From the moment I graduated from Oregon State University (OSU) in 2013 with my bachelor’s degree, I knew graduate school would be in my future. However, I was unaware that it would be another five years before I found the right program for me. Looking back, I am grateful for that extra time in “the real world” as it clarified that working in higher education is where I wanted to be. When I was accepted into the College Student Services Administration (CSSA) program, while I was excited to continue working towards my dreams, I was also nervous about completing a degree online through E-Campus because I thought I would have to do it alone without the same cohort experience that the campus program has, but I was pleasantly surprised. I learned quickly that I had a whole slew of people to share the experience with me in my classes, teachers that would inspire me to push myself to be better and others providing support, reminding me that I did not need to know everything, and I did not need to be perfect to be able to complete this program. 

This portfolio project is a chance to share what I have learned through the CSSA Program as well as the professional and educational opportunities I have had along the way, and how these have shaped my understanding of the student affairs profession. In the following sections of this capstone, I look forward to sharing my personal growth and experiences through the CSSA competencies, which are:

  • Knowledge and Understanding of Higher Education and Student Affairs
  • Professional Skills and Organizational Management
  • Knowledge and Understanding of Student Populations and Student Development
  • Delivery of Student Services
  • The Developing Professional

In each of these sections, I will demonstrate my competency through what I have learned during classes, internships, and work experiences. I plan to support these by artifacts, which I have completed during the program. My area of specialization – academic advising – will be a thread that runs throughout my portfolio. As well, I will highlight it specifically at the beginning of this project. I will also discuss each of the internships I took part in during the program to show how I was able to translate my theoretical learning into practice. I am thankful for all that this program has taught me, the opportunities I have had, and how much I have grown during the last three years of this experience. I am proud to take you through my journey in the CSSA program.