"I began working with kids when I was ten years old by helping out a teacher in a preschool classroom. From there, my love for working with young children was born."
– Danielle Gehrlein , Class of 2021

If you know Danielle Gehrlein ’21, you know she’s always had a passion for teaching. She’s a representative of student affairs for Pace’s School of Education (SOE), a consultant at the Writing Center, and she even volunteered in Ghana through the Play and Learn Foundation last summer to teach English and math. But her love for education began when she first started working with children—as a child herself.

“I began working with kids when I was ten years old by helping out a teacher in a preschool classroom. From there, my love for working with young children was born,” Gehrlein told us. Talk about a vocation! Eventually, she earned teaching assistant positions at two daycare facilities while in high school, working her way up to the upper elementary and middle school bracket. “I immediately found myself connecting with [my students] on a whole new level,” she enthused, and from that moment on, Gehrlein shifted her focus to teaching older students.

While she knew early on that she wanted to pursue childhood education as a major, it took Gehrlein some time before she found a college that felt right to her. “When I was touring colleges as a prospective student, my older friends always told me that when I found the school for me, I would feel it.  However, I didn’t believe them because after touring what seemed like hundreds of institutions, none of them stuck out to me.” Until she visited the PLV Campus, that is. “There was something about its welcoming atmosphere that drew me in, [and] I fell more in love with what the school had to offer.”

Gehrlein has taken advantage of every opportunity available to her while at Pace, becoming an incredibly active representative of SOE. She’s also been lending her skills to the Writing Center since her second year, a position she was all too happy to talk about. “I have always loved writing, and tutoring students at Pace’s Writing Center is a way to help them improve and for me to put my passion to use,” Gehrlein explained.

Utilizing her passion for a higher purpose is something she’s been committed to since she was very young. “I began doing volunteer outreach projects [in] impoverished areas in Africa when I was in middle school,” she told us. “This is how I learned that the education children in Ghana receive is severely lacking. Knowing this, I felt I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing about it, so I made the decision right then that I would one day make it there to help.” And she absolutely did.

Through the Play and Learn Foundation, Gehrlein got the chance to volunteer in Ghana, tutoring young children English and mathematics and even helping the foundation operate their Mobile Library to improve literacy. She wrote about the experience on SOE’s blog, and we strongly encourage the read. Gehrlein's work truly exemplifies her passion for going above and beyond as an educator.

She’s also looking to continue traveling—a fact not many people know about her. “I have the travel bug now, and really [want] to go backpacking through Europe!” We can’t wait to see where Gehrlein’s passion for teaching takes her next.

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