Graduate Student Honored with German Academic Exchange Service Scholarship

By:       Ashley Duvelius
Date:   December 12, 2016

CEAS graduate student Matthew Owen named among the recipients accepted into the German Academic Exchange Service RISE Professional program for the academic year 2016/17.

Matthew Owen

The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - DAAD), the largest funding organization in the world supporting the international exchange of students and scholars, has announced the recipients of several scholarships and grants for the academic year 2016/17. Among those awarded is Matthew Owen, a University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) mechanical engineering graduate student.

Currently pursuing his MS in mechanical engineering, Owen works on fluid mechanics and occupational safety and health under the guidance of professors Milind Jog, PhD, and Jay Kim, PhD.

Owen reflects, “I chose UC because of its engineering reputation and location in relation to my family.  Dr. Milind Jog, my advisor, was very helpful in finding research topics.  Also, UC CEAS offers Occupational Safety and Health Engineering, under Dr. Jay Kim, which is very interesting and interdisciplinary.  I’ve learned a lot ranging from aerosols, ergonomics, and safety engineering. The program is only one of 18 such programs in the county and UC’s program is often touted as the number one in the country, if not in the top three.”

And it was while studying here at CEAS that Owen stumbled upon the DAAD RISE Professional Program opportunity. He was accepted into program and became one of only two UC students to be awarded a DAAD scholarship.

The RISE Professional Program is a program set up by the German Academic Exchange Program, DAAD, to find internships with students in North American to companies in Germany, regardless of nationality or German language proficiency.

For three months, Owen worked for HNP Mikrosysteme Gmbh in Schwerin, Germany, which is one hour east of Hamburg and two hours northwest of Berlin. The purpose of his internship was to research, design, build, and ultimately test cleaning procedures for micro-annular gear pumps for life science purposes.

During his tenure there, Owen practiced his German language proficiency, learned about the labor laws in Germany, how to find jobs in Germany, how to apply to German Universities, and, of course, learned how a hi-tech innovative company operates.  Acquiring much more knowledge of German and American practices and the similarities as well as differences, Owen’s experience with North Eastern German culture was ‘up close and personal,’ interacting with people and seeing much of the Baltic Coast.

Owen reflects on rare internship experience, “I felt wonderfully blessed and loved it.  This was a goal I have had for a few years.  When I realized I wanted to work in Germany, I started to take German shortly after graduating from Purdue and continued with formal courses at UC.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people and see how things are done outside of the country.”

A native of North Royalton, a suburb in Cleveland, OH, Owen’s journey to CEAS is a remarkable one, in and of itself. Owen was very active in Boy Scouts and earned his way to the prestigious title of Eagle Scout.  He was also heavily involved in high school choir.  During the sixth grade, his father's job led his family to live in Paris, France for a year. Owen earned his BS in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in December 2013. While at Purdue, he studied abroad in Istanbul and has enjoyed traveling to and living in France, Turkey, and Germany.

Owen in the HNP Mikrosysteme research lab.

Owen in the HNP Mikrosysteme research lab.

Owen’s senior design project at Purdue, under the direction of Drs. Lumkes and John Nolfi, led to the successful design and build of a basic utility vehicle (BUV) which was made from angle iron, scrap parts from a Toyota Corolla, and a front wheel transmission.  It was able to haul 1000lbs of cargo.  Owen and his team won the IAT BUV Competition for most innovative design.  Also, as part of this project, Owen travelled to Bangang, Cameroon, to work with ACREST (African Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) to help train workers to build and sell similar models.

Upon graduating from Purdue, Owen completed two internships at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH, through LERCIP (Lewis’ Educational and Research Collaborative Internship Project) which offers students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a variety of technical and professional disciplines.  During his first internship at Glenn, Owen conducted research with heat pipes to help with heat rejection on a nuclear powered stirling engine that would be used to power either moon or Mars missions. His second internship was practical-based, helping to prepare the propulsion lab—a.k.a. the rocket lab—for experiments as well as working in controls for measurement devices for the drop tower.

Fast forward to today and, in addition to his recent DAAD experience, Owen has much to look back proudly upon.

Owen declares one of his best classroom accomplishments as being a part of another team working on adding cooling while increasing power output of a Jetcat engine under Professor Mark Turner.  The team has one publication from this project in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and they also presented their final results at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base for the Jetcat Competition.

Looking to the future, Owen says, “I like the idea that there are many different aspects to mechanical engineering.  I’m always going to be interested in how things in the world work and specifically it is interesting to know how the things I use work.  Training in mechanical engineering has taught me those things. Mechanical engineering gives an intimate view for that.

I plan to graduate in May 2017, afterwards I'm open to any meaningful job in my field.  I hope to work in Europe at some time for some time as well.”

He adds, “Even undergraduate students can apply to the DAAD Rise-Pro program.  They get the rare opportunity to complete research at German Universities.  Everyone who is interested should apply at https://www.daad.de/rise/en/.  You are supported the entire way so what do you have to lose?”

DAAD is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation. DAAD offers programs and funding for students, faculty, researchers and others in higher education providing financial support to over 112,500 individuals per year. DAAD also represents the German higher education system abroad, promoting Germany as an academic and research destination and establishes ties among institutions around the world.