Meet Jennifer Ulrich


Jennifer Ulrich, Translation Coordinator

Ms. Ulrich graduated from Buffalo State College with honors and as a member of the Société Honoraire de Français.  As the Translation Coordinator for the Interpreting & Translation Department, Jennifer intakes all of the written translation requests from individuals as well as our local (and not local) corporate partners such as medical facilities, universities and research foundations assuring fast and trustworthy service.

What are your academic credentials? How have they prepared you for your position?

[JU]: I started at ECC, sort of on a whim, and then I transferred to Buffalo State to continue to work on a degree in English.  Then, on another whim, I decided I wanted to study abroad in France—which brought me to French.  When I came back from France, I had decided that I wanted to switch from an English degree to a degree in French language and culture.  Since I was almost done with my English degree, I ended up graduating with a B.A. in English and French.  When I was studying French, people used to ask me what I was going to use it for, but I actually use it almost every day answering questions and communicating with my clients from Africa.

What would you say is the most rewarding thing about working at an organization like the Institute?

[JU]: So, being able to speak with my clients is definitely rewarding.  I’ll have someone come to the window that is tired, confused and struggling to communicate with me in English…I can say a little bit in a lot of different languages and speak French fluently, so if I am able to communicate in some way either in their native language or French, their disposition completely changes.  That’s what makes my job worth it.  The next time they come to my window, they are almost always smiling—they show me pictures of their children and talk with me about their everyday stresses which we can all identify with.

What is one accomplishment that you are most proud of? Why?

[JU]: I have been working on my physical health for two years consistently.  I am able to run the farthest I’ve ever run right now.  I ran the Turkey Trot for the first time on Thanksgiving, in the snow.  I’ve never really been able to run.  Now, I can run five miles!

Since the Institute works with diverse people from all over the world, can you share with us your own heritage? First generation? Second? Third?

[JU]: My family hails from Germany, almost entirely. Both of my parents have German heritage (my mother’s maiden name is Hitzelburger), then my maternal grandfather went and married a woman with English descent. I am third generation.

Given the international nature of the Institute, have you traveled abroad?  Any places on your bucket list?

[JU]: Yes, I lived in Paris and studied the language and culture and was able to travel around Western Europe because it was so easy.  I recently went to the Caribbean last summer. My future travel goals are to go back to Europe at the end of this year.  On top of that I’ve already set my sights on a trip to Japan for 2019.

If you could sit down with any historical figure, who would you choose? What is one question you would ask them?

[JU]: Hmm.  Anyone I can think of right now wouldn’t want to talk to someone as sophomoric as me.  Michel Foucault, Karl Marx, ‘The Virgin Mary’, Basquiat…maybe Obama. He’s down to earth enough to have a conversation.

Favorite international food?

[JU]: I love to go out for Ethiopian.

Favorite book?

[JU]: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. I’ve bought countless copies because I lend it out and never get it back.  I’m going to go see him talk next week and really hope I don’t ‘fangirl’ out at Babel.

What can you tell me about your life away from the Institute?

[JU]: My life is pretty simple–I spend time with my friends and their kids, then I get to spend time alone with my cat.  I visit my family and they visit me.  It’s a pretty great, simple little existence I have going on.

What three traits would you say define you?

[JU]: I’m resourceful and creative. I like to meet challenges but I’m also a bit lazy.  So, I guess I’m also a conundrum like most people.