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University of Applied Sciences in Reutlingen, Germany
By faculty member Gisela Buschle-Diller
Participation in a student exchange program requires curiosity, flexibility and courage to step outside one’s comfort zone. During the past several years, the department has run a successful study abroad program for international students visiting Auburn’s campus. Student activities include taking classes and encountering local culture. This past year, the program began to focus on research as well.
Visiting student Inga Reichert from Kiel, Germany, spent five months this spring and summer with faculty member Ed Davis, working under his direction on a vital part of her master’s research studying polymer extrusion. After her time in Auburn, she was able to secure an internship at Daimler in Stuttgart, Germany, to finish her thesis work.
Alina Braun, a visiting student from Spaiching, Germany, worked on a project with Davis while developing her bachelor’s thesis. Braun was a returning exchange student from the University of Applied Sciences in Reutlingen, Germany. She completed a one-semester exchange program with the department in 2009, and enjoyed it so much that she decided to return to Auburn.
The department also welcomed undergraduate student Florian Wagner from June to September of last year. Wagner is from the University of Mines in Leoben, Austria, and studied at Auburn to gain experience with polymer materials for a summer internship. He worked closely with Zhiwei Xie in faculty member Gisela Buschle-Diller’s research group, which explores coating electrospun fibers with conducting polymers.
Around town in Reutlingen, Germany
During summer 2010, Vladimir Quinones performed research at Auburn for his master’s thesis, which he is earning from the Technical University in Dresden, Germany. Quinones, a native of Bogota, Colombia, was a graduate student in faculty member Gwynedd Thomas’ research group. He returned to the department in November to finish his master’s degree. Meanwhile, Katie Lushington, a Tallassee native, spent summer 2010 at the Institute for Textile and Mechanical Engineering and Technology in Denkendorf, Germany, investigating the physical properties of adhesives for Band-Aids, a research project as part of her master’s thesis.
These students agree that study—and research—abroad is an invaluable source of experience and inspiration, as well as a fundamental part of a global career in polymer and fiber engineering. The department also hosted two undergraduate students from UAP Reutlingen for research this past summer, as well as a master’s student from the Technical University in Dresden who began the program this past fall.