University of Stuttgart

Leading technical university with highly ranked programs in science, engineering and architecture.

Student Story|Jamie Abel, Aerospace Engineering '21

Jamie Abel, Aerospace Engineering '21

Host:  Institute of Aircraft Design

My host institution, the Insitut für Flugzeugbau (Institute of Aircraft Design), designs and builds experimental aircraft for research.  My project was to assist with the development of the e-Genius, which is a two-seater hybrid electric aircraft. Throughout the summer I worked on numerous subsystems of the aircraft, ranging from the propulsion chain to the avionics to the fire suppression system. A large part of my work involved designing parts using CATIA (a CAD package), some of which I had the opportunity to manufacture using 3D-printing and install in the aircraft. This was supported by analysis, which allowed me to apply concepts learnt in prior coursework in structural mechanics and electronics.  A highlight of my work was conducting tests of systems under simulated operating conditions. These tests, which were conducted on the avionics and propulsion system, allowed me to practice skills previously gained through the UROP program such as data collection and analysis. 

My time in Germany has also taught me more about my professional interests, which will hence shape my future at MIT. My work at the IFB has exposed me to a dynamic field of research which has the potential to impact the world in a positive way, as well as showing that interesting work exists outside of the few large aerospace firms. The work has also given me some insight into the kind of tasks within this field I find interesting; for example, the work I conducted on the avionics system inspired me to take 6.111 this semester.

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Student Story|Melinda Szabo, EECS '19

Melinda Szabo, EECS '19

Host: High Performance Computing Center (HLRS)

The HLRS conducts basic and applied research in the field of high-performance computing for research and industry. It also houses Europe’s largest supercomputer. I was a part of the visualization team, so we could play with – I mean work with – every virtual/augmented reality gadget they had.

The goal of my project was to determine the point of origin based on blood splatter patterns on walls using digital techniques rather than the traditional stringing method (drawing straight lines from each blood drop). With a combination of 3D scans, volume scans and detailed photographs, we could recreate a crime scene and were able to include effects of gravity and air resistance when calculating the location of the source.

My specific task was to develop a tracking system for the camera and other scanner devices used to accurately transfer the real world into a virtual one.

I loved my job, and would have loved to stay longer. As with most summer internships, you really start enjoying the job right when it is coming to an end. The coolest part of my project was that I ended up with a working product. I had a challenge, I built something and it worked.

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Student Story|Laura Yenchesky, MechE '19

Laura Yenchesky, MechE '19

Host: The Institute of Interfacial Process Engineering and Plasma Technology (IGVP)

The IGVP at the University of Stuttgart focuses on the design, functionalization and characterization of surfaces and materials of inorganic or organic origin as well as of bio-, nano- and hybrid materials and their interaction.

The foundation of my project was systematically evaluating the properties of a hydrogel when printed with a 3D printer. However, this really meant continuously problem solving in an innovative, undocumented area until I found a solution, then repeating the same process for a different objective. I do not think I would have had the skills to approach the obstacles I faced as well as I did without MIT.

Furthermore, my day to day work was quite independent, unlike any project I’ve previously worked on. My institute provided a wonderful support network, but my supervisor allowed me the freedom to develop my own procedures and make decisions at critical points. I’ve loved this opportunity to further my independent work skills, and MIT provided me with a solid foundation for this.

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Student Story|Safra Jabri, MechE '19

Safra Jabri, MechE '19

Host: Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics

The Institute of Computational Mechanics focuses on the following fields of study: Engineering dynamics (modeling machines, mechanisms, vehicles and rotors), optimization, mechatronics, mechanics of contact and biomechanics.

I worked on the modeling and control of rigid and flexible multi-body systems. Through this experience, I have had the chance to learn the basics of kinematics and dynamics modeling and control of different systems. I also had the opportunity to learn how to use Neweul-M2, a software package for the dynamic analysis of mechanical systems with the Multi-body System Method., and gained more experience using LabVIEW and MATLAB/Simulink models.

Being part of a university exchange program such as SUPER has allowed me to not only do research at one of the best mechanical engineering institutes in the country but also meet amazing people from all over.

Since most publications at the institute were solely written in German, I had to rely on myself and the occasional help of other colleagues in understanding the previous projects done at the institute. Despite this challenge, we managed to work together smoothly and reach satisfying results. At the end of my internship, I submitted a 20-page internship report to my supervisor explaining my methods and summarizing my work.

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Student Story|Alan Osmundson, Aerospace Engineering '19

Alan Osmundson, Aerospace Engineering '19

Host:  Institute for Space Systems

The Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme (IRS), or, Institute for Space Systems, is an institute whose research is largely focused on methods of electric propulsion. Each experiment is a rather large production; you need someone to ignite the plasma, someone to watch the plume, someone to read the measurements, and someone to stand by the emergency kill-switch in case something goes horribly wrong. It was a cool thing to see!

My work was largely focused on the Thermal-Inductive Hybrid Thruster of the University of Stuttgart (TIHTUS). My assignments were relatively simple and did not involve a lot of hands-on lab work. I collected and compiled data from past experiments, helped design a cable throughput, picked out parts online for a spectroscopy probe, and generally helped organize the lab area.

This summer has been a great opportunity to step out of the MIT bubble, meet lots of new people, and reflect on my experiences. It was interesting to see how people reacted when they found out I go to MIT; there’s always a little moment of surprise. By seeing the amount of recognition and respect MIT has garnered all over the world, I was able to better appreciate what a special place the school is.

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Student Story|Angela Leong, MechE '18

Angela Leong, MechE '18

Host:  HLRS

I was working in the visualization group (Visualisierung), and some of the projects the group was working on included the visualization of air flow around a car or a building, a driving simulator and a paragliding simulator. They had a very cool VR setup in a room called the Cave. Projections (of streets for the driving simulator, or of an archaeological site in Greece, etc.) on three horizontal walls and on the floor and ceiling were synced to special glasses worn by one user and tracked where that person was looking, creating a very immersive experience.  

As an international student at MIT I had thought that I was already sufficiently immersed in the overseas experience, but working abroad afforded me more time and opportunity to interact with a truly diverse group of people. Not only were the other student in the SUPER program from varied backgrounds, but the dorm I stayed at was also very international and the tenants rotated often; as a result, I met students in the ERASMUS program and two other groups on three-week programs. We had long conversations on both serious and trivial issues, and I am truly grateful for how much I’ve learnt and grown.

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