Today we highlight distance student Sara Askounes, an Ohioan who has followed her curiosity into the realms of nutrition, dentistry and music. Below she shares her experience with our online organic chemistry sequence:
Please share your background so we can get to know you better—what career are you in, or working towards? What inspired you to choose this path?
I’m currently working at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. I rather fell into my current position, as this is where I completed my undergraduate education in Nutrition. I also attended a dental hygiene program and became licensed to practice six years ago. My family enjoys teasing me about how I’ve become a career student, but I find that to be my biggest motivation; I’m extremely curious. My lifelong interest in learning always keeps me looking for my next challenge, whether it’s a degree, a class or just learning the chords to a new song.
Academically, I’m working towards furthering my career in the dental field. Once I complete my last few prerequisite courses I plan to apply to dental school. My objective is to participate in providing care to countries that currently have little to no access.
How did you find out about our chemistry program? What do you like most, or least, about our online classes?
Organic chemistry is very difficult to find offered in an online setting. I found Oregon State University by chance, and was rather nervous when I enrolled last fall for the first in the sequence. Once the class started and I saw the format I couldn’t have been happier. I’ve taken organic chemistry in a class-based setting twice with very little success. I’ve had online and in person tutors, and even sat for hours with professors trying to determine what I could do to improve my test performance. Dr. Myles takes all the confusion out of determining what to study and how. He explains exactly what is happening in the mechanisms and shares supplemental information as necessary, and avoids adding extra material that just causes confusion. I’ve had professors that have made the course much more difficult than it needs to be, and Dr. Myles shares his brilliance with his students in a simple and understandable fashion. I was thrilled that the lectures were recorded and posted the same day and that online discussion boards allowed all students to have a real time community during the semester as opposed to being closed off like most online courses. I was able to participate just as though I were on campus and in person like the rest of the class.
Any advice for us that would have made that process easier for you?
My only suggestion to make the course better would be to include better/more complete lecture captures. While they aren’t terribly frequent, there are times during lecture that Dr. Myles would point (I assume) to a specific part of the screen for clarification during a mechanism, which cannot be seen by just having the slides up and hearing the audio.
Do you have any advice for other online students?
Participate! Oregon State University gives online students the ability to participate in class, which will help you understand the material so much better. Even if you aren’t posting questions on the discussion board, read them daily. I’ve had so many questions answered that I didn’t even know I had by reading other students questions.
Tell us something silly about yourself.
I bought a drum set with my “life savings” back around 1998-1999 so that my two friends and I could start a band. We had a few original songs written, but mostly focused on rewriting parts of Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere album. The band broke up soon after we started, so the guys never had the pleasure of hearing “Here’s the Love,” but that’s probably for the best!