Meet Sara Letton, an Oregon State University Ecampus graduate student in the Graduate School's Professional Science Master's program in Environmental Sciences (PSM). Her advisor is Carolyn Fonyo.
Sara's journey to graduate school came after earning a B.S. in Environmental Biology and Management from UC Davis, working for the U.S. Peace Corps as a forester in West Africa, teaching science in public middle school, working for Northern California conservation organizations and having two boys, ages ten and twelve today. Sara's passion for resource conservation and wanting to do more work in the profession inspired her to apply and enroll in the PSM program. She believes that her enrollment in the program gave her an edge when she applied for her current job, working as a Project Coordinator for the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD). Her studies and work with CARDC are complementary endeavors. The PSM program requires an internship and project report instead of a thesis. By design, the program integrates professional development and graduate studies. Within this framework, Sara's job with CARCD works in tandem with her educational pursuits. At CARCD, Sara is part of a two and a half year project working to expand and promote the California Farm Demonstration Network. This group of public agencies and institutions works to encourage farmers across California to adopt conservation practices, which among many other attributes work to enhance soil health, climate resiliency and climate mitigation.
Sara explained, online graduate education can be challenging, but she's felt supported by the OSU faculty in her program. On several occasions, faculty members made themselves available and met with her in real-time. Their attention and guidance encouraged her when she needed it.