What issues drive your interest in early childhood and family studies?
My main passion has always been to provide quality education and support for all children and families regardless of their background. In addition, the early childhood period in a child's life is probably one of the most crucial with regards to development. It's during this time that children will need the most support, and I wanted to be a part of that.
Where did you complete your senior year service learning?
I did my senior year service learning at B.F. Day Elementary school in a 1st grade classroom.
What was your most memorable service learning experience?
My most memorable service learning experience was during my junior year at UW. I was volunteering in a preschool classroom for a Native American cultural center, and I got to learn so much about Native American culture and customs. The kids were amazing, and the mentor teacher I worked with was so knowledgeable. In addition, I got to learn about and experience the Head Start program firsthand which was extremely helpful!
What skills did you gain this year that will be beneficial for your future career?
The most important skill I gained was how to better communicate with early childhood students. Prior to my experience with the College of Education, I knew I wanted to work with kids but I was nervous and unsure about how to interact with young children due to not having a large amount of experience. The College of Education taught me so many skills that have not only been helpful when working with young children but also older kids as well!
What have you been doing since graduation?
After graduating from the ECFS program, I continued my education at UW by getting my master's in elementary education. I just finished my first year as a 5th grade teacher in the Tahoma School District and will be beginning my second year as a 5th grade math and science teacher.
Do you have any tips or advice to offer students - things you wish you had known or really benefited from?
My advice is to volunteer with an array of age groups when doing your service learning. I worked with infants, toddlers and elementary school kids. At first, I always thought I was going to end up as a preschool teacher but through my experience I realized that I loved working with elementary school students. By experiencing a plethora of age groups, you'll find out where you feel the most comfortable.
Also, I also would advise you to seek the support of your professors whenever you need help. I've had an overwhelming amount of positive support throughout my undergrad and graduate experience in the College of Education. The professors there are passionate about what they do and they will be more than happy to help you with anything you might need.
And finally, my last tip would be to be aware that the littlest things you do will have the biggest impact on the kids you work with. You may not realize it, but the kids you work with will look up to you as a role model. Being a positive figure in their life may mean more to them than you may realize especially if they have never had a positive role model to look to before.