Kristin Marie S.

Executive Assistant at OSU-Cascades

U.S. AIR FORCE 2012 - 2017

I joined the Air Force when I realized my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college and I desperately wanted to attend. I stayed in the Air Force for 20 years because I loved my career, the camaraderie and serving my country. As soon as I finished basic training and technical school, I started taking college classes using tuition assistance where the Air Force paid 50% of my tuition. I struggled to pay for the other half, but I did it and although it took me seven years, I graduated, with honors and immediately applied for, and was accepted to Officer Training School. I’ve since helped anyone in a similar position make their goals a reality. I love mentoring our students and encouraging them to make their own dreams come true through tenacity and hard work. When my husband retired from the Air Force in 2018, we were thrilled to make Bend our home. Working at OSU-Cascades has allowed me to feel connected to this incredible community and once again be part of something greater than myself.


Rodney A. G.

Chef De Cuisine at OSU-Cascades

U.S. Navy, 1996 to 2000

I served in the U.S. Navy on board the U.S.S. Nimitz. I was an MS (mess specialist) on board and was blessed to take part in a cruise all the way around the world while serving. I continue to serve now, here at OSU-Cascades, as the chef and dining team lead. I have been in the culinary field for almost 25 years and love creating wonderful meals for our students to enjoy. I am also an avid outdoorsman who loves fishing, mountain biking of all kinds, hunting and backpacking. I am honored to be a part of the OSU-Cascades team and happy to serve our Bend Beavs.


Nicholas D.

Business Administration

U.S. Navy, 2013 to 2019

After high school, I left to serve in the U.S. Navy. During my six years of service I was fortunate to be stationed at Navy Information Operations Command Colorado in Aurora, Colorado, and Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii on Pearl Harbor. During my last three years I was deployed on and off in the western Pacific Ocean and got to see a good part of Asia. I was able to grow both personally and professionally during my service, and I am most proud of the multiple programs I got to lead.

I moved back to Bend in the fall of 2019. I live with my girlfriend and our dog, Sage and two cats, Quinn and Luna. We are passionate about the outdoors and we can be found mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding and hiking. When I’m not in the mountains, I am pursuing my degree in business administration and working at Humm Kombucha. I plan to graduate in 2022 and hope to become a financial analyst.


Rian K.

Computer Science

U.S. Air Force, 2010 to 2016

I served six years in the U.S. Air Force (third generation) as an air traffic control specialist. I would not be the person I am today without the experiences I had with my fellow airman at the following locations: Lackland Air Force Bbase, Keesler AFB, Mountain Home AFB and in Qatar. My air traffic control career continued after leaving the Air Force when I took an overseas contract job followed by working for the Federal Aviation Administration in Torrance, California until 2019.

I hit a turning point in my life around my 30th birthday where I decided to open myself to the possibilities of the unknown. Once I did that, I realized I wanted to help be a part of the changes that will make our planet a more sustainable, livable and conscious environment for future generations.

After a review of the FAA’s Vision for the Future, I decided computer science was the next natural path for me. That path got me out of the concrete jungle of L.A and back into the mountains here in the heart of Oregon, where I continue to go with the flow of life and let opportunities present themselves without being too attached to outcomes.


Jacob P.

American Studies

U.S. Marine Corps, 2013 to 2019

After a childhood of hearing stories of my father’s experience in the military, I decided to join the Marine Corps shortly after graduating high school. I joined as an anti-tank missleman and two years later began a three-year tour at various U.S. embassies abroad. My time overseas was eye-opening and I became interested in different cultures, including their history and path forward. This exposure is what inspired me learn more about my own culture and pursue a degree in American studies.


Bobby S.

MFA – Creative Writing Program

U.S. Navy, 1961 to 1981

I’m a retired Navy cryptologist who spent 21 years in the Central Security Service arm of the National Security Agency. I worked in satellite reconnaissance and electronic intelligence, stationed at NSA headquarters, in Europe, the Aleutians and the Pacific. Throughout my military career, I continued college courses at Johns Hopkins University and the universities of Maryland, Guam and Hawaii, taking night classes working toward, but not completing, my bachelor’s.

After the military, I spent 10 years in aerospace and another 10 in the utilities industry. All my military and civilian jobs were related to research and documentation – I’ve always enjoyed writing, but creativity seldom was appreciated in professional and technical texts!

Retirement found me doing amateur nature photography around the western U.S. and pondering photojournalism and personal essays. Two years ago, a brochure arrived in my mail describing OSU-Cascades’ MFA-Creative Writing program, and I found myself reading exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up. I returned to school for my bachelor’s (the oldest full-time student at OSU-Cascades last year!), and I started the MFA program this fall.


Timothy O.

