Breeka Li Goodlander spent her childhood traversing the St. Croix River Valley in Minnesota on the way to her grandparents’ house. Cut from glaciers, the placid river is surrounded by oaks and maples, and Goodlander found its beauty fascinating.

In high school, she began to explore the idea of turning her love for the natural world into a career. During an AP environmental science class, she earned college credit taking soil and water samples near her high school.

Goodlander decided to attend the University of Minnesota, but was more excited about her internship for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which allowed her to further explore her love of the environment.

Looking for a better option

“After two years, I had the opportunity to work full time for the state, so I started looking for more flexible learning opportunities,” Goodlander says.

She found Oregon State’s Ecampus on a list of top distance learning programs. OSU Ecampus is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

“I sent a random email to an advisor, and I was really impressed with how welcoming and prompt she was in responding to me even though I wasn’t a student yet,” Goodlander says. “The advisor answered all of my questions about transferring and doing a degree completely online. If not for her, I might not have applied to Oregon State.”

Goodlander found her student experience “liberating,” thanks to the flexibility. She says connecting with her professors was easy, and she fit her studies into her schedule during lunch breaks and after work.

“My favorite class was restoration ecology because we got to come up with a practical plan,” Goodlander says. “It was the first assignment I ever earned 100 percent on. It gave me the confidence to keep working hard.”

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never work a day in your life.”

Mark Twain’s quote rings true for Goodlander in her new position as a natural resources scientist for Pinnacle Engineering, Inc. She applies what she learned at Oregon State and spends her days exploring wetlands and writing reports about her observations.

“For example, I might be on site and notice a certain area is in the path of a butterfly migration, so it needs to be noted so that planned construction in the area doesn’t interfere,” Goodlander says. “I feel like I’m really making a difference. The people I work with are very like-minded, and it’s a field I really enjoy.”

She says that during the hiring process for her current position, her employers were impressed with the experience she was able to gain while in school.

“My position required three to four years of experience, and without Ecampus, I wouldn’t meet that requirement,” Goodlander says.

“I also made so many professional contacts while I was going to school and working that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.”

What’s Next

Goodlander’s employer is supportive of her completing graduate work, and there are several Oregon State options she’s interested in.

“Right now, I’m working on a certificate in wildlife management, and I hope to apply that to either a master of science or a master of natural resources degree.”

For now, she recommends OSU Ecampus to anyone looking for a flexible educational experience. Goodlander says her ultimate goal is to own her own wetland area.

“I would love to have my own space and open a wildlife rehabilitation facility,” she says. “I’ve always found the natural world very grounding. To me, it is what is real. It gives me inner peace.”

The Oregon State College of Forestry offers six distinct and top-ranked academic programs in a small, friendly environment where students get personal attention and guidance from faculty, staff and advisors.

Career paths take students into a forest, a factory, a laboratory or an office, and graduates leave Oregon State with knowledge and skills that are in demand in both the Pacific Northwest and worldwide.

All programs lead to a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree and allow students to focus on a particular forest landscape or ecosystem area.

Oregon State is world-renowned for forestry education and research. In this program, students train outside, in forests and with real, cutting-edge technology and equipment. Students graduate with real-world experience, ready to actively plan for, observe and manage the health of the entire forest ecosystem. Graduates often go on to gain employment with either federal or state agencies or private timber companies.

The forestry program offers three options for students to focus on: forest restoration and fire, forest management and forest operations.

Oregon State offers the nation’s only ABET-accredited program in forest engineering. This program emphasizes analytical skills required for evaluating engineering systems and integrates the mechanical and economic requirements of forest operations with the biological requirements of the forest.

Forest engineering students’graduate ready to help meet global demands for wood products while sustaining water, habitat and other forest resources.

Students in this program have the option of a dual major in civil engineering offered in partnership with the OSU College of Engineering.

Oregon State is ranked third in the nation (College Factual) for natural resources education. Students in this program have a working knowledge of a board
span of natural resources, their diversity and interdependence and the critical relationships between humans and the environment. This program is for students interested in an interdisciplinary approach to resource management and a career dealing with land use, water resources, environmental policy, natural resource education and related endeavors.

