Early childhood studies graduate launches career at Nike World Headquarters
The last few weeks before graduating from Western Oregon University’s early childhood studies program in the spring of 2019 was a bit of rollercoaster ride for Jasper Corcoran. After spending three months scanning job listings at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, she was offered a position with a start date just a week before graduation.
“They needed someone to start immediately and I definitely couldn’t turn it down,” she said. “It was a crazy few weeks finishing up my student teaching, submitting my capstone project, moving from Monmouth to Portland, starting a new job and graduating college, but it was so worth it.”
Corcoran said Nike has one of the most influential child development programs in Oregon and she was excited for the opportunity to be a “birth to three” lead teacher working for the company.
“I work on a team of four, including myself, in a classroom of nine children. Inside the classroom I plan activities, collaborate with my team, create weekly newsletters for families and provide one-on-one support for all children. Outside of the classroom I communicate with families regularly, host conferences and track each child’s development and milestones,” she said.
Corcoran said it was a big adjustment working for a large company straight out of school, but she enjoys it.
“When I tell people I work for Nike as a teacher, I usually get confused looks. Within the Nike World Headquarters campus in Beaverton there are three child development centers,” she said. “Childcare on campus is a benefit for Nike employees.”
She said the challenge of working with kids is there’s always a lot happening. “We are constantly moving throughout the day; bending lifting, running, etc. While exhausting, it is good exercise,” she said.
Fortunately, the work is also fun. “What makes my job so rewarding is being able to watch the kids grow and develop. I have an infant class this year and it has been so amazing to watch my kiddos learn how crawl, walk, talk, etc. Another one of the favorite parts of my job is forming relationships with the families that I work with. I love creating a relationship of trust and ‘co-parenting,’ while always being open and honest with parents.”
Corcoran added that WOU and the Early Childhood Program helped her prepare for the position.
While in the Early Childhood Program I received so much amazing support from faculty and my peers. It was such a great support system, especially during such a busy time before graduation. The faculty always made themselves available to help in any way they could when it came time to apply for jobs post-grad. I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of WOU faculty and my community of peers.
She added that her biggest advice to potential students in the program is find their passion.
“Being a teacher is a very challenging job for a variety of reasons, but when you know in your soul that it’s what you want to do every day, it makes the job so rewarding. Another piece of advice I would give is to form connections with your professors, mentors, peers, etc. Entering the working world can be intimidating, but when you have a community supporting you it makes the world of difference. Plus letters of recommendation don’t hurt,” she said.