Northern Michigan University graduate student Olivia Wendorf was recently featured as the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children's (MIAEYC) student member of the month. She is pursuing a master's degree in early childhood education and is one of eight members representing NMU in Michigan's student chapter, which is the first student chapter in the United States.
“We hope to be an example for other states and help other students become involved,” Wendorf said. “Being involved while you are a student helps you in making connections that will last. MIAEYC allows me to have a voice and to stand up for what I think is right in the early childhood education field. The organization also helps me learn and grow by putting on professional development opportunities of which I have attended, helped organize and even spoken at. I network with other people in the field and am creating friendships all throughout the state.”
MIAEYC falls under the umbrella of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Its mission is to promote high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy and research. MIAEYC advances the early childhood profession and supports all who care for, educate and work on behalf of young children, according to the MIAEYC mission statement. Wendorf has been a member for approximately seven years.
A native of Charlotte, Mich., Wendorf said that her passion for the early childhood field began at Lansing Community College.
“Early on in my college career, I was unsure of what I wanted to major in,” Wendorf said. “I took a child development class, thinking that the information would be useful at least at some point in my life, and I fell in love with the field. I have always enjoyed babysitting and working with children. Learning how to better hone what came naturally to me and how to better teach children was a wonderful experience, and it continues to be.”
Wendorf is working at Michigan State University's Child Development Laboratories. She said that she is earning her master's degree so she can teach undergraduate students at a university or at a community college.
“I have always worked at laboratory schools and enjoy teaching, modeling and being a role model for those just starting out in the early childhood education field,” she said. “NMU is not only where I am earning my degree, but I am also picking up different teaching strategies from the instructors I have had thus far. I am also looking forward to the internship I will need to complete for my degree. I am hoping that I will be able to help teach a college course.”