Self-doubt is an obstacle many people encounter when they submit their college application. Taniah Johnson felt this firsthand as she considered applying to learn online with Oregon State University Ecampus.
As a staff sergeant in the United States Air Force, Taniah knew she wanted to further her education. She’s a person of ambition, someone whose strengths lie in helping others, and she wanted her post-military career to align with those strengths.
But Taniah didn’t think she would be able to succeed as an OSU Ecampus student.
“I didn’t think I was smart enough for college,” she says now. “I was extremely scared to submit my application. I honestly didn’t think I’d get in. It’s Oregon State University, and I don’t know anyone in my Air Force career who has gone to such a recognized school.”
Well, guess who was accepted to Oregon State? That’s right: Taniah. She was thrilled and eager to get started.
Looking for support and finding it online
Taniah’s nerves didn’t entirely go away once she enrolled in online classes, though. She needed to figure out how to manage life as an adult learner while maintaining her duties in the Air Force and as a single mother of two young children.
She teamed up with one of Ecampus’ student success coaches, Bethany Ulman, to create a personalized roadmap that would see her through from her first day at OSU all the way to graduation.
“My first two quarters at OSU, Bethany called me every week. She helped me so much,” Taniah says. “She reinforced in my mind that, ‘Hey, time management is a real thing that you need to focus on if you want to be successful in school.’ And I’m like, I know this, so let me start applying it.
“Those calls from her really helped me out. I needed that.”
Connections that go where you go
Oregon State’s support network for active duty servicemembers and military veterans who learn online knows no bounds. For Taniah, that meant that the level of one-on-one support she received while initially stationed in California followed her once she received a permanent change of station to Japan.
In addition to the Ecampus student success team, OSU has a group of veteran certifying officials and an array of resources that cater to the unique needs of the military-connected community. That includes helping students maximize their military tuition benefits.
This level of commitment has helped Oregon State earn a top-10 national ranking for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans from U.S. News & World Report each of the last six years.
“At Oregon State, you really have a connection with your school and all the people that help you,” Taniah says. “Oregon State isn’t just a military friendly school. It’s a learner-friendly school. They took it to the next level and taught me so much.”
Crossing the finish line
In June 2019, Taniah and her family journeyed across the Pacific Ocean to attend OSU’s annual commencement ceremony when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family sciences.
In hindsight, self-doubt never stood a chance against someone as dedicated as Taniah is to improving the lives of others – and her own.
“Earning my degree means that I have accomplished something that I never thought I’d be able to do,” she says. “Anyone who has ever thought that a higher education wasn’t for them, take that thought, throw it on the ground and stomp on it.”