This program is available at the flagship Corvallis campus, in Bend at OSU-Cascades and online through OSU Ecampus.

The renewable materials degree program teaches students how to help the world replace oil-based and other non-renewable materials with plant-based renewable alternatives and shape the future of wood products design and advanced manufacturing.

Students learn how wood, bamboo and other materials can be used to provide housing, consumer products, energy and other benefits to society.

Students in the renewable materials program have four options of study to choose from: art and design, marketing and management, science and engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The tourism, recreation and adventure leadership (TRAL) degree program prepares students to work in the fast-growing outdoor industry. Courses explore how
people relate to environments and how recreation and natural spaces can work together for the benefit of both the population and land.

Students have four options of study to choose from: adventure leadership education; nature, eco and adventure tourism; outdoor recreation management and sustainable tourism management.

This program is available on the Corvallis campus and at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

Oregon State University consistently ranks among the top in the world for forestry, natural resources, recreation and wood science research. OSU was recently ranked number two in the world in forestry by the Center for World University Rankings and ranked third in the nation for natural resources studies by College Factual.

Dedicated to preparing the future leaders of our working forest landscapes, the college awarded 372 undergraduate degrees in FY 2017 and FY 2018.

Through the generosity of our donors, the college regularly awards more than $500,000 in undergraduate scholarships each year. During FY 2017 and FY 2018, the college awarded more than $1.10 million in undergraduate scholarship support with individual awards ranging from $1,000 to $9,000.

The college prides itself on educating and preparing its students to be competent, innovative and professional members of fields across the forest landscape. Students in all programs are encouraged, and in some majors, required, to complete work experience in their chosen fields. The Mentored Employment Program enables faculty to hire undergraduate students on research and other projects with an expectation of at least one hour of direct mentoring per week. The program supports about 20 students per year.

The college remains a strong partner with Oregon’s community colleges. In FY 2018, the college entered detailed pathway agreements with Umpqua Community College and Southwestern Oregon Community College. This enables students to find financially accessible pathways to the college’s degree programs.

Since the launch of the college’s recruitment plan in 2017, enrollment has increased. In FY 2018, applications and admitted students to college programs were up almost 20 percent. Traffic to program websites increased by 300 percent over previous years. The college welcomed 174 new first-year and transfer students to its degree programs for fall 2018, a 25 percent increase over the previous year and the largest incoming class in college history.

The college continues to provide leadership and facilitation of OSU faculty, staff, and Tribal partners in the development of a Native American Educational Pathways proposal. The college co-organized and cosponsored the Oregon Indian Education Association’s annual conference, held on the Corvallis campus May 1-2, 2018. In addition, the college is collaborating with OSU colleagues on an Oregon Sea Grant proposal entitled “Engaging Collaborative College Pathways for Native American Youth in Coastal Tribes,” and partners with the Intertribal Timber Council to provide an additional $2,5000 in scholarships to recipients of the ITC Truman D. Picard Scholarships.

Growing up in Madras, Quinton Big Knife worked for timber companies during breaks from school and soon decided he wanted to pursue a forestry degree at Oregon State University.

“I just really like being out in the woods,” says the Oregon State senior. “It’s exciting to see a forest go from unmanaged to managed and to see the difference it makes.”

To ease his transition to Oregon State, Big Knife participated in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.

The LSAMP program at Oregon State, funded by the National Science Foundation, is dedicated to increasing the number of traditionally underrepresented students successfully completing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs. LSAMP also works to increase the number of students interested in and qualified for undergraduate research and graduate level studies.

“The program was really helpful,” Big Knife says. “The college community is really great, and I have made a lot of great connections, especially since I started professional school.”

Big Knife participates in the Oregon State student chapter of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), serving as vice chair. He is also involved in undergraduate research.

“The work is really fun and educational,” Big Knife says. “The project is biomass research. We sample and take measurements of trees on different national forests, and help make biomass equations to inform land management decisions.”

