Crystal Ybarra
Faculty advisor: 
Internship title/site and brief summary: 

Student Outreach Coordinator at the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) at Oregon State University (OSU). PSEP offers high quality educational programs. These programs cover the proper use of pesticides, integrated pest management, and the specifics regarding the Worker Protection Standard. PSEP is committed to providing the best and most engaging, science-based pesticide safety education in the region. To help them achieve their goal, I was assigned a project that considered the effects of occupational exposure to pesticides on the brain. Specifically, I was tasked with investigating whether or not there is a correlation between pesticide exposure and depression, and if there was sufficient evidence, to develop a suicide prevention campaign for farmers.

Professional / academic / life plans after graduation: 

Upon graduating, I will be commissioned to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade and assume the role of Environmental Health Officer for the U.S. Navy. In this role, I will:

  • Determine effective methods of health-threat assessment
  • Conduct ongoing disease and environmental surveillance
  • Identify potential dangers and develop countermeasures for actual and potential threats

Awaiting orders for next duty station.

Favorite memory of being a graduate student at Oregon State: 

These were some of the best years of my adult life! It's hard to cite a specific memory because there were so many!

Impactful faculty mentorship: 

Molly Kile is the best advisor I could've hoped for. Her reliability, insightfulness and enthusiasm made every interaction productive and an absolute joy! She strikes just the right balance between researcher and professor, making herself available whenever she is needed. Effectively utilizing her network and resources, Molly offers pearls of wisdom that are appropriate for whom she is addressing. Dr. Kile unapologetically sets a very high bar, yet deftly guides, mentors and empowers so that it can be reached.

She is professional, approachable, patient and respectful toward every student's individual interests. I had the great fortune of calling Dr. Kile my mentor and advisor. I'm even more grateful now to call her my friend.

OSU is better for having the dynamic duo of Suzanna Chase and Amanda Armington! These two made such a positive first impression when I was initially considering OSU and have continued to assist in any way they can. The lengths they have gone for me in the two years before attending OSU includes:

  • maintaining contact with me while I was deployed
  • speaking directly with the Navy to ensure OSU met all requirements for the program I was applying to
  • after receiving word I had been selected, learning the specifics of the Health Services Collegiate Program to better assist my transition to OSU
  • offering insights into the city of Corvallis, OSU, the culture, and recommendations for food and housing
  • the welcome they extended to my husband and I when we finally met

When I was officially attending OSU, Amanda and Suzanna would periodically reach out to me to see how I was doing. Every communication was sincere, and every interaction was a joy. Their support was again extended to me when they were in attendance for my defense via Zoom. Prior to the cancellation of our ceremonies due to the pandemic, Amanda and Suzanna assisted in the logistics of my commissioning ceremony, even though this was not at all in their purview.

OSU is better for having these wonderful ladies, and my experience at OSU was better than I could've ever imagined largely due to them.