Former Students – Where Are They Now?

Are you a former student of The University of Alabama and took German? We would like to hear from you! And so would those thinking about a major or minor in Foreign Languages with a concentration in German. Incoming students often wonder what our former students are doing now. Let us know what you are up to, and how German has helped you along the way. Simply send us an e-mail. Thank you so much for sharing!

Comments and Updates from Former Students

 

Update December 2016
Mandy Wilk,
BA German / Music (2016):
Coming into my junior year of college, I was a Music major with a German minor; however, after doing the summer abroad program in Berlin and Munich, I decided to switch to a double major and graduated with a Flute Performance and German degree! I am currently studying to get a masters of music at Indiana University. As a masters student, we have to have an “outside field” and so I decided to continue my German studies and I am enrolled in a German class. Although there aren’t that many German speakers in the school of music here, I am still able to use my skills when it comes to music – some of the pieces we play have markings in German and my friends constantly ask me to translate! I am also looking into doing the Fulbright Program over in Germany and/or summer festivals there as well. I absolutely loved my time at UA and deciding to take the plunge and immerse myself in German again was one of the smartest things I did during my undergrad.

 

Update December 2016
From Lily Teague,
BA German and International Relations (2016):
Currently, post-graduation, I am working in Bregenz, Austria as an English teaching assistant with the program USTA (United States Teaching Assistants) organized by Fulbright Austria. Although I teach English, I rely heavily on my knowledge of German, using it on a daily basis to interact with colleagues and in daily life.

My interest in German was first peaked when I took a German 101 course my freshman year. The following summer I participated in the UA in Berlin program which was a wonderful, educational experience. I later spent my junior year living in Mannheim, Germany where I was able to put to use the language skills learned at UA.

Enrolling in the German 101 course freshman year was one of the best decisions I made; studying the German language and culture greatly prepared me for my current job. Thanks to my educational background in German, I am now able to understand a culture and people different from my own and to facilitate cross-cultural communication each day when interacting with students and colleagues.

Update December 2016
From Jason Lange
BS Civil Engineering, Second major in German, and MS Geography & Planning:
I am living currently in Birmingham. I work as a Civil Engineer at the City of Birmingham, since December 2014. My degrees from UA are a. Unfortunately I do not use German regularly, so I have lost a good bit of it. Overall everything is going well. We enjoy Birmingham. My wife, Ellen, who was also on the Klagenfurt summer trip, is in the final year of her medical residency at UAB.

Update December 2016
From Matt Wehner,
MA in German (2008), MBA (2009):
My career objective after grad school was to work in Information Technology for a company where I could apply my German on a regular basis. Now, I’m a team leader and systems manager in the digital marketing organization of a multinational, Fortune 50 consumer packaged goods company. 

While I’m in the US, the primary agency partners with whom I work are in Frankfurt, Germany. We talk for hours every day, often in German. I’m able to visit them in Frankfurt for several days each year. My education and experience in German culture and history — gained at UA — has enriched this relationship. It’s been a common basis for understanding norms and preferences, for discussing current events in context, and even for cracking jokes. My business partners appreciate that I can relate to them on this level, and I’m happy to be able to do so. I’m convinced that our collaboration (and results) would not be as strong without that foundation. 

I currently live in Cincinnati, which itself is full of German influence, with my partner (also a German graduate!) and adopted a greyhound.

 

Update December 2016
From Lekisha Gunn,
Economics and German at UA:
In 2013 I received an MA in Public Policy from Duke University, and currently live in Vienna, Austria (where I get to use my German :)) and work as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in UN issues at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. German allowed me to return to Europe where I have been working for 6 months now for a two-year position at the UN. I’m very thankful for the German Department at UA for granting me the opportunity to study abroad in Germany and seriously consider an international career and, in particular, a career in foreign policy at the State Department.

 

Update December 2016
From Leah Middlebrook,
BA International Studies, Minors in German and Spanish (2012):

During my undergraduate studies at UA, I participated in a UA summer abroad program. During this program I spent one month in Austria and Germany, which boosted my interest not only in the German language but also in Europe in general. Immediately after graduating from UA in May 2012, I moved to Bavaria, Germany to work as an au pair for the summer before beginning a teaching job in Spain. After spending a few years in Spain and in France, I am currently back in Germany for a Master’s program in Intercultural Conflict Management. Though my program is international and taught in English, I have the opportunity to use my German on a daily basis here in Berlin.

