Odden Celebrity Reader.jpgFebruary 1, 2023

Mayville State University Child Development Programs Director Jessi Hegg and Associate Professor of Education Dr. Kelli Odden took part in Early Childhood Awareness Day at the North Dakota state capitol in Bismarck Jan. 11, 2023. The event was organized by the North Dakota Home Visiting Coalition.

The theme for the day was “If we can change the beginning of the story, we can change the whole story.” Activities took place in the Great Hall and included early childhood partner exhibits, networking with legislators and state policy makers, an appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog, and celebrity book readings for children.

Dr. Odden was among the celebrities who read to children. Other celebrity readers included North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, Executive Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller, and Governor Doug Burgum.

Throughout the day, Dr. Odden was able to share information about Mayville State’s programming to support the field of early childhood, while Jessi Hegg participated in conversations and networked with others on the topic of early childhood education.

Mayville State Child Development Programs include Head Start, Early Head Start, Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships, child care, lab school, and Pre-K collaborations and leads the field in early childhood education in North Dakota through innovative collaborations with school districts child care centers, communities, higher education, and state agencies.

The program’s $4.8 million-dollar annual budget serves more than 300 children and their families across seven counties: Traill, Steele, Griggs, Nelson, Walsh, Cass, and Grand Forks. Mayville State Child Development Programs centers and classrooms are in the communities of Mayville, Portland, Hillsboro, Buxton, Grand Forks, Fargo, and West Fargo.

“Mayville State is a leader in the fields of early childhood Head Start.jpgeducation and child care, and we are dedicated to serving the state in these high-priority areas,” said Mayville State University President Dr. Brian Van Horn. “I commend Jessi Hegg and Kelli Odden for their efforts to advocate not only for Mayville State’s programs, but also for the young children of North Dakota, while making an impact on the workforce needs of our state.”

Hegg and Odden are both graduates of Mayville State University who studied in the fields of early childhood education and elementary education. 

Photo captions 

Top: Dr. Kelli Odden, assistant professor of education at Mayville State University, was among the celebrity readers during Early Childhood Awareness Day at the state capitol in Bismarck on Jan. 11.

Bottom: Jessi Hegg, Mayville State Child Development Programs Director, (center, in white), is pictured with other Head Start professionals from North Dakota.