Oregon State University Ecampus graduate student Kelsey Contreras currently lives in the town she was born and raised in, Hood River, Oregon. She is pursuing a master's degree in College Student Services Administration and her major professor is Kim McAloney.
When Kelsey finished her undergraduate education at Boise State University, she moved back to Hood River and found a job working in a real estate office. After a couple of years of working there, she realized she missed working in education. Kelsey applied for a job at the Columbia Gorge Community College, Hood River- Indian Creek campus. For the last three years, Kelsey has worked at CGCC full time, and her ability to speak Spanish enables her to aid a diverse group of students. As a student support specialist she wears many hats, she helps with admissions, financial aid, proctors tests, she even sells textbooks to students.
Kelsey works full time while she pursues her graduate degree. Her typical daily schedule includes nine hours of work and three hours of studying. The rigor of this schedule has taught her about time management and self-care, so she currently commits herself to one course per term.
To Kelsey's surprise, the OSU Ecampus feels more personal than she expected. When Kelsey needed academic guidance, she spoke with her program coordinator, Jackie Balzer, over the phone, and she appreciates that accessibility. In some of her courses, students engage in discussions via recorded video. She explained this method helps suppress the feelings of isolation by being an online student.
When Kelsey completes her degree, she would like to give back by directing a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) or High School Equivalency Program (HEP). Kelsey explained. "I was a CAMP student myself at Boise State in 2008, and because of that scholarship, I was able to afford to go to an out-of-state school. I loved how supportive they all were and how understanding they were of my background, culture, language, and overall situation... So seeing that as a student, I would like to make that kind of impact on new students and their families."⠀