Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences Graduate Inspired by Unexpected Career Path
Advocacy for first-time parents: Nurse-Family Partnership
Ashlei Watson graduated from Texas Tech with her bachelor's degree in Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences (CFAS) in 2012, and her master's degree in Public Administration in 2016. She currently works as a Parent Advocacy Coordinator at Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a nurse home visiting program for first-time mothers from pregnancy until the child is 2. In her job, Ashlei trains and engages current clients and graduates, first-time parents, and people who have graduated the two-year nursing home visiting program. She helps them share their stories with audiences like legislators, donors, and members of the community.
"What I love most about my job is my ability to grow the network of parents who are willing to share their journeys of parenthood with legislators so that Nurse-Family Partnership can grow across the country," Ashlei said. "I also love encouraging these parents to pursue more in life and seek professional development skills that will propel them to their passion."
After finding out she was unexpectedly pregnant during the last year of earning her bachelor's degree, Ashlei received an outpouring of support which inspired her to want to work with first-time moms and encourage them along the way despite their circumstances. Ashlei got the opportunity to meet the CEO of Nurse-Family Partnership at a local community event which led her to an internship with NFP during her master's program. These experiences have only grown her love for policy work and advocating for families.
"My job is really like grassroots organizing and creating advocacy pipelines for constituents," Ashlei said. "If you are passionate about giving those who are underserved a voice, understanding policies that can make a change is crucial to bettering our society and giving constituents a platform to speak their truths."
Ashlei's Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences degree equipped her with skills in understanding the importance of diversity and inclusion, teamwork, leadership, and how to network. She says that the CFAS degree is unique because it covers an array of populations and prepares students to work with those populations.
Ashlei also created a Parent Ambassador Program that focuses on supporting Nurse Family Partnership advocacy efforts at the local, state, and national levels, sharing NFP parent success stories, and increasing awareness about NFP. This program gives parents an opportunity to volunteer and get involved with Nurse Family Partnership.