Working in education is a passion Yvonne Pulliam inherited from her mother, Laura Harper. Her mother propelled herself through her undergraduate degree while also managing a household and her four children. Yvonne grew up with a shining example of self-empowerment and Laura’s success has inspired her daughter to succeed in her own educational pursuits. After receiving her associate’s degree in science from Camden County College, Yvonne transferred to Rutgers–Camden and declared a childhood studies major. As a mother of two, Yvonne faces challenges that are similar to those her mother had faced, but Laura’s experience and guidance, as well as the love and encouragement of her husband and children, are tools Yvonne uses to advance her education and career.
The rapid learning developments of pre-school and kindergarten students have fascinated Yvonne since she started the childhood studies program. She has worked in multiple daycares and schools in a number of different roles, including substitute teaching, paraprofessional work, and as a teacher’s aide. From those experiences, combined with her education, she now sees classrooms as individual and unique spaces that can be transformed for the students that depend on them. Ingrid Campbell, an instructor in the Early Childhood Education program, was the first person to show Yvonne the importance of specific environments for young children, as well as the functions and business of daycares. The degree of children’s development is itself a tool for conditioning environments that Yvonne looks forward to assessing, changing, and reassessing as a teacher.
As a student, parent, and wife, Yvonne has more responsibilities than the average person, but she has managed to keep motivated through even the toughest challenges. The fact that she is the recent recipient of the Childhood Studies Outstanding Graduating Senior Award is a testament to Yvonne’s dedication and enthusiasm for her studies. One of the most helpful resources through it all has been her mother. Laura has worked in education since Yvonne was a six years old and has much advice to give to her daughter. The two often discuss lesson plans, classroom ideas, and education systems. Yvonne has also appreciated the unique assignments of her childhood studies classes. She was once assigned to make a children’s picture book. The project engaged her creativity and was such a positive experience, she eventually hopes to write another children’s book.
When her Spanish instructor, Professor Charles Molano, explained the different pay scales for public school teachers, it was hard for her to say no to a career in education. As it stands, the higher the level of education a teacher has, the higher she is paid. Her instructors and professors have shared their classroom experiences as curriculum material and in the tradition of educators, have passed down their secret discoveries from their experience to new teachers. As a substitute teacher and teacher’s aide, she has gained a familiarity to teaching as plans evolve into lessons taught to young students. Yvonne’s experience at Rutgers–Camden has been a compliment to the personal understanding she grew to have for the teacher in her life, her mother.
Yvonne has worked in Camden schools for over two years and plans to continue working in the field of education after she graduates. Eventually, she also would like to pursue a master’s degree in childhood studies or education. She says her success at Rutgers–Camden has come out of staying focused, doing her assignments on time, performing to the best of her ability, but especially from the inspiration of her mother’s example and the love and support of her husband and children. With resources as good as she has, Yvonne is another Rutgers success story unfolding before us.
About Yvonne Pulliam
Hometown: Camden, NJ
Camden College of Arts and Sciences Major: Childhood Studies
Expected Camden College of Arts and Sciences Graduation Date: May 2014
Written By Darragh Nolan