Chris Trice
Naval Officer Chris Trice is this months Focus On Ecampus participant.

Today we focus on Naval Officer Chris Trice, who has worked his way through our online organic chemistry and will be applying to med schools this summer. Thank you, Chris, for sharing your Ecampus experience with us!

Help us get to know you better. Where are you from? What career are you in (or working towards) and what inspired you to choose this path?

I am originally from Niceville, Florida in the northwest panhandle of the state. I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Notre Dame and majored in Computer Science. I also did Navy ROTC while in college, was commissioned a Naval Officer upon graduation, and have been in the Navy ever since. The Navy has taken me all over the country (and world) but I currently reside in sunny San Diego, California. I am currently a Supply Officer for the Navy but I’m hoping to get into medical school and eventually continue my service as a Navy physician. I was inspired to join the service by my father, who was a career Air Force Officer. Getting to serve my country in the Navy has been an honor and a privilege for me and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

How does our online organic sequence relate to your career goals?

Since I was not on a pre-med track during undergrad, I lacked a lot of the prerequisite courses that many medical schools require. Working full time, it has sometimes been difficult to find classes that work with my schedule. When I found out about the OSU organic chemistry sequence, it was the perfect way to take this course while still being able to work full time. It was also great that the course itself was fantastic! Dr. Myles is an OUTSTANDING instructor and helped make learning a difficult subject possible. This sequence also helped greatly in my MCAT preparation as well.

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

I found out about the OSU chemistry program through a friend and fellow Naval Officer who had taken OCHEM through OSU. He spoke highly of the course and has since matriculated into medical school himself. I found the process of registering for the course fairly straightforward so I don’t think there’s too much that needs to be done. I would suggest making sure current CRNs are up to date on the main website and also providing a clearer explanation of how the summer on-campus lab portion (the hybrid online/in-person section) works and where to stay, etc.

What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

I am passionate about music and filmmaking and like to record songs and make short films in my spare time.

What is next for you?

Hopefully medical school! I will be applying this summer and can hopefully get in somewhere. I’m excited for the new challenges and opportunities ahead!

ECampus Student: Sara Askounes
Sara Askounes

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!

In this week’s Focus on Ecampus, we bring you Mr. Brendan Freeman: actor, musician, and aspiring physician from New England.

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

Brendan Freeman photo.jpgI am 22 years old and currently live in central Massachusetts. I have recently completed my undergraduate education in May of this year and will be matriculating to medical school in the fall! Entering college, I was not sure which career path I wanted to pursue. I remember I had taken a Human Anatomy and Physiology class in high school where I discovered I had a clear interest for science as it related to humans. It is amazing to me that all these structures and mechanisms in our body that we take for granted–like flexing a muscle–evolved over thousands of years to make us who we are today. This passion led me to pursue a degree in biology in college. Additionally, I had done a lot of acting throughout high school, and so I supplemented my biology major with a minor in theatre. Through this, I had the opportunity to learn about humans in a really unique way–from both a scientific and an artistic perspective. When I began discerning potential careers that combined these interests, medicine was one of the first to really jump out at me. Over the course of my college career and through various clinical exposures, my love for medicine grew and eventually inspired me to become a physician.

How did you find out about our online Organic sequence? Any advice for us that would have made that process easier for you?

One of the courses I struggled with when pursuing my undergraduate degree was Organic Chemistry. As I was in the process of applying to medical school, I began looking for courses that I could take that would strengthen my medical school application and further prepare me for its rigors. Since I am currently working full-time as a medical scribe, I knew that taking a course online would provide me the most flexibility. A google search revealed several viable options, but I wanted to make sure that I was going to be instructed by the best professor I could find. The reviews I read regarding Dr. Myles’ Organic Chemistry class were stellar and immediately swayed me to take the online Organic sequence from Oregon State University.

I don’t really have any advice! The process was straightforward and I was able to get guidance from actual faculty working on campus when I had any questions.

What did you like most, or least, about your online experience in CH 331?

Hands-down, the best part about this course was the instructor Dr. Myles. Not only does he make some difficulty class material understandable, but he is also very engaging, humorous, and clear with his expectations of students. I never found myself wondering what I was supposed to know or how topics would be presented on exams–these were all clearly laid out to the students. He provided much needed guidance through a large amount of challenging material while having some fun along the way.

Another great aspect about the online experience was the recorded lectures. These allow students the ability to watch lectures on x2 speed if they really understand a topic, pause to work through related problems, and even rewind to review concepts that were difficult to understand. The lectures were also a great study tool to have on hand because they allowed you to review the material as it pertained to the class as many times as you like. At the same time, this technology has is limitations as well. I never got to see what Dr. Myles actually looked like. This also meant that if ever he was physically demonstrating something to the class, we had to rely on his verbal description, which may be difficult if you are a visual learner like me. This also meant that if Dr. Myles was physically directing the attention of the class to a specific part of the PowerPoint or of a molecule, we could not see this either. Hearing questions from the class in the recordings was also a challenge because the students are not mic’d.

Do you have any advice for other online students?

