Valerie Goodness

Lane alumna lands National Science Foundation fellowship to study tribal watershed restoration

Valerie GoodnessFor Valerie Goodness, Lane Community College opened the door to a world of possibilities, giving her a strong foundation on which to build success. As a single mother of a child with special needs she faced unique challenges in balancing her education, work and family life.

"It would have been impossible for me to go to school without the Rosaria Haugland Scholarship," Valerie says. At Lane, she studied Environmental Science and was involved with both the Native American and Black Student Unions. She has since combined her two passions, human rights and environmental studies, in her work in natural resource sustainability.

With the encouragement of the counselors at Lane, Valerie applied for and received the Ford Foundation Scholarship. She transferred to Oregon State University, graduating cum laude in 2010 and earning her master's in natural resource sustainability in 2011. She recently accepted a fellowship with the National Science Foundation. Her doctoral work, based out of SUNY Buffalo, focuses on watershed-restoration on tribal lands.

When asked about her time at Lane, Valerie remembers bringing her son, then 10 years old, to the math lab when she didn't have child care. "The tutors helped me struggle through study sessions while Caleb made origami frogs for them." She also highlights the importance of Lane's online courses. "Being able to work my schedule around my son's needs gave me flexibility at a time when we needed it the most."

Ultimately, Valerie plans to return to Eugene, the place she and Caleb still call "home." She will continue her work with environmental issues such as climate change, invasive species removal, and land management for forestry and watersheds.

Learn more about scholarships at Lane
View Valerie's NSF web site
Source: Lane Community College Foundation, May 2012.