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Thoughts from Students

Below are thoughts from students who have completed our Child Studies major, the Child Studies minor, the Family Home Visiting Certificate, and the Early Childhood Director Credential & Certificate. Our awesome graduates also enjoy speaking (or emailing!) with students who are curious about careers or who have questions about the program. If you want to speak to a former student, email Dr. Darbi and she will connect you with one of our grads!


“As a first-generation college student, I entered college unsure of what route I wanted to take, I started out in Photo-Journalism and realized that I wanted to do something different. I did some self-exploration and figured out that I wanted to work with children and families. I also knew I needed a flexible program; one without limitations. Child Studies provides students with a broad holistic view of children and families, allowing students and faculty to collaborate and innovate the vast fields that develop from this program. When I found the Child Studies program, I found a home. This program takes students from all backgrounds and gives them the tools to succeed. Thanks to this program, I now excel in my career as an intervention specialist. I work with children ages three to twenty-three who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am so thankful to the Child Studies program for giving me the tools to be successful in my career and my future.” Wittney Hardin


"When I was growing up I knew I wanted to work with children and families but I had no idea how I could serve both and never “get bored” with my career. When I came to WKU I was a nursing student… until I found the FACS department. After a class with Dr. Babb and a conversation with Dr. Darbi, I changed majors at 2:00 am. From that day, I have never looked back and am happy with my decision!

I completed my undergrad degree in Child Studies and completed my Family Home Visiting certification. The Child Studies program, in general, allows for endless career opportunities.  Through Child Studies, I was able to not only gain an abundance of education to assist not only children but also families while getting connected in the community.  Something that stands out to me the most with this program is the faculty. They genuinely care about the students and what they are teaching; you see it in every class, email, and conversation you have with them. This program also allows for flexibility because life happens, believe it or not. You can complete the program completely online or be half online and half in person like I was. Again, the Child Studies program offers endless opportunities.

I have now completed my Masters in Social Work. I am a Clinical Social Worker and practice individual, family, and crisis therapy with children in foster care and their foster parents along with biological family members. I would not be half the professional I am today without the Child Studies program as my backing." Alayna Hawkins-Hunt

"I think the Child Studies program is amazing. I’ve learned so much from the program, & miss my professors everyday! Every course is so well thought out, & every professor/instructor is so wonderful! The faculty and staff are so willing to help each student grow to their full potential! I still have contact with many of my professors, & have reached out to them for different things since graduating, which really shows that they mean it when they say they want to continue to be a resource to you after you leave! I can not say enough wonderful things about it!  Currently, I am working for the Walt Disney Company. I am trying to grow in the company and move up into a position called Corporate Citizenship. In this position, I would partner with the nonprofits in the area to see what Disney can do for them. I would be partnering with organizations like Give Kids the World, Make A Wish, local food banks, local schools, different environmental organizations, etc. Disney also offers their employees the opportunity to attend college/university, tuition free. Currently, I am working on my Master’s, as well as looking into buy my first home! It’s a very exciting time!" Shelby Copeland


"I chose Child Studies because I love to work with children. I was a Children’s Minister when I went back to WKU in 2015 to get my bachelors degree. I had originally majored in religious studies and realized that this degree did not include children’s ministry. I had a fellow student tell me to go talk with Dr. Darbi and enroll in the Child Studies program. After speaking with Dr. Darbi I knew that I had found the program I wanted to be a part of. Plus I gained an advisor, professor and a friend. I cherished my time in this program and the friends I made. But most of all I had someone who believed in me and pushed me to graduate from WKU. Dr. Darbi is one of the most caring professors. And I am proud to call her friend. I would recommend the Child  Studies to anyone who wants to work with children and families." Lori Talley


 "I didn’t just want to be an elementary school teacher that limited me to one job. Instead, I wanted to pick a major that had numerous career opportunities that involved working with children. After my first semester at WKU, I knew that Child Studies was definitely for me. The Child Studies program is not only an amazing program, but it has some of the best professors and mentors! You aren’t just a student when you are pursuing a Child Studies degree, but instead you are family. You go throughout the courses with people that become your friends. You have professors that not only care about you doing good in school, but also in life."  Meagan Ferguson