To conduct his research, Big Knife often spends eight days in the forest at a time, which he enjoys.

“I love going out to the College Research Forests for labs. Having them so close to campus is awesome. Learning how to timber cruise from a book is different from doing it yourself. You get your measurements, get your data, and really understand what the numbers mean,” he says.

While Big Knife isn’t sure where life after graduation will take him, he feels prepared to work in the forestry industry and is excited to implement active forest management techniques across our landscapes.

“I think agencies need more resources to carry out active forest management plans,” Big Knife says. “And the public needs more information about what active forest management looks like. I am excited for my future career as a forester and silviculturist.”

How long have you been at Oregon State? How did you end up here? What’s your career been like?

Two and half years. I moved to Oregon with my husband in August 2016 because of his job at OSU.

I was a stay-home mom for the first one and half years, and started my job at OSU College of Forestry in January 2018.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is the people I work with. They are kind, warm and supportive.

What does your life look like outside work? Tell me about your family and your hobbies.

I have two kids. My daughter just turned six, and my son is four years old. My husband is an anthropologist.

I like piano, harp and classical Chinese music (Zheng, or Zither), and I also like gardening, trying different food, watching films, reading books and travelling.


Have you read, watched or come across anything in pop culture, or just in life lately that you’d like to share with the CoF community?

I’m afraid I am a bit old-fashioned and don’t know much about pop culture…..I’d like to share some of my favorites: all Miyazaki’s cartoon films, Into the West (2005) by Steven Spielberg, Amélie (2001) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Did you celebrate Chinese New Year earlier this year? What does that mean to you? Tell me about your heritage.

It’s a festival of family reunion. In my family, we make dumplings after dinner at New Year’s Eve and eat dumplings as the first breakfast in the New Year.

On the first day of New Year, young members of the family receive red envelops from seniors as a symbol of good luck.

When I was little, my grandparents and parents always put the red envelops under my pillows to ward off evil spirits and protect me from sickness.

Now it’s my turn to put red envelops under my kid’s pillows. I guess that’s part of my “heritage.”

On Thursday, March 15, we recognized our 2018 Dean’s Award recipients and retirees with an awards ceremony and celebration.

Dana Warren and Temesgen Hailermariam were recognized for outstanding achievement in Mentorship of Graduate Students. Students who nominated Dana said he is an exceptional mentor, role model, and friend, and does everything he can to make sure they succeed. Students noted, “Temesgen takes care to consider students’ career interests and life goals, while at the same time challenging them to strive further than their own expectations”.

Raquel Albee was awarded for outstanding achievement in Graduate Student Leadership. Student nominators say, “She is extremely talented as an instructor and is able to convey information to students in an informational and relatable way. She is patient and kind.”

Devon Costa and Brent McGrath were recognized for outstanding achievement in Contributions as a Student Worker. Nominators for Devon said, “Devon had a great deal of enthusiasm regardless of the task that she was working on, and worked extremely hard to keep our facilities in Richardson Hall in good shape”. Brent’s nominators said, “Brent’s hard work has more than likely affected everyone in the College that has ever needed wood processed, digital design work, as well as CNC routing, laser engraving, and 3D printing completed for research purposes”.

Michelle Maller was awarded for outstanding achievement in Fostering Undergraduate Student Success. She is known as our Undergraduate Wizard! Her nominators say, “She makes sure Renewable Materials students are well cared for and have myriad opportunities for professional development, and ultimately, success”.

Ryan Brown is the inaugural recipient of the Pauline Barto Award for Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This award is named in honor of Pauline Barto, the first woman to join and graduate from the College of Forestry in 1939. Ryan is the Recreation and Engagement Program Manager of the College Research Forests. Nominators noted, “One of the many ways she has contributed to the College DEI plan is to ensure local Native American history is told with their input and that our communications are appropriate and accurate”.

Lauren Rennan was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Distinction to the College. Lauren’s nominator said, “Lauren is a joy to work with, an asset to our college, and absolutely worthy of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Distinction to the College”. Just wait until you see her Renewable Materials semi-truck wrap on the I-5 corridor!

