UAH spring 2023 graduate Emilee Klier awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for Germany

Emilee Klier
Emilee Klier, a spring 2023 graduate of The University of Alabama in Huntsville, vacations at New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. Klier received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship and will spend the 2023-2024 school year teaching in Germany, where she plans to visit more nature preserves.
Emilee Klier

Emilee Klier, a spring 2023 Honors Atmospheric and Earth Science graduate at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship for Germany. Klier, whose minor is German, is the first Fulbright student recipient since 2017 at UAH, a part of The University of Alabama System.

“From September 18, 2023, to June 30, 2024, I will be placed in a German school, helping to teach English,” Klier says. “We don’t find out what grade we’ll be teaching or what school or even what city we’ll be going to until sometime later this summer.”

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program partners with more than 140 countries worldwide to offer graduating college seniors, graduate students and young professionals the opportunity to pursue graduate study, conduct research or teach English abroad. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

“I’m very excited to have an immersive experience where I’ll be using German not just in the classroom but in my everyday life,” she says. “It’s going to be a really good opportunity.”

For the teaching Fulbright, Klier thinks her off-campus job experience played a key role in achieving her goal.

“For the past five years, I’ve been coaching hockey just outside of Nashville. I started as a volunteer when I was in high school and started coaching when I was 17. I have a strong background in working with kids and adults of all different ages and backgrounds. Even though I was a science major (instead of an education major), I had a lot of teaching skills in place that would enable me to do this teaching assistantship well.”

Klier expanded her coaching skills last summer as a white-water rafting guide in East Tennessee.

“That was dealing with a lot of different people from different backgrounds,” she says, “and it was a really enjoyable experience. That’s what I’m doing again this summer leading up to the Fulbright.”

Although firm on a minor in German, Klier arrived at UAH intrigued by STEM but undecided on a specific major. She began in biology but soon realized molecular biology was less interesting to her than the larger Earth science picture.

“I was interested in the environment and how people interacted with the environment,” she says. “I have really enjoyed being able to take the courses that focused on the environment.”

She expects to have more opportunities to extend these studies during her Fulbright program.

“The environmentalism movement has a much stronger presence in Germany. That’s something I’ve learned about Germany that I’ve been able to relate back to my major. I’m very excited about exploring that when I’m over there.”

Klier also plans to explore a few nature reserves in Germany, good preparation for her career goals post-Fulbright.

“I’m interested in going into the National Parks Service. I think that is something where the Fulbright is going to be very helpful for me – learning to interact with people from different cultures and learning to communicate with different people in a meaningful way. That is something that is so important for people in the National Parks Service to be able to do when we’re focusing on protecting the natural world around us.”