The newest addition to the McNicholas High School staff is actually one who is very familiar with McNicholas. Lauren Wulker has returned to McNicholas to serve as Cat Lest’s substitute while she is on maternity leave. However, what many students may not know is that this is Wulker’s third time at McNicholas.
Wulker, a graduate of the Class of 2002, who was a member of Journalism staff, the Women’s Soccer Team, Spirit Club, and Mock Trial, described her time at McNicholas as “spirited,” though she had no intention of returning upon graduation.
She went on to graduate from Ohio University with a degree in exercise physiology and an intent on becoming a physical therapist, but was thrown a curve ball in her senior year when the degree changed from a masters to a doctorate, forcing her to have to undergo six additional years of education to continue on her path to become a physical therapist. She instead opted to apply for an accelerated nursing program at NKU because going back for six additional years of schooling in a field that she was so thoroughly versed in “felt like starting over” to Wulker. At NKU, she was put on a wait list to pursue a nursing degree and left the country for three weeks. Only upon her return was she informed of her acceptance into the program, at which time it was too late for her to take the required summer course.
At a point of uncertainty, Wulker returned to McNicholas with a friend to pick up her friend’s high school transcripts and was informed of the McNicholas’s need for substitute teachers. She began subbing for the high school until she was offered a full time teaching job in 2008. She continued to teach until 2015 and was the Eco Club moderater, helped start the community garden at McNicholas, and helped with Ski Club. During this time Wulker also continued her education with the Global Field Program, spending 10 days in Guyana, and earning her Master’s degree in Biology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
After earning her Master’s degree at Miami, she was offered a job in Miami’s Institute for Food. She accepted the job and spent three semesters at Miami because “having been exposed to more experiential learning, [she] wanted to be an educator outside of the classroom.” She taught students of a variety of majors and oversaw the genesis of Miami University’s sustainable agriculture farm that she describes as the “most awesome and challenging project of [her] life.” Wulker said that “food is so intimate, the most intimate thing that we can do as humans,” which is why the “food revolution involves every walk of life.” At Miami she taught about the economic, environmental, and health impacts of local farming.
Wulker returned to sub at McNicholas this year at the request of Science Department Chair Regina Goines, whom she refers to as a friend and mentor, and will be staying until fall break. In December she will begin work as an agricultural educator at Greenacres.