NRES online M.S. students come from a wide range of backgrounds and have a variety of career goals. One thing they share is an appreciation for the tremendous opportunity this program has given them.
Stacy Libra, Alum 2017
Title or Position: Landscape Architect/Ecological Designer
Employer or School: Applied Ecological Services
Through the NRES Online MS program I gained a great background in ecology that helped position myself for a new career in ecological design. The variety of course topics available helped me to develop a broad understanding of ecological concepts but also encouraged me to focus on topics I found most interesting. The flexibility of the program allowed me to take it at my own pace while working full-time.
Brad Carr, Alum 2017
Title or Position: Senior Associate
Employer or School: Tetra Tech
My experience with UIUC's online MS program was very positive. As a mid to late career professional, I greatly appreciated the flexibility of the program requirements that allowed me to work around my busy schedule and concentrate on the coursework. I found the professors and other staff at UIUC to be highly professional and extremely helpful. The classes offered, while challenging, were very interesting and I gained a strong understanding of the latest knowledge sets in natural resources management. The best reference I feel I can give is that upon graduation I was offered a senior associate position at one of the best international development firms in the country – which would not have been possible without this degree.
Ann Devine, Alum 2016
Title or Position: Environmental Education Regional Program Coordinator
Employer or School: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
I really enjoyed the NRES online program and highly recommend it. The online format allowed me to continue to work full time while taking evening classes and ultimately, earn my master's degree. The professors made the classes not only interesting, but also interactive, and the coursework was on point and relevant. I also was able to coordinate my capstone project research and presentation online. I highly recommend the program!
Morey Bell, Alum, 2016
Title or Position: Wildlife inspector
Employer or School: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
I found the convenience and flexibility of the program to be particularly valuable. The structure of the courses, and the online format, allowed me to further my education without detriment to my career. The courses were challenging, but very rewarding. The diversity of instruction and content were beneficial to both my personal and professional growth.
Todd Armbruster, Alum, 2013
Title or Position: Firewise Coordinator
Employer or School: Lake and Cook Counties, Minnesota
I was attracted to the flexibility of an online program, natural resources subject matter offered, reputable university name, and affordability. Throughout my time in the program I enjoyed the variety of course offerings related to natural resources, the ability to apply what I was learning in the program to my professional work and vice versa, and learning from other students' experiences in the natural resources field. One of my favorite parts of the program was learning from established, high quality, interesting professors. Finally, the opportunity to attend a week long field trip to experience ecological restoration in action was awesome!
Julie Stanley, Alum, 2016
Title or Position: Water Station Foreman
Employer or School: Illinois State University
The online program was one of the best decisions I made. The professors and staff were wonderful and treated the online classes with the same respect as the campus classes. I talked to other online programs from different universities and chose U of I NRES because the importance of succeeding was crucial for both programs. I am very grateful to receive my degree!
Stephen W. Chu, Alum, 2010
Title or Position: Senior Ecologist/Senior Project Manager
Employer or School: TRC Companies, Inc.
The NRES online program from the University of Illinois was a great opportunity for me to work full-time as an environmental scientist and to augment my credentials with a Master of Science degree. The flexibility of the program is perfect for the working professional as courses are offered year round and in different mediums (internet, video-conferencing, and site-based), and the opportunity to interact with faculty who are leaders in their field. I would highly recommend this program to others as it caters to working professionals and the subject matters deals with relevant problems with in the Natural Resources and Environmental Science field.
Jason Hargrove, Alum, 2011
Title or Position: Certified Professional Air Traffic Controller Specialist - Chicago Enroute ATC Center
Employer or School: Federal Aviation Administration - Air Traffic Organization
The NRES program is so diverse and provides many educational tracks to take, from forestry to ecology. I have taken an urban ecology approach to have a better understanding on management of wildlife on airports and reduction of bird to aircraft strikes. These are major issues throughout the FAA and the online program will give me a unique combination of air traffic skills and ecological knowledge to help build a bridge between the two fields and provide a safer air traffic environment. One major skill that anyone will receive from the program is high quality book knowledge and bases of practical skills to develop and implement new and innovative ideas of your own. I love the fact that the program does not give up anything in the online format from tradition courses. The format of live lecture and open class discussion is unmatched in any other online program. The professors are all passionate about their classes and are always willing to work with you on any situation that develops. It is ideal for the working parent, like me, with little free time. One of the best thing is I will earn a degree from the prestigious University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign, with a highly ranked NRES program, known throughout the world!
Janet Backs, Alum, 2008
Title or Position: Visiting Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Employer or School: University of Illinois at Chicago
2009: I'm in my second year as a Ph.D. student at UIC. I'm working on population genetics of a threatened oak species, Quercus hinckleyi, found in about 10 relict sites in west Texas. I've finished all required classes and am now working on permits, a grant and putting together an 'expedition' in November to visit some of the sites and collect leaf specimens for genetic analysis.... Being an alum of UIUC has helped me with a contact at the USFWS in Texas - one of their biologists is also a grad it turns out.
Laura Haake-Schraw, Alum, 2008
Title or Position: Executive Director
Employer or School: Hampshire Township Park District
For Laura, the NRES online M.S. program allowed her, 'to continue to work full time in a career path I already enjoyed... No other University offers a program like this.'