Silvana Alberti ’14Company: University of Duisburg-Essen
Location: Duisburg, Germany
This summer I had the opportunity of being an intern in the Department of Mechanics and Robotics at the University of Duisburg-Essen. I worked with another Princeton student on a project about the muscle wrapping problem, for which we had to design and build a test bed that resembled a bone and its corresponding muscle path, as well as use Tekscan pressure mapping systems and a KUKA industrial robot. Additionally, we used MATLAB to process and display our results and to compare them with the theoretical approach. Although we were working on a project on our own, the graduate student we worked with tried to help us and guide us as much as he could. Moreover, we had to make a presentation at the end of the internship, which allowed us to share our research and learn from the other faculty members’ thoughts and comments.
I really enjoyed my stay in Duisburg and would definitely recommend it to other students. Not only I gained insight about biomechanics and obtained valuable knowledge and experience related to my field, but I also got to travel around Germany and learn about the German culture. Meals in the cafeteria were very good, the Professor I worked with organized many BBQs and took us for lunch, and the other faculty members were warm and welcoming. Besides, there were many events organized for the REACH students, amongst those the “Meeting of the Minds”, which involved a tour in the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen and as a concert by the Essen Philharmonic. Finally, during the weekends I traveled to nearby cities like Cologne, Essen, Dortmund, Bochum, Dusseldorf, and Munster, and even to Munich, Nuremberg and Amsterdam. All these experiences made my summer a very rewarding and unforgettable one.
Joseph Bolling ’15Company: Ruhr University Bochum-EMSEC
Location: Bochum, Nordrhein-Westphalen, Germany
I spent the summer interning at the Ruhr University Bochum’s Chair for Embedded Security. My project focused on automobile security-I was developing a low-latency radio link that would allow an attacker to spoof the RFID interaction between a key and a car when the engine is started. The application for my work was very cool, and I was excited to get to work directly with industry standard microcontrollers, which I’m considering as a career path. The lab I worked in was extremely accommodating-I was invited to a lab canoe trip, a barbeque, and a departmental soccer tournament, among many other events, and I loved hearing about the other projects that lab members were working on.
Outside of work, I traveled almost every weekend with other American students in the region. I visited Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Amsterdam, Brussels, Salzburg, and London, as well as a host of smaller cities. I felt extremely privileged to spend the summer working on such fascinating material in such a vibrant location.
Marc BoxbergAdvisor: Jean-Herve Prévost
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
For eight weeks during this summer, I worked at Princeton University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. My work was related to wave propagation in unsaturated porous media and was supervised by Prof. Jean-Herve Prévost and Prof. Jeroen Tromp. We were wondering if it is possible to detect a leak in the caprock of a geological CO2 storage site using seismic waves. I developed an extension to Biot’s theory and in the end I got some valuable results, which I hope to publish soon.
Of course internships like this doesn’t only consist of working. They offer the possibility to learn more about a different culture and see new countries. I used this opportunity to see many different places in the east of the US, like New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlantic City and Boston. And I even went to Canada, where I spend a week before the internship started and saw Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls. I met so many new people both from the US and from all around the world. And I made many new friends.
Altogether I learned a great deal: from my work, from living in the US and from traveling around in the US and in Canada. I really enjoyed my time in Princeton. Thank you, Keller Center, for this opportunity and your great support!
Yaxiong CaiAdvisor: Craig Arnold
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
In the summer of 2013, I got the opportunity to work as research intern in Prof. Craig Arnold’s group for 8 weeks and presented my work at MIRTHE summer workshop on the 9th week. During my internship, I am working on the project “Optical Trap Assisted Nanoimaging”. we aim at developing a new method, named optical trap assisted nanoimaging, which can observe full-field images smaller than the minimum feature size of conventional optical microscopes. This project started as an idea and ended with comprehensive experimental setup, successful preliminary result and even some new findings. I would especially thanks to prof. Arnold and my mentors Romain and Yu-cheng, who gave me a lot of constructive suggestions and created a productive and enjoyable research environment. Through the process, I gradually learned from doing literature review to be capable of conducting investigation independently. I totally enjoyed the 8 weeks in Prof. Arnold’s group and met all the friendly and amazing group mates here.
