Early Education Leaders, an Institute at UMass Boston

provides the leadership development opportunities and infrastructure that early educators need to support thriving children and families.

Alumni Connection


On Dec. 7 we brought together graduates of our Native American Scholars in Early Education, Small Business Innovation Center, and Post-Master’s Certificate in Early Education Research, Policy, and Practice programs for a festive afternoon of networking focused on early educator health and wellness and outdoor education.

We’re grateful for the leadership of Brent Dunn, a graduate of our Native American Scholars program, and Merrill Miceli, a current Post Master’s Certificate student, in making this event so successful.

Alumni sipped white pine tea as Miceli guided them in creating floating candle decorations, filling recycled jars with water, tea candles, pine branches, and cranberries to warm up the holidays. They also sculpted solstice calendars from clay. Dunn led a presentation on outdoor education, describing accessible ways to bring the natural world into the classroom by creating classroom materials made from common organic items.

Additionally, Lynne Mendes, our director of leadership development, led a wellness and self- care exercise in which alumni created their own self-care plans, as maintaining a self-care routine has been shown to reduce or eliminate stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout; and improve concentration and boost energy, among other benefits.

There was also lots of socializing and networking over dinner. Mendes said alumni expressed the desire for additional opportunities to gather and share expertise.

“We found that alumni are looking for more network and leadership opportunities, workshops, monthly meetings, information on taxes and computers, self-care, and degree opportunities,” said Mendes. “We’re grateful to everyone who joined us, as alumni made connections with each other and were excited to participate in the workshop. We’re looking forward to hosting a few more events including one in February, so watch this space for more information!”

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