Alumni Newsletter 2019

###:IF: lastname ### ###salutation### ###lastname###,###:ELSE:### ###salutation###,###:ENDIF:###

As the year 2019 is coming to a close, we greet you, as every year, with our international alumni letter. We hope you enjoy this short summary of some developments and events at the Graduate School of Offenburg University and information about reunions and achievements of fellow alumni.

As you know, we launched our new alumni portal in the beginning of the year. Many of you have already logged in and updated their data. Thank so much for showing your interest in keeping in touch.

If you did not yet check out the alumni portal, take the chance to do this now, before the end of this year. Use the search function to find your classmates, other alumni from your country, or other alumni living in the same city or region as you and get in touch with other alumni of the Graduate School. If you want to announce something to all alumni, you may use the general bulletin board of the new portal. Furthermore, if you are looking for qualified employee, or a new job for yourself, the job bulletin board of the portal provides the perfect platform for your search.

Don’t wait to use this great opportunity to network with other alumni and update your personal profile in the new portal especially created for you! You find the link on our website below the menu intem "International". However, as you might get lost at our university website, we recommend you to use the following link:

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas season and all the best for 2020,

The Graduate School Team

Alumnus of the Graduate School Receives One Million Euro Grant

Pavel Marichal, alumnus of our master's degree program Process Engineering, has been granted a million euros from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, for developing a disruptive technology during his doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems.

Together with a fellow colleague, Felipe Tapia, they aim for the commercial development of a virus manufacturing platform with the potential of revolutionizing the gene therapy field by making these treatments affordable to the general population. The use of viral vectors for gene therapies has shown the promise to become the next medical revolution for combating a wide variety of currently untreatable diseases with current treatments costing several hundred thousand US dollars. The project will combine a continuous bioreactor developed by Pavel's colleague and a low-cost purification system developed by Pavel.

DAAD Award Goes to IBC Graduate

At the last graduation ceremony, Basal John, graduate of the MBA program International Business Consulting, received a special award: Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Professor Anne Najderek, presented him the “DAAD Award,” endowed with 1000 euros.

The award was granted to Basal John not only for his academic achievements, but also his social and university-related commitment. Najderek emphasized the active support of fellow students Basal John provided by organizing learning groups, assisting in the coordination of the study course, and also his active support for senior citizens in Gengenbach.

The award of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for outstanding achievements of foreign students at German universities has been awarded since over ten years. It aims at giving the large number of foreign students at German universities a face and make their stories and contributions more visible. The students who receive the award are Germany's future partners in business, politics and science. “A double win for Mr. John and for society,” remarked the IBC program director, Professor Rainer Fischer.

10 Years of MPE – International Master's Degree Program in Process Engineering

In the early afternoon of 21 March 2009, two cars overloaded with six passengers from Offenburg University arrived at the parking lot of the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology of the University of Warmia and Masuria in Olsztyn in north-eastern Poland. This was the beginning of the international Master's program in Process Engineering (MPE), with Professor Torsten Schneider as head of the program on the Offenburg side. The double degree program thus celebrated its tenth anniversary in the summer semester 2019. Over 250 students from all over the world have successfully studied MPE in Offenburg and Olsztyn in the past 10 years.

With the start of the second decade, MPE is experiencing personnel changes. Ms. Sosnik has been substituted by Ms. Siebert as MPE coordinator since June 2019, and after Professor Schneider's retirement at the end of the summer semester 2019, Professor Reiner Staudt took over as program director.

Professor Schneider will, however, continue to teach even after retirement, and as a new member of the Senior Service, future students will still be able to benefit from his knowledge and his characteristic open and uncomplicated manner.

Enterprise and IT-Security – New Master's Degree Program at the Graduate School

In 2019, the Master's degree program Enterprise and IT-Security (ENITS) was integrated into the Graduate School and is now offered as an English-taught program for students with a background in computer science, business informatics, enterprise and IT security or similar. ENITS is an advanced, comprehensive Master’s degree program qualifying graduates for leadership positions in the diverse field of IT security.

The program has continuously evolved over the last three years. With currently five professors, all with strong industrial backgrounds in several areas of IT security, it delivers a broad variety of expertise. Founder and director of this program is Offenburg University's well-known scientist Prof. Dirk Westhoff.

