Over the last four decades, Learning Together has served several thousand of young children of all abilities! The developmental, educational, and health needs of young children have been our focus since 1969. Have you ever wondered what the future holds for Learning Together students once they graduate from our programs? If so, then this is for you! We are proud to introduce our latest monthly segment, "Where Are They Now?"
This month, Where Are They Now features Nia Christian, a Learning Together alum from the 1990s, who attended as a typically developing child. She is also the daughter of current board member, Lori Christian.
1. What year(s) did you attend Learning Together?
I attended Learning Together from when I was about 2 to when I was 4 so from 1995 to 1997.
2. What are some of your favorite memories of Learning Together?
Even though I attended Learning Together when I was very young and cannot remember a lot of my time there, my parents assure me that I had lots of friends and loved every minute of it. I do however have one particularly vivid memory from that time of my life. In Learning Together we were taught the basics of sign language, and I remember being so proud that I wanted to immediately show off what I learned to my parents. Since he had a very busy day that day, the only time that I had to show my dad was when we were at the grocery store together. I remember standing in the middle of the checkout aisle signing “I love you” to my father and watching him smile one of the biggest and proudest smiles I had seen.
3. How did your family hear about Learning Together? Why did they think it was right for you? What appealed to them about the program?
My parents most likely heard about Learning Together from one of their friends. They always wanted the best for my brother and I, even when we were very young. I imagine they took a tour of Learning Together and saw how happy and engaged the children were and wanted the same for me.
4. What are you doing now?
As the school year ended I just finished up my sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I am double majoring in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering. Outside of the classroom I play club soccer, volunteer as a tutor for an organization called Higher Achievement, and have a leadership position in the National Society of Black Engineers chapter at my school. This summer I am working at NC State doing research for their engineering department as part of an REU fellowship.
5. What are your future plans/goals?
After I get my undergraduate degree I would really like to attend graduate school. I am not quite sure whether I will go to graduate school immediately or if I will work for a little while beforehand, but hopefully, I still have time to figure all of that out. After graduate school, I plan on pursuing a career in constructing more efficient and safer medical devices for hospitals so that I can use what I have been learning over the course of my educational career to help other people.
6. How have your experiences at Learning Together influenced you growing up and getting to where you are today?
Aside from the typical benefits of helping me interact with other kids my age, I believe that Learning Together truly gave me a pride and passion for learning new things. Such a passion is what drives me to push myself and learn as much as I can every day.
7. What advice would you have for any other families considering sending their children to Learning Together?
Learning Together is a great place for your kids. They’ll have fun and get a great start that will help them long after they leave. Trust me, I went there and I’d like to think I turned out pretty OK.