ALUMNI PROFILE Lauren Zbyszinski (MJ ’18)
Connecting passion with career
For Lauren Zbyszinski, learning is a lifelong endeavor – and there’s always more to learn as a student and as a teacher. As an early childhood educator in a rural, title-one district in Arizona, she worked to create a child-centered educational environment that prepared kids to succeed in all areas of development. Realizing education reform was necessary to help students thrive, she moved to the Arizona Department of Education, where she worked closely with state agencies to implement policies and to deliver professional development in all early childhood content areas. After completing master’s and doctoral degrees to strengthen her understanding of early childhood development, Zbyszinski discovered Loyola’s MJ in Children's Law and Policy, which she completed in 2018.
What attracted you to Loyola’s MJ in Children’s Law and Policy program?
I chose Loyola for two main reasons. First, it is one of the few programs that provides a focus on child law and policy. Second, through the nature of the online program, I was able to combine practical training and coursework with relevant career experiences.
“Even after completing my degree, the faculty continue to be a source of inspiration and mentorship.”
How did you make connections with your classmates through this online program?
I cannot speak highly enough of the value of being in class with other professionals. Everyone comes from such a variety of experiences, careers, and even locations. This made the program even more meaningful. Also, the faculty were one of my favorite “parts” to this program. Each faculty member is a child advocacy specialist, skilled at articulating coursework content and takes the time to support each student’s learning. Even after completing my degree, the faculty continue to be a source of inspiration and mentorship.
How have you used your degree?
Through this program, I was able to connect research in child development to law, policies, and the justice system. The training I received at Loyola combined with my strong research background has helped guide my career path toward an advisory or advocacy position on behalf of children. As the Texas Inter-Agency Deputy Director for Early Childhood, I help state agencies collaborate to maximize the outcomes for children and families and work closely with state and national legislation and policy makers. Completing this program at Loyola is the reason I was recruited to fill this new role for Texas. I now serve as the Inter-Agency Deputy Director for Early Childhood Education for the Texas Education Agency.