Kelsey Dobesh photoOur second student spotlight for December is on Kelsey Dobesh, who hails from New Mexico but is currently living in Colorado and attending CSU.

Please share your background so we can get to know you better. What is your major? What inspired you to choose this path?

I am currently a pre-veterinary medicine student at Colorado State University. I grew up at the family vet hospital in New Mexico and had the privilege of watching my parents practice medicine from a young age. My great grandpa was a vet, my grandpa was a vet, and both of my parents are vets, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue the career until my freshman year of college. I started freshman year as an Agricultural Business major, and about halfway through the year I really started to envision my future (as most college freshmen do.) I realized I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I know that I want to wake up and go to work as a veterinarian for the rest of my life, and I have never been so excited about the future!

How did you find our chemistry program?  Any advice for us that would have made that process easier for you?

To be honest, I found OSU’s online chemistry program through a Google search. I was thrilled when I found out the credits would transfer to my university, and I signed up for classes the next day!

How have our online chemistry courses contributed to your career goals?

I am planning on applying to veterinary school early, and I needed to take General Chemistry II over the summer to help put me in that position. It worked out perfectly because I was able to go home, work full time, and still take classes.

What did you most enjoy about the course(s) you took with Dr. Myles?

Dr. Myles is an incredible instructor who genuinely cares about the success of his students. Prior to his class, I had never taken an online course, and I was initially worried I would not have any one-on-one contact with my professor or classmates. As the course progressed, however, I had more one-on-one contact with Dr. Myles than I had ever experienced in my lecture halls back home. He was prompt to respond to questions and offered numerous tools for success. I always knew his knowledge was a quick email away.

Although I was taking General Chemistry II (CH 232 and 233), I appreciated how Dr. Myles incorporated an introductory lesson of Organic Chemistry into the course. Consequently, my first few weeks of OChem back at Colorado State were essentially review and I felt miles ahead of most of my classmates.

Do you have any advice for other online students?

My main advice would be to put the time in. With online classes especially, you get out of them what you put into them. I found myself studying 40 hours a week for my one class​, but the result was a newfound confidence on test day. If you just sit down and put the time in, all of your hard work will not be in vain.

What is next for you? 

I am hoping to apply to vet school this coming summer. Woo hoo!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy reading, running, spending time with friends, and traveling. I’m also a bit of a news freak and like to keep current on politics and world events. Although I love exploring the world and temporarily living in Fort Collins, there is nowhere like the “Land of Enchantment,” as they call it. My ideal night would be sitting in the backyard with my family and watching a spectacular New Mexico sunset.


Many thanks to Kelsey for sharing her time and her story!

Lilly Lawrence-BriggsOur first December Focus on Ecampus interview is with Lilly Lawrence-Briggs, who is currently applying to Vet Med schools (including OSU). She discusses how helpful she found the lecture videos that some of our instructors incorporate into their online courses.

How did you find out about our online chemistry courses? What did you like best about them?

My Grandfather, Jack Briggs, is an alumnus of Oregon State University. He also used to teach Biology at the Corvallis campus. A few years ago, while I was getting my Bachelor’s degree in Business Psychology, I started having some interest in going to Veterinary school. My grandfather recommended OSU. I was living in California at the time, and needed something that was taught online. I found out about Dr. Barth’s general chemistry series and signed up. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be capable of completing any college chemistry sequences. I’m not your typical “science student,” anyway. I was homeschooled all through high school and had *extremely* limited knowledge of anything scientific. I also have a diagnosed learning disability, an eye convergence issue, that’s always put me at a slight disadvantage in the brick and mortar classroom setting. Taking classes online better suited my disability, and it also allowed me to hide behind the computer screen and not make a fool out of myself in front of the smart students!

To my shock, I was able to get through the general chemistry sequence with all “A”s. I also graduated with my Bachelor’s degree at this time and was looking for that “next step” in my life. I started considering vet school much more seriously. I applied to OSU as a post-Bacc student, got accepted, and moved to Bend to study at OSU’s Cascade campus.

