Miranda Parks: YFCS Student Shaping Minds and Hearts
Miranda Parks is a first-year master’s degree student studying Youth, Family, and Community Sciences (YFCS) and pursuing a family life education and coaching certificate. Graduating in May 2024, Parks is already inspired by the skills and knowledge she has gained through her program at NC State. Parks have been working at a local preschool since her sophomore year of college. Starting as an assistant after-school teacher, moving on to a lead after-school teacher, instructional assistant, substitute, and lead summer camp teacher. She has worked with children ages three to five but has a “special place” in her heart for age three.
Parks’ job is to guide students through their day-to-day activities, whether academic or recreational and to work with them to develop their social and emotional skills. “I love every minute of my job and being able to shape their minds is the most rewarding part!” She understands the importance of this work and is committed to interacting with and teaching her students in a way that positively affects their development.
Her passion for this field began during her undergraduate studies in sociology and human development/family sciences at UNC-Greensboro, along with her current job as a preschool teacher. Parks’ experience at NC State has been transformative. The university has given her the knowledge to have the confidence to pursue her goals and has introduced her to a new like-minded community. She enjoys collaborating with her peers, both academically and socially. Additionally, she values the relationships she’s built with her professors, which have boosted her academic confidence. These relationships formed within the YFCS program will benefit her post-graduation as she enters the “real world.”
One professor who stood out to Parks during her experience at NC State has been Jamie Alexander. Parks describes that she once felt shy when it came to speaking in class, but Alexander helped her break that fear and build her confidence. Parks says, “Alexander makes every one of her students feel heard and important, and I can not thank her enough for that.”
Parks give her parents credit for a lot of her inspiration. She explains how they have been her biggest supporters throughout her academic career. After graduation, she hopes to find her “forever” job, working with children and families in a professional setting. Beyond that, she plans to become a family life coach by completing the Family Life Coaching certification exam.
Parks’ passion for her work started with a part-time job and grew into a career path. She is grateful for the community of colleagues at NC State who have supported her in her academic journey, helping to develop her knowledge and skills regarding youth and their families. As Parks’ story shows, NC State has provided an excellent environment for learning and growing. The university not only equips its students with knowledge and skills but also empowers them with the confidence to pursue their goals. Giving students, like Parks, the experience and knowledge to have the confidence to “think and do!”