One scholarship. Many faces.


Over the past few years, the University of Potsdam has awarded nearly 300 University-scholarships to committed and high-performing students. But who are these scholarship holders and what does it mean to be sponsored? Every month, one scholarship holder is presented here.


Stipendiatin im Freien.
Photo: Privat
Nele has been supported by SAP since October 2021.

Nele Eggers, Bachelor Physics

Starving polar bears, storm surges and floods. For Nele, one thing was clear: she wanted to become a climate researcher. And that works especially well at the University of Potsdam. In her focus on climate physics, Nele is studying the physics (especially the dynamics) of the atmosphere, ocean and ice. The university scholarship gives her the necessary freedom to continue her involvement in Fridays for Future and to actively support her fellow students in the student council.

I moved to Potsdam to study climate physics. Climate change, climate disasters, climate research: these are all important topics in my life. I am only 19 years old now, and yet the effects of climate change are clearly noticeable to me. I grew up surrounded by reports of storm surges and floods. I visited my friends and heard about dry, failed harvests. I listened spellbound to my parents' tales of childhood snowman adventures, going outside to find only mud. For little Nele, the final straw came when she saw a documentary about a starving polar bear. From then on, it was clear: This can't go on! I have the opportunity to do something. And that's why I see it as my responsibility to do something. I will become a climate researcher! Because according to Albert Einstein: You have to understand a problem before you can solve it.

Through an article about various climate and geo institutes in Potsdam, I became aware of the University of Potsdam. I discovered that there was a specialization in climate physics. That's when the decision for my place of study was made. I have now met so many great people here and never regret my choice on any day.

In addition to school/studies, I have also been involved with Fridays for Future for a long time. I'm glad that I've already been able to make my contribution here to bringing a change in thinking more into everyday life.

My studies are very important to me. That's why I'm currently involved in the student council and try to help fellow students in word and deed. I learned a lot about cohesion during my studies and would like to pass on this feeling. Especially with regard to later career prospects, good teamwork is indispensable!

The University Scholarship supports me in continuing and deepening my commitment. It also paves the way for opportunities to further my professional development, such as semesters abroad, focus on final theses, idealistic further training by my sponsor for a later professional life, etc.. I am very grateful to be a recipient of the University Scholarship.

Stipendiatin im Freien.
Photo: Privat
Nele has been supported by SAP since October 2021.

Picture of scholarship holder
Photo: privat
Timilehin is supported by the campaign "Education instead of Flowers" since October 2021.

Timilehin Ogunnusi, Master Economic Policy and Quantitative Methods

Timilehin is supported by the University Scholarship Potsdam from the fundraising campaign "Education instead of Flowers" recently awarded by the German University Association (DHV). The scholarship will support him in his vision to help close the gap between extreme categories of development in the world by drawing attention to ensuring continuous education.

An African adage says “a genius has no two heads”. As the youngest in my family, I would say I grew faster than my age as I would constantly sit with my older siblings and their friends who never cease to appreciate the advanced nations and their respective breakthroughs, especially those seen in Sci-Fi movies, which many were untrue at that time. Little did they know that every discussion and argument throws me into wondering why that particular topic? 

I am Timilehin and I am from Nigeria. Currently, I study MSc. Economic Policy and Quantitative Methods at the University of Potsdam, a course that concentrates on the mechanisms behind a policy that works even in the presence of context disparities. My vision is to contribute to closing the development gap between the two extreme categories of the nations of the world by harnessing the potential of education to its maximum. Luckily, the vision is foretold by the convergence theory and supported by the Sustainable Development Goal 4.

As a lover of quotes and proverbs, I have gotten the drive to pursue my vision from the popular Leo Buscaglia’s quote that reads “change is the end result of all true learning”. This shaped my focus during my bachelor's in Economics. Also, my undergraduate thesis which was aimed at showing some benefits of migration (which include knowledge transfer) on economic development stemmed from this quote.

As I journey through life after my bachelor's, I had a well-defined path to achieving my vision. Of all challenges of education, ensuring continuous education and preventing learning crises in conflict-prone areas interest me the most. Without a doubt, virtually all developing economies of the world have conflict-related issues and most of them directly affect the education sector. Unfortunately, these conflict-prone areas have constantly failed to prioritise education as one of the necessities in the face of conflict. In the bid to address some of these issues, I have contributed to recommending policies that ensure continuous learning during conflicts in Syria, thereby suggesting education as a solution to conflicts. I participated in research activities and created policy briefs that ensured continuous learning of female students in selected African nations, and worked as a researcher to address the learning crisis of early graders in Nigeria. I am sure there is more to be done, however, I trust the knowledge from my master's program to be more impactful in this regard. 

The scholarship has allowed me to take up some social responsibilities alongside my studies such as consulting for 180 DC Berlin and coordinating a student initiative to provide support for war-affected students at the University of Potsdam. Indeed, I read an additional meaning to the phrase “Education instead of Flowers”, that is, give education today to save a flower from the grave of world talents tomorrow. To the sponsors of the Education Instead of Flowers campaign, thank you.

