Kyla Sherwood has always loved working with children and wanted to complete her degree to become a teacher, but she also needed to work full-time in order to support herself and finance her education. Sherwood ultimately enrolled as a student in Merrimack’s Professional Studies’ Bachelor Degree Completion Program – a flexible and affordable program for students with busy life schedules.
Today she is student teaching with her former third grade teacher in the Pentucket Regional School district as part of her degree work. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Child, Family and Community Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education, and is on the licensure track to obtain a state license to teach first through sixth grade.
“It gives me great joy to see children happy and to see them make advances in their development and education. To be a small part of their progress is a great honor,” says Kyla. “By going to school at night and working during the day, I am able to apply what I am learning while working with children and families.
“I decided to pursue my bachelor’s degree at night at Merrimack because it helped me afford my education and gain invaluable field experience,” says Kyla. “Despite working full-time, I have been able to balance my personal life commitments, employment, and pursue my degree. While it can be overwhelming at times, most of the professors understand the responsibilities that many of us have outside of the classroom.”
Sherwood is a big fan of the 24-month cohort approach where students take the same classes together, complete the degree, and graduate together. For students, this helps to build community, foster persistence in completing the program, and form close relationships that extend far beyond the classroom.
“I would choose Merrimack 1,000 times over, not just because of the schedule or finances, but because of the cohort model,” says Kyla. “I previously attended a college where I drove to campus, sat in class, and drove home. I expected my experience at Merrimack to be the same, but I was so wrong. I have become so close with the people in my group. We volunteer together. We go to Merrimack games together. We hang out on the weekends. I have made lifelong friendships.”