Alumni Spotlight: Jeffrey Alder ’20

Introducing Jeffrey Adler! Jeffrey was awarded a Fulbright grant as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Berlin, Germany after his graduation from Denison in 2020. He was placed in the Carl-Bechstein Gymnasium, and still works at the school today, in a lead English teaching role to high school students.

Jeffrey graduated from Denison as a Political Science major and a German minor. He worked as a CA, worked in admissions as a tour guide and a Senior interviewer, he was a fellow in the Political Science department, and he created Septemberfest in 2016! As a Denison student, he had no plans to become a teacher and always imagined himself working on Capitol Hill. While this plan will come to fruition after he leaves Germany in May, he is so grateful to have had this time teaching abroad.

Prior to being a Fulbright grantee, Jeffrey had spent time in Germany previously on his semester abroad, and was looking for any opportunity to go back. In his role as an ETA, he has learned a lot that he will take into the next chapter of his life. His favorite part of teaching are the connections he has made with his students. He likes to make jokes with his students, has started a book club, and feels proud when students ask him for recommendation letters because they trust his opinion.

Jeffrey has some advice for Denison students who may feel pressured to have a plan once they graduate. He said that it’s okay to not have a plan! It is important to work towards a goal, but it doesn’t need to be rushed. You don’t need to have a plan! Just do what makes you comfortable.

Jeffrey also spoke about how incredibly lonely he felt living in a new city alone post grad. It was much harder to make friends, and it overall it was a huge adjustment. He was the only Fulbright ETA at his school, and one of few nearby. However, this enabled him to learn how to do things alone and spend time with himself. He now really enjoys going to a cafe by himself to read a book, which is really cool!

Jeffrey also wanted students to be aware of how important the liberal arts education he received from Denison has been for his career thus far. It didn’t matter that he was not an Education major, as he was able to take classes outside of his major that helped him immensely in his role as a teacher.

If you want to connect with Jeffrey and learn more about his experiences with Fulbright or future plans, you can connect with him on LinkedIn!

By Grace Buller
Grace Buller Peer Career Coach and Peer Fellow: Nonprofit, Education and Government Career Community