Picture of scholarship holder
Photo: privat
Timilehin is supported by the campaign "Education instead of Flowers" since October 2021.

Portraitfoto der Stipendiatin
Photo: lottas.bilderbuch
Lisa studiert Psychologie und wird seit dem Wintersemester 21/22 von Dr.med. Ute Kling-Mondon gefördert.

Lisa Schubert, Bachelor Psychology

Originally a cultural scholar, Lisa Schubert is now studying psychology as a second degree and would like to work against the structural discrimination of queer people and for gender diversity. She wants to find answers to questions such as: how can therapists be sensitized to life plans that lie outside heteronormative, cis dyadic or endo-gender experiences and realities? Lisa is supported by the private benefactor Dr. med. Ute Kling-Mondon, who became aware of the Potsdam University Scholarship through the campaign "Education instead of flowers".

After completing my first degree in cultural studies with a focus on gender and queer studies as well as critical migration research, I decided to pursue a second degree in psychology in the summer of 2020. From the beginning of my first degree, I linked my research interests in social and cultural studies with topics and theoretical models from psychology. However, this interface always remained theoretical and it became increasingly clear to me that I wanted to incorporate the field of psychotherapeutic practice in particular into my professional future. Nevertheless, the decision for another intensive and long training path was not easy for me, as it would not only tie up many resources for coping with the studies, but would also present me with a financial challenge. In the end, however, the desire to combine the experience and knowledge from my first degree with future therapeutic practice was greater than the doubt; in the meantime, I am in my 4th semester and thus already closer to the end than to the beginning of the bachelor's degree.

As a cultural scholar, I have long been concerned with questions of social exclusion mechanisms, structural discrimination, and gender diversity. The realities of queer people's lives continue to be marked by disadvantage, stigma, and discrimination, often with consequences for mental health. Only since the early 1990s has homosexuality no longer been listed as a so-called "mental disorder" in the WHO classification (ICD-10); in May 2018, the psychiatric diagnosis of "transsexuality" and all related diagnoses were removed from the list of mental illnesses in the catalog; it has been barely two years since conversion therapy was legally banned. Unfortunately, we students still face pathologizing perspectives on gender diversity as early as the undergraduate level.

I have first-hand experience what it means to conform to non-heteronormative lifestyles and know some of the challenges that come with that. Furthermore, experiences in my environment show me that psychotherapy is far from being a safe place for people whose sexual orientation or gender identity lies outside the heteronormative norm. For this reason, I would like to commit myself in my therapeutic future to ensuring that affected persons of societal stigmatization and structural discrimination can experience the safest and most trusting interaction possible in the context of psychological psychotherapy. The following questions are therefore central for me in the critical examination of study content and my future training path: What can a long-term improvement in the search for therapy places look like? What forms of (voluntary) support for queer people can be created/expanded? How can therapists be sensitized with regard to life designs that lie outside heteronormative, cis dyadic, or endo-gender experiences and realities?

Unfortunately, choosing a second degree also meant not being able to get a full scholarship or BAföG funding. For me, this means combining full-time studies with a part-time job, which takes up time and energy resources and repeatedly presents me with the challenge of finding a healthy balance between studies, work, family and friends. Although the university scholarship only covers a small part of the living expenses, it relieves me financially and offers the possibility to work "only" part-time.

In addition to my studies, I have been and continue to be active in equal opportunity work at the university for many years: in my undergraduate studies as a student in the faculty council, in appointment committees and other university committees, and as a student assistant in the mentoring program for women. In the meantime, I have been working in the field of equal opportunity policy at the university and, together with my colleagues, have been actively promoting a gender-sensitive university. In addition, in cooperation with various neighborhood actors, I launched a neighborhood project last year: A pizza oven for the neighborhood, which will be used in the future as a meeting and exchange place.

Portraitfoto der Stipendiatin
Photo: lottas.bilderbuch
Lisa studiert Psychologie und wird seit dem Wintersemester 21/22 von Dr.med. Ute Kling-Mondon gefördert.

Portrait Stipendiatin
Selina is studying psychology and has been sponsored by the Kuhlmann Foundation since the winter semester 21/22. Photo:private

Selina Yorat, Bachelor Psychology


When the world turns dark and gray, Selina wants to bring color back into people's lives. That is why she is studying psychology at the University of Potsdam. The University Scholarship donated by the Kuhlmann Foundation gives her the opportunity to be active in the student council and work part-time in a psychotherapy center. Her goal is to support people in difficult phases of life and to finally dissolve the stigmatization of mental illness.

I am Selina, 23 years old and my vision is to one day support clients and patients in my own psychotherapeutic practice when they are facing difficult phases of life in a multifaceted and multidisciplinary way. In addition, I would like to actively work for the de-tabooing and de-stigmatization of mental illness.

Within a year, almost a third of Germans are affected by a mental illness, and yet these are often associated with feelings of guilt and shame. If I break my leg, I go to the orthopedist and have it treated. As a rule, everyone is allowed to see that. Why shouldn't that also apply to illnesses that affect our psyche?! I am glad that the acceptance of mental illnesses has increased in recent years, but I also believe that there is still a lot of room for improvement.

