Meet Larry Oakes, World Campus Alumni Ambassador

Larry Oakes, Alumni Ambassador

The World Campus Alumni Ambassador program is a volunteer program for graduates of Penn State World Campus.  Ambassadors are assigned prospective students to contact each week—and through this connection, prospective students have the opportunity to gain a student’s perspective and ask specific academic program-related questions.

Over the next week or two, we will be spotlighting several of our current Alumni Ambassadors. Today, we’re featuring Larry Oakes.

Larry graduated from Millersville University in 1986 with a degree in Computer Science, and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant through their ROTC program.  After 25 years in both the tech industry and the Reserve Components (both PA National Guard and US Army Reserve) he was assigned to a position at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. His staff assignment involved working closely with the Homeland Security Department in their Center for Strategic Leadership and Development.

Seeking a way to further his education and position himself for a challenging new career, Larry began looking into master’s degree programs and discovered the Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security offered by Penn State World Campus, which seemed like a great fit for his interests and experience.

“In researching the program, I felt it had a solid foundation, with the credentials and credibility of the faculty and directors who were some of the best the nation had to offer. Further, since I had a full-time job and very active family, the flexibility offered through the World Campus was a perfect match to allow me to continue my education.”

Larry was very satisfied with his experience with the program. “It included challenging and interesting assignments, introduced me to other students from literally around the world, and provided me insight into the world of Homeland Security that I hoped to acquire. Additionally, while I was initially apprehensive about the online classroom, the ability to review recorded lectures at my convenience, the availability and responsiveness of the faculty, and even the opportunity to hear from renowned guest lecturers allowed me to feel engaged with each of my instructors and fellow students.”

Once he finished his program, Larry was excited about the opportunity to serve as a mentor to new students as an Alumni Ambassador. “It gives me a chance to share my experience with others, and give them information on a different alternative that may help them realize some of their goals. What I found so far as an Alumni Ambassador is that in just a few minutes each week, I am able to reach out to prospective students, offering them the perspective of a student who completed the entire MPS-Homeland Security degree requirements through the World Campus. I hope to have the opportunity to engage more of the students with more in-depth discussion on either the program or the campus.”

In talking with prospective students, Larry emphasizes the benefit of the flexibility that World Campus programs offer. “One concern I hear from colleagues and prospective students alike is they fear taking an online program because they don’t have the discipline to complete a course outside the traditional classroom. I think it is important for students to realize that they have a lot of flexibility and control over their college experience. Through the ability to connect and view live lectures, view recorded lectures, and connect with other students either one-on-one or in a group, their mode of participation can be as structured or unstructured as they need it to be to meet their learning style.”

Larry sums up his thoughts on why World Campus is a perfect choice for busy adult students:  “I think the World Campus is a great alternative for people with full lives. You get the benefits of learning through a world class institution like Penn State, in the comfort of your own home or office, at times that will always be convenient for your and can adjust to  your schedule.”

Become an Alumni Ambassador!

We’re always seeking people to serve as Alumni Ambassadors. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and it’s a great way to support fellow students who would really appreciate your help. If you are a World Campus graduate interested in helping new/prospective students, we’d love to hear from you! Just complete this short form and we will be in touch with you with more information.