Jayna McQueen working at her computer in preparation for the forum.

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A TCU doctoral student will represent the state of Texas Sunday at a forum on early childhood education.

Jayna McQueen, who is working on her doctorate in the College of Education,  was selected to join the Texas State Public Policy Team at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Public Policy Forum.

NAEYC website states this year the forum is scheduled for Feb. 28 to March 1 in Washington D.C. and advocates for the needs of education for young children.

“Each one of you is an advocate. And we need your voice now more than ever,” said NAEYC.org’s page on the forum.

This is McQueen’s first forum, but she said she’s prepared.

“They meet together to discuss political advocacy and learn the ins and outs of lobbying and what’s currently in place for early education and policy for young children,” McQueen said.

The team also expects to meet with senators, lobbyists and representatives, McQueen said.

McQueen applied for the position on the Texas team through the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children (TAEYC).

“My interest in applying evolved from research on the policies that surround young children and families in poverty,” McQueen said.“I just wanted to know the other piece of the policy end.”

It was a graduate class taught by Dr. Kathleen Kyzar at TCU that McQueen said first sparked her interest in early childhood education and NAEYC.

McQueen plans to eventually take on more of an advocacy role in early childhood education. She has already done research on children and families in poverty.

“I’m beginning to scratch the surface of the needs and some of the success, but mostly failures, of policies that are in place,” McQueen said. “Attending NAEYC is one way I hope to gain direction towards my dissertation.”

She said the ultimate goal is to learn how to be an agent of change.

“I have more questions than I have answers,” McQueen said. “I would really like to actually help make change in communities.”

McQueen’s participation in NAEYC is funded by TCU’s Center for Public Education.

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Regardless of the opportunities and information learned at the forum, McQueen said she plans to stay involved with the work and policies of TAEYC.