The first Organic chemistry class I took (331) was actually taught by Dr. Gautschi. He was teaching it on campus but, of course, I opted to take it online. I’d heard nightmare stories from students about organic chemistry and was way too chicken to sit in the live class. Oh, how I wish I knew about Dr. Myles then! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Dr. Gautschi! However, his online course had no lecture videos. I can’t emphasize how key those lecture videos were to my success in O-Chem. Furthermore, I almost failed Dr. Gautschi’s class and was feeling terrible. By doing a lot of hard work, meeting with tutors, and making one-on-one appointments with Dr. Gautschi, I was able to get by with a “B.” That was when he recommended Dr. Myles to me. I immediately went onto the Ecampus Chemistry website, looked up Dr. Myles’s email, and asked him if his organic course would include lecture videos. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when he said that it would! All of Dr. Barth’s general chemistry classes included lecture videos as well. I’m being 100% honest when I say that those videos are the reason for my success in both general and organic chemistry online. I was actually able to earn an “A” in Organic this time around. Being able to hit the pause button, take notes, re-watch worked problems, and review old recorded lectures was amazing! Obviously, students can’t hit the “pause button” on their live lecturing teachers. And, if you’re like me, you’re too embarrassed to speak-up in class.

Shout out to Dr. Myles:

It’s hard to choose just one thing I liked about Dr. Myles. His lecture videos were so clear and made learning the tricky O-Chem concepts much easier—I dare say even fun! ? He was also so nice, patient, and encouraging whenever I spoke with him via e-mail.

Advice for OSU Ecampus:

The only advice I could give would be to ask that all of OSU’s online courses have recorded lectures! For instance, I’m currently taking a genetics class online through OSU Ecampus. The professor is great, but she has no lecture videos… Honestly, that class would be so much more enjoyable if it had recordings like Dr. Myles’s class did. If you can’t tell, I’m very passionate about those online lecture videos! My disability slows me down in class and I always fall behind. The videos are my saving grace; they allow me to keep up.

What’s next for you?

I just finished all of my vet school applications. I applied to eight schools (including OSU) and will hopefully be hearing from them come January. As you know, O-Chem is a required course for all vet schools.

My passion to become a vet stems from my childhood. I was fortunate to grow up on a 40-acre farm in Northern CA. I was constantly watching my mom rescue animals, breed them, and train them. My mom is my ultimate motivator!

Do you have a hobby you’d like to tell us about?

In my spare time, you can find me riding & jumping horses. Below is a picture of me jumping my horse, Sublime. Interesting side note: this mare is pregnant and will have a foal next year! I actually bred her at Bend Equine Medical Center & Small Animal Division. Dr. Wayne Schmotzer, the clinic’s owner, used to teach at OSU’s College of Vet Med. Small world, right?



This week, we’d like to focus on Andreas Lutzen, a 44-year-old Danish national living in Hong Kong with his family. Andreas works for Hempel China Ltd, a marine and protective coatings company. Andreas has completed our 100-level general chemistry sequence and is currently taking CH 331 Organic Chemistry.


How did you find our chemistry program?  Any advice for us that would have made that process easier for you?

Having had some success with online education before, I was looking for an opportunity to study chemistry while holding down a day job. Pending an extensive search, I found that only OSU could offer a well-functioning platform for online chemistry studies. To my knowledge, there is in fact not that much competition around in the area of university-level chemistry distance learning. Some institutions offer programs that I would characterize as “thin,” and others offer programs that are too demanding to be realistic if you have a job. OSU has struck the right balance in my view.

Please share your background so we can get to know you better—how did you end up where you are on this journey?

I work in the technical service department of Hempel, a major coatings supplier within the area of industrial and marine paints, and studying chemistry is the thing I need to take my understanding of things to the next level. That is, I already have certificates and experience in on-site coating inspection, factory audits and so on, but knowledge of the underlying science of the whole affair—chemistry—is still not part of my toolbox. This is something I wish to change.

To give you an idea of my work content: I will go and do coatings inspection for, say, the docking of a ship. That is, I help plan the application by making a paint specification and by ensuring the right quantities and qualities of paint are ordered. During the actual docking of the ship, I am on site agreeing with yard and ship-owners on a painting time-table, overseeing the actual application ensuring that climatic conditions are acceptable for painting, salt content of abrasive not too high, that the paint is properly mixed (stoichiometry) and so on and so forth. As you can see from this, chemistry is central to what we do in the coatings industry, and hence the things you teach at OSU are very valuable to me in getting a better and deeper understanding of my work.

