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CALS Alumna Credits Online Program for Career Preparedness, Success

NC State alumna Rasha El-Beshti works as a program evaluator in the research and evaluation division for Contracting Resources Group Inc. (CRG). El-Beshti credits much of her success to NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) online Youth, Family, and Community Sciences (YFCS) program.

El-Beshti earned her online Master of Science in Family Life and Youth Development, Parent Education in 2014. Since then, the name of the program has changed to the Master of Science in Youth, Family, and Community Sciences.

While enrolled in the program, El-Beshti had the opportunity to interact with several faculty members, including Kimberly Allen, Autumn Guin and Amy Chilcote.

“Working alongside these individuals was not only a source of support and mentorship, but it also provided me with very concrete and impactful learning experiences — academically and professionally,” El-Beshti said.

She adds that these opportunities helped her to identify and prepare for a career she was passionate about — public health research and evaluation.

“My first opportunity to engage in research at the graduate level was as a program coordinator for Children, Youth, and Families at Risk,” El Beshti said. The position was grant funded.

“Not only did this job provide me with the financial support I needed to finish my graduate education, but also provided me with invaluable leadership and networking experiences,” El-Beshti said. She explains that through these opportunities, she was able to network with some of the top researchers in the field, including Dr. Daniel Perkins of Pennsylvania State University.

“Through this introduction, I attained a part-time job during my graduate education with the United States Army Public Health Center as a program evaluator and eventually a program evaluation consultant with the U.S. Army Reserve Command for the G-1 and Family Programs,” El-Beshti said.

These experiences helped El-Beshti earn her first post-graduate job as a research and evaluation associate for Penn State’s Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness and her current job with CRG.

El-Beshti credits the YFCS Department with teaching her valuable knowledge for her career and helped her fine-tune some of her skill sets. This better prepared her to pursue a career in public health research and evaluation.

“The faculty and staff members in CALS and the Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences are very active in assisting students with professional development and the courses in the program focused on translating theoretical concepts into concrete practices,” El-Beshti said.

El-Beshti adds that her relationship with the YFCS department extends beyond earning her master’s degree. She says faculty and staff provide opportunities for her to stay involved with the department and university.

“I believe that one of the most rewarding aspects of the program is that the level of support you receive continues post-graduation,” El-Beshti said. “I believe that this high-level of commitment and support to students’ post-graduation ensures the success of students.”

El-Beshti says that’s what distinguishes the CALS and YFCS program from other programs.