"I touch the future. I teach."
- Christa McAuliffe
Space shuttle astronaut and teacher
About Mrs. Zuhlke:
I grew up in the State College area and graduated from State High. During grade school, I spent two years living in Cambridge, England, while my father, professor emeritus of English at Penn State, was on sabbatical leave. On our return, my mother, a former instructor of English at Penn State, became editor of Penn State Agriculture magazine, a position she held until her retirement. My brother, also a graduate of State High and of Penn State's English Department, is currently pursuing a career in music.
I earned my bachelor's degree in French from Vassar College in New York State and then spent two years pursuing graduate study in French, English, and Education at Penn State before my husband, Jim, and I started our family. I returned to graduate school at Penn State in the fall of 2001. In the intervening years I had a variety of teaching experiences, including Childbirth Education and Girl Scouts.
Throughout the 2004/05 school year, I served as an intern in the collaborative partnership between Penn State and State High known as the Professional Development School (PDS), co-teaching four sections of twelfth grade English, both College Preparatory (CP) and Advanced Placement (AP) levels, and one section of Problems of Democracy. That summer I earned my Master's of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction and my Pennsylvania teaching certificate in English and Communications. In the past fifteen years, I have taught both Advanced and English 10, as well as CP English 12 and English 9.
This is my third year serving as co-advisor to the Philosophy Club. I love carrying on discussions about "big ideas" with students beyond the classroom.
Jim and I have four daughters, all State High graduates: Emma, a Kutztown University graduate who works as a photographer in Albany/Troy, New York; Diana, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate who earned her master's degree in Couple and Family Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and works in Phillipsburg; Julia, a Penn State graduate who majored in Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and now works for Penn State in the Finance Office of the College of Liberal Arts and who brought us our 10-year-old grandson, Viktor, through marriage; and Sarah, a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology, who majored in Information Technology and works at the Penn State IT Service Desk. We enjoy camping, kayaking, picnicking, supporting our favorite football teams, and playing with our grand-dogs and -cats.
About Miss Townsend:
I am from Chester County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, and I graduated from Owen J. Roberts High School. I am currently a senior at Penn State double majoring in English and Secondary English Education with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. I feel so grateful to have been able to take so many interesting English courses throughout college, but I have also loved my Human Development and Family Studies courses because they have allowed for me to truly understand the deeper meaning behind our relationships, our emotions, and our mental growth as humans. My parents also both went to Penn State and met on their first day of classes in 1988. I have a sister starting her freshman year at Ithaca College (virtually from home), and my brother is a freshman in high school.
Outside of school and classes, I love to cook, exercise, hike, shop, listen to crime podcasts, and read. My favorite genre of books is historical fiction, but during quarantine my friends and I created our own “book club” or book exchange, so I was able to read a lot more fantasy, non-fiction, and young adult novels. I spent this past summer nannying three sisters while their parents worked from home. In past summers and here in State College, I have worked at daycare centers with every age possible, from newborns to Kindergarteners, so I am thrilled to now be working with teenagers!
I always loved being in school and learning each day; English was always my favorite subject, and I had four fantastic years of English classes throughout high school. I feel that there is something that everyone can thrive in and feel connected to with English, and I hope to bring those aspects to light for my students. From May to June in 2019, I travelled abroad to London for four weeks, and I was able to study classic British authors, visit the historical sights I have read about in novels and poetry, and watch two classic Shakespeare plays live, which was a completely different experience from just reading the texts in class. With all of that being said, I really believe that literature and English will carry through everyone’s lives without them even knowing. What you read and write about can travel with you wherever you go, and I am so excited to be working with Mrs. Zuhlke this year to allow you to expand your mind as a reader and a writer, but also as a human.