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    EUROPE - Rising to the Research Challenge in Germany

    Fall 2013

    By Marcia Faye

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    Aachen, Germany

    This summer, six IIT undergraduates were given the chance "to rise up and go beyond" by expanding their educational and cultural horizons through the Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program. According to the IIT Study Abroad Office, more than 2,000 students from the United States and Canada applied to the 2013 program offered by the German Academic Exchange Service, which  matches American and Canadian undergraduates majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, and engineering with research groups at universities and top research institutions in Germany. 

    "Apart from obtaining math, physics, and computer science knowledge, I gained an overall feel for what it is like to spend one's life in research," said RISE alumna Irina Papuc (PHYS '12) in a post-program testimonial about her work alongside physicists on an experiment utilizing the Large Hadron Collider. Papuc noted that because of her experience she better appreciated highly theoretical subjects, more easily seeing where they fit into the research puzzle. She is currently building an open-design platform called WikiDwell, noting that her physics experience opened her eyes to the benefits of open source.   

    Electrical engineering graduate student J. Sebastián Hurtado is currently fulfilling a six-month RISE Professional internship that pairs graduating seniors, and master's and doctoral students with German companies. After only one month at Nuance Communications in Aachen, he says that there is a universal language that is deeply understood, no matter the nationality.

    "My coworkers have been really attentive to me and another international Ph.D. student, showing us new places, taking us to restaurants—and most important of all—talking to us like friends," says Hurtado.

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