 

Update December 2016
From Ellen Sawyer (Levet),
B.Sc. In Management (Specialization in International Business) and B.A. in German (2013): 
The combination of my two degrees put me in a great position when I entered the job market. I was lucky enough to get my start in the automotive industry as an intern at Porsche Cars North America in Atlanta by translating car parts from German to English. I learned the AfterSales side of the auto business and was hired full time in the Classic Department, working with original and restored classic vehicles built between 1956 and 2004. I corresponded with my German colleagues daily. I switched jobs in December of 2015 and now currently work for Mercedes-Benz USA in Atlanta. My German is used much more in my current role as the AfterSales Business Development Specialist for Commercial Vehicles, as I work very closely with Germany on Service Contracts for the US market. It’s always nice to surprise coworkers with my German language abilities and it also makes things a bit easier when translating gets tough. When in Germany for work, my meetings are 50/50 in German and English. Knowing German in the automotive business gives me a leg up and also makes me feel more legitimate in my line of work. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to be able to have a conversation with colleagues in their native language and be able to keep up and respond intelligently. If it weren’t for my degree and time spent abroad, I don’t believe I would be where I am today, career-wise. I absolutely love my job and I’m so thankful that I went to UA and studied German. I would do it all over again if I had the choice.

 

Update December 2016
From Maryella Matthews,
BA German and Anthropology, MA in German Studies (2009):
I obtained two bachelor degrees in German Studies and Anthropology at UA. I was blessed with the opportunity to obtain an MA in German Studies in 2009, after which I worked in Liberia, West Africa on a grant to help rebuild the educational infrastructure after years of civil war devastated the region. In 2014 I began a new chapter as the  “Projektleiterunterstützung” or ‘Project Lead Support’ to the Vice-President of Engineering at Mercedes- Benz US International. I served as a technical translator and project coordinator. Now I support the senior manager of the “Entwicklungsverbindungstelle” or Development Liaison department at Mercedes Benz. I am expected to speak, write, and understand German to make decisions every day. I am immensely grateful for the education I received. It gave me the foundation to achieve.

 

Update December 2016
From Jacob Delker,
BS Finance and German, Minor in Economics:
I graduated in 2008 and work in the insurance industry specializing in the underwriting and placement of medical malpractice insurance. Although I had hoped to land in a career that would allow me to use my German on a regular basis, it is rare that I get the opportunity. However, the experience I gained through the German program has proved invaluable in both my personal and professional life. It allowed me to experience the world from a different perspective through 2 study abroad programs in both Germany and Austria. I made life long friendships with people across the globe and even met my partner of 10 years. Even though German is not in the job description, having a German major has always set me apart from other job candidates. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study at UA’s German program, and I am grateful for the experience.  

 

Update December 2016
From William McCracken,
BA in History and German (2008), PhD in Political Science (coming in 2017):
I am currently a Sr. Business Analyst at Abbott Labs. I work in the US Nutrition division, and I have occasional interactions with my European nutrition colleagues (including some who are in Germany and the German-speaking part of Switzerland). Prior to joining Abbott, I had a variety of roles, most recently as a Data Scientist at CoverMyMeds. I have the German department at UA to thank for many things, but first among them is it helped me to get to know my wife Amanda (BA in Mathematics and German, 2006). We’ve been married nine years and have two daughters, who are six years old and nine months old.

 

Update December 2016
From Kevin Strickland,
BA in German, Math minor:
While at Bama I was a German major with a math minor. Honestly I don’t really use my German degree, however I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. The lessons I learned while in the German program taught me much of what I know about life in general and every single teacher I had during the program was among the best I’ve had in my life. Since my time at UA I became really interested in science and went back to school for Biotechnology. I used this degree to get a job with a company that allows me to travel around the country while doing what is essentially QA/QC consulting for various science companies nationwide. I have been trying to push my company to send me to Germany to try to grow our business but we aren’t quite there yet, although there is potential for that to actually happen in the future given the science scene in Germany.

