Congratulations to Bri Vines, the first graduate of the Early Childhood Fellowship program at UMass Boston! The Early Childhood Fellowship was launched in partnership with the city of Boston in 2022 to develop a pipeline of trained early educators to contribute and lead in diverse settings including family childcare, center-based, Head Start, and PreK programs. Fellows, who enter the program with either an associate’s degree or at least 60 undergraduate credits, receive full scholarships to complete their bachelor’s degree. Upon acceptance into the Fellowship, they sign a memorandum of understanding committing to work in the city of Boston as an early educator for at least three years after graduating with their bachelor’s degree.
Here’s what Bri had to say about her experience:
“This educational accomplishment has enhanced my qualifications and skills considerably. Moving forward, I intend to continue my employment at my current childcare position in Boston, MA, albeit in a higher-ranking role. After a year, I plan on seeking opportunities in the Boston public school system to challenge myself further and work with children of a more advanced age.
“Given my relocation to Boston, MA, my primary objective is to continue working and imparting knowledge to children within the Boston community. In this regard, I firmly believe that this program has played a pivotal role in improving my abilities as a student, teacher, mother, and employee. The various courses I completed have equipped me with invaluable knowledge and insights that can be applied both inside the classroom and within the homes of the families I work with. With these newfound skills, I am able to facilitate growth among families and guide their children’s development, ensuring a seamless transition between home and school environments.
“I am immensely grateful to the program, as well as its dedicated advisors and professors, for providing me with the necessary resources and support to become an effective leader, educator, community contributor, and nurturing mother.”
Courses in the Early Childhood Fellowship program at UMass Boston are offered during the day, at night, and online, making the degree program accessible to experienced educators already working in the field who are seeking to upskill as teachers and leaders as well as those who are new to the profession. The program is intentionally structured to be welcoming to those who have historically faced barriers to higher education such as immigrants and first-generation students. Programmatic supports, such as dedicated academic and writing tutors, and relational supports, such as mentor and cohort connections are built into the program. As a result, UMass Boston’s education BA program has the most racially and linguistically diverse student body of any institution of higher education in Massachusetts and two-thirds of UMass Boston’s early education graduates are BIPOC women.