What inspired you to choose the career path you are working towards?

I joined the coatings industry sort of by chance. I have never regretted ending up here, however. The drama of chemistry, different cultures (most projects are of an international nature) and commercial interest clashing, as they do in our industry, is intense. One might be stressed out and vexed from time to time, but work here is never boring! My goal is simply to become better at what I am doing, and the inspiration for that is pretty straightforward: Nothing beats being good at what you do. The joy that comes from being good at something lasts a lifetime; it cannot be taken away from you.

Do you have any advice for other online students? 

You have to want this to succeed. Only personal interest and a good fit with career plans and goals are sufficient to power the sustained effort needed to be able to pull this through. On a personal level, I experience this right now, as I am struggling with organic chemistry, which is much harder than originally anticipated. I have already made up my mind to push on, even though temporary setbacks may come to visit. If you really want something, having to redo a course or two is no more than a bump on the road. On a practical level, my advice is this: Work the problems, work the problems, and work the problems. Chemistry cannot be read and memorized; it has to be worked to be understood.

What is next for you? 

Maybe a job with the complaints-handling unit at our HQ. Having spent more than a decade in China and in the field, moving back to HQ in Europe would be a good next step. Needless to say knowledge of chemistry is going to be indispensable in that job.


Thank you Andreas for sharing your experience and insight with us! Good luck in the rest of your term and your professional endeavors!

This month, Jeremy Kiene shares his story of how he decided to change his career from Renaissance Literature to Veterinary Medicine, and his experience with OSU Ecampus Chemistry along the way.


How did you find our chemistry program?  Any advice for us that would have made that process easier for you?

To be honest, I found out about OSU’s online chemistry program through a late-night Google search, conducted in a moment of despair when I was worried I’d never be able to get into a college chemistry course without taking on a mountain of debt by applying for admission into a second four-year bachelor’s degree program. The descriptions of the courses on the program website immediately piqued my interest, and I think I applied for admission for the fall quarter’s CH 121 the next day. Navigating the program’s stylishly designed and very informative website was no problem, and once I’d been admitted, I found OSU’s online student services equally user-friendly.


Please share your background so we can get to know you better—how did you end up where you are on this journey?

I grew up in Colorado and now live in Southern California. In what now feels like a former life even though it wasn’t that long ago, I earned a Ph.D. in English, and for several years I taught Renaissance literature, first at a small liberal arts college on the East Coast and then at large research university on the West Coast. But a life-long love of animals, combined with volunteer experiences starting in graduate school and some serendipitous meetings with some really smart and inspiring people led me to a different calling. Now I am preparing to attend a DVM program in hopes of becoming a veterinarian.


What inspired you to choose the career path you are working towards?

I’ve always been fascinated by the natural sciences, and I’ve always loved animals of all kinds (not just my own pets, but just about any kind of wildlife you could mention), but it wasn’t until I’d already gone down a very different path and had success in a very different career that I came around to thinking seriously about veterinary medicine. I studied English literature in graduate school, but during that time I also started volunteering at an animal shelter regularly. It was a joy spending time with all the dogs and cats waiting for their permanent homes, but I also saw more than my share of animal suffering and human ignorance and cruelty that made me wish I could do something more direct, more tangible, more profound in the service of animals and their people. Fast-forward to three years ago when I met a veterinary oncologist who had herself come to veterinary medicine following a successful career in another field. She is now a mentor and dear friend of mine, and her encouragement and example convinced me that with a lot of sacrifice and hard work, it might be possible to make the radical change in my professional and personal life that I’ve since undertaken.


How will your OSU online classes help you to accomplish your career goals?