  1. Get involved with the Canvas discussions as much as possible. The more you feel like you a part of this class, the more likely you are to keep up with the material. Set realistic goals for yourself to attain weekly so that you keep up with the material. The content covered in organic chemistry is not that difficult, it just builds on itself and you are required to learn an immense amount of material. This is why it is so crucial to keep up with the material.
  2. If you find lectures are moving too slow for your taste, definitely consider increasing the speed at which the video plays to x1.5 or x2 speed.
  3. Print out any worksheets or worked examples provided to you. The more often you get the material out of the computer and into your hands, the more you will understand the material.
  4. Always ask questions!

What do you like to do in your spare time (or perhaps to relieve school stress)?

I love to improvise on the piano. I find this to be a great stress reliever as well because you do not need to have any expectations when you sit down on the piano bench. Whatever emotions I am feeling at the time can come out in the music I create on the spot. Additionally, I love to sing, act, read, hike, and play video games.

Note: The photo is me playing “Father Jack” in a play titled Dancing at Lughnasa. No, I’m not typically bald. The director actually had me shave my head to age me and make it look like I was balding!

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

I have 3 brothers who are working in or interested in a wide variety of fields ranging from law enforcement to English. They all love to sing and each plays a different musical instrument. My whole family is very loving and supporting and we should probably have our own reality television show for how ridiculous we are when together.

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?



Name: Daniel Myles

Area of Study: Organic

Position Title: Senior Instructor of Organic Chemistry

Why Chemistry? (What about it initially interested you, etc.)? I fell in love with chemistry in grade 11. Had an inspirational high school teacher. He took me under his wing and even let me helped with the teaching/preparation of his grade 9 science classes. I was fortunate to be exposed to teaching at such an early stage in my career.

Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I am interested in synthesizing organic and main group element-containing compounds for their use in molecular electronics.

One thing that you truly love about your job? I love being in the classroom (and in the teaching labs), while working with our highly talented students.

One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I am Canadian (please don’t hold this against me) and have recently lost my speaking accent, despite what some of my colleagues have to say about the matter. I am also a huge hockey fan (of course!) and my favorite team is the Vancouver Canucks.

Muniz, CollinCollin Muniz was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of The Crimson Tide, but quickly moved to LA, then on to Oregon where he attended Beaverton High School. His sophomore year at Beaverton High, he took his first Chemistry class. He fondly remembers his instructor, Patrick Cripey, performing an acid-based reaction in which he dissolved a penny and decided then and there, that Chemistry was pure magic; a type of magic that he wanted to explore further.


When it came time to apply to colleges, Collin applied to many and did his due diligence in visiting each one. He said it was an easy decision to choose OSU. Upon matriculation, he was originally a Chemical Engineering major, but quickly discovered there wasn’t enough chemistry in that major, so switched to a dual degree in Chemistry and Physics. He says his first professor was also his favorite professor, Dr. May Nyman. He reports greatly enjoying the teaching methods and classes of Dr.’s Daniel Myles and Paul Blakemore as well, but Dr. Nyman was the one who really gave him his start. Shortly after starting her class, Collin went to her office hours and “prodded” her for information about her science. He said, at first, she was slow to open up, not wanting to confuse him, but his excitement for the subject was infectious and she was soon writing structures on the white board and discussing her research with him. Several weeks later, she contacted him and offered him an undergraduate research position with her lab. An opportunity he jumped on with great enthusiasm and has never looked back.


Collin plans on attending graduate school in the future, whichever graduate school, he says, will help him pursue his dreams to the best of his ability. After that, he wants to find work in a National Lab. “I want to work in the sort of environment where there’s a lot of pressure to get your final product and where you need to be very innovative to accomplish that,” Collin stated. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and studying, a fact which he says, makes him boring. We here in the Chemistry Department think that makes him a wonderful new addition to our Undergraduates of the Quarter.

Undergraduate of the Quarter - Spring 2012
Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2012

Sam Bartlett has been selected as an undergrad chem major of the quarter for Spring 2012.  Sam was born in Sunnyside, WA but was raised in Lake Oswego, OR until 4th grade when he moved to Corvallis.  He attended Crescent Valley High School.  Sam picked OSU because of its strong reputation, the in-state tuition costs and wanting to stay close to home.  He initially was a biology major, but the first term of Organic Chemistry from Dr. Daniel Myles showed him that his real interests were in Chemistry.  Sam cites Prof. Carter (for CH 336) and his current advisor, Chris Beaudry (for his instruction in CH 471 and CH 535) as his two favorite professors.    Sam has conducted extensive undergraduate research during his time at OSU. In fact, Sam and Professor Beaudry have published a paper on his research in the Journal of Organic Chemistry – a major accomplishment for an undergraduate student.  Sam is very grateful for this experience – particularly commenting that Professor Beaudry’s insights were valuable and he is very grateful for his help in getting into grad school.   Sam has really enjoyed the community in the Department – feeling that it is like a close knit family.   Sam will be starting graduate school this summer in Organic Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Professor Jeff Johnson.  UNC-Chapel Hill is regarded as one of the top programs in his field and we congratulate Sam on all his accomplishments to date.  It is students like Sam that make OSU Chemistry as strong as it is today!!