Penn State students continue DAAD Rise exchange

University Park, Pa. -- The Deustcher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Rise offers North American undergraduate students the opportunity to work alongside German doctoral students on their research projects. Last year, 269 students participated in the 6-12 weeks program that sent them across the Atlantic. Now, Jillian Woolridge, a double major of engineering science and German, as well as a Schreyer Honors scholar, alongside Lubov Zeifman, a psychology major, will continue the program’s scholastic exchange.

For Woolridge, her acceptance was little more than a year in the making. She had gotten wind of the program last year, but she could not apply because her semester standing did not qualify. But not losing hope, and keeping determination, she spent a year getting everything she needed to have an advantage in order. This is where the University Fellowships Office (UFO) helped, by organizing all the best attributes of Woolridge in the application. From lining up recommendations, to countless hours of editing, the UFO aided Woolridge in putting her best foot forward.

"I was looking for something that would bridge the gap between my two majors -- engineers in a German atmosphere," said Woolridge who has her majors’ combination with the DAAD Rise program.

Meanwhile, Zeifman, a senior, came across the program "just by accident." On a regular visit to the UFO, Zeifman spoke with then director of the office, Tineke Cunning. Cunning encouraged her to apply to the program.

I thought going abroad would be nice. And she [Cunning] suggested it (DAAD Rise). And the deadline was in ten days, so I said okay I still have ten days -- I figured I had nothing to lose," said Zeifman.

In those intense 10 days, she put forth an astounding application that would garner her place in the DAAD Rise. And she credits that in large part to the UFO, which provided her the same support and advising that fellow recipient Woolridge was given.

So as the summer approaches, Woolridge and Zeifman will prepare to embark on a journey to Germany, where they will engage in more than mere sightseeing. Woolridge will be researching shape memory metal alloys (material testing). Zeifman has not yet received word on her research assignment, but she is ecstatic nonetheless.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009