While ENITS started with rounds of students all from Germany, we are proud so see that today’s cohorts hail from all over the world; our current batch of ENITS students are from Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Poland besides Germany.

BaSIs – Increasing Academic Success and Integration

While the attractiveness of Germany as a place to study is increasing and more than 19.6 % of students were foreign students in 2015, the drop-out rate among international students in German-language degree programs is quite high in comparison to German students (41 % for Bachelor's degrees and 28 % for Master's degrees).

Offenburg University has therefore started the project "BaSIs", which aims at increasing the graduation rate of foreign students in Bachelor's degree programs. It offers target-group specific study counseling, additional classes (e.g. Technical German, scientific writing, learning techniques, internship search), specialist tutorials for in-depth study, and exam preparation and mentoring by student mentors, so-called "buddies".

New Coordinators at the Graduate School

With the new Master’s degree programs offered by the Graduate School of Offenburg University, with Professor Torsten Schneiders retirement and the fact, that Alexandra Raunig and Izabela Sosnik are currently on maternity leave, you may see a few new faces if you come and visit us at Offenburg.

Professor Andreas Klasen took over as director of the International Center (Graduate School and International Office) while Professor Reiner Staudt has become program director of Proces Engineering (MPE).

Daniela Siebert (on the left in the picture), originating from Brazil, is currently coordinating the two double-degree programs Process Engineering (MPE) and Biotechnology (MBT). Komila Topal (second from left), who grew up in Uzbekistan, is the new coordinator of the MBA program International Business Consulting (IBC).

Tatiana Shakhtyr (second from right), our Russian colleague, is the substitute coordinator of the Master’s degree program of Power and Data Engineering (PDE), the successor program of Energy Conversion and Management (ECM). Strengthening the program focus on renewable energies, this program will receive, once again, a new name and be called Renewable Energies and Data Engineering (RED) starting next year. Prof. Peter Treffinger, who successfully led this program for years, is now suceeded by his colleague Prof. Jörg Bausch.

Last but not least, Heike Dietrich (on the right) is the coordinator of the new Graduate School degree program of Enterprise and IT Security (ENITS).

Alumni Engagement at University Fairs

Alumni from Turkey and from Indonesia generously shared their experience about their studies at the Graduate School of Offenburg with interested visitors of the International Education Fair in Istanbul in October and the European Higher Education Fair in Jakarta in November this year.

It is simply invaluable to receive first-hand information from former students, and it makes such a great difference for those from the same region who come to learn more and hope to make the right decision for their future.

Thank you so much for your help and commitment!

Alumni Get-Together in Offenburg in June 2019

Every second year, we celebrate an Alumni Get-Together at the occasion of the International Festival of the City of Offenburg.

This year again, on June 6, former Graduate School students as well as directors of the study programs and staff members of the Graduate School, met to see friends from their times of studies again, to establish new contacts and to exchange the latest news. Thanks to all who took the time to return to Offenburg and participated in the Get-Together, it was a fabulous summer evening in a nice and upbeat atmosphere.

We are looking forward to see you all at the next Get-Together in 2021!

Pots, Pans and Conversations

In the 2019 winter semester, the Senior Service came up with the great new idea of offering a cooking class for international students. Hence, eight seniors from Offenburg met seven students from Brazil, Colombia, India, Nigeria and Russia in the training kitchen of the Offenburg “Amt für Landwirtschaft.”

Under the guidance of Ingrid Vollmer-Haug, a trained housekeeper and freelance lecturer, they prepared specialties of local and German cuisine. Cooking together, there was still enough time to talk about waste separation, Christmas markets, and various customs in the respective home countries.

As a reward for the cooking effort, they got to enjoy the prepared dishes; students and seniors sat together for a long time afterwards and left happy over the successful meal, having met new people and taking home a few quick and simple recipes for their own use.

Offenburg Strengthened as a Train Traffic Junction

A French high-speed train (TGV) now stops in Offenburg on its route from Freiburg to Paris and back six days a week. This makes it even more attractive and uncomplicated for students from Offenburg to take a trip to the French capital.

In the past, traveling to Paris by train required going to Strasbourg first. Now, without having to change trains and with a travel time of only two-and-a-half hours, the French capital is closer than ever and can even be visited in a day trip.

So, if you are working in Paris, don't miss to stop by at your Alma Mater in Offenburg and visit us for a few hours!