Student Profile- Pursuing Her Inner Wonk
Kristie Kauerz combines policy and research to seek better opportunities for children
When Kristie Kauerz wrote a mock political campaign speech in fifth grade, titled "Promises, Promises, Promises," she knew she'd found her true calling. But this was not, as the movies might have had it, a case of "a candidate is born." For Kauerz, the daughter of middle-class parents in
Today, she is making good on that discovery as a student in TC's unique doctoral program in Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Policy. Founded by Associate Dean for Policy Sharon Lynn Kagan, the program focuses on the intersection of early education and public policy, and is an intensive training ground for those who wish to study-'" and perhaps one day influence-'"policies affecting early education.
Kauerz already has a leg up on the "influencing" part of things. In 1995, after majoring in political science at
Why, with such a resume, did she feel a need to return to school?
"My years working in state government in
While working for Governor Romer, Kauerz had attended a conference where she heard a speech by Kagan, the author of "Not By Chance," a landmark national study that outlines a holistic system of early care and education designed to respond to family and community conditions outside the classroom. Nearly six years later, Kagan started a new doctoral program at Teachers College that, to Kauerz, seemed as if it had been personally designed for her.
"TC's program provided the closest link between early education and policy," says Kauerz, who left ECS last year to focus full-time on her graduate studies. "I realized that TC was the only place where I could get a degree that specifically said, -'Early Childhood Education and Policy.'"
Kauerz says the program has more than lived up to its billing-'"and she, in turn, has helped make it a success. It's no accident that Kagan tapped her to be the hands-on teaching assistant for the TC Federal Policy Institute's weeklong visit to
Kauerz says she will continue to be involved in early care and education policy, at both state and federal levels, strengthened by her academic work at TC. That should be a formidable combination indeed.
Published Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006