In order to be able to realize my goals, I have been studying psychology at the University of Potsdam since the winter semester 2019/20, and with each additional semester I realize more that I am absolutely right. Contrary to all clichés, I have not yet learned to read minds and my private environment is not normally analyzed by me, but I have been able to gain a comprehensive understanding of different aspects of human experience and behavior and further consolidate and concretize the ideas of my own future in the course of this. Considering the fact that I have already had many ideas in my life about what I would like to do and that for a long time it was clear to me that it would definitely not be in the social field, it is often quite unusual for me how secure I now feel on this path.

Since my second semester, I have been working alongside my studies. First, I worked in inpatient child and youth welfare, then in research, and now in a psychotherapy center. This is very important for me to be able to gain practical experience. The University Scholarship allows me to invest time in advanced training and symposia on various topics related to the field.  This is a great relief and paves my further way. Furthermore, it is nice to not only receive financial support through the scholarship, but also recognition and appreciation for the achievements and commitment in my studies.

I use the additional capacities gained and the expanded social network to have more time and energy for the student council. Many people don't realize how much influence and say students have in university matters. In my eyes, this is a great opportunity to improve conditions for students in the long term. So why wait until after your studies to support others when you can do it now?

Portrait Stipendiatin
Selina is studying psychology and has been sponsored by the Kuhlmann Foundation since the winter semester 21/22. Photo:private

Kristin is studying Linguistics and has been supported by the University Scholarship since October 2021. Photo: private

Kristin Howitt, Master Linguistics

Taking apart electronics and seeing how the whole is more than the sum of its parts not only belongs to mechanical engineering but is also part of linguistics, says Kristin. Still in the U.S., the scholarship recipient fell in love with the "machine" that is the German language, decided to study linguistics at the University of Potsdam, and now helps others learn German with the help of free explanation videos. The University Scholarship gives her the freedom she needs to share her love for language learning with others.

Moin y'all! My name is Kristin and I’m from the sunny southern states of the US. At the University of Potsdam, I am in the master program "Linguistics in Context: Acquisition - Communication - Multilingualism" or "Language Engineering" as I like to call it. Even as a child, I liked to take apart electronics and see how the whole was more than the sum of its parts. I saw patterns everywhere and was often told that I could become a mechanical engineer. I also found this idea appealing, so I signed up for it after graduating high school. I took German each semester, because it was supposed to be good for the future: VW, BMW, Siemens and so on. But after 4 semesters of studying mechanical engineering, I couldn't hide it anymore: I had fallen in love with German. While I was almost falling asleep in statics and thermodynamics, I borrowed additional linguistics books from my German professor. German was my newest machine to take apart. I changed my major to German Studies.

In my small town, it is not common to learn a new language. I heard a foreign language for the first time at 13, and German for the first time at 15. When I came to Germany, I was impressed that so many people could speak a foreign language. During my time here, I realized how much you can grow when you learn a language and then live in it. You learn not just grammar and vocabulary, but humility and at the same time self-confidence, cultural awareness and even more about your own culture.

The German language changed my life in the long run and it continues to everyday. I am incredibly grateful for that. That's why I share my love for the language whenever I get the chance. I give free German lessons online, and I also share explanation videos, vocabulary lists, and general tips for learning German. The scholarship helps me to keep doing this and expand it even more, since I don't have to be dependent on jobs as much. I also have more time to study, so I can improve the linguistic and didactic foundations of my teaching and share my love of language learning even more!

 

Kristin is studying Linguistics and has been supported by the University Scholarship since October 2021. Photo: private

Jonathan has been sponsored by law firm ADVANT Beiten since October 2021. Photo: private

Jonathan Eziashi, Law student

Jonathan Eziashi is studying law and has been receiving the University Scholarship Potsdam since last October.  He is part of the Legal Tech Smart Room, in which ten law and computer science students are exploring the transformation potential of technology on the legal craft together with their sponsors, law firm ADVANT Beiten.

At the beginning of my studies, it was difficult for me to find my way around the legal trade, which is defined by a strong system. In the end, however, it was precisely these rules that gave me ever-greater pleasure over the course of my studies. The feeling of being constantly overwhelmed by the new, but then finally mastering it with the skills I had learned, still fascinates me every day.

The financial support from the Potsdam University Scholarship is confirmation for me that I am on the right track. This motivational boost helps me to dedicate myself to my exam preparation with the necessary determination and patience, and to repeatedly create small spaces of freedom for the necessary balance. I find this especially in sports. I can switch off when I go running, where - as in my studies - it is crucial to keep your strength up over a long period of time. I'm really looking forward to my next marathon in the fall!

In addition, there is still space for involvement, such as my work as a student representative on the student council, or as a tutor for freshmen. In light of the pandemic, the student body faces a variety of additional difficulties. Particularly due to the lack of social exchange and the absence of personal meetings, many students feel lonely.At this point, a particularly careful approach is needed in order to provide first-year students in particular with targeted assistance for everyday university life, and above all to allay their fears.  In view of the start-up difficulties I had after my transfer, this topic is of particular concern to me.

