Opinion | university education German-style | Tim Roberts

In 2014 an undergraduate student at a German university spent her summer as an intern with us here at the Tom Farrell Institute.

She was one of about 300 students sent out by the German government to research laboratories all over the world, fully funded, to gain experience of research. 

In a recent email she brought me up to date with her progress through her studies and related travels.

“I am working this year in Colombia and last weekend I was on a really nice hike up in more than 4000metres to the Paramo ecosystem where the Espeletia, commonly known as frailejón plant grows (see photo above).

“It has a very important role in the ecosystem of the northern Andes.

“This plant is working like a sponge.

“It absorbs large amounts of water from passing clouds and in the dry season, even in really tough ones, it supplies the whole area with sufficient water.

“I will go back to Germany next year to continue my Masters.

“Actually I switched my major to materials science and engineering.

“During the time at the TFI and the German Aerospace Center I realised that I really like the physics of materials, especially those ones e.g. used for energy conversion, storage of renewables and other environmental applications.

“When I go back to University, I will write my thesis and afterwards I will start working on a PhD.

“Last year I was working in a research group for biocompatible nanomaterials which was very fascinating.

Say hi to the whole TFI team ”.

 A remarkable story of a young person on her way to a career in science through the German academic system.

Professor Tim Roberts is the director of the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment at the University of Newcastle