Eastern Oregon University > Mountaineer Magazine > Alumni Stories > Finished degree gives others a strong start

Finished degree gives others a strong start

Angelica-early-childhood-educationBy Katy Nesbitt

When Angelica Fuentes, ’18, enrolled at EOU, she found an institution that invested in her career and success as an individual.

An early childhood education professional, Fuentes attended Treasure Valley Community College and EOU in a variety of non-traditional ways – online from home and by taking intensive weekend classes on the TVCC campus in Ontario.

“When I started, it was after I had kids – I needed to work and still attend school,” Fuentes said.

In 2008 Fuentes enrolled in EOU’s online program and continued to work full time. For nine years she took classes when she could fit them into her schedule. Meanwhile her career was evolving.

She was hired as an early home visitor for the Oregon Child Development Coalition in Ontario in 2011. Within two years she became the home visitor coordinator at the Coalition’s center in Nyssa.

After years of taking classes sporadically, Fuentes said the trigger to finishing school was an opportunity to be the Nyssa center’s education coordinator. A bachelor’s degree was required for the job.

“I met with an advisor and developed a game plan to fast-track a degree that would incorporate what I do.”

“I met with an advisor and developed a game plan to fast-track a degree that would incorporate what I do,” Fuentes said. “It was a good move and about time to finish school.”

By integrating her sociology and anthropology classes with her early childhood coursework and experience, Fuentes designed her individualized Integrative Studies major through EOU’s Ontario Regional Center.
Fuentes’ degree advanced her career, an aggregate of disciplines itself. The center she runs works with both migrant and non-migrant farm working families, preparing their children for school holistically.

“I’ve always worked with kids and I felt like something was missing,” Fuentes said.  “The relationship with parents and the child allows me to help the whole picture.”

Serving children from six weeks to five-years old, the Center provides family services geared to meeting parents’ education goals for their children, the Coalition’s standards, and Head Start requirements.

The staff is bilingual, Fuentes said, so the children can speak their home language in the classroom while learning English.

“We try to make it less stressful so they learn and feel comfortable in their environment,” Fuentes said.

The Center also helps families connect with basic services like dentist and doctor visits and keeping up with immunizations. Fuentes said she sees a benefit in offering wrap-around services along with early childhood education.

“It’s more about helping as a whole instead of just one aspect,” she said.