Many Directions for Youth, Family, and Community Sciences Graduates

When pursuing a program through NC State Youth, Family, and Community Sciences (YFCS) Distance Education, many students wonder what prospects they have following graduation. There are actually numerous avenues a professional in YFCS may pursue, and in this month’s YFCS Online Blog, we look at four past graduates and the different sectors they have entered.

Bria Sledge – EducationYFCS graduates

Master’s of Liberal Studies, Concentration Utilizing Family Science in Youth Development, May 2016; Family Life Education and Coaching Graduate Certificate, June 2016; Board Certified Coach, December 2016

Bria Sledge earned her status as a Board Certified Coach in December 2016, and graduated from the NC State Family Life Education and Coaching graduate certificate program in June 2016. Since completing the program, she works with 3rd and 4th graders as an after school coordinator for the extended day program at the Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC. In September 2016, she became Assistant Director of the program. In addition to her work there, Bria assists Dr. Kimberly Allen, the Youth, Family, and Community Sciences Director of Graduate Programs at NC State, by creating training videos, assignments and other content focused on early childhood education and coaching. In fact, Bria is a member of the board of directors and serves as the networking committee co-chair and conference committee co-chair for the Family Life Coaching Association.

“I’m making a lot of materials to put online and have an online platform, so early childhood educators can go online to get training and be certified in playground safety.” Bria’s training content includes information about a variety of behavioral and environmental safety issues, including radon, asthma, bullying, inclusion and other issues that can be hazardous to children, but the causes and prevention might be less known. “We want to provide this type of training that will target those topics,” says Bria.

Earning her coaching certification has been important for Bria, who says “sometimes you have those people who think it’s similar to counseling, but with coaching, it is about being the expert in your own life. As a coach, I’m just here to help guide you, and I like that aspect, especially family life coaching,” she says.

Bria hopes to continue using her education to help her community and develop more trainings for professionals serving children, youth and families. She hopes these trainings will help childcare providers and, most importantly, the youth.

Jeremy Crisp – Non-ProfitYFCS graduates

Master’s of Family Life and Youth Development, Concentration: Administration, 2015

Jeremy Crisp is a 2015 graduate of NC State’s Master’s of Family Life and Youth Development, with a concentration in administration, though he has been working with youth for years. Once a Raleigh-area YMCA youth director, Jeremy now works in Washington, DC as a program manager for Kids Included Together (KIT). KIT is a non-profit organization providing professional training, coaching and workshops focused on promoting inclusive practices, policies and environments for children with disabilities and special needs and behavior challenges to organizations that serve children and youth.

As program manager, his work includes providing technical assistance  and training on inclusive practices to these organizations. Jeremy explains, “We focus on inclusion; our specific area of knowledge focuses on disability and inclusive practices around kids with disabilities, which can include behavior challenges and social and emotional skills. We say inclusive practices, and we’re willing to go down whatever area it leads into for an organization.”

It’s in this work “where I really took information from the graduate program,” Jeremy says. “When it came to starting a community training program here (in DC) and how we would support community and build relationships, I really took a program development scope, did an environmental scan, and conducted needs assessments of different child and youth serving organizations.”

Jeremy wants to continue to advocate for youth with disabilities through KIT and plans to continue to connect, encourage and educate organizations on how to support youth with disabilities.

Sandy Hall –  Extension YFCS graduates

Master’s of Family Life and Youth Development, December 2014; Parent Education Certification

Sandy Hall, another graduate of the Master’s in Family Life and Youth Development program, holds a Certification in Parent Education. She has worked as a 4-H Extension Agent since 1998, and since earning her master’s, has become the County Extension Director, NC Cooperative Extension, Nash County Center, NC State University. In her role there, she covers 4-H and the youth development area. Her responsibilities include: training volunteers, recruiting members, teaching curriculum to school teachers for classroom use and working with other agencies on similar youth development programs.

Sandy says, “As county extension director, I am responsible for the facility our agency is housed in, the Farmers Market in Rocky Mount, as well as administrative duties of an extension staff of four extension agents, two administrative assistants and two part-time program assistants. I work with the county and other stakeholders to represent extension as well as work with our staff to provide the most current, research-based information for our citizens to make the best possible decisions whether it be in the field or in the community.”

“I enjoy working across all the spectrums of extension and not just in 4-H, my one area of training. I also enjoy working along with the extension agents and helping promote their programs as well as meeting new people throughout Nash County,” she says.

The Family Life and Youth Development program helped Sandy in her current role because of the extensive work she completed in program development and evaluation. Sandy has always preferred working with children and families, and her education allows her to do so.

Shanelle Ebanks – GovernmentYFCS graduates

M.S. in Family Life & Youth Development; Concentrations: Youth Development Leadership, Volunteer Management & Administration; May 2016

Shanelle Ebanks holds an MS in Family Life & Youth Development from NC State with dual concentrations in Youth Development Leadership and Volunteer Management & Administration. Before starting her master’s program, she was involved in one of the inaugural groups of IDEX Fellows where she was a Strategic Consultant at a low-income private school in Hyderabad, India. Now, Shanelle is the Office on Youth Coordinator for the City of Hopewell, Virginia.  

The Hopewell Office on Youth is a new department, so Shanelle’s job involves considerable research to understand “the needs of youth in the city; how youth are currently involved in various programs, departments, boards and committees; how community members currently support youth; and ways to maximize that potential by establishing communication with youth, parents, service providers, and other stakeholders.”

When asked how her education prepared her for this role, Shanelle says, “My ultimate goal for our youth is empowering them to be creative and innovative as they connect to their purpose and passion. This is a lofty goal that requires attention to a number of barriers and challenges, like food insecurity, behavioral and mental health, homelessness, limited parental involvement, and many other challenges. My education has helped me to understand the intersection and impact of these challenges, how to investigate them and how to create partnerships to counteract these challenges.”

In the future, Shanelle said she may continue her education and pursue a Ph.D. after taking time to work in the field and determining in which area she would most personally benefit and have the greatest professional impact.

Check back to the YFCS Online Blog in the fall as we will take a short summer break.