I also find the cooperation with my sponsor particularly enriching. Thus, in addition to financial support, I am very fortunate to be part of a working group, the Smart Room Legal Tech. Although the impact of digitization on legal work is still neglected in law school, it is precisely this field that is breeding ground for the most exciting legal issues of the coming years. Together with other scholarship holders and partners of ADVANT Beiten, we will work out legal tech solutions in a small circle and discuss self-chosen focal points of interest. This gives us the unique opportunity to experience what it means to effectively use the possibilities of digital transformation processes on the legal craft using the practical example of an internationally oriented commercial law firm.

Next year, I would be delighted to have the opportunity to deepen the focus I placed on tax and corporate law during my studies by completing a doctorate or an English-language LL.M. program. This is worth working for every day, and I am very happy that I can benefit from the university scholarship and the exchange with the other scholarship holders.

Jonathan has been sponsored by law firm ADVANT Beiten since October 2021. Photo: private

Faizan has been sponsored by the Sigi und Hans Meder Stiftung since October 2021. Photo: private

Faizan Ahmad, Master Astrophysics

Stargazing in Kolkata, India was his favourite as a child. Now Faizan Ahmad studies Astrophysics at the University of Potsdam, hosts science competitions and tutors students worldwide. The Sigi and Hans Meder Foundation supports his University Scholarship Potsdam and gives him the freedom to focus on his studies, various projects and his educational start-up.

I remember peering out of my window as a child, looking at what small part of the city-skies were visible. Cloudy nights in Kolkata did not present many opportunities for stargazing. When a single planet, a distant star, or the bright beautiful moon peeped through the clouds I leaned over my window and stretched my head as far back as it could go and stayed that way for hours on end gazing at a particular object or sometimes gazing aimlessly. The seeds of my love of the stars and the universe were sown in from before I can remember. My siblings and my parents tell me how I, a 7-year-old child used to sit them down and give short lectures about Black Holes and Galaxies. In primary school, I found a different audience to tame. The only explanation that I can muster for occasional spurts of talking about Astronomy to anyone who would lend their ear is just this - I liked to talk; a lot! And the only little thing I knew about at the time were jumbled facts about the space and what lies out there. I had no understanding of complex phenomena but I frequently threw in terms like thermonuclear fusion to make myself sound smart. I am lucky to have carried forward a passion for the sciences and Astronomy to adulthood with the same zeal as before.

Since the first year of my bachelor studies, I have been involved in the popularization of science and astronomy. I was a guest speaker in astronomy events and worked in several others. Additionally, I have hosted multiple science-themed national level trivia competitions and tutored 30 students from all over the world. Going forward, I would like to see myself working in computational astrophysics.

The university scholarship gives me the freedom to focus on my studies, other projects and my small education start-up. Through this programme, I have met some really talented and amazing people, which would not have been possible otherwise. I would like to thank my sponsors for their financial support that makes everyday life a little easier in this new country.

Faizan has been sponsored by the Sigi und Hans Meder Stiftung since October 2021. Photo: private
Alexander Biederstädt
Photo: privat
Alexander has been sponsored by the Evangelische Schulstiftung in der EKBO since October 2020.

Alexander Biederstädt, Bachelor of Education Geography and Sports

Alexander Biederstädt is a scholarship holder of the Evanglische Schulstiftung in der EKBO. Yet the path to teacher training wasn't always so clear because of financial concerns. Now he is not only realizing his dream of being a sports and geography teacher in the future. Thanks to the scholarship, he can also get involved in the board of his sports club and introduce children to the joy of competitive wrestling.

 

Hello, my name is Alex and I am studying geography and sports at the University of Potsdam to become a teacher. As you might have guessed, sports are a big part of my life and so I play the competitive sport wrestling in my free time. I compete in tournaments and in the regional league for the 1st Luckenwalde Sports Club. Thanks to the support of the Evangelische Schulstiftung (Protestant School Foundation), I am now able to serve on the club's board of directors in addition to my career in sports and coaching. The aim is to create or maintain a place for children and young people, especially in times of pandemic, where they can enjoy exercise and find a balance to everyday life.

However, the path to university was not always so clear. Due to financial concerns, I first started an apprenticeship in 2018, which I then dropped out of after a year. I now wanted to pursue the dream of becoming a teacher after all and started my studies. Now I am in the 4th semester of the bachelor's degree and the final thesis is being planned in order to be able to switch to the master's degree. The scholarship helps me to better structure and manage the double burden of sports and university life.

Alexander Biederstädt
Photo: privat
Alexander has been sponsored by the Evangelische Schulstiftung in der EKBO since October 2020.

Elena Gensch
Photo: privat
Elena has been sponsored by Volkswagen AG since October 2020.

Elena Gensch, Bachelor of Science IT Systems Engineering

 

What do painting acrylic pictures and mathematical puzzles have in common? Both passions can be combined very well in the "IT Systems Engineering" course of study, thinks Elena Gensch. The recipient of the Potsdam University Scholarship discovered her love for drawing as well as systematic mathematical work already in kindergarten and school. Today, in addition to her studies, Elena is committed to making happiness and success less dependent on social background. To this end, she has founded a branch of the "Studenten bilden Schüler e.V." association in Potsdam. The university scholarship Potsdam of the sponsor Volkswagen AG helped her to find like-minded people and support for this project, among others.