Since I’m not seeking a second bachelor’s degree, I’ve been in the process of cobbling together veterinary prerequisite courses in the sciences from several institutions, and due to extremely high student demand (and my place at the end of the registration queue as a non-degree seeking student), it’s often been a challenge to get a seat in courses offered at local colleges and universities (even the one where I was until recently employed as a faculty member!). This is what initially brought me to Oregon State’s online general chemistry sequence. When I discovered OSU’s program, it meant that I could complete my chemistry prerequisites on a schedule that worked for me, at a reasonable tuition rate, with faculty at a top-notch research university (added bonus: OSU has a vet school, so with any luck this is just the beginning of my association with Beaver Nation!). Being in the general chemistry sequence really was a highlight of my time in higher education. Reflecting back on the experience, I am still astonished at how much I learned, how much my confidence grew, and most of all at how much I came to adore a subject that, I’ll admit, terrified me back when I was first exposed to it in high school.  Even better, I get to use what I’ve learned every day at work when I’m mixing medications and calculating fluid rates for my animal patients!


Do you have any advice for other online students?

Be disciplined. Make a schedule and stick to it, and plan on putting in some work on your online courses every day. When your physical presence in a lecture hall or seminar room isn’t required at particular times during the week, it can be tempting to take days off here and there, but success in chemistry is all about practice and repetition. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek out extra help. When I first enrolled in OSU’s online general chemistry sequence, I was worried that I’d get lost in the shuffle of a large lecture course, with the online format presenting an additional challenge since I’d miss out on direct interaction with faculty and classmates to help solidify my knowledge base. These fears were unfounded, however, as the online discussion forums offered plenty of opportunities to seek clarification and test out my understanding.   For the sequence I took last year, Dr. Marita Barth and her staff of teaching assistants were wonderful—they were excited about the subject matter, eager to share their expertise, and amazingly quick, thorough, and helpful in their responses to my questions. It was plain to me throughout the sequence that their number one priority was putting their students in the best possible position to reach their goals.


What is next for you?

I just finished applying to veterinary programs for the first time this fall, so hopefully vet school is next. But I’ve got my work cut out for me, that’s for sure! I’m employed as a technician at an animal hospital, and when I’m not there I am doing my best to finish my outstanding prerequisites (including, I hope, OSU’s online organic chemistry sequence starting this winter!) before fall 2016 rolls around.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I love traveling and being outdoors (hiking, camping, and photographing landscapes and wildlife), going to art and history museums, tasting beer at microbreweries, watching just about any sporting event (soccer, hockey, and football are my favorites), watching movies, and reading poetry, sci-fi novels, and non-fiction.


Do you have a family you would like to tell us about?

I live with my brilliant and patient wife (she is also an English professor—we met in graduate school) and our two dogs (Homer and Winnie) and four cats (Walt, Quinn, Brey, and Blaze). We regularly foster for a rescue organization that pulls dogs from high-kill municipal shelters, so more often than not there’s a third dog in the rotation. It’s a full house, but we take pride in keeping things clean and orderly…or at least trying!


Thank you Jeremy for sharing your story! We wish you luck with your future endeavors, educational and otherwise!

OSU Ecampus Chemistry asked Joel M., a high school chemistry teacher in Michigan, to share his experience with our online Environmental Chemistry course and the ways it can benefit his career. Here’s his story:

I have been a high school chemistry teacher for the past 20 years. After obtaining my undergraduate degree in Chemistry, with education endorsements in Chemistry and Physics, I began my teaching career – teaching in the same high school ever since. Almost immediately after I began teaching, I started working on my Master’s degree. At that time, the local universities did not have any Chemistry-related Master’s degree programs geared for educators, so I completed a general Master’s program in Education.

Since then, I have continued to maintain my teaching certification in Michigan by obtaining continuing education credits. In doing so, I have tried to find courses that would help me in my teaching. I have found a few Chemistry-related workshops and shorter courses from local universities, but as I have become busier with my family life, I have been looking for online courses that would give me the flexibility to complete the coursework from home and at a time that works for me. In addition, I wanted to experience an online course so that I could be taught as many students are now being taught today. Perhaps this experience would also affect the way I would teach in my own classroom.

After a fairly brief internet search, it became apparent that Oregon State had a reputable Chemistry online curriculum. I searched the course offerings for this past spring session and was pleased to see an Environmental Chemistry course. I felt that this would be a valuable course for me as some of the topics would relate well to some of the things I teach in my own classroom (not to mention my own interest in the environment).