Business Administration

U.S. Army, 1999 to 2019

I served in the U.S. Army (active duty) from 1999 until I retired in 2019. I joined the Army because I felt I owed a debt to the greatest country in the world, and I wanted to do my part. Then 9/11 happened and my four-year plan turned into a 20-year plan. I supported Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in three separate combat deployments.

The Army provided me with the opportunity to see the world, earn money for my education and see my role from a global perspective. I worked as a line-of-sight radio operator then moved on to information technology where I was a staff soldier who supported brigade and higher-level commands with world-class communications solutions.

I had the opportunity to serve in Germany, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Stewart, Georgia, Fort Gordon, Georgia, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Fort Lewis (now Joint-Base Lewis-McChord) and in Modesto, California.

Fun facts about my military service: When I was in Fort Bragg, Michael Jordan’s brother was my Command Sergeant Major. I have technically been to North Korea; I went to the demilitarized zone a couple of times. I went to school to be a sergeant at the same place Elvis Presley did.


Shane V.

Director of Public Safety at OSU-Cascades

U.S. Navy, 1990 to 2014
Army National Guard, 1989 to 1990

Like many veterans, I am from a small town and was able to see much of the world during my military service. I loved every minute of it. Many veterans struggle with the transition to civilian life. It is hard to explain to those who have not served the close bonds that are forged by working closely with other dedicated individuals in life and death situations, whether combat or training. Duty, honor and loyalty have deep meaning to veterans, especially combat vets. All have seen friends and teammates give the last full measure of devotion with their lives. It is hard to find this type of mentality in civilian life and veterans often experience a significant sense of loss following military service as a result. Be patient with them.

Every veteran who has ever deployed, no matter their role, can say that they have made a difference in the world. I was fortunate in my service in the SEAL Teams to have seen U.S. policy in action. From stopping genocide in the Balkans, to supporting Plan Colombia efforts to win a 40-year conflict with a Marxist insurgency, to supporting global U.S. counter-terrorism efforts following 9-11, I was able to play a small role in American foreign policy and defense. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have served with some of the most talented people in the world.


Korey F.

Tourism, Recreation and Adventure Leadership

U.S. Marine Corps, 2013 to 2018

I look back fondly on my time serving our country. The sense of community present in the service was something I admired and have strived to build on as my journey has moved from the military to OSU-Cascades. After losing several friends to suicide following my separation from the Marines, I realized how important that sense of community was and still is. I believe it is imperative we default to compassion and empathy as we may never know where another human being is in their life journey. Together we can heal more than we know. Be kind. Be present. Be yourself.


Nathan L.

Business Administration

U.S. ARMY 2012 - 2017

Most of the men in my family were in the Navy, so I joined the Army as an act of rebellion. I shipped off in 2012 as an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operator, a “drone” operator. After my training, I was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I deployed several times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Resolute Support Mission. I was medically retired from the Army in 2017. While the military and I had a love-hate relationship, I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.



Captain Paul B.

Assistant Professor, Military Science


After graduating from OSU in 2008 as the economy struggled, I was working a dead-end job for too little pay and had student debt to deal with. Enlisting in the Army National Guard was my way of beginning the path toward being an officer, a leader, and opening opportunities for my future. At 26 years old, the Army thrust me into leadership roles with the scope of responsibility that I may have never realized on the civilian side. As a Reconnaissance Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, Staff Officer, and Troop Commander, I’ve had the honor of leading organizations up to 95 soldiers strong while training and in combat. My part-time start in the National Guard led to my current full-time career as an Active Duty National Guard Officer. I’ve worked in personnel, operations, and now teach ROTC. I plan on retiring after 20 years of service and taking my organizational leadership skills to the civilian workforce, where I know I’ll be prepared to excel.

My wife, Mauri, and I love Bend. Regardless of where in Oregon my Army career takes me, we look forward to raising our son, Ben, here. This is our permanent home. I spend my spare time with my family, I take Ben to all of our great parks, mountain bike (downhill and up!), backcountry ski, Nordic ski, trail run, and read. To all of our veteran students, faculty, and administrators at OSU-Cascades, thank you for your service!

Jessica R.

Elementary Education

U. S. NAVY 1997 - 2002

I served in both the U.S. Navy and Oregon Air National Guard. I joined the Navy my senior year of high school and shipped out right after I graduated. I chose to go into the Navy to be able to see the world since I came from a small town. It was also a great opportunity to help get college paid for. I served in the Navy from 1997 to 2002 as an aircraft mechanic on P-3 Orions and was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. I loved my time in the Navy and got to travel to a lot of interesting places. Not only did I get to experience different cultures, I created great friendships. The Navy helped me grow as a person.

