Christine Meyer, who graduated in December 2013 with her M.S. in Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation degree, will be the focus of our Spring 2014 ‘Adventures in Education’ blog. Follow Christine this semester as she discusses her experiences in her new job with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools as a program evaluation specialist.As a child, I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian. I have always loved animals, and my desire to help anything that was struggling was strong. I was in high school biology lab when I learned that being a veterinarian wasn’t for me…I’d rather play with animals than perform surgery on them. So, what to do now? After much thought and consideration, and considering how much I loved children and learning, I decided that maybe education was where I was meant to be. Fast forward to college, I earned a degree in elementary education from Emory & Henry College (VA) and was excited to begin the next chapter of my life. I was hopeful that I would have a job lined up and ready to go when I graduated…life, of course, did not work out as planned. After sending out more job applications than I can count, I was hired at the end of beginning of August and would be teaching kindergarten in back home in North Carolina.
I was fortunate to be at a wonderful school with great support from parents, fellow teachers, and my administration. Yet after three years of teaching, I still felt like something was missing. I knew that I would enjoy teaching for a few more years, but also that 30+ years of teaching was not for me. At least teaching was a step in the right direction…I love school, I love learning, and the education field was definitely the right one. But what else can you do in education if you don’t want to be a classroom teacher? The answer is, LOTS!
I stumbled upon UNCG’s Educational Research Methodology (ERM) program after a little Google searching and decided to learn more. I met with some students from the department and even though I was a little unsure about what I getting myself into (psychometrics, statistics, what??). I applied to the program, was admitted, and began another new chapter in August of 2011. Best. Decision. Ever. I now get to stay in the field of education and do program evaluation. This means that I collect data from teachers, students, school administration, etc. about various school programs in order to help improve them. The teacher part of my heart is happy that not just test scores are being used to judge the value of a program; although test scores are used and they do matter, I also do interviews and focus groups with people involved with programs to find out how to improve the programs in schools and how to help teachers.
In fact, I was lucky enough to accept a job offer with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools before I even graduated with my Master’s; I am their newest program evaluation specialist! I feel beyond lucky and blessed to have ended up with a position that I absolutely love. I had never even heard of educational program evaluation three years ago when I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school, and now I’ve found my true calling.