 

 

 

I painted my first acrylic painting as part of an art project in kindergarten. Since then, painting and drawing have been an important part of my life, and last fall I additionally discovered photography. On the other hand, I was able to pursue my enthusiasm for systematic, mathematical work at MINT competitions and summer academies. It was during one such event that my interest in the 'IT Systems Engineering' degree program was piqued. Since I believe that solving an algorithmic problem requires both creativity and enthusiasm for brain teasers, I think this is the chance to combine my inclination for art and mathematics. And what could be better than turning passion into a profession?

Again, I am aware that in today's world hardly any area of life can do without the use of information systems. However, the effects of the digital transformation are accompanied by a growing lack of transparency. Algorithmic processes can hardly be seen from the outside, which is why I want to understand and help shape the digital world. My studies offer me outstanding opportunities for this.

 

In our society, however, the chance of happiness and success is still strongly influenced by one's background and social status. In the COVID-19 pandemic, inequalities in education have become even more acute. That is why, last September, I decided to establish a chapter of the Studenten bilden Schüler e.V. association. Studenten bilden Schüler is a nationwide nonprofit initiative represented in more than 40 university towns. Its goal is to contribute to educational equity by providing free tutoring and recreational activities for socially disadvantaged children and young people through students. Many children from educationally disadvantaged families need role models, and this is all the more true at a time when the stress in families is increasing, as it is now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the university scholarship, I had the opportunity to meet other motivated students and found support for the site foundation. We have grown together as a team over the past year and are excited to see so much progress. The placement of tutors and the support of students is now running smoothly. I also support a student via the tutoring platform and it gives me a lot to make a young person's everyday life a little easier.

I really enjoy the lively exchange at the scholarship holders' regulars' tables: because the focus is not only on specialist lectures and shared interaction, but also on how we can help each other in our studies and with voluntary projects. I would like to thank my sponsors very much for the opportunities that the Deutschlandstipendium opens up for me!

Elena Gensch
Photo: privat
Elena has been sponsored by Volkswagen AG since October 2020.

Joana Bergsiek
Photo: privat
Joana has been sponsored by Volkswagen AG since October 2019.

Joana Bergsiek, Master of Science IT Systems Engineering

Regular hackathons have enriched Joana's life ever since she jumped into the cold coding water at "jugendhackt" with only a few Java skills. That was many years ago. Today, she is a master's student in computer science at the Hasso Plattner Institute. She has remained loyal to the hackathons - as a tutor, but also as a participant, as they not only help building skills beyond her studies, such as image processing, through other programming events, but she also learns soft skills such as pitching and networking at hackathons. The Potsdam University Scholarship from sponsor Volkswagen AG allows her to pursue her passion without financial worries.

The coolest thing about computer science for me has always been the learning experiences. Seeing your code run in a new language, technology, or problem for the first time is a rewarding feeling. Consequently, facing new challenges has always been fun for me. That's why I threw myself in at the deep end at "jugendhackt," a hackathon for young people, many years ago - with just a few Java skills under my belt. But what you could or couldn't do didn't matter much: with our newfound friend and helper Club Mate, we coded through the next two days and nights while we taught ourselves website programming with database connectivity together as a group. The atmosphere was great, previously unknown people became friends, and when our website was finally up and running, fists were raised in jubilation. After that I came repeatedly to the next events, until finally my computer science studies at the Hasso Plattner Institute started.

Now, because of my age, I occasionally tutor at "jugendhackt" to pass on my positive experiences. However, completely new hackathons have opened up for me, of which there are a great number in Berlin and the surrounding area. For example, in the midst of exercises, lectures, and exams, I made snake skeletons explorable in virtual reality or tinkered with a seat display for public transportation using sensors. In my last hackathon, "Coding Da Vinci Niedersachsen," which is characterized by its duration of several weeks and the use of open cultural data, I also learned about image processing. From nearly 1500 historical seal images, all of which are in varying condition and contain a lot of excess wax, I extracted the motifs using OpenCV. The finished project, which converts the extracted motifs into fabricatable 3D models for decorating the letters yourself, can be found at www.fabseal.de.

I hardly came into contact with many of the topics in my bachelor's degree, which is why the hackathons are an excellent way for me to broaden my horizons. Especially soft-skill competencies, such as successful pitching or building connections, can be learned in practice. Now that I've arrived at my master's, I definitely want to deepen these skills.

I was only able to take the time for all the projects thanks to the Deutschlandstipendium. Many thanks to all sponsors and organizers for giving me the chance to live out my passion without financial worries.

Joana Bergsiek
Photo: privat
Joana has been sponsored by Volkswagen AG since October 2019.

Pia Wolffram
Photo: privat
Pia has been sponsored by Volkswagen AG since October 2020.

Pia Wolffram, Bachelor of Science Computational Sciences

Pia is fascinated by the interaction between society and space - people and the environment. In the course of her geography studies, she discovered that these topics are increasingly influenced by digitalization: Cities are now smart cities, e-tickets are used to get from A to B, car-sharing vehicles are tracked, and data is collected and then visualized in the form of maps.