After moving back to Oregon I joined the Oregon Air National Guard as an F-15 Crew Chief. I served in the Oregon Air National Guard from 2006 to 2012 and loved working on the F-15s. Unfortunately, I suffered a traumatic leg injury that forced me to medically retire from the Oregon Air National Guard. It was hard for me to leave the military earlier than expected. I spent a few years dealing with surgeries and recovery. My time in the military taught me discipline and strength which was beneficial for me while I went through that hard part of my life.

I am earning a degree in elementary education. Being a student is helping me grow as a person while helping me to succeed in my future career as a teacher. In my spare time, I enjoy working out, hanging out with friends, spending time with my two dogs and my cat, and giving back to the people around me.

Kelly T.

Natural Resources

Class of 2020

U. S. NAVY 2007 - 2014

I was born and raised in Bell Arthur, North Carolina – a community of about 500 people where everyone knows everybody. I completed my training at the Naval Recruit Training in 2007. My job in the Navy was Parachute Rigger. My responsibilities included packing parachutes and maintaining survival gear that naval aircrewmen used during the flight. I was deployed to the Middle East multiple times in support of ground troops in Afghanistan. I was aboard the USS Carl Vinson that took part in the burial at sea as the conclusion to the mission that took out Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most notorious terrorist. In 2011, I completed Instructor School in San Diego and became an instructor of a water survival training center for aviators and aircrewmen. My Navy time ended in September 2014.

My son Logan’s birth gave me a purpose after the Navy. I credit the Navy for brightening my eyes about the world. I visited places and walked on grounds that seemed far away for a boy from small-town USA. The friends, fellowships, and shenanigans along the way made it the most incredible time of my life. I believe there is no better education than going out and experiencing different countries and cultures. I cherish my Navy experience and will carry it with me no matter where life takes me.


Chad B.

Social Science


I am so grateful to be pursuing higher education with OSU-Cascades. It has been a long road to get to where I am today, filled with victories as well as defeats. I originally joined the military to pay for college and attempted to complete my studies two times before this successful run. I served 13 years total, split between the active-duty Army and National Guard.

I am a disabled veteran and single father of two sons with no co-parent. My youngest son is disabled and needs 24/7 supervision and care. My circumstances make it difficult to maintain a high level of academic achievement, but with determination, perseverance, and assistance I can overcome many challenges. Coming back to college for the third time, I graduated with high honors while completing my AAOT before attending OSU-Cascades.

Being at OSU-Cascades has been an amazing experience and I feel so fortunate to be here. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity with a distinguished school in a great community.

Adrianna G.

Computer Science

U.S. ARMY 2010 - 2018

I was active duty in the U.S. Army for eight years. I joined the military because I wanted to build a strong foundation, and because I have a family lineage that all volunteered for the Army. My military experience taught me how to be resilient and to handle tough situations that most people don’t normally encounter. I think this skill has given me a strong work ethic and the determination to finish anything I start.

My job in the military involved Information Security, Systems and Network Administrations, and Tactical Automation Management. As I transitioned out of the military due to an injury, I moved to Bend, Oregon from Tacoma, Washington. My husband and I decided on Bend because he wanted to enroll in the Drone and Geographical Information Systems Program at COCC. I decided to go back to school at OSU-Cascades to become a software engineer — my dream job.

James F.

Master of Arts in Teaching

U. S. NAVY 2008 - 2014

I joined the military to seek out a new challenge in life by learning a new skill as well as having the ability to travel the world. What I gained from the military was an even stronger work ethic, camaraderie, and an appreciation for all those who have or who will ever serve to protect our freedoms.

My transition back from the military in 2014 wasn’t easy, as I started my bachelor’s right after I became a single father who was sharing 50/50 time with my 11-month-old son, Liam. I didn’t know anyone when I came to Bend, so it was hard to talk with people who didn’t know my situation. At OSU I was able to find like-minded people to help make my transition easier. As a student, I figured out my career path and had extra time to spend with Liam, and my new wife, Kristy and my youngest son, Arlyss. Kristy and I have been married for two years and are both OSU-Cascades graduates.

I chose kinesiology as my major because I have always been fascinated with how the body works, as well as how to implement small changes to help people better their mobility. My goal is to work with children or teenagers through either occupational therapy or education. In my spare time, I like going on hikes with my family, playing basketball, softball, or teaching kids how to work together.

Jessica H.


