Online student Justin Reed shares his story about how OSU Ecampus made a difference in his life:


At some point towards the end of my pursuit of my bachelor’s in electrical engineering I realized that I was not in love with what I was doing. I really liked the science and the problem solving side of it, however I just could not find the passion that I was hoping to find in a life long career. At the time, my wife and I had just decided to start a family in the near future so I did what any responsible husband/father would do and I finished my degree and I went to work as an Electrical Engineer at the Idaho National Lab.

After a couple years of working in the industry, I again was feeling unfulfilled with my work. I quickly realized that what I was missing was human interaction. From past experiences I knew that I loved working with people in all aspects of the human experience. I knew that I would never be happy working with inanimate objects. So, I started to think about which careers could allow me to use science, problem solve, AND work with people on a daily basis. What had never been obvious to me before, quickly became so, as I realized that a career in medicine would fulfill all these objectives.

By this time in my life I was 28 years old, had a third child on the way, and there was not a college or university in my town. I was painfully aware that as an older student from non-traditional background trying to get accepted to medical school I would face some obstacles; time being one of the biggest ones. I had a couple of pre-requisites that had to be completed in order to apply. At the time, in addition to my growing family, I was working 50-60 hours a week. I realized this would not be easy and the timeline would have to work out just right for me to have a chance. I laid out a plan that had me starting medical school exactly two years later. Everything would have to fall into place exactly right in order to accomplish this goal.

My work schedule forced me to take most of my classes online or at night. This was a problem for me because I was living in rural Idaho and there are not of options in that area. In fact the only university in the area was 45 minutes away and did not offer Organic Chemistry either online or at night. I started to panic! I absolutely needed to take Organic Chemistry that first semester for my plan to work. I jumped online and quickly found out that Oregon State University offered the class through their Ecampus! I applied and registered for the class. I knew my plan was going to work.

About three weeks before the start of my class I received a call from the Ecampus Coordinator, Kim Thackray. She explained to me that while I had taken one year of Chemistry (a pre-requisite for O-Chem), one of the semesters I had taken would not fulfill the requirement and I would not be allowed to start O-Chem that semester. I would have to take an additional semester of general chemistry and then I could take O-Chem. Due to the course schedules, this would set my plan back an entire year. I was devastated!

The very next day, Kim called me back. She said that she understood how important taking O-Chem that fall was and had taken it into her own hands to do some research for me. Kim found a 3-week long condensed Chemistry class that started in two days and would meet my pre-requisite requirement. She had already talked to the professor, showed them my undergrad transcript, explained my situation to them, and arranged for me to have a seat in the class if I wanted it! Amazing! My plan was back on track.

Today I have four children (yes, you read that right) and I am a first year medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine. I absolutely love what I am doing. I feel like becoming a physician is my calling in life. It is all I dreamed it would be. As I think back through all the classes I had to take, studying for and taking the MCAT twice, all the applications and interviews and finally getting accepted to UWSOM, I realize that without the extra effort put forth by the Ecampus folks, specifically Kim, there is a very good chance that I would not be where I am today. From my experience, it is not very often that someone will go out of their way for someone that they don’t know, much less for someone that they have never met. Especially when it comes to helping an out of state student find unique ways to fulfill their dreams. OSU’s Ecampus made a difference for me.

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