Alumni Profile: Andrew Ball
Child Development, Class of 2011
What motivated you to enroll in the Child Development program?
I began taking Child Development courses at Sierra College almost 10 years ago so I could work at the preschool my children attended. I met Mickey Eichenhofer, instructor for the Placer County cohort, through the CARES program. The Comprehensive Approaches to Raising Educational Standards (CARES) program provides funding to individuals who are working in the early childhood education field and are completing college coursework towards a bachelor’s degree.
I earned an associate’s degree in child development and a site supervisor permit, but wanted to continue my education. Being in my 40s, I did not feel motivated to go back to college and commuting from Auburn to Sac State (an hour each way) was not something I wanted to do. Mickey introduced me to the cohort program and encouraged me to pursue it. It was a perfect fit!
What would you describe as the most beneficial part of the program?
There were many benefits of the program: no commuting; financial aid assistance; manageable class schedule with classes in the evening, twice per week, for eight semesters; going to school with people already in the field; and Mickey Eichenhofer.
Mickey is the best! She always supported me and all the other students 100% of the time. Having the same people in class also made things easier as well. I made friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
What were the greatest challenges of participating in the program?
The first challenge is thinking that two-and-a-half years were going to take forever. It flew by in reality. Many of the courses were challenging as well. However, Mickey and the content made the majority of the classes interesting enough to make it worth the work it involved. Other than that, the program is designed so well that there were not a lot of challenges. Just show up and do your work. No hassles. No commuting. No parking structures. No students who do not want to be in class. You just can’t beat it.
Have you applied the learning from the program in the current work you do?
I started working as an aide in special education classes for Placer County Office of Education (PCOE). The knowledge and experience I gained in the program served me well. I am currently an intern teacher in a special day class for PCOE. Everything that I learned continues to benefit me and my students. Special and general education students are more similar than different. Children are children. My education fits my current work perfectly. My bachelor’s degree has allowed me to become a teacher, and I cannot think of a better degree for anyone thinking of becoming an educator. I recommend the degree and the program often.
Please share with us any additional comments or recommendations you have for the continued success of the program.
I would recommend this program to anyone. Every teacher’s aide that has expressed an interest in continuing their education has received a resounding recommendation and Mickey’s contact information from me. As far as the continued success of the program, just keep the format and Mickey! I genuinely believe that I would not have gone to Sac State and been a teacher today if not for the program. I will always be grateful. This program really did change my life.