Reason enough, then, to pursue a bachelor's degree in computational science after her bachelor's degree in geography. The scholarship in cooperation with Volkswagen AG will enable her to study digital sharing services in more detail as part of her studies.

„Before I started studying Computer Science / Computational Science in winter 2019, I completed a Bachelor's degree in Geography. Geography is often about the interactions between society and space - between humans and the environment. And it is precisely these topics that have fascinated me ever since. In addition to geopolitical topics, I have focused on "urban spaces" through field trips to Central America and Ghana, as well as some student research. The reason? We live in an ever faster and increasingly digitalizing world where new concepts are constantly being developed.

I wrote my final thesis on the Lebanese capital Beirut, where spatial developments can be seen that reflect the international trend of urban development. (Digital) infrastructure is increasingly being created for social groups that can afford and use it. As a result, cities are becoming smart cities, e-tickets are used to get from A to B, available car-sharing cars are tracked, and data is collected and subsequently visualized in the form of all maps. And that's exactly where the interface between geography and computer science is. My main interest is not only where and how these services are used, but especially whom they serve.

The Computer Science / Computational Science program not only provides me with the technical knowledge that brings me one step closer to my desire for a more equitable city. Rather, it has also provided me with a completely new experience of learning and studying because of the mathematical and theoretical foundations. In this way, the scholarship in cooperation with Volksagen AG is a great support. Furthermore, I am already looking forward to further insights into the work of digital services such as "WeShare" or "MOIA". "

Pia Wolffram
Photo: privat
Pia has been sponsored by Volkswagen AG since October 2020.

Charlene Arendt
Photo: privat
Charlene has been sponsored by the Evangelische Schulstiftung in the EKBO since October 2020.

Charlene Arendt, Master of Education Inclusive Education

After working as a cook for several years, Charlene Arendt decided to study inclusive education at the University of Potsdam. Even though it meant a big change for her, she does not regret taking this step. Her internship semester at a school for children with autism spectrum disorders showed her that many of these children do not always receive sufficient understanding from their peers. Her goal is to be able to provide and convey just such understanding. Together with the Evangelische Schulstiftung in the EKBO, the UP is supporting Charlene in the final stage of her studies with a university scholarship so that she can focus on her master's thesis alongside her extracurricular activities.

"After graduating from high school, I completed an apprenticeship as cook. With the support of my instructor, I successfully participated in several cooking competitions, where I gained valuable experience. But after a few years, the daily grind of the profession overcame me. Unlike some of my colleagues, I was not willing to invest all my time in working in the kitchen. And so I decided to make a big change and applied to study teaching at the University of Potsdam. Even after my first internship, I couldn't wait to gain more experience. In addition to my bachelor's degree, I got the opportunity to work as a student assistant on Inga Gebel's DiPa project (Differenzierter Problemlösekompetenzaufbau). A short time later I worked as a substitute teacher at a school in Berlin Reinickendorf. There I met a student whose fate moved me very much. The boy, who had fled from Romania only a year earlier, exhibited aggressive behavior for which his peers had no understanding.
At that time, I had already learned in my studies that every behavior has a reason. Therefore, I offered my help to the mother beyond the end of my work. Now the boy lives with his younger sister in a facility for inpatient child and youth care, where I have been volunteering since they moved in. At least once a week I visit the children to learn with them, to cook, to go on excursions or simply to be there for them. Last summer, I also went on vacation with the boy. The gratitude of the children is priceless and has shown me that helping others is very rewarding.
Looking for another experience and challenge at the same time, I completed my internship semester at a school for children with autism spectrum disorder. Here, too, I got to know children who do not always receive sufficient understanding from their fellow human beings.
Giving them this understanding gives me so much joy that I am still working at this school after my internship semester.
The scholarship, which is financed proportionally by the Evangelische Schulstiftung in the EKBO, gives me the time to continue supporting the children in the youth welfare service in the future and still concentrate on the last stage of my studies, my master's thesis. It also gives me the opportunity to further develop my interests, strengths and experience."

Charlene Arendt
Photo: privat
Charlene has been sponsored by the Evangelische Schulstiftung in the EKBO since October 2020.

Jan Lemcke
Photo: privat
Jan has been supported by SAP since October 2020.

Jan Lemcke, Master's degree programs „Computational Science“ & „Data Engineering“

Jan Lemcke wants to face the challenges of digitalization incl. the social, economic and political effects. An important step for Jan is therefore to acquire the necessary methods and tools as part of his double degree program at the University of Potsdam in order to contribute to mastering the digital transformation in the future. Jan founded his own IT company, is a tutor at the Chair of Machine Learning, and in his free time he is involved as a handball coach. In his pursuit, Jan has been supported by SAP SE since October 2020 as part of the Potsdam University Scholarship.

