T'Kayla Baker chose to major in early childhood education with PreK-Grade 3 licensure at Eastern New Mexico University because she enjoys helping children learn and develop.
"I love watching them develop into an individual; it is one of the most interesting and unique experiences a person can have," she said.
"Dr. Dawn Browder [assistant professor of early childhood education] allowed me to expand my knowledge, love and interest in the field [of education]," she explained. "She makes her course very easy to follow and helpful. I'm happy to say that a lot of what she teaches in her courses has transferred over to how I am around children and that is to be open-minded, patient and understanding."
She has been able to use the information she has learned in Dr. Browder's courses and apply it to her on-campus job as a teaching assistant at ENMU's Child Development Center.
T'Kayla, who is minoring in psychology, would like to be an educator and teach in a kindergarten, first or second-grade classroom. After teaching for a few years, she would like to transition to a child psychologist specializing in child behavior analysis.
One of her favorite places on campus is the Golden Library. "It is a super quiet and perfect place to hold study groups. They also have a variety of resources that I have found helpful in my classes."
T'Kayla's favorite classes in her undergraduate career were "Social Psychology" and "Child Psychology," because "both classes tied into the social and personality aspects of adults and children, which is something that I have always been interested in."
She chose ENMU because of the small class sizes. "I wanted to go to a school where the teachers know you by your first name because you have a better chance at succeeding, especially if you need extra help. That's better than being in a class three times as big where nobody knows your name, and you have to look outside of class for help," said T'Kayla, who is a sprinter for ENMU's track and field team.
Her favorite part of being a Greyhound is seeing the "amount of love professors, alumni and the administration have for this campus."
T'Kayla's advice for students pursuing a degree in early childhood education is "to love the field you choose. You will go much further in your career path if you are involved in something you are compassionate about—child care and education are more difficult than many people believe, but it is satisfying to know that you are passionate about your career."
T'Kayla was born in Ohio and raised in Arizona with three younger siblings. Her mother is a registered nurse manager for a specialized company in home health care for adults and pediatrics.