REACH participants

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    Nonravee Benjapibal ’19

    Company: TU-Dortmund
    Location: Dortmund, Germany

    This summer I worked with the Institute of Bending Technology (IUL) TU Dortmund as a research assistant for the sheet metal bending. My task involves coding on LabView and Matlab, assisting my PhD student supervisors in their experiment, and helping them in determining the best technology to find the curvature of a bent piece of metal so that they can compare the impact of different bending procedures on the curvature of the pieces. Working at the IUL has offered me many opportunities to try different things. I got to use a variety of machines and equipment related to bending and tensile testing and the lab facility here is huge and very well-equipped. After the first month my advisors trusted me to run the machines and carry on tests and experiments by myself and I have learned and grown a lot from the experience.

    The people at IUL and at the university are also very welcoming. I was matched with two students from the university to help me sort things out upon my arrival but we kept in touch since and we hung out almost every single week; going picnic, cooking, baking, and just browsing around the city together. The people at IUL are mostly PhD students who are very dedicated to their projects but are also very willing to make time to hang out and sometimes having BBQs and grabbing meals together after work. The institute also arranged for us to go on two day trips together and both turned out to be very interesting and I got to know the people at the institute better on the day trips.

    Outside of working hours, I got to spend time with other exchange students from Mexico, Greece, Poland, Scotland, and the US and I got to travel and explore cities both inside and outside of Germany. Being in a country with a different culture and different language was a huge challenge for me at first but once you adjusted to it, the experience is rewarding. I would recommend this internship to a fellow student. I did work a lot more than I expected (from (9am to 6pm every day) but I have also learned a lot from work. This is by-far the most productive and eventful summer I have had both in terms of academics, traveling, and meeting great people!

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    Adam Berman ’18

    Company: NCTU-Taiwan
    Location: Taiwan

    I chose the REACH program because it provides botj international experience and research experience in my field. Since I was going so far away to Taiwan, I was not sure exactly what my expectations were. However, my experience at NCTU was outstanding. I worked with graduate students in an electronics lab there to see a project I developed with my advisor to completion. It was very rewarding. My most memorable experience was going to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, with my labmates. We went to a tech conference there, and later went to one of the many famous night markets in the city, which was outstanding. I would definitely recommend REACH to other students because it is a great way to immerse yourself in another culture while also gaining invaluable experience performing research at the graduate level.

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    Alan Chen ’18

    Company: NCTU
    Location: Taiwan

    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.

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    Annie Chen ’18

    Company: 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!

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    Liam Collins ’19

    Company: Ruhr University Bochum
    Location: Bochum, Germany

    My internship this summer in the Chair for Embedded Security at Ruhr University Bochum was a tremendously enriching experience. For my project, I designed an antenna on an FPGA which can be used to leak valuable information. This project challenged me to learn a great deal about FPGA programming and hardware trojans, which was very intellectually satisfying. I also benefitted from engaging with the vibrant embedded security research team. I learned about intriguing research topics in embedded security by participating in team meetings and seminars, discussing each member’s research with them, and reading some of their publications. I also participated in a biking trip and mine tour, social nights, and a departmental soccer tournament with the research team. These experiences made me feel at home in the team, and I am very thankful for them for welcoming me so graciously.

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    Sally Jiao ’18

    Company: Ruhr University Bochum
    Location: Germany

    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.

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    Jacky Kong ’18

    Company: 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!

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    Brandon Lam ’15

    Company: 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.

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    Cindy Liu ’18

    Company: 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.

  • Tin Nguyen ’18

    Company: 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.

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    Komron Shayegan ’18

    Company: University Duisburg-Essen
    Location: Duisburg-Essen, Germany

    I chose the REACH program for the research experience in a physics lab while also getting exposure to another culture. While the area I was placed in was not the most beautiful, I got plenty of lab time and was given more responsibility than I would at other places for the first half of the summer. The second half was much slower since we were just taking measurements that took full days. Duisburg itself is a city that is still recovering economically, so there is not too much to do, however the efforts in beautifying the the old industrial areas are admirable. If you become tired of the city, you can always take a train to one of the nearby cities in the region. I really enjoyed our group outing (biking to an industrial city) and my favorite part was when the interferometer I had set up was successfully used for measurements.

  • Chawin Sitawarin ’18

    Company: 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.

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    Pablo Suero ’15

    Company: 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.

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    Adrian Tong ’20

    Company: HKUST/ASTRI
    Location: Hong Kong

    I chose the REACH program to learn more about the tech environment from an international perspective. My parents are also from Hong Kong, so I feel a culturalconnection to the city. I really enjoyed my experience at ASTRI. Initially, I did not like the project I was assigned, but PR was accommodating and allowed me to switch teams. I really enjoyed the new Internet of Vehicles team I was assigned to. The work is enjoyable without too much pressure, and my team was always there for me to answer my questions. I would say that most of my expectations were met, although knowing Mandarin and Cantonese would be more useful than I expected, even for ASTRI’s English based workplace. The location of HKUST was a bit inconvenient, while the views and facilities were nice. I was also impressed by the facilities at Science Park. My most memorable experiences would probably be the cultural activities provided by global student programs. I also enjoyed the many trips we took on the weekends going shopping and sightseeing.

  • Nico Toy ’18

    Company: Ruhr University Bochum
    Location: Germany

    My 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.
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    Evaline Tsai ’15

    Company: 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!

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    Matthias Voges

    Advisor: 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.


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    Susan Wang ’18

    Company: 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 ’18

    Company: University Duisburg-Essen
    Location: Germany

    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.

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    Ye Yu

    Advisor: 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.

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    Angela Zhou ’16

    Company: 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.