„What do the founders of Ecosia and Tesla have in common? They are pioneers in the most diverse manifestations of digital transformation and, as great role models, inspired me to complete a double degree in the bachelor's programs "Computer Science/Computational Science" and "Business Informatics" at the University of Potsdam. In the course of my studies, I focused on intelligent data analysis and, in collaboration with the company Bosch.IO GmbH, I worked on the environmentally relevant problem of forecasting the power consumption of production facilities using machine learning methods as part of my bachelor's thesis. With this, I would like to contribute a part to the imperative change towards a sustainable economy.
Entrepreneurship was a module of my bachelor course "Business Informatics" at the University of Potsdam. I put it into practice in the fall of 2020 by founding my own IT company. The business and legal knowledge I gained during my studies helped me a lot to cope with the challenges of founding a company. It is always personally exciting for me to get in touch with customers and get to know their expectations as well as their life situation.
My great interest is working with young people. As a long-time tutor at the Chair of Machine Learning at the University of Potsdam, I enjoy teaching students. In addition to my studies, I volunteer at a handball club and have coached young refugees as part of the "Integration through Sport" project, which has become known throughout Berlin. Currently, I am a handball coach of a youth team in the club SG Hermsdorf-Waidmannslust. Furthermore, it is also important to promote the digital transformation within the handball club. In my spare time, I am developing a club website application that serves as an information point for parents, players and fans as well as intuitively and efficiently mapping the club's essential business processes, e.g. master data management.
Due to the multitude of my activities, I am very happy to receive support from the university scholarship. The professional and personal exchange with my fellow scholarship holders and with my sponsor SAP SE is an absolute enrichment for my educational and life path."

Jan Lemcke
Photo: privat
Jan has been supported by SAP since October 2020.

Julia Nauen
Photo: privat
Julia is sponsored by the Lions Club Potsdam-Sanssouci.

Julia Nauen, Master's Program „Biochemistry and Molecular Biology“

Julia Nauen is convinced that biochemical and molecular biological methods can be used to react quickly and safely to human-induced environmental damage. Therefore, she wants to make a positive contribution to environmental protection with the knowledge she gains through her studies at the University of Potsdam. The university scholarship supports her in this endeavor and keeps her financially afloat.

"Biochemistry and molecular biology" sounds very abstract to many people at first, but basically it is simply the study of processes and mechanisms that take place in living things. - How does our body work? How do plants supply us with oxygen and nutrients? - In my bachelor's degree in biology, I quickly focused on the study of plants and still find it exciting in my master's degree how processes take place in the organisms that form the basis of our lives. After my bachelor's degree, I traveled for 3 months to Malaysia and Sumatra (Indonesia), countries with rainforests and an animal and plant diversity that Europeans probably can't imagine. As is well known, this is being destroyed to achieve economic progress. I am not the only one who is saddened by this. Because not only diversity in the sense of biodiversity is lost, but also the basis of our and next lives: oxygen and nutrients.


I am convinced that biochemical and molecular biological methods can be used to react quickly and safely to human-induced environmental damage. Soils and waters are contaminated with heavy metals and fertilizers, droughts are coming due to emitted greenhouse gases, and we will not have seen the last of heat waves this year. Crop losses will be the result. Genetic engineering and resulting genetically modified organisms can provide an alternative to mitigate human-caused problems currently facing our planet. But it is not only the earth that can be helped to regenerate; humans can also be helped by deliberately making crops more nutritious and resistant so that, as the world's population continues to grow, even the last one will be fed. Most crops have already been genetically mixed up in many ways through breeding and no longer correspond to natural variants: why not intervene in a targeted manner instead of randomly mixing up genetic material? I believe that the failures of mankind are reversible and that biochemical and molecular biological methods can be used to set an example and change the situation for the better. Therefore, I am happy to be able to study this course without financial problems and with full commitment, and I would like to thank my sponsors from the Lions Club Potsdam-Sanssouci for making it possible."

Julia Nauen
Photo: privat
Julia is sponsored by the Lions Club Potsdam-Sanssouci.

Reemi Mukherjee
Photo: Karthik Iyengar
Reemi has been a scholarship holder at the University of Potsdam since October 2018.

Reemi Mukherjee, Master's degree in Data Science

This is Reemi Mukherjee. She moved from India to Germany in 2018 and is now studying for the Master's degree in Data Science. Since the beginning of her studies she has been supported by the Potsdam University Scholarship and the regional company Veinland.

„Data Science is a perfect blend between statistical knowledge and implementing it in real life with the help of programming. It was an honour to be chosen for this scholarship! My course is hectic and there comes the important role of  Universitätsstipendium Potsdam. It helped me balance my studies with  financial need.  Because of the scholarship, I didn't ever  have to compromise with my study hours! This scholarship has motivated me to study hard and has been a very strong support since 2018. Also, I cannot thank enough the scholarship especially in the time of pandemic, it gave an assurance of financial security. Not only that, this scholarship has  made me overcome financial difficulties many times in the past as well. The best part of the scholarship: I think the best part of this scholarship is the way it has organized sponsors-scholars meet up!  We are given an opportunity to meet our sponsors  and interact with them, and the assistance we always get from organizers are very appreciable! My Sponsor is Veinland GmbH. I want to thank my sponsor and University of Potsdam for giving me this amazing opportunity. Regarding my future goal: I have been working on very interesting projects in my Masters and I am on my way to start my master's thesis. After my masters I wish to work in a research institute and wish to apply my studies in some innovative project."  

