Growing up with nearly 30 cousins, Eloisa Yanez-Rogers recalls playing teacher and pretending her youngest relatives were her students. She organized crafts, taught them how to spell their names, and helped them learn the alphabet.

A native of Santiago, Chile, Eloisa says those memories guided her to the field of early childhood education.

She met her husband Alex while visiting an uncle in Tacoma in 2011. The couple soon married and Eloisa moved to Tacoma in 2013, where she explored her educational options.

She was working toward her initial certificate in early childhood education at another college when Bates Technical College hired her as a teacher assistant in their Early Learning Center. In 2015, she enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program, while continuing to work.

“The hands-on focus of the program really helped me apply the concepts that I learned in class,” says Eloisa. “For instance, instead of just talking about classroom environment, we actually went to child care classrooms, designed learning stations and organized the environment. The teacher tailored the program to the students’ needs, and she constantly encouraged and helped me work toward my educational goals,” says Eloisa, who earned an initial certificate in 2014 and an infant and toddler specialization in 2016.

Her husband Alex, a former landscaper and warehouse worker, also discovered opportunity at Bates. In 2017, he enrolled in the college’s Biomedical Service Technician: Clinical Engineering program to learn how to repair and maintain sophisticated healthcare equipment.

Eloisa took a break from her studies when she gave birth to their son in June 2017. “I wanted to focus on work so I could support my family financially, and help Alex focus on his program, without him having to think about working many hours. Once he graduates, I will go back and complete my last two quarters to earn my Associate in Applied Science degree. My hope is to eventually earn a Bachelor’s Degree,” she notes.

My goal is to work with children in a high-poverty setting in our community, because I would like to give back and do as much as I can to help them succeed.

As an Early Head Start Specialist, Eloisa works with children from one month to five years old. She serves as a co-teacher, where she promotes school readiness and supports the comprehensive development of children.

“My goal is to work with children in a high-poverty setting in our community, because I would like to give back and do as much as I can to help them succeed,” says Eloisa, who plans to work in family support. “Sometimes, people see child care as babysitting, but what they’re missing is how important our role is in the development of children. I want to provide children with a safe and nurturing learning environment that helps them feel worthwhile, capable and loved,” she smiles.

To learn more about the Early Childhood Education program, go to, or attend an upcoming Information Session.