Rhonda Wise served in the United States Navy for 13 years, working as an electronics maintenance technician. She was proud to serve her country and perform her duties well.
But the tech work was always missing something.
"It was a field that was chosen for me by the recruiting station personnel," says Rhonda, who transitioned out of the Navy in order to home-school her children.
As her kids grew older, she was able to focus intently on her career – and for the first time, she was calling all the shots.
Her first step: Find a university that met her needs in terms of academics and lifestyle flexibility. After doing extensive research, she enrolled as a natural resources student online with Oregon State University Ecampus.
"Once I saw the wide array of degrees and classes offered within my field of interest, I ended my search," Rhonda says. "I knew Oregon State was the place for me."
OSU Ecampus is regarded as one of America’s best providers of online education, having been ranked in the top 10 two years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Ecampus delivers more than 45 degree and certificate programs online to students in all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
Rhonda thrived in the online learning environment despite being some 1,700 miles away in San Antonio, Texas. She eagerly engaged with classmates and faculty members who shared her passion for natural resources management.
One instructor in particular, Dave Stemper, fostered Rhonda’s desire to pursue a career in environmental interpretation due to his enthusiasm and willingness to share knowledge.
"Even though we never met face-to-face, he is the one person who had the most influence on my academic journey, as well as my future employment in interpretation," Rhonda says.As it turns out, she was correct. Shortly after earning a B.S. in Natural Resources online from Oregon State, Rhonda accepted a position as a seasonal interpretive park ranger at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Texas. For good measure, she also decided to enroll in the Ecampus online graduate certificate program in wildlife management. Now her career plan is filled with ambitious goals that will take considerable effort to achieve.
And that’s exactly how she drew it up.
"Completing my degree opened up a new direction for my life, a direction consciously and deliberately chosen by me," she says. "It’s exciting to think of all of the possibilities and the opportunities available for my choosing."