Success Stories

She knew she had more to offer

Oregon State helped her find it.

When Marty Marrs started thinking about changing careers, she knew one thing: this time, she wanted to do something that mattered to her.

Marty graduated from Oregon State in June 2022 with a B.S. in natural resources. Prior to that, she spent 18 years raising a family, which she loved, and also working in administrative jobs, which she wasn’t as passionate about.

“I just knew I had so much more to offer, and so much more to give.”

– Marty Marrs, ’22, Natural Resources

That’s where Oregon State came in.

A web search led Marty, who was living in Georgia, to the B.S. in Natural Resources program, delivered online through OSU Ecampus in partnership with the College of Forestry (CoF). But she wasn’t sure how to turn an interest in the natural world into an actual career. A combination of online and in-person resources helped her connect the dots.

She attended a virtual job fair via OSU’s job platform, Handshake, and listened to a presentation from a company that did environmental consulting work. Although she wasn’t yet ready to apply to jobs, her interest was sparked. She used another of OSU’s online tools, Vmock, to review her résumé. Based on the feedback she received, she realized she needed additional help.

“I was not your typical student,” Marty said. “I was making a complete career change, and I was also coming off of 18 years of staying at home with my kids. There is a lot of value and wisdom that comes with that, but I didn’t know how to show that value.”

So Marty made an appointment with Britt Hoskins, the career advisor for students in CoF.

“Britt helped me completely redesign my résumé ,” Marty said. “She took the time to talk to me, to find out where I did have experience, and she taught me how to put that in a résumé form. She showed me how to incorporate my OSU classes, and the projects I did in my classes, to build up my résumé.”

Taking initiative

That wasn’t the only piece of career advice Marty took action on. After listening to a session from Britt on informational interviews, Marty took the initiative to request an informational interview with a company whose work seemed to align with her interests.

“I had never even heard of an informational interview before, but I reached out to this company, and said, ‘Hey, can I just talk to someone and get more information about what you do?’ Through that process, I learned that consulting was something I really am interested in,” she said.

Meanwhile, she continued to take a full load of classes through OSU Ecampus and also moved cross-country from Georgia to Oregon, to be closer to her daughter and closer to more companies in the environmental consulting field.

Zeroing in

As graduation approached in 2022, Marty began to pay even more attention to jobs and companies she was interested in. When she saw a position open up with Environmental Resources Management, a sustainability consultancy in Portland, she was interested but apprehensive.

“I had that typical concern, where I thought, ‘Oh, I can’t check all the boxes for all the qualifications, so I don’t know if this is going to work.’ But I applied anyway,” she said.

Again acting on her OSU career advisor’s advice, Marty took two additional proactive steps: she tailored her cover letter to the position and she networked in advance of her interview.

“One of the things I learned working with Britt is that the cover letter is your chance to explain everything to the employer,” she said. “I really just laid it all out there – this is why I’m here, this is what I’ve been doing, and this is what I can bring to the table.”

She also scoured LinkedIn for potential connections at ERM, and found one – an acquaintance she’d made through mountain biking who was happy to chat with her about working at the company.

The big news

Marty went through two rounds of interviews with the company. Even with all the networking, research, and preparation she’d done, graduation was looming and Marty still wasn’t sure whether she would land the job – until she got the news she’d been dreaming of.

“Oh my gosh!” Marty said. “I followed Britt’s steps, I did everything she said to do, and I got a job offer four weeks before graduating!”

Marty now works in what she describes as her “dream job” – a position that makes a difference. She’s an Impact Assessment Scientist with ERM, studying the ways that natural resources and human dimensions intersect in the environment. 

She encourages other students not to be shy about taking advantage of the career tools, resources, and services that OSU offers.

“To any other non-traditional student, don’t think that those job fairs or career services are not for you,” Marty said. “Use them. They absolutely are there for you.”