Snapper Spotlight: Jennifer Burke finds solace in being an educator

jennifer-burke-200x300
Jennifer Burke joined Millesville this fall.

Nora Long

Staff Writer

 

Millersville University hired many new faculty members this 2016/2017 school year, one of which being Dr. Jennifer Burke. She is originally from Somerville, New Jersey, where she spent twelve years working as a special education school teacher.

Dr. Burke taught English Language Arts, Science, Math, Health and, her favorite, Social Studies.

Dr. Burke has three boys, aged 4, 2 and 2 months old. Her spare time is spent with them. Whether it’s reading story books, playing with Play-Doh, or driving toy trucks around her basement, she’s doing it!

She said she had a crazy busy summer. She moved from New Jersey to the Lancaster area, had her third little guy, and began her new job here at Millersville.

One of the challenges she faces here at Millersville is learning all of her students names, as she only has her students three hours a week. But she will continue to learn their names as the semester progresses.

Dr. Burke decided to come teach at Millersville University because she wanted to have a greater impact on the field of education.

She currently teaches Early Childhood Education and Social Studies Methods for the Young Learners. She was drawn to Millersville based on its outstanding legacy of teacher preparation.

“Besides the outstanding school of Education and Human Services, I was attracted to the area. There is so much to do here; Lancaster is a nice change from central NJ,” Burke said.

“For one thing, my children will grow up having more “hands on” experience with farm animals than I ever imagined.”

She enjoys her brilliant and helpful colleagues and her fantastic students, Burke said. She had heard from other faculty the great reputation of the students at Millersville, and as she saw in the first few weeks here, they were right! She goes on to say, “Everyone is very hardworking and intellectually curious. It’s exhilarating working with them.”

The biggest decision in Burke’s life was the decision to become an Early Education major in her freshman year of college.

She had pondered the idea of going into politics, because she wanted to change the world. Then she found her true calling, and decided to impact the world one student at a time.

Through this decision she met her husband at a school she was teaching at. She said that this choice made the biggest impact on her professional life.

Burke’s advice for Millersville students is, “Enjoy every second, and take advantage of the amazing opportunities Millersville has to offer.  Go to as many things as you can, and learn from everything and everyone, not just your professors.”  She continued, “…Work hard, because you never know where one kind act could lead.”

Burke said that it is an absolute need to inspire future teachers to care, and not just a little but a lot about creating a fair society. A favorite quote of hers is from Dr. Seuss’s the Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”