Four UAH Honors students offered DAAD RISE summer internships

Sydney Miller

Sydney Miller, aerospace engineering student and DAAD RISE summer internship honoree.

Courtesy Sydney Miller

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of The University of Alabama System, announced that four UAH Honors students have been offered DAAD RISE summer internships. The honorees include Sydney Miller, aerospace engineering and mathematical sciences; Jonathan Swindell, computer engineering; Alexandra Fedrigo, mathematical sciences; and Thomas (Tom) Teper, aerospace engineering.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) offers undergraduates from North American, British and Irish universities the opportunity to complete a summer research internship at top German universities and research institutions. DAAD RISE interns receive a monthly stipend and travel costs and are matched with a host university according to their area of interest. Interns also have the opportunity to attend a three-day RISE meeting in Heidelberg at the beginning of July.

DAAD RISE internships are opportunities for STEM sophomores and juniors to conduct specialized research in Germany for up to twelve weeks. This internship provides UAH STEM students who want to study abroad with a hands-on research experience that will aid future graduate school, fellowship and job applications.

daad rise logo
Courtesy RISE

Sydney Miller will be traveling to Emden, Lower Saxony, to work on hyperloop technology at the Hochschule Emden/Leer's University of Applied Sciences.  Miller will have several topics from which to choose concerning her internship, including researching heat dissipation aspects, magnetic levitations and modeling and aerodynamic aspects of hyperloop technology.

“I got the opportunity to do research with Dr. [Gabriel] Xu, which has taught me a lot and definitely helped prepare me for this research internship,” Miller says. “Also, I wouldn't have even known about this opportunity or gotten it without the help of [Fellowship and Graduate School Advisor] Jennifer Staton. Being named a DAAD RISE awardee will benefit my academic career by giving me more experience in research in a different area from what I’ve studied at UAH. I get to work on hyperloop technology and choose an area within that that I am interested in. Also, being in Germany, I will get to experience different considerations, perspectives and approaches to problem-solving in engineering.”

Jonathan Swindell

Jonathan Swindell

Courtesy Jonathan Swindell

Jonathan Swindell was awarded an internship at the Hamburg University of Technology to assist with research associated with developing algorithmic tools for compression to allow fast random access.

“Becoming a DAAD RISE awardee impacts my academic career by demonstrating the usefulness of my previous research experience and skills,” Swindell notes. “While I chose to pursue other research and career opportunities this summer, that recognition is continuing to open doors to further Biology and Computer Engineering research opportunities at UAH that I will be pursuing in the upcoming months.

“My experience at UAH has been wonderful. I have also benefited greatly from mentorship by the faculty and local professionals. My future career goal is to use computer engineering to create complex systems that can facilitate progress in refining cutting-edge science applications. I am particularly fascinated by bioinformatics.”

Alexandra Fedrigo

Alexandra Fedrigo

Courtesy Alexandra Fedrigo

Alexandra Fedrigo received an internship offer at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern's Laboratory of Reaction and Fluid Process Engineering, focusing on challenges in chemical engineering: sustainable production, carbon dioxide reduction and energy efficiency.

“I learned a lot working through the application process with Jennifer Staton,” Fedrigo says. “Understanding how to better express my technical skills and advocate for myself as a student will be valuable for me both academically and professionally. This offer encourages me to continue participating in undergraduate research, even in fields I might not expect. The position I was offered was in chemical engineering, which I know next to nothing about as a math major. However, looking at the work they wanted done, it seemed much more geared toward a mathematician than a chemical engineer. It was a cool way for me to learn about how different fields can connect.

“I love that I’ve gotten to try so many things at UAH. Participating in undergraduate research, tutoring at the Student Success Center (SSC) and working on projects with Space Hardware Club have all given me a chance to learn a lot outside the classroom. It’s fun to take classes about things that I’m excited about, but expanding on that within the UAH community is something I’ve really appreciated. After my undergrad, I plan to pursue graduate studies in math at UAH. I would like to eventually work in math modeling and/or data analysis.”

Tom Teper

Tom Teper

Courtesy Tom Teper

Tom Teper was offered a research internship at the Ostfalia Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, to work on a new model wind tunnel that is currently being established by the institute for automotive vehicles.

“One of my key academic goals is to study abroad in another country due to cultural immersion and the opportunity to learn different ways of approaching similar engineering problems,” Teper says. “This process has been eye-opening for me, as I did not realize the number of resources and friendly staff at UAH that can help with applying to exciting opportunities. I believe the DAAD RISE award will be an important experience for my pursuit of an aerospace degree, because I can be closely involved with international students and universities in my field of interest. Unfortunately, I am unable to travel to Germany this summer for the internship, but I am planning on reapplying next year!

“UAH is one of the top aerospace engineering schools in the country, and the exposure to so many engineering companies and internship opportunities in Research Park and at Redstone Arsenal/NASA Marshall is very beneficial as an aspiring engineer. UAH has also given me the great opportunity to perform undergraduate research with the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) department, in which I have focused on Model-based Systems Engineering and its perception in industry. Research is very accessible at UAH, and I think had I not attended this school that I would not have been involved in such an awesome experience. My goal is to continue to grow through my studies and to grow my industry experience through internships and study abroad opportunities. I am excited for the future and for what it holds!”

For students who have received a 2022 DAAD RISE internship, please contact for future recognition.