TRAL – Outdoor Recreation Management
Class of 2022
Hometown: McMinnville, Oregon

How did you get interested in this particular field? 
I attended an outdoor recreation conference hosted by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department at OSU three years ago. I am a big outdoor recreation enthusiast who enjoys sea kayaking, canoeing, snowshoeing, camping, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing, so it seemed only natural that I would be drawn to a program that fit in with my interests. I had graduated three decades earlier with a degree in biology with a focus in wildlife biology but have spent the last 20 years doing web development and technical writing. I longed to get back outdoors for work and thought outdoor recreation management might get me there.

What brought you to OSU?
Simply put, OSU was close. I could continue working full-time for the state while attending school. It’s certainly not the least costly university to attend, as I found out, but convenience was the big deciding factor, especially since many of the TRAL courses still are not offered through Ecampus. 

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
This is a tough question to answer because COVID has negatively impacted my experience. One reason I wanted to return to school is I missed the campus life and wanted to hang out with younger students and the feel of their energy. Unfortunately, I only got to spend one term on campus before COVID hit and all classes went remote. That one term was probably the best experience I’ve had because I was back on campus and feeling the college atmosphere again after 30 years away.   

In addition to school, how do you spend your time?
I spend my time kayaking, canoeing, camping, snowshoeing, and photographing wildlife when I have the time. I also serve as a volunteer paddle trip leader and naturalist for the Tualatin Riverkeepers. I work for the Public Employees Retirement System as a desktop publisher and web developer. Paddling in the Puget Sound and around the San Juan Islands hoping for encounters with orcas is something I really enjoy doing.

What’s your goal for your education?  A particular dream job?
First, because of my advanced years (63), I know I’ll be competing for jobs against a cadre of much younger applicants, so graduating near the top of my class is important to me. I am hoping the classes I take will make me competitive for outdoor recreation management opportunities once I graduate. My dream job is to move back to New England where I was born and raised and work as a park manager at Acadia National Park in Maine.

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
At my age, pursuing a new degree and career change is a daunting and life-altering decision. Many people my age may be retired and able to easily attend college; other’s like myself are tied to full-time jobs and also may be helping to support family members. I believe it would help to have a college advocate for older students (>50) attending the university.

Natural Resources, specialization in Human Dimensions
Ecampus Junior
Hometown: Sayreville, New Jersey

How did you get interested in this particular field? 
I wasn’t really sure what major I wanted after reading through a few I discovered Natural Resources. It seemed like a good balance between science, management, and a broad (but interesting) field of study.

What brought you to OSU?
Finding a degree plan that I could complete was very important to me as I am currently in the military. I stumbled on OSU once I discovered which major I wanted.  OSU was rated very highly in regards to their online Forestry program and so it seemed like the natural choice!

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
The best experience I’ve had as a student is being able to meet people outside of the military who are also interested in the things I am interested in. It has been refreshing to get to know people from all different backgrounds and walks if life.

In addition to school, how do you spend your time?
I work full time as an enlisted member of the United States Air Force, but when I’m not doing that I like to spend time watching Netflix with my husband and cat.

What’s your goal for your education?  A particular dream job?
I never want to stop learning. Even when my university career is finished I intend to always find ways to keep my education going. As for my dream job, I haven’t exactly figured that out yet, but I look forward to doing something that leaves me with the feeling that I have positively contributed to humanity in some way.

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
I hope the faculty and staff know how grateful a lot of us are for their help. I know as an Ecampus student sometimes trying to work around work and a different time zone is difficult, but there have always been people at OSU willing to help me.

Major: Forestry, Forest Management and Forest Restoration + Fire Options
Class of 2024
Hometown: Beaverton, OR

How did you get interested in this particular field?
I have always had a fascination with ecology and the management of systems. What really drew me to forestry was an internship I held the summer before my senior year in high school through Saturday Academy, Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering. I interned at Horning Tree Seed Orchard where I did inventories, data collection, analysis, and seed germination research. From this well rounded experience I decided to pursue an education in forestry to learn more about what I love.

What brought you to OSU?
I was very blessed to have received enough funding from various donors to attend OSU entirely on scholarship, to whom I am so grateful. Along with this OSU is the premier forestry program in the United States, and that program in Sweden is too cold for my liking. 

