecting and networking. During your time in the CSSA program, take time to get to know the individuals in your cohort as they will be a huge support system during your time at Oregon State. Set up meetings with professionals in a functional areas you would like to one day be in. Professionals are always willing to make time, get to know you personally and professionally, and they love a good coffee date. Many of the relationships with colleagues and professionals I have made this year have been impactful during my time at Oregon State, and I know that even after graduation, those relationships will be maintained.

4. Enjoy the ride! You picked Oregon State for a reason. You are in the program because you are competent and people believe you have a lot of potential to grow and learn. Enjoy the journey of grad school and experience as much as you can during your years in the program. Take time to intern at various departments, attend sporting events and cheer on the Beavers, and walk around downtown Corvallis to experience the uniqueness of the city. This journey goes by so fast so stop and smell the roses once in a while. Once again, your cohort members are your support system and will be along on this journey with you. Utilize the people around you that will bring you up and allow you to flourish.

 

To all the incoming CSSA students, remember to breathe, relax, and enjoy the journey for the next couple of years. We’re all thrilled to meet you, get to know you, and work with you during your time here at Oregon State.

 

DJ Zissen is a second-year CSSA student graduating this June. DJ defended his thesis on “Policies and Practices of L.G.B.T.Q. Friendly Institutions to Support Students who are Attracted to More than One Gender”.

Twitter handle: @djzissen

 

When I joined the CSSA program, just about two years ago, I thought I had a good idea of what I was getting into. Graduate school was just like my undergraduate experience… right? I just had to pass classes and then I could finally get the job in student affairs that I’ve always wanted… right? This cohort I was joining was going to be nice but not needed because I was already secure with my support structure within OSU… right? I came to find out all three of those notions were wrong.

Now, I could fill pages about my first two assumptions were incorrect, in fact wrote about it in my demonstration of competencies for those who are interested, but I was most surprised how important my cohort has become to me. For those who don’t know, I attended OSU as an undergraduate student, began working for INTO OSU right after graduation, and then transitions to the CSSA program. Because of this, I felt that I already had the support structure built that would support me through the difficult two years of graduate school. Looking back on that support structure, people moved, roles changed, or couldn’t understand what I was going through. Thankfully, my cohort was more than able to fill the void that was left. They are my cheerleaders, classmates, colleagues, and most importantly my family. I can’t think of my CSSA experience without the amazing group of people that make up #cohortlove and I am humbled to count myself a part of this fantastic cohort.

I guess, for the sake of brevity, what I am trying to say is this. I know that I would not be graduating on June 14th without the amazing people who I have had the honor to learn from, be challenged by, and be accepted within. Out of all the experiences that I have had throughout my time within CSSA, I am most thankful that I have had the time to get to know the 2014 Cohort. I am excited that we are getting ready to graduate and head out into the field we have worked so hard to join. I also excited to see what amazing things we accomplish no matter if we are at the same institution or across the country! #cohortlove

 

Tama Bolton is our featured alumni blogger for this week. Tama, 2007 CSSA Graduate, is the Director of Enrollment Services which includes the offices of Admissions, Records and Financial Aid at Cabrillo College, a community college in Aptos, California, student population 12,500. You may also reach her on Twitter: @TamaMBolton

 

I recently paused from the hecticness of numerous projects in motion at work to reflect upon when I have experienced a similar level of heightened activity and concluded that “this feels very much like how I felt during my final term in the CSSA program.”  Yes, this definitely feels like Spring 2007 when I had a myriad of projects in motion at one time and as many emotions swirling while scrambling to get everything done.  The combination of anxiety about pending deadlines mixed with the uncertainty of what lies ahead felt massive.  I was happy that I was nearly finished with a significant goal, yet sad that it also meant that many other things were coming to an end and I would soon be embarking on another journey but had no idea what it would look like.

It isn’t like this all the time, but several things have happened in the past six months which have forced me to dig down deep and tap into many skills I learned while in the CSSA program, some from specific course assignments, my graduate assistant experience and others from simply having been a student developing my own organization and coping skills.