Nevertheless, REACH program is more than just research. It is also an opportunity to build friendship with international characters and experience a different culture. Thanks to a series of activities, happy hours and gatherings provided by Keller Center every week, we made friends with REACH interns from German and eLab students. We also spent our free time together by eating exotic food and enjoy sightseeing. All in all, my REACH experience in Princeton is memorable and exciting. And all the joyousness cannot exist without my advisor Prof. Arnold, my mentors and Keller Center. Many thanks!
Yegor Chekmarev ’15Company: Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI)
Location: Hong Kong
This summer, I lived at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and worked at Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI). I worked under the supervision of Xiaohua Wu in the Biomedical Electronics Team. I filled two roles in the lab as in intern. The first was to present weekly to Xiaohua about a range of topics, from evaluating cheap PCR thermocyclers to comparing and contrasting current 3D scanning technologies to brainstorming possible applications of 3D scanning and printing in the biomedical field. The second was to work on my own project of scanning my wrist and using the digital model to edit and print a perfectly fitting wrist splint. I used a Microsoft Kinect device to scan my hand and wrist and then used Solidworks to edit the model and finalize the design for 3D printing. I had a blast working with professional technology and software that I would not have come in contact with anywhere else.
Exploring Hong Kong was a beautiful and amazing experience. My fellow Princeton students and I made full use of the incredibly convenient public transportation of buses, mini-buses, and the subway. We spent many nights and weekends going to the beach, eating at Michelin-starred restaurants, pub-crawling, and seeing the Geneva Ballet perform Romeo et Juliet among other things. I am very grateful for the Keller Center and HKUST for this opportunity and I would love to go back!
Annie Chen ’18Company: HKUST
Location: Hong Kong
Working at ASTRI this summer was an interesting work experience. I not only dove into a field I had no prior work or research experience in, but I also was exposed to a completely new work culture. My mentors were very patient with me and I learned about facial recognition techniques and OpenCV while working on my project, which involved figuring out how to resolve a double counting issue with a facial recognition and tracking program.
Having the opportunity to work at ASTRI this summer has also given me the opportunity to realize new sides of Hong Kong that I wasn’t aware of in the past. I had heard of Hong Kong’s many glitzy malls, sprawling cityscape, and East-meets-West culture, but those weren’t the only highlights. On the weekends during my internship, I hiked some of Hong Kong’s many peaks and trails, ate at local dessert shops, and even visited the quaint Tai O fishing village. I also met a great community of people through Hong Kong Ultimate Players’ Association (HKUPA), the local Ultimate frisbee organization!
I am grateful to the Keller Center and HKUST for giving me this amazing experience abroad. REACH was a memorable way to spend the summer before my junior year at Princeton!
Alan Chen ’18Company: NCTU
NCTU is a University located in Hsinchu, right next to Science Park, Taiwan's hotbed for startups, aimed at becoming a second Silicon Valley. The university, though located in Taiwan, has a diverse student body and a large amount of support for Internationals. Housing is with masters’ students and living with masters’ students from Indonesia, Singapore, and Taiwan is a cool experience, and there is a good amount of students from Asia or Africa as well. Everyone in Taiwan is relaxed and public character is high (lost items will be returned). The culture is fun and not hard to be a part of: Public events happen often and it isn’t hard to become involved. Taiwan’s location and history gives it varied foods and media as well. There is a large amount of influence from Mainland China and Japan, which is seen in both the food and the TV shows that are popular.
Emily Hsu ’16Company: Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI)
Location: Hong Kong
This summer, as an intern for the ASTRI Enterprise and Consumer Electronics department, I worked on an iPhone application that used set-top boxes to stream live video onto a user’s phone. In particular, I focused on using socket programming to create a set-top box finder that searched for nearby available set-top boxes. I integrated this finder into a live video streaming app to enable users to directly search for, display, and connect to boxes in a manner similar to Wi-Fi. In addition to finding this extremely interesting, I learned a great deal about socket programming, Objective-C, and iOS app development.
