Upon graduating with a Chemistry and English degree from Hope College in 2014, Annalise Klein joined Teach for American Hawai’i Island and taught eighth grade science at Konawaena Middle School. She then went on to teach at KIPP San Jose Collegiate where she was a Chemistry and AP Chemistry teacher. In 2019, Klein received a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching and coached teachers in Serere, Uganda on community-centered STEM practices. She is currently a freelance education consultant, specializing in culturally relevant and rural project based learning. She consults for a tribal school district in SW Alaska and a reengagement site in Seattle, Washington. In 2016, she completed her Masters of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University. During her time at Hope, Annalise was an RA for three years, TA for organic chemistry labs, and completed a May term on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
What was a favorite memory while you were a student at Hope?
Freshman year, I decided last minute not to fly home for spring break and signed up for whatever Immersion Trip wasn’t already full, which happened to be the first ever Holland Immersion Trip. It was foundational to my learning about the Holland community being more than tulips and tall Dutch people! I got to know some truly amazing Hope students who I would have never connected with otherwise and catalyzed my involvement in community ministries outside of Hope.
How are you a different person today because of your Hope experience?
Hope’s tight knit liberal arts community allowed me to try new things, fail often, and build relationships. I think, had I chosen to go to a larger school, I might have been tempted to stay in my lane and perhaps have a more siloed story at this point in my career.
What was your favorite food at Phelps?
I don’t think I have one. But one of my favorite food memories at Hope was definitely when I was the RA of Welmers Cottage (a massive house with 15 girls and two kitchens) and we hosted President Bultman and his wife over for dinner!
What is something you love about your job/career path?
Culturally relevant science education allows me to think about how science lives within the diversity of humanity. We’ve realized more than ever this year, society’s relationship with science is . . . complicated. Science is often gazed upon as something untouchable, unbiased, and something that cannot be challenged. But through the lens of science education in diverse communities, I’ve been able to look at science through a human lens. We need to be asking questions to push the status quo. “Who is telling the story?” “Who is asking the questions?” “Who is controlling the narrative and why?” “Who isn’t at the table, and what were the factors that were imposed to keep it that way?”
What spot on campus do you miss the most?
The fluorescent-lit library basement. Sometimes I’d glimpse Dr. Verduin whoosh through an aisle walking with her staff. Legendary stuff.
What was your favorite class you took at Hope? Why?
Intermediate Creative Writing: Fiction with Heather Sellers introduced me to linked short stories. I had her class Tuesday afternoons after a five hour organic chemistry lab, and I’d always walk home feeling like I had just had a therapy session. She had this way of tuning our eyes to make ordinary things like gray skies and muddy sidewalks seem holy and urgent. I think it was that semester that I knew I needed to pursue weird, interesting life experiences after college instead of graduate school. Teaching middle school in Kona coffee country definitely fit the bill!
What has been the highlight of your professional career?
Looking back, last year’s Fulbright award shines pretty bright in my memory. The months prior were pretty difficult, then suddenly, I was given the opportunity to travel somewhere new and create transformative experiences through science with some truly amazing educators and students in a rural little township in eastern Uganda. It was the creative jolt I needed to lean into my strengths, join the amazing Fulbright community, and eventually move into full time consulting work with school districts in Alaska and Washington.
Hope College is proud to honor Annalise Klein ’14 with the 2020 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!