Here are some examples–

  1. Human Development–The offices of Admissions, Records and Financial Aid ended the fall term with the usual end of term busy activities while also packing up our offices to prepare to move to a temporary location as our building, one of the oldest on campus, would be undergoing revitalization for at least four months (of course it turned out to be six months).  Each office is set up in a former classroom  which is not an ideal situation but we have adjusted and repeat our new motto of “it’s just temporary.”  Not everyone handles change in the same manner and I have seen evidence of Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchical Needs while staff adjust to the new environment and my leadership team and I work to address their diverse needs so they can function in their jobs.

  1. Removing Silos–During my time at OSU (2005-2007) the University was experiencing a budget crisis and Larry Roper and his Student Services leadership team had numerous conversations about restructuring.  He shared with us plans for breaking down silos within Student Services and the need for working more collaboratively.  I remember wondering what exactly that would mean, how would Student Services at OSU stay the same or be different, would the student notice the difference, what did it mean for the future of OSU?

We are now having the same conversations at Cabrillo due to budget reductions last year.  Two years ago, our Vice President of Student Services announced a restructure of campus services and blended the offices Admissions, Records and Financial Aid and created the Enrollment Services Division.  We are gradually adjusting to this new structure, not all staff grasped the concept or saw the need, but now many state and federal regulations are impacting how we conduct business forcing these key areas to have in-depth conversations, modify our practices so that we are in compliance with the regulations so we may offer financial aid to students and monitor their progress together.

It is very apparent now why restructure was necessary.  We are realizing the benefits of a deeper level of collaboration and more transparent operations, I can see the concept taking on as we begin to work closer with other areas such as our Institutional Technology division and Business Services.  As a result, we have better informed staff and therefore are providing better services for our students.

In our temporary office/classroom space I have seen how the absence of cubicle walls have nurtured better collaboration between staff and has helped to break down long held  differences between personnel.  In addition to breaking down the figurative silos, we will be remodeling the office workstations and removing the physical walls when we return to our newly revitalized building the end of this month.

  1. Order out of chaos–In our Leadership course, Bruce Clemetsen and Tim McMahon taught us about chaos theory and shared evidence that good things can come out of chaotic events.  After having experienced much chaos lately, I can say that certainly is possible.

In preparation for the move to our temporary location and instead of moving all of the archival records, the Records office implemented a schedule of digitizing them to make them accessible electronically, something we had talked of doing but seized the opportunity to move them into the 21st century instead of to a temporary location.  Although it was another major project, the timing was right and as a result, our processes are streamlined, records are easily accessible and we will now have more office space when we return.

I am currently at a conference for directors of California community college Admissions & Records offices and last month I attended a similar conference but on a national level.  In California we are all recovering from a few challenging budget years which have sparked many changes on our campuses–changes in organizational structure and office functionality, as well as statewide regulations focusing on methods to ensuring student success.  We are not alone in making huge changes in how we operate and are funded, as it was a resounding theme among my colleagues at the national level.  It is an exciting yet chaotic time in higher education as there are so many changes in affect and more to come.  It is comforting to know we are not alone in the process.  I am glad to be involved in a time of so much change and eager to see how things look once there is calm after this storm.  There is certain to be a new chapter in the History of Higher Education in the United States textbook as a result of what we are experiencing now.

  1. Assessment, assessment, assessment–It’s the time of year when staff evaluations are due so I am in the mode of assessing the work of my staff, while also being evaluated by my boss who also requires that I do a self assessment prior to our meeting to discuss my progress and goals.  Ironically, it is also time for our program review when we assess the effectiveness of the student learning outcomes and the services we provide to our colleagues and students in each office.  Always assessing.

When I decided to go back to college and earn my master’s degree, I pursued the CSSA program because I was not only looking for a degree, but I wanted the holistic experience the program promised in order to be fully prepared for my career in Student Services and that is exactly what I received.  After graduation, I was better prepared than I gave myself credit that final term and my experiences in the program certainly prepared me for the pace of my current role and the elements of my daily work.

