January 19, 2023

Learn About Professional Pathways in Early Childhood

More than 40,000 professionals in Pennsylvania work within the early childhood field. What has your career pathway been? 

Trying Together is offering “Professional Pathways in Early Childhood,” where participants can hear from five early care and education professionals whose journeys have spanned the gamut from infant toddler classrooms to the floor of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. In this panel discussion, we will explore numerous professional growth opportunities that currently exist.

Session Details

  • Session Dates:
    • January 25, 2023 | 12 – 1 p.m.
    • February 1, 2023 | 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.


The following panelists will speak with participants:

  • Monica Aston is an Early Learning Program Engagement Specialist with Trying Together through the Early Learning Resource Center Region 5. She spent 21 years as a child care teacher and assistant director before joining Trying Together as the Family Engagement Specialist, where she used her experience to identify young children’s developmental milestones, engage with families, and assist them in their search for early learning programs such as Early Head Start, Head Start, and Pre-K Counts. Monica holds her Child Development Associate’s Degree from North Hampton Community College, and is a life-long learner who continues her education through attending workshops, conferences, and trainings. She values her work and her ability to build rapport within the field of early childhood education.
  • Judy Graca has over 30 years invested in the Early Childhood Education field with experiences to include Second and Third Grade Elementary Education Teacher, Family Child Care Provider, Preschool Director, Keystone STARS Quality Coach, Keystone STARS Designator, and her current role as Director Quality Initiative Projects at Trying Together. Judy received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education from Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota. Judy’s passion is connecting Allegheny County children, families and educators to equitable access in quality early childhood programming and career development.
  • Emily Neff, Director of Public Policy at Trying Together, leads the policy department and advocacy initiatives at Trying Together. She engages with policymakers, educators, and families to advocate for increased access to high-quality early learning experiences. As a former educator, she seeks to connect educational practice to policy to create and advance more equitable systems for children, families, and educators.  Emily started at Trying Together as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in 2016. She is an alumna of Teachers College, Columbia University (Education Policy, M.A.), and Allegheny College (English, B.A.).
  • Lindsey Ramsey is the Executive Director at Shady Lane School. Lindsey earned an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Instructional Studies with a Dual Minor in Education and Psychology from Point Park University. Following her undergraduate work, she received a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and is currently a doctoral student in their School of Public Administration. Through her educational journey, Lindsey grew in the early childhood field by getting hands-on experience as an early childhood educator specializing in infant and toddler care and then by elevating the voice of the early childhood field through advocacy as Trying Together’s Assistant Director of Policy and Practice.
  • Lindsey Vicoria is the Professional Growth Strategist at Trying Together. She supports the Early Childhood Apprenticeship program as well as serving as the Professional Development Coordinator for the Professional Development Organization at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Through her work, Trying Together is able to connect early childhood caregivers with low or no cost educational opportunities in Pennsylvania. Lindsey is a native of Buffalo, NY and attended Alfred University for her Bachelor’s degree in Child Psychology and Duquesne University for her Master’s degree in Child Development.


Space is limited. Registration for the January 25 event closes on January 23. Registration for the February 1 event closes on January 30.

More Information

For questions about the course or credit, contact Allison Hritz at and Paige Kizior at