“Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
Nikki Schulak, M.S. specializes in creating and solving comic problems. She has a knack for bending truth to meet her needs. She'll tackle anything you need put into words.* Nikki adheres to high quality design standards and is dedicated to bringing new and creative ideas to the market place. With more than 10 years of psychotherapy under her belt and menopause right around the corner, she's highly opinionated, compulsively articulate, and sometimes irrational. She couldn't crack an encryption algorithm to save her life, but holy shit, as a professionally trained educator, Nikki can write lesson plans like she can have orgasms -- one after another without pausing for a breath.
*no term papers, and she doesn't do whimsical
Her other professional skills include:
competitive parallel parking;
drawing good conclusions;
Her weaknesses are:
blue cheese with fig dressing;
baby goats, custom made clogs;
(A little too much) Personal information about Nikki:
Married 27 years this coming August.
Kids ages 19 and 22; against her better judgement, they both chose to go to Catholic School.
She is an unreliable narrator and a selfish lover, but a very dear friend.
Given a choice, she'd rather watch The Crown.
She has no natural fear of insects.
Was once the Adoption Coordinator for the NYC Turtle and Tortoise Society.
Likes hiding better than seeking.
Has tried all 12 forms of hair removal.
Tries hard to be vegan but eats cheese late at night in the dark.
Despite having several inoperable brain aneurysms, she's pretty chipper most of the time.
Can gleefully make bullet points all day long.
donning her gorilla costume and riding the #2 from Downtown to Gresham
long, hot showers
organizing guinea pig pop-up events
Medications: Ambien (since 2008); Prozac (since 2011)
Tattoos: Chemical formula for Fluoxetine on left wrist, "Born to Bump" (bumper car) on right bicep, Ampersand on inner right wrist, Chemical formula for Ambien on right ankle, VOLE on left bicep
PUBLISHED WRITING and AWARDS
"Dentistry's Problem Children": Creative Nonfiction Issue #63 (Spring 2017)
"Finding Joy" Winning entry in the Attic Institute's Winter Writing Contest, Portland, OR (March 2016)
"Vulvar Fantasy": She Holds the Face of the World: Ten Years of VoiceCatcher (December 2015)
"About a Ring": Full Grown People (The Other Awkward Age) (November 2015)
"On Not Seeing Whales": Best American Essays 2013, Notable Selection
"The Emperor's New Jump Rope": honorable mention for prose in the 2012 Sports Poetry & Prose Contest at Winning Writers (November 15, 2012)
“The Farther Away you Are, The Smaller You'll Appear”: Switched-on Gutenberg: Issue 18: Corpus, the Body and Its Boundaries (www.switched-ongutenberg.org/) (Fall 2012)
“Tending Rats”: The Yellow Ham (Summer 2012)
“Presidential Candidates”: Letter to the Editor The Oregonian; April 5, 2012
“Psychic Preschool of Portland”; 2012 (www.psychicpreschool.org)
“Art Installation Complete at School”: SoutheastExaminer;November 2011
“Passing Eggs”: Errant Parent; February 2011
“Vulvar Fantasy”: VoiceCatcher5; 2010
“Bubkes for Christmas”: hipMama Zine Issue #49;2010
“A Year in the School Gardens”; 2010 (www.ayearintheschoolgarden.org)
“My Mid-life Thong Crisis”: VoiceCatcher3;2008
“40 poems for 40 lbs”; 2008 (www.fatmuse.com)
“Ramona Quimby at a Brewpub”; 2008 (www.wordstockfestival)
"In the Restroom at the Church (Just Before Facing the Scale at the Weight Watchers Meeting)”: ByLine, 2007
Researched and wrote descriptions of the silent and live auction items, the raffle prizes and the party sign-ups for a benefit auction that raised over $20,000; April 2013
Assistant Editor for VoiceCatcher 6; 2011,VoiceCatcher Summer 2016, VoiceCatcher Spring 2017
Contributor to Principal's newsletter; Atkinson Elementary: 2010-2011
PERFORMANCE and READINGS
"On Not Seeing Whales" in Writer's Night at the Springwater Grange, Estacada, OR; April 15, 2017
"Naked on a Bike" in Fierce on the Page Reading Series at Another Read Through, Portland, OR; September 28, 2016
Featured in Neurotic Tornado podcast Season #3; March - July, 2016
"Animal Desires" in Dance Naked Productions "Revelations: Sex-fueled Art" at Headwaters Theater, Portland, OR; March 10-13, 2016
"About a Ring" with PLONK reading series at Corkscrew Wine Bar, Portland, OR; September 2, 2015