To the first year CSSA students, I wish you well as you prepare for the end of what I am certain has been another whirlwind term as you progress to the next phase of the program.  I wish the graduating students the best as they prepare to defend their thesis, wrap up projects and prepare to move on to their next journey.

Michelle Williams is a first-year student in the CSSA program from Athens, OH. She is currently the GTA for Community Outreach in the Office of the Dean of Student Life.

 

I know people have talked about the NASPA conference in the past, so I wanted to talk a little about the Region 8 NACADA conference that I attended over spring break in Vancouver, British Columbia.  NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising is a great organization to be part of for those interested in academic advising or academic support services (like I am!).

I took the 11 hour bus/train combo to Vancouver on Wednesday of finals week, so I had Thursday morning to enjoy the city before my first pre-conference session.  I allowed Yelp to guide me for breakfast, which was my first experience with banitza (pictured), a traditional Bulgarian egg and cheese filled filo pastry (it was delicious!).   The weather was perfect on Thursday, so I had a leisurely breakfast outside followed by a walk through Stanley Park and along the seawall before heading to the conference.

Out of the conference sessions that I attended, I had three favorites.  One was a pre-conference session that won 2013 Best in Region 8, Does Happiness Matter?  Applying Positive Psychology to Advising, by Teri Duever, an advisor here at Oregon State (OSU).  Teri talked about the benefits of PERMA, Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and purpose, and Accomplishments, and how we can both adopt a lifestyle that fosters these things as well as encourage students to do the same.

Another of my favorite sessions was How to Lead Underserved Students Up the Ivory Tower: Promoting Student-Faculty Interaction, by Sharon Ericsson and Angie Klimko of Washington State University (WSU).  This session was about the Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program (CLASP) at WSU.  The CLASP program was created to help support underrepresented students at the beginning of their college experience.  It is a collaboration between the English department and a variety of support programs on campus such as Student Support Services and Multicultural Student Services, and the program helps students to improve their writing, learn the skills to navigate the university, and regularly connect with faculty.  It also includes extensive training for the instructors of the English course and uses inclusive pedagogies in the classroom.  I found CLASP to be a great way to support students by working with faculty to foster better relationships between students and their instructors, and I’m really interested to see how and where this program goes in the future.  You can learn more about it on their website (http://clasp.wsu.edu/) (watch the videos to get a better sense of it!).

Another great session that I attended won this year’s Best in Region 8.  It was Advising Students on Developing Resiliency as a Strategy for Academic Success, by two advisors at OSU, Kerry Thomas and Nova Schauss.  Their session focused on the research around resiliency, protective factors, flourishing, fixed vs. growth mindset, thriving, and grit, and how we can use these concepts in advising.  I’m really excited about this research, and I’m hoping to create a reading and conference course sometime next year to really delve into these different concepts.

Although conferences can be overwhelming, and trying to get to them in the middle of school and work can be difficult, I have really enjoyed the ones that I have been able to attend and encourage others to do the same when they are able (plus, as a student, the membership fee and conference prices are lower than they will be later!).  My trip to Vancouver and attendance at the NACADA conference were both personally and professionally rewarding, and I look forward to future conferences!

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Banitza, traditional Bulgarian egg and cheese filled filo pastry

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Vancouver, BC

 

Happy spring term CSSA community!  Tis the season of defenses, mid-program reviews and many celebrations!  Each of the programs’ weekly emails will include a list of upcoming defenses for second and third year students.  As we move through the term, we are very much looking forward to celebrating the successes of the community.
Tom and Kim
CSSA Co-Coordinators

Claudia Davila is a first-year student within the CSSA program. She is currently the GTA for the Women’s Center.

 

What is the first thing or group of people that comes to mind when you hear the word “immigration”? Be honest. In the past, when I would hear the word immigration or immigrants, what came to my mind were Mexicans. I never stopped to think about why that was especially knowing Mexicans are not the only immigrants who make up this country. Yet, it seems as if every time the subject of immigration and/or immigration reform is mentioned in the media, a connection is always made with Mexicans that it’s seriously impossible to think about one without thinking about the other. We tend to forget that not all immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico because it’s very uncommon to hear the media talk about immigrants from anywhere other than Mexico.