Hong Kong is a great place to be as an intern. Public transportation is generally extremely convenient, and during the weekends I went out with other summer interns to explore Hong Kong. From sightseeing to kayaking, there were always plenty of fun things to do. I very much appreciated the sheer independence and freedom of being able to explore Hong Kong, which has a lot to offer in terms of both culture and entertainment. While I might not miss the mosquitoes or weather, I’m definitely going to miss the food, people, and fun times! Interning in Hong Kong was a terrific experience that I recommend to anyone who likes Chinese food (not a must, but it will certainly make your summer more enjoyable!) and would like to get a taste of the office environment while learning new skills. I’d like to thank the Keller Center for making this summer possible!
Michael Fabian Iberkleid Szainrok ’15Company: Center for Nanointegration Duisburg-Essen (CENIDE) at University of Duisburg-Essen
Location: Duisburg, Germany
My time in Germany was definitely a mix of amazing and gratifying experiences. My first four weeks in the program were hectic in between working in the lab designing and building a laser set up and traveling around Germany. Having other Princeton kids around also helped find great new things to do and a nice safety net when I first arrived and had no idea where I was standing. As time passed my work shifted to Clean room work and designing masks for lithography. I had done a tad of both in Princeton before, but actually applying what I learned in class and lab to an actual Research context was great.
Being in Europe for the first time was already an amazing experience, but getting to participate in ground breaking research as well as travel around with other Princeton students in the area really made this summer unforgettable! One doesn’t really appreciate all the opportunities and resources we have at Princeton and participating in a program like this gives one a deeper sense of how much is available to us.
Sally Jiao ’18Company: Ruhr University Bochum
This summer, I worked at Ruhr-Universität Bochum's Institute of Materials in Professor Alfred Ludwig's group with Helge Sören Stein. Professor Ludwig's group does combinatorial materials science, a technique in which a large number of materials are created and tested at once in the hopes of finding a material or set of materials with desirable characteristics. High-throughput measurements taken in combinatorial materials science yield large datasets that are difficult to analyze by hand. The purpose of my project was to develop an integrated analysis software to facilitate the analysis of high-throughput measurements, and then to use that software to analyze a manganese-iron-cobalt oxide dataset. I used MATLAB to write the software, which we eventually named High-Throughput Analysis for X-ray diffraction and Electrochemistry data (HTAxe). I tested and tweaked it by using it to analyze previously published datasets, which had been analyzed using alternative methods. Outside of work, I traveled around Germany to cities such as Cologne, Bonn, and Hamburg, sampled German cuisine, and cheered for the German team in the European Championship. I'm so grateful to the Keller Center and REACH and to Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Professor Ludwig, and Helge Stein for giving me this opportunity to do meaningful research in a fascinating and beautiful country.
Jacky Kong ’18Company: HKUST
Location: Hong Kong
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to live and intern in Hong Kong. I stayed at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and worked at Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute. Under the supervision of Mr. Ka Yuk Lee, I contributed to a project working with medical imaging technology. I worked on the server side of the project and came up with testing methodologies to quantify latency for serving files. In this case the files being served were medical images. Additionally, I gained experience with technical documentation as I studied and documented the implementation and use of a software stack consisting of Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana, also known as the ELK stack. It was amazing to see how much I have grown and learned during the eight weeks of my internship.
I cannot think of a city more amazing than Hong Kong to work in. Vibrant and with more than I could explore in eight weeks time, I truly enjoyed working and spending my free time in the city. I will always have fond memories of hiking scenic trails on Hong Kong island and exploring the bustling streets and alleys of Mong Kok. I am very thankful and fortunate to have had this internship experience from the Keller Center. Thank you for all the support and hard work to have made this opportunity possible in the first place!
Brandon Lam ’15Company: Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI)
Location: Hong Kong
During this past summer, I worked at a government-funded company called the Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI). Within the company, I worked with the Exploratory Research Laboratory team that works with new and emerging technologies, including the fields of cloud computing and data mining. Throughout the summer, I worked on two different projects. The first was an individual project, in which I created an Android photo-sharing application. The goal of the application was to create an easy, convenient, and secure way to share photos with friends and family. The second project was to develop an internal application that would allow ASTRI employees to view and book meeting rooms in an easy, convenient fashion. By working on these two projects, I learned a lot about Android programming and the basics to communicate back and forth with a server.
