Community College Student Makes Seamless Transition to a Career though BES Program
“I started working here 6 months ago. I was in one of Dr. Navin’s classes. They had an opening for toddler room and she told me about it. They worked it out so that I could do an internship here.” Claire Eschen is the Lead Toddler Teacher at the University Child Development Center. Additionally, she has been a full-time student in the Bachelor of Educational Studies program for the last two years.
Claire had taken some early childhood classes at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park while working at an early childhood center but wasn’t quite certain she wanted to go the traditional route of receiving an Early Childhood teacher certification. “I am very grateful for the BES program. I just feel like this degree was perfect for me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do before, but this made sense. I saw it and was like, BINGO that’s it.”
When transferring from Forest Park Community College, Claire reports that she was worried about the transition. Thankfully, all her credits transferred. “UMSL worked with me to have a seamless transition. It was nice to have that time at the community college, it helped me get ready to come to UMSL.”
The Bachelor of Educational Studies appealed to Claire because it gave her an avenue to explore other ways or arenas of working with and helping children, such as counseling or consulting. “The BES jumped out because of the early childhood emphasis but also had other pieces as well that would prepare me as a professional.”
For Claire, one of the most promising pieces about the BES program was its flexibility. “They are open to how you want to set up your internship. There is a lot of flexibility in the BES program to do what works for you.” On top of her internship duties, Claire headed up the UCDC’s annual fundraiser, Trivia Night on March 11th. The event was a smashing success in all, 238 people attended and over $8,500 was raised. She also has picked up a new interest: focusing on the environment of the classroom. “In March, after the fundraiser is over, that’s my next project. I am going to flip the toddler classroom to make it more developmentally appropriate and to flow better.”
When asked what advice she would give a new Bachelor of Educational Studies student, Claire spoke about being open to new experiences. “I would tell a new BES student to go into your internship with an openness. I think one of my strengths is my easy going attitude, that has helped me mold myself to this experience. I try not to have an expectation for how things should go, rather, I try to remain flexible to the experience. One of the best things about the BES coursework is that many require volunteer and field work. That has made me get out there and learn things that I wouldn’t have learned in the classroom.”
The BES is preparing Claire for any career in an Early Childhood center. “I could be a program specialist that helps Early Childhood Centers with curriculum or environment. I have the Early Childhood piece but I have the other business aspects that will help set me apart and round me out. As opposed to just working in the classroom.”
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