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Emily is a current graduate student looking to earn a PhD at the University of Georgia to become a Child Life Researcher.

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"Getting involved in research really helped to build solid professional relationships which have carried over into grad school!"

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Emily Goldstein
Class of 2015



My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.

I have wanted to be a pediatrician and work with children for as long as I can remember.

I went to AOC and started building my portfolio so that I could get admitted to a large R1 research university.

I met Ms. Ruiz (now Mrs. Ayres) who convinced me to apply to the University of Alabama!

I switched my major from Biology to Human Development with a focus in Child Life.

I realized I was no longer interested in the grueling lifestyle that comes with med school and residency.

I completed my Child Life internship and realized my personal skills are better suited for a job in academia and research than in a clinical practice.

I applied to MS programs to continue to study human development and complete research. I stayed at the University of Alabama for my MS and will graduate in May of 2021.

Next I plan to get my PhD and become a professor of human development while continuing to pursue and expand child life research.



Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway


  • Volunteering at Henry Mayo Hospital

  • Volunteering with Special Olympics

  • Took SAT classes to get my score high enough to earn a full tuition scholarship to the University of Alabama.


  • Volunteering at Children’s of Alabama

  • Multiple child life practicums

  • Became involved in research I was passionate about during my freshman year of college, which allowed me to build solid professional relationships which have carried over into grad school.


What I'm currently doing/hope to do

I am currently working as a graduate assistant for my department in grad school. I help grade and proctor tests for my professors. My research is child life focused, in which we help children cope with various medical and hospital experiences. For my career, I hope to be a professor of human development and continue pursuing child life research as well as training the next generation of developmentalists and child life specialists.


How to maximize my time in high school?

  • Advice #1: Keep your college GPA high! If you transfer those credits, your GPA will transfer as well and it can help or hurt you.

  • Advice #2: Shadow a child life specialist to learn about the career!

  • Advice #3: Volunteer at Henry Mayo Hospital.

  • Advice #4: Get as much experience as possible working with children of a variety of needs and ages.

  • Advice #5: If you are interested in grad school, try and find a research lab in undergrad that will mentor you and help you grow in your skills so you are competitive for a grad program!

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