 

Update December 2016
From Jennifer Nicolas (Sudnik),
MA, German Linguistics and TESOL:

I graduated from the University of Alabama in 2003 and 2005 with degrees in German Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL). Since that time, I’ve held a few jobs that have utilized both degrees. For 2 years I worked as a German/English translator on the work floor of a company contracted to Mercedes. Shortly after moving to Huntsville to settle, I was contracted for the Government in partnership with Germany, Italy and the US. My abilities were uniquely handy to allow me to both speak German, and to be able to accurately convey and express opinions between those nationalities. I still support the government today, though as a logistician. My customers are international….and I work with a multitude of nations…Germany, Greece, Spain.. just to name a few. And my degrees are still more than useful in diplomacy, language skill, multicultural affairs. UA to this day, is still one of the best experiences I’ve had in life!

 

Update August 2009
From Lydia Jones, MA in German (2007):
Schöne Grüße aus Vancouver! Lydia Jones MA ’07 here. I loved my UA experience, and have found myself well-prepared for my current PhD program and associated teaching duties at the University of British Columbia. As you might imagine, studying German in Canada wasn’t where I expected to end up when I began. The path I began as a German undergrad at UA has been full of surprises (mostly the good kind). Prospective students: if small classes with great professors and a large campus with lots of opportunities sounds appealing, take a closer look. Former/current students and professors: hi and thanks ;) !

 

Update August 2008
From Donald E. Hall,
BA in German:
I’m the real voice of history here. I got my BA in German back in 1981 and had a fabulous education from now retired and departed faculty: Terry Pickett, Gene Dobson, Mary Porter, and Bob Bell. Just know that with a German BA from the U of AL you can go off and do lots of good things: I’m Distinguished Professor and Chair of the English Department at West Virginia University (I chaired Foreign Languages here for one year in transition) and am about to publish my tenth book. Hallo to all students, faculty and alumni!

 

Update December 2008
From Naomi Thurston, BA English / German, MA German:
Hi! I’m Naomi. I studied at UA 2000-2002 (BA ENG-GN) and again 2004-2006 (MA GN). Grad school was a great experience, and I have fond memories of the faculty and students. But I want to remind all of you that getting a degree has a purpose, namely to do well in the profession of your choice. I just had a contract renewal for a job I am very satisfied with in a place I enjoy. When I started the job two years ago, contract renewals were out of the question, so I feel rather fortunate. Just to encourage anyone who reads this: there’s life after school – and it’s great, too!

 

Update April 2007
From Lauren Clink Lucas, BA Art History / German, MA German Studies:
Hello all!! This is  I graduated in 06 with my MA in German Studies and in 03 with my BA in Art History and German, all from UA. I am married and living in New York City. I live in midtown by the park if anyone is ever up here visiting. I am working as an international art dealer for a private collection. It is only my boss (who is German!!) and I in charge of the gallery. I am excited to be working internationally with the buying, selling and loaning of major works of art. Though everything has to be done in English for documentation purposes for the owner and accountants, my boss said she would be more than happy to use German in the office to continue my practice. Everything is going great. I know I wouldn’t have this job if it wasn’t for the many times I studied abroad and for my background in foreign languages. Thanks everyone in MLC and Good Luck to all of my friends graduating this year!!

 

Update February 2007
Tiani Preitschaft (Schörnig):
Hallo, ich bin Tiani und komme aus Deutschland. Ich war 2003 und 2004 an der UA und habe meinen MA in German Linguistics gemacht.
Es hat mir SEHR gut an der UA und im German Department gefallen und ich würde sofort noch einmal an der UA studieren.
Ich arbeite jetzt als Lehrerin für Englisch und Geschichte an einem Gymnasium in Deutschland. Natürlich vermisse ich Alabama sehr.
Ich freue mich, dass German Day wieder ein Erfolg war.
Viele Grüße aus Deutschland!

Update December 2006
Peter Zimmerer:
Hallo. Ich heiße Peter Zimmerer und komme aus Deutschland. Ich muss sagen mir gefällt es hier an der Universität von Alabama super und ich kann die Uni nur empfehlen.

Genauso rate ich euch, amerikanischen Studenten, geht ins Ausland! Diese Erfahrung muss man gemacht haben! Für mich hat es sich schon jetzt gelohnt!
CIAO