Outside of work, I had the time of my life exploring the different aspects of Hong Kong. I ate at so many different restaurants ranging from street stalls and dai pai dongs to Michelin star restaurants. I also enjoyed the many tourist attractions that Hong Kong has to offer – Big Wave Bay on Hong Kong Island, art and historical museums, Big Buddha and Lantau Island, Ladies’ Market, and many more. Through this experience, I have learned a lot, both in a technical way from working at ASTRI and cultural way from exploring the different parts of Hong Kong. This past summer in Hong Kong was outstanding and one of the best summers that I have had.
Suk Yung Lee ’16Company: Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI)
Location: Hong Kong
As a programming intern for ASTRI, a government-funded research institute in Hong Kong, I worked on the Android ViBox project. In a nutshell, this project aimed to create an app that would allow a user to stream live TV onto his or her Android device with the real-time streaming protocol (RTSP). While adding features to the app, such as the ability to discover, communicate with, and connect to nearby ViBox servers, I not only learned how to implement socket programming to allow two programs to communicate over a shared computer network, I also became much more comfortable with coding in Java and Android app development.
Apart from my time at ASTRI, I took advantage of the freedom I was given to explore every inch of the city I could. My friends and I visited the shrines of the Heritage Trail in the northern New Territories, kayaked and got our hands on some delicious seafood in the eastern fishing district of Sai Kung, admired the Big Buddha statue after a cable car ride to the western Lantau Island, and relaxed in the world’s highest bar in the Central district on the southern Hong Kong Island. All in all, it was an incredible summer and I am so thankful to everyone who made it all possible.
Xiaoya LiAdvisor: Michael Littman
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This summer, I participated in a 2-month research project in Princeton University under the supervision of Professor Michael Littman in Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. During the program, I worked with Prof. Littman on Joseph Henry Project, in which we did a study on Joseph Henry, a celebrated American scientist who worked in Princeton University during 1832 to 1846, about his research on electromagnetism and radio. The study involved plenty of researching of historical documents and replicating historical experiments, which helped me to get a better understanding of how to carry on a research project. It was also very interesting to work with people from different background which provided me a great chance to learn from others.
I also had a great time making new friends from different countries and exploring new cultures. Together with the members in my laboratory and other REACH students, I got lots of great chance to travel around and had an amazing time exploring the nearby cities as well as the beautiful Princeton. The 2-month program in Princeton was a wonderful opportunity and I’m very grateful to Keller Center and HKUST for giving me this unforgettable experience.
Cindy Liu ’18Company: HKUST
Location: Hong Kong
I had a wonderful time interning at ASTRI this summer. I was in the Communication Technologies division, and my team worked on testing a small cell solution they had devised for LTE and LTE-A networks. I learned a lot about a field I didn't know anything about before, and my work involved designing and implementing a toolkit that helped automate the reporting process for my team. I got along very well with my co-workers and fellow interns, and we would organize to have lunch together or hang out outside of work. It was an eye-opening experience to work at a R&D company in Hong Kong, and to see how they operate and the exciting new projects they are working on.
Hong Kong is also a great place to spend the summer, as there are such a wide variety of things to do. From local to international, urban to rural, the city is a place of contrasts and unexpected discoveries. During the weekends, we were able to go hiking, visit several tourist locations, as well as find good food in many different parts of the city.
Lokesh LohiyaAdvisor: Nan Yao and Gerald Poirier
Department: PRISM, Imaging Analysis Center
The summer of 2013 was the best two months I have ever spent in my life. It was the mix of adventure and curiosity that made my stay at Princeton and the US really memorable. I was given the delightful opportunity of working at the Imaging and Analysis Center (IAC) at Princeton where I was given the freedom to use advanced imaging and analysis tools to do my projects. Initially, I learnt the operation of the different instruments at the imaging center. Once I became accustomed to them, I was given the freedom to explore their use on ‘Red Abalone Nacre’ samples. Eventually, with the consent of my supervisors, I began working on the ‘Damping effects of Nacre’.
In addition to this project, I did a Raman Spectroscopy analysis of carbon nanofibers. A unique peak intensity switch was observed with different lasers that will be studied further. The results of both these studies were so promising that my advisor gave me the opportunity to ratify them into publication works by continuing the work in Hong Kong. This outlandish outcome is beyond any expectations I had before starting and will definitely bolster my career.