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
Being able to work as a research assistant my first year at school has been the best experience I’ve had so far. It has been such a valuable opportunity to gain work experience and applications of what I’ve learned in my classes. The autonomy I’ve been trusted with to carry out experiments has been wonderful as well!

In addition to school, how do you spend your time?
As previously mentioned, I work as a research assistant in Strauss Lab if I am not in class or taking a nap I am likely to be found working in the lab. Aside from lab work I like to study Africanisms in music, learning and playing rhythms that transcend genres and countries.

What’s your goal for your education? A particular dream job?
Following an bachelors degree I have my sights set on a masters to further my education and possibly a doctorate, although right now I am just trying to best my finals schedule of my first term of my first year! Recently I have been exploring the cross section between bioengineering and forest management practice. I hope to find myself in a career that employs both these disciplines (preferably somewhere tropical).

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
Aprendí español en mi juventud espero que pueda utilizar el lenguaje en mi futuro empleo (I learned Spanish in my youth and hope to use it in my future career.)

Major: TRAL, Outdoor Recreation Management
Double Minor in Natural Resources and Leadership
Class of 2022
Hometown: Florence, OR

How did you get interested in this particular field? 
I use a wheelchair, as well as love the outdoors. I decided I wanted to help make the outdoors more accessible to those with physical disabilities when I visited Grand Teton National Park and I was not able to do as much as able bodied people. 

What brought you to OSU?
The great community that Corvallis provides more than any other college town I have been to around the country, as well as the availability for my major. I grew up in Florence, OR which is not too far from Corvallis as well. 

What’s the best experience you’ve had as a student?
Meeting so many students on campus that come from diverse backgrounds such as large families, small ones, international students, military and veteran personnel, folks with the same passion I have for the outdoors and plenty of students with disabilities. OSU is very welcoming to all students. 

In addition to school, how do you spend your time? 
I work as a contractor for my father who is a broker for Coldwell Banker. I try to stay in contact with my three brothers and one sister and I like to go out and explore around the outdoors with my partner riding around on my adaptive hand cycle. I am a licensed pilot and try to fly planes as often as possible.

What’s your goal for your education?  A particular dream job?
I hope to work for a federal agency such as the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service or the Army Corps of Engineers to help make those areas more accessible to people with physical disabilities.  

Is there something you wish Faculty and staff knew about you or your fellow students?
We are all here because we want to be and we truly appreciate the help that the faculty and staff provide to students. I hope you know that!

Degree: TRAL Sustainable Tourism Management, Class of 2020
Hometown: Eagle Point, OR

What is your major and how long have you been studying at OSU?
I am studying Tourism, Recreation, and Adventure Leadership (TRAL) with a focus in Sustainable Tourism Management. I transferred to OSU in the fall of 2018 from Ithaca College, New York.

What would you like to do professionally after you graduate?
I would love to create travel itineraries for a sustainable travel company, or lead groups on unique travel experiences. I thrive in unusual situations and enjoy showing people new experiences. As long as I’m outside and going new places, I’ll be happy!

Have you been involved in any clubs or activities on campus? What has your experience been like with these opportunities?
Yes, last year I got involved with the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA). I am our Local Committee’s secretary, and I really enjoy it! IFSA has been a wonderful opportunity to travel, meet new people, and exchange ideas on how to create a more sustainable future with fellow students.

Have you participated in any work experience (on-campus or related to your field) during your time as a student at OSU? Has this helped prepare you for a job after graduation?
Since the summer of 2018, I have worked at the College of Forestry International Programs office. Although most of the job involves working at a desk, I love it! I communicate with people around the world, I create events for the on-campus community, and I help market our programs to students interested in traveling abroad. This job has definitely given me a perspective of post-graduation life, which may not appear glamorous in the day-to-day, but has tremendous impact on a variety of audiences.

Have you participated in any experiential learning opportunities? How has this impacted your student experience?
In December, I embarked on a faculty-led program to Costa Rica with thirteen other TRAL, Forestry, and Natural Resources students. We traveled with OSU Cascade’s Ron Reuter and Andrew Hawley to the southern part of Costa Rica, where we backpacked, rafted, and chatted with local communities for two weeks. It was an unforgettable experience, and I still get shivers thinking of how we could see the concepts of community-based tourism in action.