VoiceCatcher on KBOO radio show Bread and Roses with Leigh Anne Krantz, Portland, OR; November 6, 2015
"Finding Joy" with with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; March 13, 2015
Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase on KBOO Radio Show Bread and Roses with Leigh Anne Krantz, Portland, OR; March 6, 2015
"Traveling with Drugs" with with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; January 16, 2015
"Pound by Pound" with with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; November 12, 2014
"Passing Eggs" with Unchaste Readers on KBOO Radio Show Bread and Roses, Portland, OR; October 17, 2014
"40 Poems for 40 Pounds" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; October 16, 2014
"Pound by Pound" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; May 21, 2014
"Dentistry's Problem Children" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; May 20, 2014
"My Mid-life Thong Crisis" in the "Honey I Shrunk my Libido" show at MamaCon 2014; Bellevue, WA
"Dentistry's Problem Children" with Listen To Your Mother: Portland, OR; Alberta Rose Theater, May 11, 2014
"Pound by Pound" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; January 22, 2014
"Awake" in CHOP SHTICKS (a benefit show for Congregation Shir Tikvah), Portland, OR; December 14, 2013
"The Emperor's New Jump Rope" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; September 24, 2013
"Awake" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; May 28, 2013
"My Mid-life Thong Crisis" in the "Honey I Shrunk my Libido" show at MamaCon 2013; Bellevue, WA
"My Mid-life Thong Crisis" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; May 1, 2013
"Vulvular Motion" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; April 30, 2013
"A Dirty Little Secret" with Split Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; March 25, 2013
"The Emperor's New Jump Rope" with Split Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; Nov 27, 2012
"Peaceful Fertile Moments" with Spilt Milk Comedy Showcase at O'Connors, Multnomah Village; Oct 30, 2012
“My Mid-life Thong Crisis” with Time Out! Comedy, Curious Comedy Theater, Portland, Oregon; May 2012
“Passing Eggs” with Time Out! Comedy, Curious Comedy Theater, Portland, Oregon; April 2012
“Dentistry's Problem Children” with Time Out! Comedy, O'Connors Multnomah Village; March 2012
“Awake” with Time Out! Comedy, Curious Comedy Theater, Portland, Oregon; March 2012
“Peaceful Fertile Moments” with Time Out! Comedy, Curious Comedy Theater, Portland, Oregon; Feb 2011
“Vulvar Fantasy”: Powell's Hawthorne location, Broadway Books, St John's Booksellers; Portland, OR; 2010
“My Mid-life Thong Crisis”: Wordstock Festival, Portland, OR; 2008
"What's Love Got to do with It?" a Valentine's Day event at The Foundation, SE Portland; February 14, 2014
"The Original Lingerie Shop Comedy Show" at The Foundation, SE Portland; June 20, 2013
IN ANOTHER LIFE
Preschool Teacher and Animal Discovery Room Manager at Wild Lilac Child Development Community, Portland, OR (7/2016 – present) : Support all dimensions of human differences: culture, race, language, ability, learning styles, ethnicity, family structure, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, and socioeconomic differences; hold and cherish a working concept of diversity in my classroom that addresses the impact of social stereotypes, bias, and discrimination in children’s development and interactions; empower children by giving them the tools to foster confidence, build positive self-identities, have empathetic interactions, and critical thinking skills. In more concrete terms: sing songs and read stories, support art projects and immersive play, maintain a wood shop for children, created and manage an Animal Room where children and teachers can observe, learn about, and interact and care for 13 diverse species of animals. During the pandemic: serve as a daily Afternoon Pod Leader (in-person, not virtually) for a group of 1st-5th graders, offering: science provocations, wood carving lessons, and animal care curriculum, go on nature scavenger hunts in our local park, climb trees and build forts, collect, observe, and record local invertebrates and study their anatomy and behavior, make hula hoops, and giant bubbles, imagine, write and preform skits, enjoy each other’s company and learn new things together every day.