Apart from the research, I became really close to our German counterparts in the REACH program. I ended up travelling to New York almost every alternate weekend and even went to Boston and Atlantic city with them. This made my summer not only productive but also proactive. To all future REACH students, you must definitely try to get to know each other and organize activities to enrich your stay at Princeton.
Nicolas Luzarraga ’15Company: Institute of Forming Technology and Lightweight Construction (IUL), Technical University of Dortmund
Location: Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
I worked for eight weeks as a research intern at the Institute of Forming Technology and Lightweight Technology at the Technical University of Dortmund. My field of research was sheet metal bending and I ran simulations of various bending processes using a software program called Abaqus. It was my first experience conducting research and performing computer assigned design. My coworkers were graduate students working on their PhDs, but they were all incredibly helpful and friendly. Living and working in a country with a different language was an invaluable experience. I do not speak any German, but I was able to get around quite easily because a large percentage of the population speaks English. I shared a small apartment with another college student. We both had large singles, a kitchen, a bathroom, and there was a laundry room in the basement.
Transportation was excellent, as the university provided a student pass that allowed me to take any bus or train in the region. They also offered lunches at the cafeteria for a very cheap price, subsidized by the state. My favorite part of my internship was spending the weekend traveling around Europe with the other REACH interns in nearby cities. I traveled with other Princeton students to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, Brussels, Munich, Berlin, and Prague, as well as other smaller cities nearby. I love to travel and sightsee and this opportunity was incredible, as you can go essentially anywhere in Europe by train. I would highly recommend this internship to another engineering student.
Aashna Mehra ’15
Hi! I am Aashna Mehra and I am a senior from the dusty and crazy, but beautiful, city of New Delhi, India. A Mechanical Engineering major with certificates in Materials Science and Sustainable Energy, I am obsessed with Indian politics and movies. When not exploding batteries in Dr. Steingart's lab, I can be found organizing Model UN conferences with the International Relations Council (I served as Chargeé d'Affaires and Secretary General), gyrating to the latest Bollywood song with the Naacho South Asian Dance Group or trying to look for funding for my social entrepreneurship venture, Saheli, which aims to rehabilitate victims of forced prostitution. I am very passionate about renewable energy and development and see myself working at the intersection of technology, business and policy one day. I am looking forward to a lovely year working with the Keller Center and the other fellows! :)
Tin Nguyen ’18Company: TU-Dortmund
Location: Dortmund, Germany
I had a wonderful experience on the REACH program in Dortmund, working for the Fraunhofer IML Institute for Logistics and Material Flow. I worked well with my supervisor, Thillai Sivakumaran, on his optimization model, and at the same time, worked with Matthias Parlings, who was the supervisor for past REACH interns, on his qualitative description approach. I was able to rely on my coding experience and further develop my quantitative skills and qualitative skills by working on these projects. It was a great honor to be working in this institute which is at the forefront of Logistics research in Germany. On the other hand, I used my weekends to travel to big cities in Germany like Dusseldorf, Cologne, Berlin and Hamburg. From my travels and Germans friends, I learnt a thing or two about German history, society and psyche.
Clarissa PrawotoAdvisor: Nan Yao and Gerald Poirier
Department: PRISM, Imaging Analysis Center
This summer I worked at an imaging center (Imaging and Analysis Center – IAC) at the Princeton Institute for Science and Technology for Materials (PRISM). Working in his lab enabled me to learn many different imaging techniques, one of them is learning how to operate the imaging devices, such as the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), the Raman Spectrometer and the Ellipsometer. These devices were utilized for analyzing materials that were studied in various research projects. Moreover, the experience introduced me to a new interdisciplinary field, material science.
The projects that I worked on were about studying the damping properties in abalone shell and Raman spectroscopy of carbon nanofibre. As I worked at an imaging center, I met various people from different background fields of study. The imaging center is very useful and crucial in many fields, and as a result, it enabled me to learn wide varieties of subjects and I also worked with people of different backgrounds, from Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, to Mechanical Engineering. This gave me an opportunity to learn how to communicate with people from different backgrounds of study and how to communicate ideas in general.