Retirees Jerry Mohr, Ken West and Penny Wright were recognized for their service to the college. Jerry joined the Forestry Computing Resources group in 2000 as the research computing application coordinator and quickly become the point person for the instructional labs. Ken joined the College in 1995 in the Forest Science Department, first with Darrell Ross, and then as a member of the Quantitative Sciences Group with Susan Stafford, doing any and all manner of computer support and administration. Many of you may not realize Penny White’s retired because we’ve been lucky enough to continue to keep her busy for a while longer! Most recently she was in the Business Office as the Finance and Accounting Manager continuing her long service to the College.

Iain Macdonald has been selected as director of the TallWood Design Institute (TDI), a unique research collaboration between the Oregon State University College of Forestry, College of Engineering, and the University of Oregon School of Design. It is the nation’s only research collaborative that focuses exclusively on the advancement of structural wood products, and serves as a national research, education, and outreach hub focusing on multi-family and non-residential wood buildings.

Macdonald has served as Associate Director of TDI since November 2016. Previously, he led the Centre for Advanced Wood Products at the University of British Columbia for nine years.

Since his arrival, TDI has collaborated with a wide range of community and industry partners to help develop new and innovative products, provide testing services for manufacturers, engineers and designers, conduct educational seminars, round table events and networking meetings for industry, and carry out applied research projects. In January, TDI hosted the Oregon Mass Timber Development Summit in partnership with Business Oregon, attracting over 180 elected officials, economic development personnel, investors and industry representatives to Salem to discuss how to grow Oregon’s mass timber supply chain.

The institute’s applied research program, drawing from the deep expertise within OSU’s Wood Science and Engineering and Civil and Construction Engineering departments and University of Oregon’s Architecture department, is eliminating barriers to widespread adoption of mass timber technology. Data from product testing and development enables building code officials to evaluate and propose changes that make it easier to permit mass timber buildings in the United States. Last year, Oregon was the first state in the nation to adopt new code provisions that bring buildings up to 18 stories within code.

In May 2019, TDI will move into the Oregon State University College of Forestry’s new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility that includes sophisticated manufacturing equipment, a robotic machining cell, and one of the largest structural testing areas in the US. Simultaneously in Eugene, University of Oregon is preparing to build a Timber Acoustic Testing Facility to fill yet another major research and development need.

As director of TDI, Macdonald will lead a growing interdisciplinary team that will continue to support and grow the research and testing program, offer innovative educational programs, and work closely with industry to identify and address opportunities and barriers.

“I’m excited to lead the TallWood Design Institute and partner with two outstanding universities,” Macdonald says. “Our affiliated faculty members are conducting collaborative, world-class research that will advance new solutions for designers, manufacturers and engineers, and enable us to build taller, larger and smarter with wood.”

How long have you been at Oregon State?

I started in my position in March a little while after I finished my master’s degree in applied anthropology here at Oregon State. Applied anthropology is an interesting subset of anthropology because it solves real-world problems, and the program here at OSU is very unique in actually being labelled an applied anthropology program.

That’s great! What does your job look like?

As the online program coordinator, I manage the master of natural resources program and the three certificates we have in FES. My job resembles that of an academic advisor at times, though I do a lot of admin work as well. I really like helping guide our students through a process that may feel overwhelming. That brings me a lot of satisfaction.

You came here for your master’s program, so where are you from originally?

Oklahoma, but I’ve been in Oregon about five years now, and I don’t think I’ll ever move back there. I love the weather and the people here.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I live with my sister. She moved here last year, and we do a lot of cooking and baking together. Our mother always used baking to relieve her stress, which isn’t necessarily ideal, but we inherited the habit. My sister has also been filling our home with plants, which is nice because I usually kill them.

What’s your favorite thing to bake or cook?

I love to make ginger snap cookies. I got an apple coffee cake recipe from one of the grad students that I want to try soon. I also love to cook soup. I just made a great chicken tortilla soup.