U. S. AIR FORCE 2005-2017

I joined the Air Force shortly after high school with no real plan in mind. After 18 months of studying at the Defense Language Institute, I graduated as a proficient Arabic linguist with an associate’s degree in Middle Eastern studies. I served six years at Fort Meade Maryland, supporting Air Force intelligence missions in OEF and OIF. During my time there, I found an underground gym on base called CrossFit, and discovered an innate passion for physical activity, health and coaching. I continued my military career while working and learning at several different gyms, including on the Fort Meade base where I helped other service members pursue their health and fitness  goals. I was sent to learn Hausa from  2012 to 2013, and followed that with my final assignment: stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany. I decided to leave the Air Force to pursue a degree in kinesiology and continue learning in the field. I am honored to have served this great country and to have the opportunity to proudly represent a part of our veteran community in Oregon.


Darla C.

Natural Resources

class of 2020

U. S. COAST GUARD 2010-2014

My service instilled in me the realization of what we’re capable of as a human race. The integrity, dedication, and drive to overcome obstacles are qualities I will forever aspire to achieve.



Laura B.


U. S. ARMY 1989 - 1991

In 1989 I joined the U.S. Army. I grew up watching my aunt visit during her National Guard weekend tours. Once while camping in Saranac Lake, New York she repelled out of a military helicopter in full camo gear. Those memories propelled me to go forward and serve. My recruiter gave me the MOS of 96B, Intel Analyst and I was thrilled to eventually travel to Germany. However, a few weeks later, I was taking the DLAB test  (a “gobbly-goop” made-up language test), then my MOS switched to 98G; Linguist. Literally I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Studying at the Defense Language Institute was incredibly tough. Study tools consisted of cassette tapes, books and  headphones. Ancient, I know! It was exciting, challenging and fun being a part of something bigger than myself. The Army friends that I met in basic training and DLI have been life-long. I believe the BEST part of serving is the friendships made along the way. After graduating DLI, I continued my training at Goodfellow Airforce Base in San Angelo, Texas. It was here that my career ended due to an unexpected injury. Deployment never happened for me. It was a duty that has always been left unfulfilled.

After the Army, I became a military wife. For people in military service and their  families, PCS moves happen far too often. Finding a great and fulfilling job and then having to move becomes numbing after the second or third time. Maintaining a consistent resume after several moves is challenging as well. To address this challenge, I’m back at Oregon State University - Cascades to build on my education as a radiographer. I feel endless opportunities await here at OSU; all I need to do is open the door.

Melissa W.


U. S. AIR FORCE 2003-2013

I joined the military because I had a love affair with traveling and at 17 I was too broke to make it much past my state line. The Air Force gave me the opportunity to see the world while teaching me a trade. Being asked to summarize how my military experience made me who I am today is difficult because there were so many wonderful experiences and life lessons that I took away from my time in service. In a word though I would say that the most important thing I gained in my 10 years in the Air Force is a sense of brotherhood. No matter where  I go in the U. S. I have a family and that is something that can’t be replaced.

Madeline C.

Natural Resources

U. S. AIR FORCE 2013-2017

I joined the U. S. Air Force in 2014 the summer after high school due to my sense of adventure and desire to be a part of something bigger than myself. I served just under four years and completed a tour in Afghanistan as an aircrew member on AC130 aircraft. I earned more than 500 flight hours, I’ve traveled around the country and across the globe, and I’ve met many people from many places. These were the highlights of my service years.

In my time in the military I gained a strong sense of my core values. These years would help me find myself and learn my true passion for the natural world. This is what would drive me to peruse natural resources here at OSU-Cascades. Of all the places I’ve been, Oregon, and in particular the Cascade mountain range, was always home. Now that I’ve completed my service to the country, I’m redirecting my focus and hope to one day serve here at home in the Deschutes National Forest. Whether it be through a military  enlistment, participating in volunteer opportunities around town, or pursuing a career in the national forest, service has always meant devoting time and energy to something larger than myself and giving back to people and the environment around me.


Cecilia L.


Class of 2020

U. S. MARINE CORPS 2004 - 2008

I loved my time in the Corps. I met some awesome people — people I now call family — and had some amazing experiences. I was an ammunition technician and deployed to Iraq in 2005. My favorite job in the Corps, though, was being a tower non commissioned officer at Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina. I was the only female Tower NCO while there. Later, I went on to be one of the few female primary marksmanship instructors/combat marksmanship trainers.

It’s been over a decade since I left the Corps, but the Corps hasn’t left me. I might not be as lean, but I’m still just as mean. I don’t know that we ever fully transition back to the civilian world, but there are so many resources throughout OSU-Cascades and Central Oregon that make it easier. I’m currently a kinesiology major and I’m also pursuing my yoga certification this spring. My goal is to utilize yoga as my give back to my fellow veterans. Yoga has been an integral part of my mental and physical transition and I’d like to pass that along. I want to be able to serve you and adapt my classes to however you need by having a full understanding of the body and how it moves.

We’re all in this fight together. I’ve got your 6. Semper Fi.