Moving to a new place I had learn to adapt to the environment, which meant adjusting to a new culture, new people, new systems, etc. In communicating with others, we had to overcome cultural and language barrier, especially because for most of us, English is not our first language. I made a lot of new friends from different parts of the world during the program, and by communicating with them, I believe it could broaden my knowledge and teach me to view things from different perspectives. In conclusion, this program has enabled me to experience a multicultural working environment, that made me learn a lot just by interacting with the people in the program. I think I have broaden my view in both academics and cultural aspects. The summer exchange program has let me experience an unfamiliar field of study that I have never thought of before, so that I gained more breadth in terms of knowledge. I believe that this is a very rewarding experience and I hope that this program will continue in the future.
Ezra SetisabdaAdvisor: Michael Littman
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
I am really thankful for the opportunity to be able to come to the States and I simply can’t put my wonderful experience researching in Princeton University to words. 8 weeks felt very quick indeed. I do think that the environment in Princeton University is conducive – I simply can’t ask for more. I liked walking from Spelman to E-Quad every morning, though far, because I simply fell in love with the campus – with the buildings, the plan, everything! The people I met in the lab and workshop are also very welcoming people. I am thankful for the opportunity to grow academically, to know more people and learn a new culture and of course to have time to travel around East Coast!
It has been a fruitful and fantastic summer. Thank you Professor Littman who has spent hours with me on our project, my colleagues (we had fun in E115), lab technicians and also staff members from Keller Center!
Maksimilian Shatkhin ’15Company: University of Duisburg-Essen
Location: Duisburg, Germany
I spent my summer as a participant of the REACH program in Duisburg, Germany. The name of my research project was titled “Biomedical Robotics”, and it lasted around two months. When looking back on the experience, I see three sections into which I could divide my internship experience: the technical aspect, the work and office environment, and the overall cultural exchange that occurred within those two months. Each of these three sections played a part in my experience and the program would not have been the same without all three; therefore I would like to go into a little more detail about each one.
The two months I spent in Germany were probably the most spontaneous and event-filled of my life. There were almost no dull days in which you wouldn’t find me working on the research project or hanging out with friends in the area. The REACH program did a great job in setting us up with projects that were challenging and interesting at the same time. The friends I shared bratwursts and beers with will stay with me for many years to come.
Chawin Sitawarin ’18Company: HKUST
Location: Hong Kong
My experience in Hong Kong this summer was definitely amazing and, to some degree, life-changing. First of all, I should say this, I am an international student so living abroad far away from home is nothing new to me, and I also enjoy learning and immersing in different cultures. So living and working in Hong Kong where I don’t know the language, culture, or places are not all that difficult and, in fact, quite eye-opening.
We lived in a student dorm at HKUST right next to a beautiful sea. Even though we started work quite early and the communal time could add up to one hour and a half, once we are used to it, it is quite manageable. We worked at Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI), a government-funded company that focuses on industrial and applied research. The community is vibrant. Both other summer interns and regular employees are very friendly and more than willing to share their knowledge and culture.
There are plenty of places to visit, activities to do, and food to try. To summarize, my summer internship was a great combination of a valuable work experience and a memorable exploration of Hong Kong.
Jens SonntagAdvisor: Claire Gmachl
Department: Electrical Engineering, MIRTHE
During this amazing summer I worked for Prof. Claire Gmachl in the Department of Electrical Engineering. My task was to design and build a new kind of laser, which consist of an iron doped ZnSe-crystal, which is pumped optically by a Quantum Cascade lasers. The work I did included preparatory measurements of the crystal and the pump laser with a Light-Current-Voltage setup and a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, designing with 3D-CAD and a whole lot assembling and aligning of optical components. Besides learning about a completely new topic, learning to use new instruments and gain experience in scientific presentations at the MIRTHE-workshop, I found that meeting all these people was most invaluable. Besides work I got the chance to visit a lot of the surrounding cities. This includes: New York with its amazing skyline, Philadelphia for all the history, Atlantic City with its beach and casinos, Boston with a lot flair and Washington, D.C as the capital of the US.
Finally I want to thank the Keller Center, Claire Gmachl’s research group, my fellow REACH students and everyone else I met for their kind hospitality and the great time I had.
