Student Ambassador Experiences

riley hanus

Teaching Assistant with the Joint Undertaking for an African Materials Institute (JUAMI) in Arusha, Tanzania 

Materials Science Engineering Student

Prof. Snyder demonstrating the operation of a thermoelectric wood burning stove that provides electrical power and heat

"I traveled to Arusha, Tanzania with JUAMI to help with the instruction of the thermoelectric portion of the institute. The mission of JUAMI is to connect US scientists with scientists of East Africa in an effort to accelerate scientific development in these developing nations. These international connections also educate and inform US researchers as to what scientific and technological advances would help developing countries, and what steps can be taken for their advancement.  During my time there, I wrote, presented, and instructed a thermoelectric device engineering lab, as well as participated in JUAMI activities.

From an academic and scientific perspective, JUAMI was a bit of a gold mine. Every day was essentially a crash course on a different energy technology. Each morning was a condensed introduction given by a world expert and each afternoon we worked in randomized teams involving energy technology. In my experience, this type of thorough, efficient introduction to any materials research field is hard to come by.

On a more personal note, of everything I’ve gained from my experience at JUAMI, I would say awareness stands out the most.  I became aware of things I had expected to become aware of - like the luxuries we take for granted in the U.S. - but I also became aware that the locals are proud, ambitious, welcoming, and happy. I became aware of the global nature of energy research, and how scientists from all parts of the globe are motivated to solve these universal problems. I feel fortunate to have made friends with some these scientists during the past two weeks, and look forward to working with them in the future."

elizabeth mctighe

Research Intern at the Institute for Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany   Elizabeth in front of the autoclave, where she helped to construct composite test specimen

Mechanical Engineering Student

“Through the DAAD RISE program, I worked for three months as a research intern in the Institute for Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology at the Technical University of Dresden. I constructed composite test specimen to investigate controlled delamination as a method of increasing energy absorbed under dynamic loading and ran FMEA analysis on the effect of pin orientation in through-thickness reinforced composite joints in tension and in shear delamination. I worked alongside other interns from the US and UK and was able to grow my technical German vocabulary, as I conducted my internship in German.”

Kenneth Hua

Ken conducted research on the shape memory alloy, Fe70Pd30Research Intern at the Institute of Surface Modification in Leipzig, Germany

Electrical Engineering Student

“This summer, with the help of the DAAD and Global McCormick, I conducted research on the shape memory alloy, Fe70Pd30. My project was to find ways to grow better quality Fe70Pd30, specifically smoother surface quality with less defects while maintain the right ratio of Fe:Pd. This was done by isolating certain growth variables and seeing how that impacted the properties of the material. The experience provided me with the time, resources, and proper guidance to develop important lab skills involving material growth and characterization. My graduate supervisor, professor, along with everyone else in the lab, composed a supportive and relaxed working environment that I really enjoyed. My experience in Leipzig, Germany was a memorable one. While there were many challenges to living in a new country, the skills learned through this adjustment and the perspective gained are pretty invaluable. I met many new people, learned (or at least tried to learn) German, and traveled to some cool places on the weekends. All in all, it made for a very enriching summer, both personally and academically.”

anna beatrice leenay

Project at the Global and Ecological Health Engineering Projects (GEHE) and through the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation in Rajasthan, India Anna tested and treated drinking water in Rajasthan, India

Environmental Engineering Student

“My trip was focused on testing and treating drinking water in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Another student and I collaborated with a clean drinking water NGO that one of our professors had been working on for a few years. Many small villages in the area collect rainwater during the monsoon season to use throughout the year rather than depending on government water mains, which distribute highly saline, undesirable water. The NGO we worked with, then, helped these communities build structures to collect, store, and treat rainwater. We worked on a number of projects during our time there, involving collecting data, conducting experiments, and constructing and testing a solar-powered disinfection device. Through this experience I discovered a lot about conducting fieldwork, especially in foreign communities, that I could never have learned in the classroom. After our research, we traveled a bit around the country and were overwhelmed by the energy in hyper-populous cities and the beauty in sweeping landscapes. I am glad to have had this unique experience, which was made possible in part through the Global McCormick Student Ambassador program.”  

Lucia Brunel

Lucia's research concerned kinetic studies of synthesis reactions for polymers that demonstrated promising characteristics for use in drug delivery systems

Research at Politecnico di Milano’s Department of Chemistry, Materials, and Chemical Engineering in Milan, Italy