Do you have a favorite College of Forestry course that you’ve taken? If so, why is it your favorite?
It’s impossible to pick just one! There are two courses that have tied for my favorite: Nature, Eco, and Adventure Tourism with Dr. Mark Needham, and Planning Sustainable Tourism with Dr. Ian Munanura.  Mark Needham’s class was a wonderful introduction to the field of international tourism, its problems, and potential solutions. This class showed me the impact (both positive and negative) that tourism can create in the world. Ian Munanura’s class was a deep dive into everything that goes into sustainable tourism operations. It taught me the tough lesson that tourism is a massively complication field with many stakeholders, and there is never a single right answer.

What’s one thing (or piece of advice) that you would like incoming OSU students to know?
Chase what sparks you. Take the classes that sound interesting, and befriend the professor that you think is cool. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions to smart people. 

How do you like going to school in Corvallis?
I love Corvallis. The campus is beautiful, and the town life is fantastic. There’s always something to do, whether it’s dance nights downtown or hikes in any of the nearby natural areas. Studying tourism and recreation here is particularly good because there are plenty of opportunities to go out and observe trails being used, new businesses opening, and people traveling and recreating. 

Have you received any scholarships from OSU or the College of Forestry? If so, what has it helped you accomplish?
When I traveled to Costa Rica, I received some very generous funding from the Dean’s Investment Fund for International Engagement, which is available for any College of Forestry student interested in traveling abroad in order to pursue their interests through international study, research, and internships.

Danielle Melcher worked a little over 1200 hours for the Forest Service fighting fires last summer. As a Forestry major pursuing the forest restoration and fire option, she’s always been interested in the way fires and other disturbances affect different ecosystems. After her season with the Forest Service, she is also more interested in the different types of fuel reduction as well as other types of forest management that can take place.

Why did you choose OSU for college?
I talked to a lot of OSU alumni and they all talked about how great the communities were on campus. After many school field trips and talking to the staff here on campus I knew the College of Forestry usually had a smaller enrollment and that meant I would be in smaller lectures, which I strongly prefer. 

What kind of future, plans, or career are you hoping to pursue after you graduate?
After my undergrad, I hope to earn my Masters in Forestry and continue working for the Forest Service. Once my schooling is done I hope to work towards becoming a Fire Management Officer and eventually become a District Ranger. 

What was your experience like fighting fires for the forest service last summer?
Joining the crew with little to no experience in that type of work made it a little hectic at first but my crew was very helpful. In my first season, I was able to see many different kinds of fires from type 5 grass fires to type 1 forest fire. Overall, my first season was a great experience and the people on my crew made long days of work much more enjoyable.

McKenzie Huber and Autumn Granger

College of Forestry advisors McKenzie Huber and Autumn Granger have been recognized as the Oregon Academic Advising Association Advisors of the Year for 2020!  Autumn is a first generation college student herself, and understands the importance of having someone to help guide you. McKenzie has her Ed.M. in College Student Services Administration from Oregon State University and has dedicated her career to academic advising.

Our advisors assist students in making the most of their educational opportunity and stay with their students from orientation to graduation. Learn more about our undergraduate degree options and take a virtual tour today!

Major: Renewable Materials; Year: Senior

Renewable Materials senior Joshua Stump is hungry for international experience.

He landed at Oregon State after earning a Jazz Piano Performance degree from Arizona State University and spending five years in the United States Navy.

“Music was my passion growing up, but my first experience in college was a hard lesson for me about what happens when you don’t take education seriously,” Stump says. “With mounting student debt hanging over my head, I joined the Navy to jump start my life financially.”

After five years, he was ready to move on to the next stage and decided to follow an interest of his since childhood: sustainability and the environment.

“I’ve always had enormous respect for nature and other forms of life,” says Stump, “My dad took me to Mount Rainier National Park as a child, and that made a huge impression on me.”