Pablo Suero ’15Company: Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Location: Bochum, Germany
My internship in Ruhr Universität Bochum’s Department of Embedded Security this summer was an amazing experience. Being immersed in German culture for two months without speaking a word of German or knowing much about the culture expanded my comfort zone a lot. This helped me grow both professionally and personally. Working in an area unrelated to my major augmented my ability to cope in different environments and my ability to work in different types of problems.
During the weekends, we would often travel to other cities in Germany, and even to other countries. My favorite city overall was London, and my favorite German city was Münster. On weekends when we didn’t travel around, there were often many things going on in our own cities, such as a big music festival in Bochum (Bochum Total), and a fun carnival fair in Düsseldorf. Transportation in this area was free for us, since we had student id cards. Our German student buddy carefully explained to us the area in which we got free transportation. Overall, I had an amazing experience, and I am very grateful to both everyone at Princeton’s Keller Center and everyone at Ruhr Universität that made this opportunity possible for me.
Nico Toy ’18Company: Ruhr University Bochum
Location: GermanyMy two-month internship in Bochum (Germany) on digital communication systems was a very fascinating and beneficial experience. I came a bit unprepared, with only basic knowledge in signal processing and in the programming language I had to use (C++). But with my background in computer science I was able to pick up quickly. The internship focused on software-defined radios. My final project was to implement a given algorithm to identify and cancel “non-linear” distortion and noise in a signal (simply put, this is a more complex version of noise canceling).One big difficulty of the job in the beginning was that I was on my own a lot of the time. Though the assistant was happy to help me with getting started, my supervisor didn’t give me any precise projects, and I had to invent small projects on my own to get familiar with C++ and the software. But towards the end, they gave me bigger and more precise projects, that I was able to complete without much help.This was my first time living completely on my own in an apartment. This was also a worthwhile experience, as I got more accommodated to the “real world”. I cooked a lot for myself, for the first time. I think life after graduation will feel like less of a sudden change thanks to this.Just like all my friends, I took advantage of my location to travel a lot. We each had pass for unlimited free public transit in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia which allowed us to visit Cologne, Düsseldorf and Essen. I also went to Brussels, Hamburg and Amsterdam. I went everywhere by train, thanks to the particularly efficient high-speed railways in Europe.The culture and social norms in Germany are relatively similar to those in the US, but Germany has more of a tradition meticulousness and of individual responsibility. For instance, at lunchtime, in the cafeteria where I always ate with other students or with professors, I noticed everyone always finished their food completely, leaving their plates nearly sparkling clean, despite the big portions. Also, as in many Northern-European countries, jaywalking is extremely frowned upon, even if a long stretch of road is visible and no cars are approaching. As a last example, everyone who stands on escalators stays on the right side so those walking up aren’t blocked. I found this culture very sensible, though a bit extreme at times (especially in the case of jaywalking).Despite this, drinking is a bigger part of the culture in Germany than in the United States. The drinking age is 16 for beer and wine, and 18 for stronger drinks. I regularly saw people drinking beer in the subway and other public places, as this is legal. Germany is well known for beer, and many towns have their own micro-breweries, including Bochum, where I was. I had the opportunity to taste many types.The European soccer tournament happened while I was in Germany, and soccer is very big part of the culture. Therefore, though I don’t usually follow sports, I got very involved in this tournament, and watched many matches with my friends. I was surprised by how big a discussion topic soccer was at lunch.Altogether, I’m very glad I had this international experience. It opened me up culturally, I made many new friends, and I acquired a lot of academic knowledge, as well as experience working independently.
Evaline Tsai ’15Company: Institute of Materials at Ruhr University Bochum
Location: Bochum, Germany
This summer, I interned at the Institute of Materials in Ruhr University Bochum. I worked in Professor Alfred Ludwig’s group on solar water splitting. I had the opportunity to fabricate W-Fe thin films with huge sputter deposition systems, which I then dealloyed to develop nanoporous WO3 thin film photoelectrodes. Afterwards, I used SEM, EDX, and XRD analyses to characterize the materials libraries and created colored graphs of my data with Origin software. My advisors were all very willing to answer any questions I had, which allowed me to learn a lot about my project. The work I did this summer helped develop my skills in the laboratory and furthered my interest in materials science.