Chemical Engineering Student

“I spent the summer conducting research at the Polytechnic University of Milan in the lab of Dr. Davide Moscatelli. My research concerned kinetic studies of synthesis reactions for polymers that have demonstrated promising characteristics for use in drug delivery systems. Once I had completed kinetic analyses and models of these polymer reactions, I transformed the synthesized polymers into nanoparticles. Using nanoparticles of these novel materials has potential to greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transport of medical drugs into the body. Dr. Moscatelli’s lab also works in collaboration with ETH Zurich in Switzerland, which I was fortunate to visit to better understand and appreciate the international scope of the research and benefits of global collaborations. My experience abroad especially helped me to develop my international awareness as an engineer. In an increasingly global workplace, it is essential that engineers not only possess the technical skills of their field, but also the ability to communicate and interact with people of a diverse set of backgrounds and cultures. Living the everyday life of Italian people both socially and in the workforce helped me have a greater appreciation and understanding of the importance of accepting different views and ways of living. The experiences and knowledge gained from the immersion in a culture abroad are invaluable and cannot be taught in a traditional classroom setting. With this international awareness, I hope to be better equipped to understand and plan for the effect of technologies on societies beyond my own.”

shreya udani & Taryn Bogda

Project at the Post Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and Project RISHI (Rural India Social & Health Improvement) in Haryana, IndiaShreya, Taryn and Jack worked with doctors in India to provide villagers with access to healthcare

Biomedical Engineering Students

“During the summer of 2015, I worked with six other Project RISHI (Rural India Social and Health Improvement) members in the village of Charnia, next to the city of Chandigarh in India, to better understand and abate the medical ills that are prominent in the community. In particular, we conducted several interviews throughout the village to determine the sanitation practices of the villagers. These interviews served as the basis for future projects we implemented in Charnia. We also coordinated with doctors at the Post Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research to arrange a health camp to provide the villagers with much-needed medicines and treatment. This trip was very rewarding, as it brought to life the global health problems we try to solve throughout the year on campus. I am grateful to Global McCormick for providing me with an award that helped make this trip a reality.”

 


elizabeth piotrowski conger

Elizabeth operated a Rapid Compression Machine (RCM) to investigate the ignition delay times of novel biofuel compounds Research at RW Technische Hochschule Aachen University, Institute for Combustion Engines in Germany

Environmental Engineering Student

"Through the DAAD RISE program, I worked as a research assistant at RWTH Aachen University (Germany) in the Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass group. I specifically operated a Rapid Compression Machine (RCM) to investigate the ignition delay times of novel biofuel compounds. My abroad experience taught me how to adapt to an ever-changing and foreign environment. I worked in an international lab where the language spoken was mostly English, but communication barriers were still a concern at times, and it took a great commitment by my co-researchers to keep everyone well-informed on the project objectives and necessities. I strived to always ask questions, especially since this very mechanical engineering research was not directly correlated to my education, but by being proactive I received an amazing experience and gained truly valuable skill sets in a new field. In all aspects of life abroad, I learned to put myself out there and take risks. If I didn't try new things while traveling around the country or in every-day tasks as banal as grocery shopping, I would have gained nothing and made so many fewer connections to this country."

chintan pathak

Chintan helped develop a mobile application to increase local health worker capabilityProject at the Post Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) & George Institute for Global Health in Haryana, India

Biomedical Engineering Student

"My summer experience involved working with two other students as a part of Project RISHI in Charnia, Haryana, India. The goal of this experience was to evaluate a iron folic acid supplementation research study started by Project RISHI the previous ear, conduct focus groups with government community health workers (ASHAs), and gain a better understanding of the education and health infrastructure in Charnia. While in India, we were able to contact our advisors and partners at the Postgraduate Institute in Chandigarh, who helped us to setup our focus groups with the ASHA workers. The purpose of the ASHA focus groups was to fully understand the job of ASHA workers as frontline health workers, issues they faced in the community, and the feasibility of smart applications to supplement ASHA capabilities. We especially focused on getting feedback with the design of our application prototype. While in Charnia, we also focused on gaining a better understanding of the school infrastructure and visited two schools serving the Charnia area. We obtained feedback from the school teachers on areas of improvement and also coordinated a vision screening camp for the school children in conjunction with the Grewal Eye Institute of Chandigarh. Overall, this summer experience was able to provide us with valuable insight in the the challenges that the Charnia community faces."

luqman azhari

Luqman conducted research on ceramic materials Research at Technische Universitat Hamburg-Harburg in Germany

Materials Science Engineering Student

"I spent the entire summer in Hamburg, Germany conducting research on ceramic materials as part of an internship with the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). Overall, the experience of working in Germany was very valuable, academically and personally. Academically, it definitely was interesting to experience the research culture and work ethic in Germany. It also helps to have this experience on a resume! Additionally, spending time in a foreign country where I clearly was out of place really gave me many chances to recognize the differences we have in the US, which I enjoyed yet sometimes struggled with. This experience did change my perspective and developed me as a person in various ways. In light of my experience with the DAAD program, if given the chance, I would definitely to go back to Germany again!"  

Kelsey Ann Berning

Kelsey conducted research for the treatment of atherosclerosis Research project at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Biomedical Engineering Student

"The focus of my experience in China was researching at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in a facility called the Med-X institute. I was the only foreigner researching at this laboratory, and all of my coworkers were Chinese. My research project was modeling radiofrequency heating for dual angioplasty treatment of atherosclerosis. This research enhanced my professional skills to work on a highly technical project in a very new environment. But it also stretched my personal skills to relate with people who at first seemed very different. I found more depth to my character with the help of Chinese friends who helped bring out traits within myself that I rarely was stretched to expose at home-- cultural sensitivity, appreciation for relationships, and the ability to view my home's status quo more objectively.”