I found that the course was relevant and helpful. I learned many things about the environment, but perhaps more importantly, I learned how online courses operate. I enjoyed the flexibility; I could do the homework and readings when it worked for me rather than at a set time at a specific campus location. Consequently, the online course saved me commute time—which was very important, as I covet every minute with my family.

Since I prefer live interaction with people (for example, I prefer to do my banking with a person rather than with an ATM), the lack of personal contact in an online class was originally an area of concern. However, the online lectures and step-by-step tutorials were very well done. The instructor regularly and promptly communicated with us and was very willing to answer any and all of our questions. So, overall, I found the online experience to be excellent.

Although I hope to be able to take another online chemistry course in the future, I plan to first spend some time improving my own teaching. I think there are some interesting opportunities that arose from my online experience that could be employed in my classroom. I believe there are elements of a “flipped classroom” (which has the students listen to videotaped versions of the lectures at home, leaving class time for discussion and problem solving—and thus in some ways parallels an online classroom) that could be advantageous at times in my chemistry classes. In addition, I think that some of the tutorials used in the online Environmental Chemistry course at Oregon State could be modeled at the high school level to give to students—for example, a portfolio of “step-by-step” solutions to difficult stoichiometry problems. Even online quizzes could be utilized at the high school level in order to quickly reinforce certain content.

Overall, I enjoyed my Oregon State online chemistry course. Not only did I learn the content (and enjoyed doing that from the comfort of my home and with the flexibility I needed at this time in my life), I learned another teaching technique that I believe can be incorporated to some degree in my own classrooms. I appreciated this opportunity.

As promised in April, Focus on Ecampus is going to revisit Brian Tanis, an OSU doctoral student in the Integrative Biology program. Brian is working on some pretty interesting things!

He continues:

After graduating, I hope to remain within academia, teaching courses and conducting research. To build upon my teaching skills, I am working on completing the Graduate Certificate in College and University Teaching. As part of the program I chose to take “Instruments and Online Interactions in the Sciences” (CH 584) through the Chemistry Ecampus program.

I am originally from New Jersey and completed my undergraduate degrees in Biology and Ecology from Susquehanna University in PA. Following graduation, I moved to Kansas where I worked on a Master’s degree at Fort Hays State University, researching the impacts of wind energy turbines on the scavenging mammal community. Currently, I am working towards a PhD in Zoology at Oregon State University, where I am focusing on exploring the dynamic interactions between apex predators and meso-predators over the past 11,000 years. This will hopefully give us a better idea of how interactions between predators change and how that impacts the ecosystem as a whole.

I have always been interested in learning more about the patterns seen in nature and passing that information on to others. As an undergraduate, I became involved with a variety of research projects, and quickly developed a love for scientific research. As an undergraduate I also got the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant, and found it was very rewarding to help people make connections between materials and clarify difficult concepts. I decided that I would like to remain within academia and continue to try to make advances in my field, and to share those advances with as many students as possible.

I decided to take “Instruments and Online Interactions in the Sciences” because more universities and students are looking for non-traditional methods for higher education. The course offered a great opportunity to learn about how to best implement science courses, which typically rely on physical laboratories, into a virtual setting without sacrificing any of the information for students. Not only did we cover techniques and tools used within a virtual classroom, but we also covered key concepts in designing courses and the rationale behind developing assignments and activities. This type of knowledge really makes me more marketable to future employers and improves my abilities in the courses I currently teach.

As far as advice for other online students, one of the most challenging aspects of any online course is staying up to date with the material and assignments without the structure of a traditional classroom. I highly recommend that online students seriously devote a set amount of time each day to going over the course materials. Also, be sure to use the instructor and your fellow students as resources. Sometimes, an online course can make students feel isolated, but it is easy to reach out over the internet and make connections or ask for clarification. Often, your instructor and classmates will be glad to discuss the material and help out with more challenging concepts.

In the near future, I will be working on collecting and analyzing data for my dissertation, which I hope to complete in the next 3 years. After that, I will be looking for post-doctoral positions to further my teaching and research abilities, before looking for full time employment at a university or museum.