After-school teacher for children ages 5-10 years old at Steam On Academy, Beaverton, OR (9/2015 - 6/2016) : Prepared and presented integrated lessons that focused on invention, group work, and imagination, and drew from the arts and sciences, including theater, crafts, storytelling and writing.
Improv/comedy teacher for children ages 7-13 years old at Tech 4 Kids Club Summer Camp, Beaverton, OR (July and August 2016 ) : Led ensemble-building exercises to encourage students to shed inhibitions, take risks, engage their powers of imagination, hone their story-telling prowess, play with language and movement, learn about building characters, cultivate their comic timing, practice interaction and reaction, develop an understanding of narrative structure, laugh and have fun!
Humanities and Science Specialist at Altair School, Beaverton, OR (9/2015 – 6/2016): Prepared and presented guided discussions and inquiry-based projects with Talented and Gifted children ranging from 6-11 years old in the following subjects: literature, writing, language arts, life science, comedy and improv, theater arts, ancient civilizations.
Ethnographer, Independent Contractor at SmartRevenue, Northwest region, USA (11/2013 – 9/2015) : Conducted in-aisle and exit interviews with shoppers (using iPAQ and tablet technology) in various consumer environments; collected data, made observations, participated in making analytical insights, wrote components of final reports and conclusions; prepared deliverables such as store maps, shelf maps, captioned photos, and flow-counts; transcription of interviews.
Parent Volunteer at Atkinson Elementary, Portland, OR (9/2004 – 6/2013) : Wrote and implemented garden and science programs for grades K-5; assisted in the development and maintenance of the outdoor learning gardens; helped coordinate and plan garden/outdoor learning in K-5 classes; planned trips; assisted teachers in general classroom needs.
Coordinator of Visitor Programs at University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History, Ann Arbor, MI (4/97- 6/99) : Designed, supervised and evaluated education programs and services for schools and the general public; Hired, trained and supervised education staff; Assisted with exhibit design, budget preparation, grant writing and publicity.
School Programs Manager and Director, Environmental Studies Summer Camp at Wave Hill, Bronx, NY (9/94-12/96) : Planned, led and evaluated environmental science programs for K-8 students, teachers, administrators and the general public; Interviewed, hired, trained and supervised staff for School Programs and Environmental Studies Summer Camp; Coordinated daily assignments and scheduling for School Programs staff.
Museum Educator at Lefferts Homestead Childrenʼs Historic House Museum, Brooklyn, NY (9/93-6/94) : Presented exhibit-based, hands-on programs for families.
Student Teacher at Bank Street Childrenʼs School, New York, NY (11/93-1/94) : Taught core curriculum in a 5th/6th grade classroom.
Head Teacher at Public School 279, Bronx, NY (9/92-6/93) : Taught second grade.
Elementary and Early Childhood Instructor at New York Zoological Society, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY (5/90-8/92): Taught classes in habitat ecology, zoology and wildlife conservation; Designed and implemented professional development workshops for teachers; Nationally disseminated a hands-on science education curriculum for early elementary grades.
Education Department Intern at New York Zoological Society, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY (3/88-6/88, 3/90-5/90)
EDUCATION AND AWARDS
Bank Street College of Education, M.S. in Museum Education, 1995
Sarah Lawrence College, B.A. in Liberal Arts, 1990
Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association League; placed 6th in humorous interpretive reading; 1984
References available for a small fee.