After researching degrees at Oregon State, Stump chose the renewable materials program, which he knew would lead him toward a career promoting the use of natural solutions for products we use every day, including sustainable building practices.

Stump completed an internship with Boise Cascade during summer 2018. He’s also an apprentice piano restorer.

During his Navy service, Stump traveled to Australia and several Asian countries. He has not visited Europe yet, even though he is extremely interested in the area.

“I have always been very interested in German culture,” Stump says. “I have family heritage there, and I have always been fascinated with their work ethic and interest in art and music. I think Germany would be an amazing place to live.”

He is planning to participate in the short-term, faculty-led Alpine Europe program. The program, offered through the college’s Office of International Programs, takes students to the European Alps and provides a holistic view of the sustainable wood products industry. He is also interested in completing an internship focused on piano restoration in Austria

“I am hoping to combine my interests,” Stump says. “Playing piano has been what has defined me since childhood, and I would love to focus on alternatives for soundboards in pianos. They are made exclusively with Sitka spruce. With Sitka forests disappearing due to climate change, I want to help find alternatives for soundboards.”

Stump says he would love to live in Europe someday.

“My dream is to build a completely self-sustaining home,” Stump says. “I would spend my time repairing and tuning pianos and use my free time to engaging in environmental activism.”

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. Learn more about College of Forestry research facilities and collaborations.

Major: Forest Engineering; Year: Junior

Josh Fix says he’s never seen a photo that accurately portrays just how green the forests in Oregon are.

“They’re almost glowing,” he says. “I love the simplicity of the forest; how quiet and different everything is. They provide a breath of fresh air and create wonder in me.”

Fix, who grew up in Minnesota, first fell in love with the forests of Oregon as a child during a visit to the state.

He initially declared a major in civil engineering at Oregon State before realizing he wanted to work outside.

“I found forest engineering and it was the perfect major for me,” he says. “It allows me to solve the same kind of problems and use applied science, but I get to do it outside where I see a bigger impact because of everything outdoor spaces provide.”

When he’s not studying, Fix works with the College Research Forests as a recreation field assistant. He found the position through the college’s job shadow program. He shadowed Ryan Brown, former Research Forests recreation and engagement program manager, and learned about the open position. Fix, who loves recreation as well as engineering, thought the job sounded like a perfect fit.

“I do trail maintenance, manage invasive species and repair interpretive materials at our trailheads,” Fix says. “There is something different every day.”

Matt McPharlin, recreation field coordinator and volunteer coordinator, is Fix’s supervisor, but Fix says he’s more than that.

“Matt has been a great mentor to me,” Fix says. “He encourages me to think outside the box and get the most out of this work.”

Fix says his favorite part of working in the College Research Forests is interacting with people recreating in the forests.

“I like to stop and say ‘hi,’” he says. “I meet interesting people from the community, many of whom have lived in Corvallis for years and have been using the forests longer than I’ve been alive. I like being able to talk to people and share stories.”

Fix says one of his most impactful experiences on the job was interacting with a group of blind and visually impaired hikers.

“It made me realize how special the College Research Forests are,” he says. “They are able to enjoy the forest in a completely different way than I do. It made me think about how to make the forest more accessible for differently abled individuals.”

When he’s not working, Fix utilizes the forests as a student during labs, but enjoys the forest most when he’s able to enjoy it in his free time.

“When I’m in the forest, I don’t feel the pressure of school,” he says. “I can take a deep breath and dream about my goals to manage and care for a working forest like this one day.”

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of Focus on Forestry, the alumni magazine of the Oregon State University College of Forestry. Learn more about College of Forestry research facilities and collaborations.

On Thursday, February 6, we recognized our 2019 Dean’s Award recipients and retirees with an awards ceremony and celebration. Since 1990, the Dean’s Awards for Outstanding Achievement have recognized outstanding contributions by our community members that significantly advanced the mission of the College. 

McKenzie Huber was recognized for outstanding achievement in Fostering Undergraduate Student Success. Students noted that McKenzie “has been a huge part of my continued success at OSU,” and “McKenzie has helped tailor a plan that fits my needs as a non-traditional eCampus student serving on active duty.”