"I began working in an early childhood center (Early Head Start) in 2007. I had one child who turned 1 year old the week I started and I was about a month pregnant with baby #2. I had been in college before but had quit to start a family. I interviewed for a position as a home visitor (Parent/Child Educator) through the same Early Head Start program and one of the questions was "are you willing to go back to school?" I said "yes, as long as I can do it online." I immediately started researching and at the time, WKU was the only university in the state to offer the degree I needed 100% online. Through a very rocky road trying to work full time, being a mom, a wife, trying to balance school work, oh, and getting pregnant with my #3 boy, I quit school again. Some time went by and I received an email from Dr. Darbi asking how I was and offering support. I chose WKU because it was online, I chose the field of study because it aligned with my career choice, and I have stuck with it because of the support of professors and advisors like Dr. Darbi. I am still employed as a parent/ child educator with Early Head Start! I plan on staying here until I retire or they decide to get rid of me! " Tiffany Grimes


"I changed my major from Elementary Education to Sociology and when I chose a minor, I intentionally chose Child Studies.  What I did not realize is, God works in mysteries ways.  Through the Child Studies program I learned how to be a better father, how to work with children with difficult past, and how to share this with colleagues and friends.  I knew the first time I took Dr. Darbi's class I made the right decision to change majors.  I wanted to work with children and adults who had difficult past.  Today I work in a drug and alcohol treatment center and use my minor of Child Studies to find a solution to why addicts may suffer from addiction; I also work with many parents, teaching them different skills to be the best parent they can be after active addiction.  The greatest reward I received from Child Studies was to learn how to be the best father I have ever been; so more than me thinking this program, my two daughters thank the facility and the hard work of WKU to help me learn skills as a father I had never had. Thank you Western Kentucky and the FACS program for this wonderful journey." Tommy Russell


"The Child Studies program is wonderful! It fit so well with my schedule allowing me to take all my classes online and complete my degree. I also loved being able to get the Home Visiting Certificate and have more options for a career with this certificate.  Having all the opportunities to shadow and observe through the coursework are very beneficial to understand more of what it means to be a professional working with children.  I chose this degree because it fits well with working with children and allowing me to get an education to help children in so many different ways. There are so many opportunities!" Amy Clark


 "I have always had a passion for working with children and families and hoping that I could somehow make an impact on someone’s life. That is what lead me to the child studies program at WKU. The program helped me see that they are a wide variety of careers for this field that I didn’t even consider. The classes helped prepare me for many topics that I have in my current position as a Family and Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension Agent. The professors and advisors are beyond amazing and I could never sing enough praises for all they helped me achieve." Lora Davidson


"I have a passion for working with kids and helping them learn and grow! Kids give me such an exciting view on life and I want to encourage them to be the best they can be! I am employed at the Walt Disney World Resorts as a Children’s Activities Hostess. My degree in Child Studies assisted  me developing the skills needed to teach the children in our programs."  Lee Barnes


"I initially chose the Child Studies major because I wanted to become a Child Life Specialist and this major provided the building blocks to help me obtain that career. Unfortunately, I was unable to achieve that particular goal. I decided to stick with Child Studies due to the plethora of careers that could be attained upon completion of the program. Working with children and families has always been a dream of mine and thanks to the Child Studies major, I can accomplish that dream.

Aside from being an amazing and well-rounded program, there are many other perks to choosing the Child Studies major. One of the biggest advantages of the program is that it can be completed entirely online, thus giving those who may not live in the area (or have other demands) the same opportunities as a traditional student. An added bonus to the program are the amazing professors that students have the privilege to work with. During my time spent in this program, I had the opportunity to study under some of the most well-educated individuals WKU has to offer--it is a great feeling knowing that your professors are not only there to teach what they are required, but are committed to staying current in their field and bringing the best education possible to their students." Valyssa Bree Ehredt


"Many years ago, I was hired as a teacher for one-year-olds at a child care center/preschool and it just felt right. When I had the opportunity to return to college I knew Child Studies was the direction I wanted to go. The children I worked with fascinated me and I wanted to learn more about how they grew, developed and how to make their lives better. And now several years later I’m still working in the early childhood field as a director of a child care program and loving it.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have learned through being a Child Studies major. WKU has a great program with supportive instructors and professors. Early childhood education is such an important field. It is frequently overlooked, especially in regards to the importance of the quality people who take care of children from 10 to 12 hours a day.  As a director,  I value the education of those who are committed to making a difference in the life of a young child." Kim Copeland




















Lady with graduation cap

Wittney Hardin


Girl with dog

Alayna Hawkins-Hunt


Girl in picture

Shelby Copeland


girl holding child 

Meagan Ferguson


mom three sons and husband

Tiffany Grimes & Family


Father mother two children

Tommy Russell & Family


Amy Clark

Amy Clark


Lora Davidson & Family


girl dancing

Lee Barnes


image of woman

Kim Copeland


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 Last Modified 1/23/23