What drives my interest: For me, early childhood education is the premiere opportunity to give people the chance to succeed. Changing children’s' early experiences can change their entire future and has the chance of altering the dynamics of our nation. Supporting high quality early learning programs at a national level can address the extreme inequities we see right now.
Senior year service learning: I completed my senior year service learning at the Experimental Education Unit. What really struck me was the vast difference between this early learning center and the various Head Start classrooms my classmates and I had experienced, even though they both were (technically) operated under public funding. It motivated me to ask about the inequities children face in education, starting at the very early years of schooling, and seek to answer how we can solve this.
Professionally: : I moved to DC shortly after graduation and interned on Capitol Hill in Congressman Adam Smith's office. After my internship, I accepted a position at the National Head Start Association as the Legislative and Advocacy Associate. In this position I get to assist in furthering Head Start's policy agenda through advocacy work on Capitol Hill, collaborating with other early learning organizations, and partnering with state-led efforts.
Advice: Keep an open mind. I spent the first 3.5 years of my college career thinking I was going to do early childhood special education. I even applied for the early childhood special ed graduate program at the UW. However, throughout my senior year I became so interested in the politics of early learning that I decided to turn down my acceptance at the UW and go in a completely different direction. I would encourage current students to think about the many different ways of working in early learning - there are so many options beyond teaching, and I am very glad that the ECFS program made that clear for me.