Thanks to Brian for sharing his story!

OSU online Chemistry’s student Kirk Denti is currently working as an RN in an ICU, but is working toward becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Kirk tells us that our CH 140, General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry, will help him to meet the prerequisite requirements of CRNA school. Kirk shares his story below–

Please share your background so we can get to know you better—how did you end up where you are on this journey?

Long story, but I used to be a Respiratory Therapist up until 2 1/2 years ago.  I have worked in Vancouver, Canada for about 5 years and about 12 years in Texas.  I have always appreciated the role of the CRNA, as some of what they do, professionally, blends into what we did as RTs (airway and ventilator management).  I left the bedside in 2007 and went to work for a disease management company, and it was there that a coworker had applied to RN school and got in.  This inspired me to move forward and apply for RN school myself.  My thoughts were simply that time is going to pass, so why not study while it happens and accomplish something at the same time. I started RN school in 2009 and finished in 2011 and have been working as an RN in an ICU for 2 1/2 years.

What inspired you to choose the career path you are working towards?

In my Respiratory Therapy program in Canada, we had to take an anesthesia class.  Canada has an anesthesia profession, similar to CRNA, designed for RTs to go into, and this particular class gave me a taste of it.  I really enjoyed it and really enjoyed my O.R. rotations.  At the time, I wanted to be an RT, but that class held a spot in my mind.  When I came to the States and learned about the CRNA profession and how much more involved it was than what was offered in Canada, I knew I had to pursue it.  And besides, the pay is pretty good too!

How will your OSU online classes help you to accomplish your career goals?

Organic and Biochemistry are prerequisites for some CRNA programs (one or the other, not both) and this class, Chem 140, fits nicely into my plans.  Without it, I would have to have taken one year of General Chemistry and then Organic Chemistry.  With this class, I don’t have to do that, and I can do it from home…can’t beat that. (Be sure to check with any professional program you are targeting to be sure they will accept the class you plan to take).

Do you have any advice for other online students?

Be sure that you discipline yourself to stay focused and on target with study objectives and don’t fall behind.  If you can get a study partner, that would help, so that you can push and support one another.  It’s very easy to let a day here and there slide by without studying.

What is next for you? 

My next step is to apply at a few CRNA programs around the nation and hope for the best.  I don’t know where I will end up, but I don’t really mind as long as I get accepted somewhere.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like being with my wife and kids–just hanging out with them.  I also enjoy playing my acoustic guitar, which I find relaxing. I am married and have been for 25 years; we have 6 children, aged 15 to 23.

Instruments and Online Interactions in the Sciences (CH 584) is one of the newer online classes offered by the Oregon State University Chemistry Department. This month, we will get to know several of the students who have taken CH 584 in order to advance their education and career goals–

Daniel Sasse took CH 584 in order to complete his certificate of eligibility to teach high school chemistry. He says—

     I have a teaching certificate in biology and general science, and ended up working a temporary position as a high school chemistry teacher for 10 months.  After seeing how hard it is to find openings in the subjects which I am currently certified, I decided to finish my certification in chemistry to open myself to new opportunities. (Soon, I will be)…looking for teaching positions for the coming school year.

Our next Focus student is Brian Tanis, an OSU doctoral student in Integrative Biology. Brian decided to take this class because—

… more universities and students are looking for non-traditional methods for higher education. The course offered a great opportunity to learn about how to best implement science courses, which typically rely on physical laboratories, into a virtual setting without sacrificing any of the information for students. Not only did we cover techniques and tools used within a virtual classroom, but we also covered key concepts in designing courses and the rationale behind developing assignments and activities. This type of knowledge really makes me more marketable to future employers and improves my abilities in the courses I currently teach.

Joann McQuaid, a high school biology teacher with 26 years of experience, took CH 584 in order to qualify as a “highly qualified teacher” in chemistry in her home state of California. She continues—

I have been teaching/education since I graduated college in 1989. I wanted to have two subjects to teach due to the change in the new next gen science standards.