When I wasn’t in the lab on weekdays, I attended German language classes to gain elementary speaking, reading, and writing skills. Knowing the basics proved useful when dining in restaurants and traveling around Germany. On the weekends, I traveled with other Princeton students living in the Ruhr area to many cities in Europe including Cologne, Amsterdam, London, Munich, Bruges, Brussels, and Berlin. I would definitely recommend this internship to engineers who want to go abroad for the summer, expand their network internationally, and try their hands at exciting materials science research. Many thanks to the Keller Center and Ruhr University Bochum for giving me such an unforgettable experience!
Matthias VogesAdvisor: Thanos Panagiotopoulos
Department: Chemical and Biological Engineering
During my summer in Princeton I worked in the group of Professor Athanassios Panagiotopoulos. My research focused on the investigation of the mechanical properties of Nafion, especially the viscoelastic response by using Molecular Simulation. Nafion is a polymer that is used for membranes in fuel cells. While working on this project together with Professor Panagiotopoulos and one of his graduate students Kevin Daly, I could increase my knowledge in the field of molecular simulations and mechanical properties of complex polymer systems.
In addition to my research work I explored the American culture, met a lot of new, international people and used the weekends to visit the gorgeous cities at the east coast like New York, Washington or Boston. On the whole it was a great summer in the USA and an unforgettable time for me.
Susan Wang ’18Company: HKUST
Location: Hong Kong
My summer internship, the REACH Hong Kong program was an amazing experience. Working in ASTRI, a cutting-edge technology and research center, allowed me to understand more about the process of research. I enjoyed the research experience; I feel that I'm being challenged every day yet I can actually utilize the knowledge that I've learned in classes. My supervisor was very helpful and encouraging, and the directions he gave me were clear. I feel that I could contribute to this project and do real work for the company, which made me feel rewarded and happy.
Moreover, Hong Kong has so much to offer for a first time visitor like me: local street food, dim sums, hiking trips, endless shopping malls, beautiful night view of the Victoria Harbor: it is a perfect blend of both modern and natural elements. All in all, the summer was an enriching and fun time!
Jacob Whitlow ’18Company: University Duisburg-Essen
There's no doubt in my mind that everybody should do something similar to what the Keller Center offers through the REACH program. The cultural experience alone would be enough to make me want to go back again, but add onto that the research experience and it just becomes more amazing. I won't deny that it's tough to leave the US for such a long time, especially for your first internship and job experience, but it's truly a life lesson and I would highly recommend it. Not to mention, the friendships I made along the way, with both other Princeton students as well as people I would have never had had the chance to meet, gave me memories that will last a lifetime. I truly am thankful to the Keller Center for the opportunity.
Ye YuAdvisor: Claire Gmachl
Department: Electrical Engineering, MIRTHE
The two month in Princeton University must be most exciting and significant summer in my life so far. Working in Prof. Gmachl’s group, I gained not only research experience and skills, but also precious friendship with other students, graduate and undergraduate. With the project “High Power Superluminescent Quantum Cascade Devices”, I have a better understanding of quantum cascade laser and solid state device. The hands –on experience in the laboratory trained me for a real researcher and enhanced my communication skills.
Thanks to living in the dorm with a kitchen, I learnt cooking. I had great trips to NYC and Six Flags with other students in the group. Playing basketball enriched my spare time. At last, I would like to thank the Keller Center for offering me such a nice opportunity in Princeton University.
Angela Zhou ’16Company: Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML)
Location: NRW, Germany
I worked for 8 weeks in the Supply Chain Management division of the Fraunhofer Institute for Materials Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany. The Fraunhofer Institute works closely with industry for its applied research projects. I came in barely knowing what logistics was, but it was interesting to see how supply chain management and logistics were relevant to my studies as an ORFE major. I helped develop a conceptual framework for supply chain design through a systematic literature review process that I extended to other research questions in the field.
I loved the opportunity to immerse myself in German culture, even though I came in without any knowledge of the language. Through the REACH program, I was able to experience the industrial heritage of the Ruhr area as well as the day-to-day working environment, and everything else about Germany from its signature foods to football matches at Signal Iduna. I also used the weekends to travel around Germany and around the area, to places like Brussels, Bruges, Amsterdam, Lindau, Ulm, Dusseldorf, and Cologne.