When Ashley Egerdahl graduated from Northome High School in 2006, she wasn’t sure what to do with her life. She went to Bemidji State University straight out of high school because that’s what she thought she was supposed to do.
But after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she realized her career options required a master’s degree, which would mean leaving the Bemidji area and taking on more student loans. Instead, Egerdahl refocused and found Northwest Technical College.
After graduating from BSU, Egerdahl discovered her passion for working with children. With that newfound passion, she eagerly enrolled in the Child Care and Education program at NTC. Even though Egerdahl had to take time off after just one semester to have her first child and get her financial situation in order, she was still set on a career working with children. She knew she had to finish the program. Ashley returned to school in the fall of 2014 and is now on track to graduate in May 2016.
The 27-year-old has found her coursework at NTC to be captivating and extremely valuable. She especially loves the emphasis on hands-on learning, saying, “I learn best visually and by experiencing it myself. NTC is perfect for me in that way.”
Egerdahl also attributes the child care program’s success to her instructors, Pam Stowe and Robin Bakken, and their dedication to the students.
“Pam and Robin make sure we are ready by setting us up in classrooms, daycares and preschools that they are sure will give us the best experiences and help prepare us for the real world,” she said.
Thanks to those opportunities and her instructors’ networks, Egerdahl has connected with people who might be potential employers in the future.
After she graduates from NTC next spring, Egerdahl hopes to find a job in a preschool setting. Eventually, she wishes to open her own school.
Her journey has been challenging, especially with two young children at home, but she knows pursuing her degree will lead to a better future for her and her family.
“You will reap the rewards of putting 100 percent into your program,” Egerdahl said. “Just be sure whatever you are pursuing is what you are passionate about.”