Meet Some Online Students and Alums

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.

, Current Student
Title or Position: Urban Gardening Expert and Host of HGTV's "Dig In"
Employer or School: National Gardening Association and HGTV

The NRES extramural program has benefitted me professionally and personally. As a horticultural educator and media expert a grasp of environmental science helps make concepts and practices easier to explain. Plus my courses have given me a broader context in which to discuss gardening and greening. The info I have learned about soils, plant physiology, and native habitats have helped me to design ecologically-sound, beautiful landscapes as a makeover host for HGTV [my family and friends cash in on this too]. Personally the NRES program given me a greater appreciation for the natural world, which in itself is worth the tuition. Anyone involved in an occupation even tangentially related to greening, should enroll in the NRES program to strengthen their credentials and increase their knowledge.

, Alum, 2010
Title or Position: Senior Environmental Scientist
Employer or School: SEC Group, 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.

, Current Student
Title or Position: Instructor
Employer or School: Minooka Community High School

I've really enjoyed the flexibility that the Off-Campus classes offer me. Being able to work from home on my studies is a big plus. It is also interesting to meet others online from various other industries and locations, bringing a wide variety of experiences to the programs. For myself, the program is giving me the opportunity to earn a masters degree in chosen field of study which I can bring to my classroom experience as a teacher.

, 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!

, Current Student
Title or Position: Research Technician
Employer or School: USDA-NCAUR Lab

I really enjoy the NRES online graduate degree program due to its extreme flexibility. I am able to continue working full-time for the United States Department of Agriculture while pursuing an advanced degree, which is what attracted me most to this program. It is an excellent program to enter, and the Program Director is wonderful at responding to questions and issues as they arise.

, Alum, 2008
Title or Position: Ecology and Evolution doctoral program in the 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.

, Alum, 2008
Title or Position: City Park Designer
Employer or School: United City of Yorkville

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.'