(Taking CH 584) helped me in several ways: I am a single working mom that is taking care of two elderly parents and a teenager in her home. I did not have time to go to classes at night or during the summer. OSU online classes gave me the opportunity to continue to work and take care of my family. My generation wasn’t raised with computers in the classroom however I feel fairly proficient using computer and it was a great fit for me. The learning curve was not challenging and there was always someone to help in less than 24 hours if you needed it. OSU chemistry classes and the CH 584 class were organized in their delivery, syllabus and schedules.

Thank you to these three students for sharing their stories. Watch for a future “Focus on Ecampus” with more information about Brian’s interesting graduate studies.

Students take OSU Chemistry online for a variety of reasons. This month, we focus on Angela Courchesne, an experienced high school teacher who needed additional credits in Chemistry to advance her career. Here is Angela’s story:

I have been a teacher in the state of Connecticut for 20 years and I am seeking an additional cross-endorsement in Chemistry.  I am presently certified in grades 7-12 biology and 7-12 general science.  I took the Praxis certification exam (which is used by a majority of states in the US) and passed it, then sent my credentials to the state education department to see what I would need to obtain my certification.  They told me I needed 7 additional chemistry credits to satisfy the requirements necessary for certification, so I am taking them through OSU Ecampus.

These online courses are perfect for those working full time.  I received my Master’s degree in Education online through another university.  It was perfect: no running trying to get to class on time, and you can schedule your studies around your work schedule.  During my work for my Master’s degree, I was married with no kids, but now with 2 children we are a busy family, and OSU’s online courses have worked out well.  They are best for someone who can have the discipline to sit down and get their work done bit by bit; if you are a procrastinator, you can get overwhelmed quickly because there is a lot to cover.  If I am in need of other classes, I will certainly look towards Oregon State University Ecampus Chemistry again.  Also, I would highly recommend these classes for others in a similar situation as mine.




The OSU Chemistry Department’s online students take our classes for a variety of reasons. Some are wanting to earn an online degree, get some chemistry credits to finish up a degree, or need more chemistry knowledge for their work. Others are interested in moving toward a new career, and chemistry is a foundation for the new work they plan to do. Some of these career paths can be surprising; we would like to introduce you to Deborah Kenner, who has taken CH 140, our 6-credit General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry.

How did you end up where you are on this journey?

I received my BFA in ballet performance from the University of Arizona as a full scholarship student. After graduation, I moved to Colorado where I danced with Colorado Ballet and David Taylor Dance Theatre. I spent 10 years dancing professionally until I tore my ACL.   During rehab on my knee, I went through a Pilates certification program; I thought this would be a great way to help myself get back on stage. I soon discovered I enjoyed learning about how the body functions and realized it was not in my best interest to be back on stage.   As I taught more and more ballet and Pilates, I wanted to learn more about the body. In 2010, my dream of teaching at one of the top training facilitaties in the country became a reality. Immediately, I relocated to Seattle and began my journey at Pacific Northwest Ballet. I am thankful I am able to share my love of ballet with the next generation.

When I decided to return to school my plan was to attend PT school.   I have been working on pre-reqs for about a year now and have completely changed my mind about my future goals. This change of heart happened during a nutrition class. I have watched many friends over the years–and now young ballet dancers–struggle with weight and proper nutrition. I believe there is a need for people to help children understand how to take care of their bodies.   I want to be a positive influence in these young people’s lives and show them that it is not necessary to go to drastic measures in order to achieve what society believes to be desirable.   My next step is to complete a Nutritional Therapy certification program, finish my last few pre-requisites and apply to grad school.

Do you have any advice for other online students?

Online classes require a ton of discipline.   The best advice I have is to set small goals and deadlines. Most of the assignments are due at the end of the quarter, but setting personal deadlines helped me stay on top of the work load. I would also suggest asking as many questions as you need.

Do you have a family you would like to tell us about?

I have a great support system. My Dad is always available to cheer me on or keep me motivated when I think I have bit off more than I can handle. Unfortunately, I lost my Mom in 2005, she was my number one fan. I know she is happy that I am finally back in school working towards my next goal. I think she might be a little surprised I have decided on Nutrition. I would have become a victim of an eating disorder if it weren’t for her guidance. I am also so thankful that I have such a wonderful boyfriend who encourages me to be a better, more patient person!