Category Archives: Around Campus

Around Campus: Nontraditional Student Shares Her Experiences

By Brittnie Curtis

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that some 18 million students were enrolled in undergraduate programs during Fall 2014. Of that amount, 71 percent of them attend four-year colleges (source). Texas State University’s student enrollment for Fall 2014 was 36,739 and nontraditional students made up around 22 percent of the student body (source).

Ellen Crabaugh is a part of that 22 percent. After graduating high school, Crabaugh focused on her family and work. During that time, she was able to complete an associate degree in American Sign Language at the Los Angeles Pierce College after 10 years of hard work.

Crabaugh moved to Wimberley and took a job at Texas State University as an American Sign Language interpreter. That’s when she decided to continue her education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English.

We were able to sit down with Crabaugh and ask her a few questions.

Q.Why did you decide to study at Texas State?

A. I had been trying to get a bachelor’s degree for a long time, and I figured why not? I love the campus, and the more I worked in classrooms with professors, the more I started to think about which professors I would take. I ended up taking a lot of the professors I had worked with here.

Q. How welcoming do you think the campus is to nontraditional students?

A. I have never had a problem. All the students and professors have been great. A lot of the professors I’ve gotten to know better because we’re around the same age. The students seem to watch their language when I’m in the groups. Some will confide in me because I look like their mother. They feel safe because they don’t have to compete with me. I will say that no one’s ever been rude to me. I do get asked if I’m the teacher, but that’s about it.

Q. What are some of the challenges you face in comparison to a traditional student?

A. I think in some ways I have it easier than a traditional student because I don’t have anything to prove, I’m not looking to climb a social ladder, and I’m not being called to go party somewhere or go to the beach. I have specific responsibilities, which makes it more difficult but at the same time makes it easier. I think there’s a balancing act on both sides. Traditional students have it easier because they might not have children and house payments, but I don’t have the peer pressure they all have.

Q. How do you manage scheduling school and studying into your daily life?

A. I’m in all of my upper division English classes, so there’s usually lot of writing, and I also work 30 plus hours a week. What I’ve done is schedule my classes around my work schedule. I have classes Tuesday and Thursday and work long shifts Monday and Wednesday. So I have Tuesday afternoon to do homework that’s due on Thursday, and then I have Thursday morning to do what homework I may not have finished before I go to class again. Then I have Saturday and Sunday to do the homework that’s due Tuesday.

Q. What changes do you see after getting your bachelor’s degree?

A. Getting my college degree was mainly for my own edification. My dad, who was 40 years old when he earned his degree, instilled that in me at a young age. As a sign language interpreter, the better I know my native language the better I am at interpreting. If it leads to something else, that’s great; if not, I love what I do.

Q. Do you have any advice for people interested in getting their college degree later on in life?

A. Keep going. It’s easy to want to quit. Don’t stop until you get there. You can still do it. You’re never too old. Just keep doing it. It’s worth it, and the classes are fun. Learning is fun.


If Crabaugh keeps her current pace of two classes per semester, she’ll complete her degree in two more years.

Texas State offers lots of support for nontraditional students, including the Non-Traditional Student Organization, which offers tutoring, scholarships and fun events.

Around Campus: Business Leadership Week

Helping the Texas State community get the edge on success

By Brittnie Curtis

For the past six years, the McCoy College of Business Administration at Texas State University has hosted Business Leadership Week (BLW). Anchored around the Texas State Leadership Institute Annual Conference, BLW is a four-day event that gives attendees the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about the Common Experience theme and how it applies to the business and professional world.

Brittany Christman, McCoy College advisor and student development coordinator, along with the rest of the academic advising staff, have spent the past two semesters setting the framework for the upcoming BLW. With the help of distinguished speakers, campus organizations and sponsors, this signature event has grown significantly over the past years.  Continue reading

Around Campus: Quest

Detours and delinquency:
Helping at-risk youth find their way

By Brittnie Curtis

According to, more than 1.2 million students each year drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds or 7,000 a day. Texas State University is taking steps to help reduce this growing problem.

15-173_PRO_Quest_Program_Digital_Graphics_Proof1_Twitter_HeaderQuest is a new program from Texas State’s Center for P-16 Initiatives. It is a male mentorship initiative that addresses the needs of boys from the San Marcos Independent School District who are at-risk or on their way to dropping out of school. With a focus on getting these boys into a mindset that is more college- or career-focused, the G-Force mentors (Texas State undergraduate students) and Isaac Torres, grant specialist from the Center for P-16 Initiatives, act as their guide. Continue reading

10 Things Only Texas State Students Will Understand

By Brittnie Curtis


You have to walk up a flight of stairs or some sort of hill to go just about anywhere on campus. At least those calves are getting a good workout, right?


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Around Campus: Ice Hockey

By Brittnie Curtis

2014-2015 Texas State Ice Hockey team

2014-2015 Texas State Ice Hockey team

The Texas State Ice Hockey team began in 2011 with a handful of students who wore practice jerseys and played with a very select budget. With a few of the founding players still on the team, it has grown to  more than 15 players.  The team, a registered sports club, is classified in the Western Region of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA)-Division II with more than 200 other teams.

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Around Campus: Common Experience Through Art

Breaking Boundaries with
Campus Canvas

By Brittnie Curtis

"This expression of art connects people of different races, backgrounds and ideas." - Naomi Faltin

“This expression of art connects people of different races, backgrounds and ideas.” – Naomi Faltin

Each year, Common Experience at Texas State chooses a different theme to get students, faculty and staff to think outside of themselves. The themes are meant to cultivate intellectual conversation across campus and build a sense  community that spans across campus and beyond.

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Around Campus: Grad Students Travel to Costa Rica

Bringing Home Life Lessons

by Brittnie Curtis

"It’s always been important to me to help other people and communities as a whole. In this day and age we’re coming more attached and absorbed in our own self-interests. " - David Vela

“It’s always been important to me to help other people and communities as a whole.” – David Vela

In May 2014, six graduate students in the Department of Agriculture at Texas State traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks. The trip was funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant obtained by animal science professor Dr. Charles Rahe. Costa Rica’s warm climate and fertile soils make it perfect for sustainable agriculture production. The graduate students had the opportunity to learn about crops that are not commonly grown in the U.S., the fishing industry and raising livestock in tropical climates.

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