Amanda is an early childhood consultant for the Iowa Department of Education and a member of the Early Childhood Iowa state technical assistance team. She supports the Shared Visions preschool program, which provides quality education for children and families who meet at-risk criteria. She also works with stakeholders statewide to promote quality early childhood care, health and education systems, and initiatives for children and their families. Amanda is also working on a master’s degree in in early childhood through Northwestern’s graduate school—all while managing the most demanding role of all: being a mom to triplets.
What do you value most about Northwestern’s online M.Ed. program?
When I first started my search, I was looking for a program that would fit my budget. But I quickly learned Northwestern has much more to offer besides affordable tuition. The program is structured around a manageable curriculum with courses taught every eight weeks. The graduate school staff and professors often connect with students, from sending emails that indicate a genuine interest in how we’re doing to mailing personal cards at the holidays. I also enjoy the integration of Christianity and the supportive philosophy that educators are servant leaders. I feel respected as a whole person, not just a teacher, when I engage in conversations or discussion posts with peers and professors.
What has been the most challenging part of your M.Ed. program?
The program provides a flexible opportunity to earn a master’s degree within two years, but it still requires time and attention. I have had to find a balance between being a mother of three young children, working full time, and dedicating at least two hours a night to coursework.
What do you appreciate about the M.Ed. professors?
They are also working directly in the early childhood field. Their contribution of real-life experiences and their ability to relate to the work I do in early childhood has been a grounding and applicable learning experience.
How will earning your M.Ed. help you achieve your career goals?
I am a driven person, and I’m passionate about advocating for quality initiatives in the early childhood care and education field. My goal after I graduate is to support other early childhood professionals in reaching their full potential and to continue to promote high-quality early childhood care and education systems.
What advice would you give someone who may be interested pursuing an online M.Ed.?
There may never be a "best time" to commit to an online program. I will be the first to say I have a very busy life, but life will always be busy and full, so it’s important to commit to your goals and dedicate part of your time to work toward them. I have been successful in this program because I set aside time each night after my kids go to bed to work on my degree. I have a passion for education, and I value the opportunity to gain knowledge that I can use to lead and support others in my field. By enrolling in Northwestern’s online M.Ed. program, I’m working toward my goals on my own time.