Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Behind the scenes with Dawn Marie Gaid, environmental sciences academic advisor

Dawn Marie Gaid

By Heather Doherty

A two-time alumna of Oregon State University, Dawn Marie Gaid knows firsthand what it’s like to be an Oregon State student. And since 2009, she has enjoyed sharing that knowledge with current students, helping them on their individual paths to success. Dawn Marie works as an academic advisor in the environmental sciences online undergraduate program, where she assists distance students with decisions concerning personal educational goals that lead to graduation. She also works with on-campus students majoring in environmental sciences, earth sciences (geology, climate and ocean) and geography/geospatial sciences. Prior to this position, she worked as a graduate research assistant in the Rural Studies Program at Oregon State. Dawn Marie earned a B.S. in Natural Resources and a Master of Public Policy – both from Oregon State.

Briefly describe your role as an Ecampus academic advisor.

“In general, I see myself as a ‘guide on the side’ in helping students navigate themselves toward their academic/career goals (similar to the advising maxim ‘I advise, you decide’). Students do not always stay in the major they started with, so I help facilitate connections with other major advisors. Otherwise, my primary role is to ensure the student meets degree requirements, though I often provide student success and career planning support. As an Ecampus advisor, I also aim to help our online students feel a strong connection to the university, the college and their program, given the nature of distance learning.”

What made you decide to get into this field of study?

“I grew up in the Pacific Northwest with a father who was a professional forester with the USFS. After many years working in the private sector in cable television sales/marketing (without a degree), I made the decision to ‘reinvent myself’ to align my work more closely with my values while also making myself more marketable. Unsurprisingly, I returned to my roots by pursuing an undergraduate degree in natural resources at OSU, and later a Master of Public Policy at OSU with an environmental emphasis. I actually stumbled into the academic student services realm when I started applying for work after graduate school. The combination of my academic credentials in natural resources and environmental policy along with my prior work/life experiences allowed me to gain entry into the professional advising arena. This has opened up many new avenues of interest for me in student services, including distance learning and student success.”

Read more about Dawn Marie Gaid, environmental sciences academic advisor

See more feature stories