In Chimamanda Adichie’s Ted talk: The Danger of a Single Story, she expresses just how easily influenced and vulnerable we are in the face of a story. Adichie explains that when you show a people as one thing over and over again, that is what they become (Ted Talks).

Within my CSSA program and courses I chose to take as an undergrad, I have been able to learn more about what I like to refer to as the “blind injustices” within our American societies. I refer to them as “blind injustices” because they are situations or actions that are and have been silently creeping into our media outlets that feed into the stereotypes of group populations they want us to believe are true. This is brainwashing at its best; plain and simple.

It is so important for students such as myself, to share what I have been learning, with my peers, friends and family. Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” brings to light a very powerful message that we all could benefit from watching. If you haven’t watched it yet, I hope you take the time to do so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Ihs241zeg

 

Sharece Bunn is a first-year CSSA student from Dayton, OR, specializing in education abroad.

Twitter: @sharecembunn

 

I’m a teacher. I’m also a student. I’m not talking about being a CSSA grad student, though I am one. What I’m talking about refers to my assistantship at the Academic Success Center. As part of my assistantship, I teach ALS 116, a class about student success. To get ready to teach each class, I have to read up on study skills that include reading strategies, motivation, note-taking, and goal setting. The thing I’ve noticed about this is that although the class is geared to help first year students learn skills to help them succeed in higher ed, everything I teach can be practically applied to my life as a grad student as well as my job and future career. I love this. I also love the things I learn from my students. No matter what day it is, I can be pretty sure that I’ll learn something new about what the younger generation is doing these days.

I mention the younger generation because recently, I’ve realized that to the students I teach, I am old. I was born more than 10 years before most of them were born. When I talk about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I’m talking about the “nice” turtles whereas the turtles they grew up with had the angry faces (You may be able to relate this concept to the Beaver logo debate among OSU fans). When it comes to music, I’m way behind the popular thing. I recognize that the students I work with have a different sort of music and that the music they listen to might be influencing a whole new perspective and take on life. They’ve grown up in a world where the Internet has always been a thing and 35 mm cameras were already vintage. I suppose I can appreciate this even though I know what it was like to use a library card catalogue to find books to read and do research.

But comparing then and now really doesn’t matter. What matters is the learning that takes place when people from different generations get together and nerd out about academics. When I teach, I am constantly required to challenge myself and my way of thinking. I realize that I don’t know everything and that it’s ok to learn and search for answers. In fact, that inquiry is essential to my happiness and success in the classroom.

One of the benefits to the CSSA program is that we have the opportunity to teach in different internships around campus. Those internships are priceless. The things we can learn from the students we work with couldn’t be created in another format. There’s something about teaching that allows us to be continual learners. Personally, I’m thrilled that I’ve had the chance to work at the ASC and teach ALS 116 this year. Not only has it helped me assess my own study habits and study skills, it has helped me understand the confusion and difficulties our students have in their classes and in their lives here at OSU. And it allows me to be in a space where I can teach them to work through and think about the things that are helping or hindering them in their experiences. If any of you are looking for a chance to teach and learn in an incredibly positive environment, I suggest you check out ALS 116.

 

 

Daniel Newhart is the Director of Student Affairs Research, Evaluation, and Planning at Oregon State University. He is the one of our distinguished faculty members and our faculty voice for this week. Daniel currently teaches AHE 513: Research and Assessment.

LinkedIn    Twitter: @danielwnewhart

 

The best way to start this piece is with an analogy given recently by Shaun Harper at the NASPA regional conference. Shaun addressed a crowd of student affairs educators (yes, educators, that’s us!), making the case that we should be current on our scholarship in the field to best meet our student’s needs. To drive this point home, he talked about a hypothetical situation in which you go to the doctor for something that may be ailing you.

 

Here is that conversation, in a nutshell:

Hypothetical us: “Hi doctor. I’ve got [insert issue]. What do you think might be ailing me currently?

