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OnlinePlus allows alumna to return to the school

September 10, 2013

CSU has always been Melissa Brennan's school of choice.

Its highly regarded civil engineering program drew her from Hawaii to Fort Collins as an undergraduate, and the comprehensive education it provided led her to stick with her alma mater for a civil engineering master’s degree -- even though she now lives about 1,700 miles away from CSU’s campus in Pasadena, Md.

Sticking with CSU

Thanks to the innovative engineering graduate programs delivered through CSU OnlinePlus, Brennan can continue studying online with her favorite CSU professors, regardless of where she’s living.

“I knew I would not be able to commit to attending classes on campus, but wanted to continue my education, and I enjoyed my experience at CSU,” she said.

Brennan never took online courses as an undergraduate, and though she was familiar with the professors and the department, she didn’t really know what to expect from the online civil engineering master’s program.  After starting the program, however, she discovered she loves the format. “It allows me to keep my own schedule both professionally and personally while continuing to learn,” she said. “So far the program has been excellent. I feel like I am receiving a world class education from the comfort of my basement.”

Flexible courses

Though in her busy life she has encountered some challenges staying on top of some of her courses -- sometimes having to listen to eight hours of lectures on the weekend to catch up -- she appreciates having the option to complete coursework on her own schedule and at her own pace.

“I have taken a semester or two off -- which can be done -- one to study for the professional engineering exam and another to have a child. This flexibility has allowed me to keep moving toward my master’s degree with no set time limit.  Due to the demands of my work and personal life, I am only taking three credits at a time, which I think would be much harder if I were attending classes on campus.”

CSU helps land job for alumna

Brennan telecommutes to her full-time job as a civil engineer with Fort Collins-based company Water & Earth Technologies, Inc.-- a job that began as an internship arranged by CSU faculty. And in a somewhat cyclical turn of events, it was her job that inspired her to return to CSU for her master’s degree.

“For my job, I attend quite a few technical conferences,” she said. “In the recent past, I also presented at some conferences about various case studies related to the Water Resources engineering field.  Having a masters degree would further my credibility in these scenarios.”

Brennan’s employers encouraged her to earn a master’s degree, as CSU’s program will further develop her expertise in the field of water resources and mining reclamation. A master’s could also give her an edge in achieving her goal of someday staking ownership in the company.

“I have a great job working in the engineering field that has taken me to some pretty interesting places. Having a good job has allowed me to do the things I want to with my family. I would not have been able to say that without my education.”

Contact: Julia Selby Smith
Phone: (970) 492-4708