Have you watched or read anything interesting lately?

I really like scary movies. One of my favorites lately is ‘Hereditary,’ It’s not for everyone, but it’s very good. Right now I’m reading a book called ‘The Cooking Gene,’ which is very interesting.

What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?

Hmm. I can snap pretty loud with pretty much all my fingers, and we just figured out that my sister can’t snap at all, so that’s kind of weird.

Which of the seven dwarves do you identify with?

Right now, Sneezy, because the Willamette Valley hit me hard in 2018. I’ve heard from several people that if you don’t have allergies when you start living here, you will get them anyway because there’s so much grass pollen.

Anything else?

I love to chat, if anyone ever wants to visit the FES office. I especially love to hear about people’s travels or a new scary movie recommendation.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

Seven wonderful years. I started in FERM as a student worker. I did a short stint in FES as graduate coordinator before moving to the dean’s office five years ago. I just stepped into a new position. I’m now the event, outreach and administrative manager. I plan all the events for the College of Forestry and I will be taking on more of an administrative role in my new position.

  • I hear you took an interesting path to your current career. Tell us about that.

I was a stay-at-home mom for ten years and was living in Florida when I went through a divorce. I moved to Oregon with my three daughters. We lived with my mom, and her neighbor helped me get a job as a student worker at the College of Forestry, and that turned into a full-time position. I also went to school full time and got my bachelor’s degree in business in four and a half years. I graduated in 2016.

  • That’s amazing. What is your favorite part of your job now?

I love working with students when I can. Whether it be having the ambassadors help me at an event or hosting them in my home for Thanksgiving, I just like spending time with them and getting to know them and about their experiences.


  • What does your life look like outside work?

I have a husband who is going to nursing school at OHSU. I have three daughters ages 18, 15 and almost 13. All three of them are cheerleaders, God help me.

I own my own wedding and event planning company: Bella Fontaine Events, so I do wedding and corporate events on the side. Last year I did about 20 events.

When I’m not working, I like crafts, reading , hanging out with my husband and family and decorating my new house.

  • Seen any good movies lately?

Ralph Breaks the Internet. It was a feel good movie that kind of poked fun at all the things on the internet that we’re obsessed with like eBay. It was just cute.


  • What else are you into?

My favorite food is chips and salsa. My favorite music is anything from the 80s. My favorite color is pink.


  • Why pink?

I’m not a very warm, fuzzy person, but pink is just such a happy color. I have a black heart, but I just love pink.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

I came back here in 2006, so it’s coming up on 13 years. I first came to Corvallis to work for the EPA in the mid-‘80s and worked some with the College of Forestry then. After about six years, I decided to get my Ph.D. and the program at Oregon State was an obvious choice.  I started to look for funding and ultimately found John Tappeiner and the project that would become my Ph.D. But my first faculty position was at Northern Arizona University.

  • What is your favorite part of your job now?

I love my job. I love the people: the faculty, staff and students. I love working on such an important topic that has breaking ideas and applications all the time. I love teaching and seeing graduate students develop and get established. I’ll keep going as long as I can.

  • What does your life look like outside work?

I have a 25-year old son in an Air Force technical school in California and a 22-year-old daughter in her fifth year of the architecture program at the University of Oregon. Their mom passed away about the same time I moved to Corvallis 13 years ago. I remarried last year, though, and Bobbi and I just celebrated our one-year anniversary, and we have a seven-year-old son who keeps us busy.

I work a lot, but I still think work-life balance is important. I’m able to do things at my son’s school and get down to Eugene to see my daughter, and I enjoy a lot of gardening and home improvement projects.

  • What are your hobbies?

I’m pretty handy, so I do a lot of household projects. I also love to cook.


  • What’s your favorite food?

In the summer time, there’s nothing better than a hamburger off the grill with homemade tomato and onion from the garden. In the winter time, a pot of chili. I’ve won a few chili cookoffs.


  • Wow, can we have the recipe?

Nope. It’s heavy on meat and beans and a couple of Virginia secrets I got from my momma.