Doctor: “Well, the last time I read up on the medical research was during my training back in medical school.”

Hypothetical us: “So you’re saying you haven’t led the latest research on [insert issue?]”

Doctor: “I’ve been practicing for years, sure, but…”

Hypothetical us: (says nothing as we run for the door faster than our confidence in our health care provider disappears).

 

You can see Shaun’s point here: as student affairs educators, to best meet our student’s needs – we need to keep up on the scholarship in our field. Admittedly, this is quite hard to do when we’re not in graduate school (and even sometimes we struggle with completing the readings done IN graduate school…), but we owe it to our students to be up to date on what is happening in our field so we can be sensitive to emerging challenges that our students might face.

 

The beauty, however, is that technology can help us with this immensely. As libraries get more digital and technological applications become more integrated, there are more systems that we can utilize to help us with this. Since we’re on the internet (say, reading blogs) a lot anyway…

 

For example, the table of contents alert system allows you to keep up to date on new journal publications in your journals of choice using an RSS reader that can work with whatever browser you might currently use.

Publications that our field generally pays attention to are the Journal of College Student Development, the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, the Journal of Higher Education and the Review of Higher Education (this is by no means an exhaustive list).

 

Some student affairs educators use their twitter accounts (mine is an example) to push out new research and issue in higher education into the field, using appropriate hashtags for the issue at hand. The side benefit is that this provides a record of research that you have found interesting and/or pertinent to your job duties. The other side benefit is if you ever have to write a grant, publication, or report, these publications are all in one place. Tweet deck even allows you to create custom hashtag searches for areas of your interest, and keep them all running on one screen within your browser window.

 

Speaking of storage, the Oregon State Library system provides a page exclusively dedicated to keeping current with research. They also provide workshops in which you, as a student, can attend for free about different types of software to store your references that you may one day need.

 

Keeping up to date with the literature has helped me immensely in my own practice in Student Affairs Research, Evaluation and Planning. My office generally works with each office within Student Affairs, so knowing the research in such a way to help guide conversations around assessment has helped me engage other practitioners where they are, and provides a starting point for conversations about what to assess and why.  Knowing the research in your own field and interest area, and keeping updated, will allow you to contribute helpfully to conversations in student affairs, as not only a practitioner, but also a scholar.

 

And, at some point, once you learn enough, you just might want to publish. Practitioners can, and should, publish too, as we have a lot to say. But that’s for another blog post.

 

 

Ruth Sterner is the First-Year Coordinator of New Student Programs & Family Outreach at Oregon State University. She is an alumni of the College Student Services Administration Program of 2009.

 

My name is Ruth Sterner. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder. My assistantship is with Student Conduct and in 10 years I’d like to be the Dean of a… oh wait, this isn’t my introduction to every CSSA class I ever took, it’s a blog post. Silly me, I forgot. Then again with all the introductions that happen in Student Affairs committees, taskforces, and conferences it’s helpful to have a solid intro on hand. Hmmm…  I didn’t envision throwing out advice so soon, but there you have it your first words of wisdom from me: keep an elevator speech about you and your professional and personal interests handy at all times and revise it as you evolve. You never know when an opportunity might come your way because you were able to encapsulate your interests and skills into a simple “Hello I am…” statement. Today my elevator speech reads something along the lines of “My name is Ruth Sterner. I work as the First-Year Experience Coordinator within the New Student Programs and Family Outreach office at Oregon State University. My professional interests include first-year experience course design and assessment, student mentoring programs, and academic early alert initiatives. In my free time I am usually hiking, biking, reading or sipping tea”.

Why do you care that I hike or sip tea? Heck you probably don’t; unless you want to know about trails (Chip Ross Park and Lewisburg Saddle) or places to grab tea (Oregon Coffee and Tea) and you might not think it makes much sense to tell colleagues this stuff either. However, in my experience it is the personal relationships I’ve built with colleagues that have and continue to sustain me in the student affairs profession. My career path thus far has been rough and I know I’m not alone in this arena.  At many points I’ve felt underappreciated, overworked, underpaid, underutilized, over qualified, and thoroughly exhausted, sometimes all within one day. And there’s no one better to listen and empathize with than a colleague who’s been there, felt that way too, and knows me well enough to suggest a hike or cup of tea. Yes it takes time out of already busy schedules to cultivate deeper relationships with people so start small- one or two key connections can make all the difference.

