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Mentorship, Higher Education, and Supporting Early Childhood Educators

Destinie Pate ‘22 started her career in early childhood education, but quickly realized she had a passion for what went on in family life outside of school. 

The Youth, Family, and Community Sciences graduate program was the perfect fit for her to explore family science holistically. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at NC State!” says Pate. “This particular program has given me the opportunity to take a deeper look into families and different things they work with”. 

Pate says that Annie Hardison-Moody has helped make her experience at NC State a positive one. “She was always a listening ear and genuinely cares about her students”, she says. “Even though I was partaking in distance education, I felt like I could always reach out to Annie and I knew she would work with me and talk me through any issue, concern, etc.”. Pate says that Annie would also ask about Pate’s daughter and her personal life, and that her personable support made a world of difference. 

One especially meaningful experience for Pate during her NC State journey was a virtual internship with AB Tech, a community college in Asheville, completed as part of AEHS 510. In the role, she worked under the guidance of the school’s early childhood education (ECE) department chair to mentor capstone students, attend and participate in grant writing and committee meetings, and assist in lesson plan writing. Pate graduated from AB Tech in 2017 with an associate in science degree in early childhood education, so the internship was a meaningful way to come full circle and experience higher education from the point of view of the educator. Pate knows that our country is in need of high quality early childhood educators, and that gave her role as a mentor to current ECE students even more significance. “Working with these students to make sure they have a thorough understanding of all concepts in early childhood education and development is so important to me and is the core of my work”, she notes.

After graduation in December 2022, Pate will continue to work with AB Tech – no longer as an intern, but as an ECE tutor. Her internship was such a success that the college hired her in for a virtual, part-time role that will allow her to continue supporting ECE students. She’ll also spend time with her family. “I plan to stay home with my daughter and spend these first few years of life with her”, says Pate. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to do so. In the next five years I see myself as a devoted wife and mom, spending as much time with my husband and daughter (possibly more children?) as possible!”

Pate says that her family is her biggest inspiration. Of her parents, she notes, “they have both overcome obstacles in their lives (different, but still obstacles) and have come out stronger on the other side. Their love for me and support that I have felt from them never changed, no matter what obstacle they may have been facing. For that I am forever grateful. They inspire me to be that type of parent and person in this world”. Her husband and daughter are also a source of motivation. “They are the reason I do what I do every day”, says Pate. 

In the long term, Pate can see her career path leading in a variety of directions, including but not limited to higher education and pregnancy support for young women. Wherever the path leads, Pate says her experience at NC State has given her the professional tools she needs to succeed. 

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