YFCS Alumni Applies Knowledge and Skills to Support Parents, Caregivers, Children

A family playing a board game together

“Children have always made sense to me”, says Kylie Rymanowicz, 2011 graduate of the family life and youth education master’s degree program at NC State. 

Rymanowicz has worked with children, parents, and caregivers in a variety of contexts throughout her career, and found that graduate studies in family life education at NC State was the perfect complement to her work. “After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree and working in a preschool classroom”, says Rymanowicz, “I discovered a passion for working with parents and caregivers, helping them to support the growth and development of young children. I loved the challenge of translating information and best practices into advice and support”. Rymanowicz says that pursuing a master’s degree in family life and youth education with a concentration in parent education expanded her knowledge and understanding of child development, and prepared her for diverse career options in family life. “My career path has always been centered around taking that understanding and knowledge, and finding innovative and meaningful ways to translate that information to families and other professionals”, she notes. 

After graduating, Rymanowicz became a Certified Family Life Educator, and spent seven years working as a Child and Family Educator for Michigan State University Extension. “When you work for cooperative extension, you do a little bit of everything!”, says Rymanowicz. “I spent my time there developing and delivering educational programs for parents, caregivers and early childhood providers, creating resources for families, and I even wrote a book on Mindfulness”. 

While at Michigan State University Extension, Rymanowicz also contributed to a parent education program entitled Building Early Emotional Skills (BEES), which worked to reduce parent stress and increase child social-emotional development through an eight-week course. The BEES program was selected as the first place national and regional winner for the Human Development and Family Relationships Award by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences during their 2016 Annual Session Awards. 

Rymanowicz recently transitioned to a new position as a Content Developer for Hatch Early Learning, which works to apply high quality technology in early learning settings. In her new role, Rymanowicz develops learning activities for the Ignite by Hatch app that aim to prepare children for school and support their learning through first grade, while allowing teachers to assess child learning and provide targeted support. The activities support seven core domains of child development: social emotional, physical, language and communication, literacy, mathematics, science and technology, and social studies. “In regards to technology, the message to families and professionals used to be ‘turn it off!’”, says Rymanowicz, “but we know that technology isn’t going away. Developing software that is thoughtfully and purposely designed to support learning both at school and at home is a way to ensure that children have valuable learning experiences and to increase the equity of positive early learning experiences.”

Throughout her career, Rymanowicz has been inspired by people who embrace emotional resiliency. “Emotional resiliency involves being vulnerable, which is especially hard in work settings. But my past vulnerability has led me to close and meaningful relationships at work and the humility necessary to learn and grow.” 

Looking ahead, Rymanowicz is excited to explore all that her new position has to offer. “In the next 5 years I hope to transition more fully into my current position and specifically support the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in that work.” Down the road, she’s excited about the idea of opening her own Family Life Education business, to provide education and coaching to parents and caregivers. “I want to continue to support children and families in whatever I do”. 

Rymanowicz presented a session entitled “Translating Parenting Curricula into Effective Online Formats” at the 2021 Family Life Education Summit, held in June 2021. Learn more about the summit and purchase session recordings on the National Council on Family Relations website.