Graduate Certificate in Educational Psychology

Shelley Weatherwax

“I hope in the future to use my new evaluation knowledge and skills to improve ECE workforce policy and initiatives.”


Kuliʻouʻou, Oʻahu and Waikoloa, Hawaiʻi Island


Educational Psychology

Related Degrees

  • Graduate Certificate, Program Evaluation (PE) in Educational Psychology

How did you become interested in the field of education? The EPPE Program?
My career in early childhood education began in high school when I interned in a preschool classroom. This experience ignited a passion for young children that has remained with me. Since then, I have had many direct service roles, including teaching, program administration, professional development and training, technical assistance, community initiatives, and policy work. Being in the early childhood field for over 30 years, I have grown to understand and value the role that evaluation and research can play, so in 2020, when I found myself unexpectedly unemployed, I jumped at the chance to expand my knowledge and expertise in program evaluation. The EDEP program evaluation certificate was a perfect fit in that it was offered in a Hawaiʻi-based context, was easily relatable/adaptable to my particular field of interest, and had a supportive advisor and professors along the way.

Briefly describe your capstone project with the new Early Learning Careers Pathway Project in Hilo.
The project is a community-based initiative that offers high school students the opportunity to earn credits in Hawaiʻi Community College’s (HCC) Early Childhood Education program while they work toward high school graduation. I supported the project in understanding the key elements and lessons learned in their start-up year and continued implementation in year two.

Where do you work?
Currently, I work for a large federal contracts company whose client is the Office of Child Care. As a Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) Systems Consultant, I support and mobilize training and technical assistance to States, Territories, and Tribes in the implementation of their CCDF plans.

How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
I am proud to have been a graduate of the first COE MEd in Early Childhood Education cohort, as it has been the foundation for continuous career advancement in the field. The EPPE program has helped expand my lens in the field and opened new job and consulting opportunities.

What are your future plans with your degree?
The ECE workforce remains the most undervalued, unappreciated, and under-compensated field. Yet the work they do remains invaluable. I hope in the future to use my new evaluation knowledge and skills to improve ECE workforce policy and initiatives. More importantly, though, I see myself also inspiring new leadership in the field and mentoring others in their professional journeys on behalf of young children and families. As a minority, a native Hawaiian, I see myself strengthening and increasing the number of researchers and evaluators in ECE who understand and approach the field from a more diverse, multicultural, and equitable lens.


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