 

Ambar Pankaj

Ambar interned as a processes consultant at PriceWaterHouseCoopersInternship at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences Student

"I worked at PwC in the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) as part of a group of 39 interns creating policies and processes for the construction and finance departments. Our intern group was to determine how the company was actually functioning and create a policies and processes handbook to improve efficiency. Our intern group was one of the most international group of people I have ever worked with. I was one of only three students from an American university. The most challenging aspect of my internship was prioritizing our work into meaningful categories. I worked with a team member on such projects as streamlining construction (creating a “rent vs buy” analysis for tower cranes) and even interviewing a skyscraper project manager. Having limited work experience beforehand, interning in Abu Dhabi was exciting - I learned a great deal from my experience there. Due to this internship, I was able to help create different kinds of analyses, prepare and conduct interviews, and deliver successful presentations. All in all, this was a very successful consulting internship experience, thanks in part to Global McCormick."


Yoon Hyung Lee

Yoon Hyung worked on a project for robotic stroke rehabilitation Research in the Translational Neural Engineering lab at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland

Biomedical Engineering Student

"My time in Switzerland was nothing short of spectacular and I am grateful for the opportunity that Global McCormick office has provided. As an aspiring physician scientist, I was excited to work on my project in robotic stroke rehabilitation that beautifully incorporated my interests in neural engineering and clinical applications of research. I had the opportunity to analyze hand kinematics as a preliminary step in developing robotic control of the exoskeleton. By studying opening/closing and grasping movements of the hand, I was able to validate a newly installed motion analysis system and the mathematical model established by another research group, which was to be applied to various types of movements for the use in TNE laboratory. It was a great experience to be welcomed into a friendly atmosphere and to learn about the various projects being conducted by the lab members. Because I was unable to participate in a pre-existing study abroad program, this was the perfect opportunity to explore a world outside the US. This was my first trip to Europe and learning about different cultures was an enlightening experience. In addition, I loved having the opportunity to travel to various surrounding cities including Interlaken, Geneva, and Zurich as well as places outside of Switzerland."

mitchell serafin

Mitchell tested airbag system at Bosch as an internInternship in Robert Bosch GmbH in Stuttgart, Germany

Electrical Engineering Student

"I spent four months working as an intern for Bosch in Stuttgart, Germany.  I worked in the software/system test group for airbag systems.  My task was to design and develop an FPGA-based tool for use in extending the groups software test abilities.  It was a great experience; the group gave me far more responsibility than I'd had in previous internships in America.  As a result I learned a lot, developed my technical (and German language!) skills, and gained confidence.  And of course living in Germany was a lot of fun.  It was a great experience to have made so many European friends, both in and out of the office."

robert joseph cavanaugh

Robert worked on public health initiatives in IndiaProject at the Post Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) & George Institute for Global Health in Haryana, India

Materials Science & Engineering Student

"I worked in Charnia, Haryana, India on a team to carry out focus groups with frontline government health workers, called ASHAs, as groundwork for developing a system that could fortify the local public health response to malnutrition and anemia and facilitate the ASHA workflow. We were interested in gaining a better understanding of the challenges ASHA workers face in carrying out their jobs and evaluating whether a mobile health platform could enhance their ability to serve rural villagers. Through the focus groups, we learned significantly about the strengths and short-comings of the ASHA system in Charnia and gained feedback on our application prototype. We also used our time in Charnia to learn more about the local food and education systems, which play a crucial role in reducing levels of malnutrition and anemia, by conducting interviews with school principals, villagers, and food vendors. While visiting the schools, we also coordinated with the Grewal Eye Institute to hold a vision screening camp. In reflection, our summer work earned us invaluable experience collaborating with scientists and institutions abroad to accomplish significant public health research."

tomomi suenaga

Project at the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) through the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) in Jinja, Uganda

Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences Student

Tomomi collaborated with a women's group in Uganda to design, create and market reusable sanitary pads"I spent the summer working on a development project with an NGO in Jinja, Uganda. With a team of three other students, we collaborated with a women's savings group to start a small business in selling reusable sanitary pads. In many areas of rural Uganda, women and girls do not have access to disposable pads as they are too expensive. To tackle this issue, we developed a reusable pad design using locally available materials while considering important factors such as affordability and durability. We were also able to get a local school involved by teaching school girls how to make pads for themselves. Through this experience, I applied my design skills to a real project that affected real people. Conducting user interviews to local Ugandan women as we shared a traditional meal allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the design challenge. Developing a design with limited resources and a foreign culture was challenging yet rewarding when we were able to present our community with a product that fit their needs. I am grateful for Global McCormick for giving me this unique opportunity. I definitely recommend McCormick students to go abroad, as it is one of the most rewarding experiences I had in college."