My last piece of advice is very simple: don’t think you or anyone else has it “all figured out”. I’m still trying to decide exactly what I want to do when I “grow up”, still struggle with solidifying my professional identity and holding to my deepest values. All I can recommend is being honest with yourself and others about where you are at and if they are worth their salt as student affairs professionals, they’ll meet you there!

 

 

Claudia Davila is a first-year CSSA student and is currently the Social Media Lead for the College Student Services Administration Program. She is a Corvallis native and has an assistantship with the Women’s Center.

 

Oregon State University is the heart of Corvallis. Much of the excitement and attractions around this town tend to cater toward the traditional college students attending OSU. Most often than not, students with families have a difficult time finding things to do around town.

The great thing about Corvallis, however, is you don’t need to hop on a plane to visit family oriented destinations. Whether you are looking into a day or weekend trip, you will find no shortage not too far from Corvallis.

For me, a day trip to the coast has always been a favorite. Sitting a little over an hour away west of Corvallis are the coast towns of Waldport and Newport. As a child, I used to love visiting the Undersea Gardens and the Devil’s Punch Bowl; hanging out on the beach for hours waiting for the tide to subside so that we could start our search for treasures in the tide pools. After a long day by the water, we’d head over to eat at the famous Mo’s. If you’re looking for some great clam chowder; this is where it’s at!

Nowadays there are so many other things to do in these coastal communities. While the Undersea Gardens and Devils Punch Bowl are still popular attractions; the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Seafood & Wine Festivals bring in visitors from all over too. If you’re looking for some great shopping, all you have to do is head ½ hour North of Newport to Lincoln City where you will find the Tanger Outlets. I have to say I have always found better deals here than at any other outlet mall in Oregon. Lincoln City is also home to Chinook Winds Casino which on many weekends, you can find great music entertainment as well as comedy shows! If you decide to extend your day trip into a weekend trip, there is plenty of lodging. My personal favorite place to stay is the Ashley Inn. While it’s not ocean front; they do offer free hot breakfast! If you prefer something on the beach, we have had great luck staying at D’Sand’s Motel as well as the Surftides. Granted these are older hotels, you can’t beat the location especially if night walks and bonfire’s on the beach are your thingJ.

For more information on other coastal attractions, here are some great links:

http://www.oregon.com/central_coast_attractions

http://www.moschowder.com/index.php

If snow or water sports and/or camping, mountain bike riding, and/or hiking are more to your taste, then central Oregon such as Bend and Sisters are the perfect places to visit. No matter what time of year, there is always something to do! Located about 3 hours east of Corvallis, Bend has some of the best bike trails in the world and Mt. Bachelor has been called a “skier’s paradise” by USAtoday (Bouchard, 2014). Floating down the Deschutes River on inner-tubes or whitewater rafting in the summer has always been some of my kids’ favorite things to do.

Since you will be traveling a bit further to get to Central Oregon from Corvallis, my girls and I like to make a weekend out of these visits and we have always enjoyed lodging at the Seventh Mountain Resort.  Or if you prefer staying within walking distance to popular attractions, try hotels in or near the old mill district.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/experience/ski/mount-bachelor-ski-resort/2014/01/16/mount-bachelor-ski-resort-bend-oregon/4362939/

http://www.seventhmountain.com/

http://www.theoldmill.com/

While I know there are closer cities to visit, such as Salem and Eugene, that also offer family oriented attractions (Silver Falls sits east of Salem, Enchanted Forest is south of Salem off I-5), I find trips to the coast and Central Oregon to be more fulfilling. Many graduate students are only in Oregon for 2 years or less. If this is your case, I hope you take the time to visit these destinations before you leave the beautiful state of Oregon. It’s well worth it!