  • You grew up in Virginia? What was that like?

My father was a general contractor, so I grew up working on houses. He always told a story about one time when I was working on a hot summer day on a roof, and I threw my hammer down. I knew then that I wanted to go to college and have a different kind of life outside of Virginia. I have about 40 cousins in my big, country family, and I’m one of the few who ever left central Virginia.


  • If you were a vegetable, what kind of vegetable would you be?

Maybe a carrot? They’re tall and thin like me.


  • You don’t watch much TV, so what do you do for entertainment?

In the summer, I get season tickets to the Corvallis Knights. There’s no better way to spend a Corvallis evening than with your kid and a bunch of other kids at a baseball game. My son loves it too.

  • How long have you been at Oregon State?

A long time. I came as a student in 1992. I went to work in the Klamath extension office when I finished my master’s degree in 1994. I moved to Corvallis in 2005.

  • How did you end up in the wood science industry?

I wanted to be a veterinarian as a kid growing up in the Chicago area, but I fell in love with forestry and wood science during a community college class and went to Colorado State University to study forestry. There, I worked for the Colorado State Forest Service for two summers, and my favorite part of that experience was dropping in on the sawmills for fun. I didn’t know wood science was a thing I could study until someone told me, and it’s been my passion ever since.

  • What is your favorite part about your job?

I love the variety. Each day is different. I teach students, teach workshops, do product development testing, visit mills, go to conferences, travel. No two days are alike. Except for Wood Magic, which just happened in early October.

  • Why is Wood Magic different from your typical day to day? Why is it important?

I man the “daily wood” station. I’ve been involved in almost every Wood Magic since it started in 1999. It’s an important outreach opportunity as we continue to talk about the importance of forestry and wood products. At the station I do, I focus on all the products we get from trees. We’re talking to kids, of course, but often the teachers and parent chaperones are just as engaged as the kids because this is all new to them too. I said that ‘the days are alike’ there because at my station, I do a 10-minute demonstration, and then repeat it for a dozen or so classes, several days in a row.  I’ve been known to repeat myself a time or two as a result…

  • What does your life look like outside of work?

I’m married to Vikki, and we have two girls. Abby, 21, is a senior at the University of Oregon studying psychology. Katherine, 19, is at the Lane Fire Authority Fire Academy studying to be a firefighter. We’re very involved in our church, Calvin Presbyterian, and since we’re empty nesters now, I recently took up playing guitar. I haven’t had a hobby in years, and I’m really enjoying learning to play, even though I’m not sure I’ll ever play outside my house (I keep the windows closed now so I don’t annoy the neighbors).

  • What was the last exciting thing you did?

I went skydiving with my younger daughter for my birthday in early September. She’s an adrenaline junkie, and I’d always wanted to go too.

This summer, I also got to travel to Slovenia to visit a former graduate student of mine. We did a research project in Slovenia and the Netherlands. I barely survived the 100-degree weather there.

  • You’ve lived and traveled all over Oregon. What’s your favorite spot?

I’ve been to Crater Lake National Park probably 15 times, since we used to live nearby in Klamath Falls, but the coast is my favorite. I love the mountains as well, and I’m happy I don’t have to choose between them.

  • Anything good on TV lately?

Ever since I took a sabbatical to New Zealand during the summer of 2016, my wife and I enjoy watching TV set in that area. Right now we’re watching ‘800 words.’ It’s pretty good. We also spend Sunday afternoons watching NFL football, especially the Chicago Bears.

  • Would you rather have unlimited tacos or unlimited sushi?

Tacos, but my favorite food is shrimp. It doesn’t get better than shrimp alfredo.

  • What was your first car?

A ’75 Buick Skylark. It was a rust bucket that needed a muffler. Now, I have an ’87 Suburban that just keeps running. I use this example in my class when I talk about the quality of the products we buy now.

  • What’s the craziest fashion trend you’ve ever rocked?

When I was in high school, break dancing was all the rage, and I did wear parachute pants back then. My family still gives me a hard time about it.