Interim Dean Anthony Davis with McKenzie Huber

Kellie Cleaver from FERM was awarded for outstanding achievement in Contributions as a Student Worker.  Nominators noted “Kellie is the first to volunteer to help in any way she can, even if it is outside her position,” and “She always has a smile on her face and is a shining light on the dim days.”

Interim Dean Anthony Davis with Kellie Cleaver

Ray Van Court was recognized for outstanding achievement in Graduate Student Leadership. Ray is a first year PhD student with five published peer-reviewed papers and one book chapter. They have three papers currently in review. Nominators noted “Ray is chair of the graduate student council, a member of the Forestry Executive Committee, treasurer for Xi Sigma Pi (the forestry honor society), member of leadership committee for IFSA (international forestry society), and they are also part of the graduate student advisory committee,” and “Ray’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is exceptional and their work on awareness and support makes the community much more inclusive for other graduate students.”

Interim Dean Anthony Davis with Ray Van Court

The Pauline Barto Award for Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion went to Shannon Harwood. Nominators said, “As she visits high schools, she delivers a message of empowerment to students from all backgrounds while informing them of the opportunities available to them at OSU and the College of Forestry. These visits occur all over the west coast, in rural and urban settings, and I’ve been surprised by the number of teachers who have reached out to me personally about what a great representative Shannon is for our programs.”

Interim Dean Anthony Davis with Shannon Harwood

Jed Cappellazzi and Reem Hajjar were recognized for outstanding achievement in the Mentorship of Graduate Students.  Students who nominated Jed noted, “Jed is an excellent resource to consult for in-depth, intellectual, and educational discussions on a variety of topics,” and “his guidance is always relevant, his expectations clear, and he always encourages progressive thinking.” One of the many students who nominated Reem noted “I entered Reem’s class feeling an incredible amount of anxiety about whether I was going to be able to do anything meaningful with my thesis, and left it feeling confident that I could pose and investigate questions that are relevant to me AND the broader scientific community.”

Interim Dean Anthony Davis with Jed Cappellazzi

There were four very deserving recipients of this year’s Outstanding Achievement in Distinction to the College. Ari Sinha has been spearheading ground-breaking research on new and existing mass timber products, and translating it into the public domain by providing guidance and data for engineers and architects to use it confidently. Chris Dunn participated on Forest Service Committees and the Governor’s Wildfire Council in 2019.  Members of that Council wrote personally to note that “Chris’s work on helping the committee with data gathering, assessment, and mapping products related to evaluating and responding to wildfire risk in Oregon has been invaluable. His hours of hard work in producing quality products and ability to ensure they are understandable to committee members have been remarkable.” Michael Nagle’s nominator said, “He is the most brilliant graduate student I have had in my 33 years at OSU, and he is keystone to our 4 million dollar project on gene mapping from the National Science Foundation that simply could not succeed without him.” Michael Collins nominators noted, “Michael has assembled and leads a team that has taken college communications to an entirely different level,” and “Michael is unflappable, maintains a sense of humor and perspective, and is a strong leader.”

Interim Dean Anthony Davis with Ari Sinha
Interim Dean Anthony Davis with Chris Dunn
Interim Dean Anthony Davis with Michael Nagle

Retirees Will Roger Admiral, Rob Pabst, Bev Law, and Glenn Folkert were recognized for their service to the college. Glenn joined the College in 1990 as a scientific buyer. If a product existed, he could find it, buy it and get it delivered in or out of the U.S. for the lowest price and fastest delivery.  In Rogers 23+ years with the college, he was on the project team for the construction of Richardson Hall, has centralized and/or supervised Communications and Marketing, Forestry Computing, the Media Center and the Student Learning Center, and has provided financial and administrative consultation to five deans and interim deans. Rob has spent the past 34 years with the college working first on ecology of woody plants, then riparian forest ecology, and then forest modeling with the Coastal Landscape Analysis and Modeling Study and the Forests-People-Fire Project.  Bev has served the State of Oregon and Oregon State University for 23 years in Biogeosciences, specializing in forest ecosystem response to climate and disturbance. Thank you for your service and contributions and all the best in retirement!

Interim Dean Anthony Davis with retirees Roger Admiral, Rob Pabst, and Bev Law