Reemi Mukherjee
Photo: Karthik Iyengar
Reemi has been a scholarship holder at the University of Potsdam since October 2018.

Julia Zimmermann
Photo: Stefan Wieland
Julia Zimmermann has been a scholarship holder at the University of Potsdam since October 2018.

Julia Zimmermann , Master of Business Informatics and Digital Transformation

"Whether in the capital or Potsdam, everywhere there is a cry for digitalization and digital transformation! It is often unclear what exactly is meant by this: a new business model, process optimization or "only" self-optimization?" These and many other questions, as well as a good deal of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, led Julia to start her Master's degree in "Business Informatics and Digital Transformation" in September last year and to get her own picture of tomorrow's society.

"The interdisciplinary course of study manages to combine several apparently non-subject domains in a playful way and to consider them equally under social, economic and technical aspects. If you want to apply your logical thinking and programming skills in a scientifically versatile context, I can absolutely recommend this course of studies. For me, it forms the basis for numerous projects and seminar papers which I can implement during my studies at the University of Potsdam. This results in exciting qualitative and quantitative research work on topics such as "Open Source & Sustainability" but also very practical work with development boards and prototypes on the topic of "Smart City". The German scholarship not only relieves me financially, but also helps me to concentrate fully on my studies, my research work and my work at CityLAB Berlin. I'm not yet at the end of my knowledge journey, but I can already hold on to it now: Funding formats such as the Germany Scholarship provide the perfect basis for successfully overcoming hurdles in education and life. Because: they create space for intellectual freedom. I would like to thank my private sponsor and the federal government for this opportunity."

Julia Zimmermann
Photo: Stefan Wieland
Julia Zimmermann has been a scholarship holder at the University of Potsdam since October 2018.

Sophie Domres
Photo: privat
Sophie Domres is a scholarship holder of five from the Dr. Hermann Schmitt-Vockenhausen Foundation.

Sophie Domres , Master of International Relations

Sophie Domres studies International Relations at UP and works for the United Nations while studying. In 2019, she and a fellow student founded her heart project: "neitherBluenorPink". With it she fights for women's empowerment free of hierarchies and inequalities. Since October 2019, Sophie has been supported by the Dr. Hermann Schmitt-Vockenhausen Foundation as part of the Potsdam University Scholarship.

"After I returned from Mexico in 2013, it was clear to me in which direction my path should lead. I want to make the world a little bit better. I want to give something back! With my mother and my two sisters I grew up in a working class family in the small town of Fröndenberg (in the Ruhrpott). From there I went to Kleve, Santiago de Chile, Berlin and New York to realize my goals and dreams. On my way I not only got to know many countries and cultures, but also valuable people, who accompany me on my journey until today. I founded my heart project "neitherBluenorPink" in 2019 with a fellow student. I would like to actively participate in the fight for equality, because equality is not an option, but a right! Since 2017 it is possible for me to volunteer at "UN in the classroom". For me, it is especially important that young people, despite the lack of a focus on human rights in the core curriculum, come into contact with this topic. After all, a person can only stand up for his or her rights if he or she knows them! I am currently working for the United Nations from home. Due to the current situation and the effects of the Corona virus I had to leave New York and from now on I had to work in the home office. I am convinced that the UN is especially important in this situation, because it is committed to solidarity among states and societies and is an objective and not politicized source of information! The cohesion and solidarity among people that I can observe at this time is something I would also like to see in the post-crisis period. I have the hope that people will grow in this situation and that the world will one day become a more peaceful place".

 

Sophie Domres
Photo: privat
Sophie Domres is a scholarship holder of five from the Dr. Hermann Schmitt-Vockenhausen Foundation.

Elias Krössin
Photo: Luise Schäfer.
Elias Krössin is one of 30 scholarship holders from Volkswagen AG.

Elias Krössin , Applied Cultural Science and Cultural Semiotics

Elias Krössin has been studying in the master's programme "Applied Cultural Studies and Cultural Semiotics" since October 2018 and is currently completing his compulsory internship in the cultural department of the Goethe-Institut in Tokyo. In addition to his studies, he works as a student assistant at the human rights organization Reporters Without Borders and is currently setting up a new scholarship program together with his project manager, which offers media workers from war and crisis zones the opportunity to work independently, at least for a short time, and to receive further training in digital security issues.

"Shortly after my arrival in Tokyo at the end of February, the Corona pandemic reached Europe with incredible speed and force. Japan, on the other hand, seems to have been spared an oversized wave of infections so far. Although schools have been closed and major events cancelled here as well, daily life has otherwise remained largely the same. It is difficult to assess whether the small number of infected people so far is due to the relatively few tests carried out. Due to increasing border closures and flight cancellations, the number of commercial flights to Germany is rapidly decreasing. If and when I have to cancel my internship, I cannot really estimate at the moment. We are informed almost daily by the German embassy about the latest developments and are instructed accordingly.
Now for me: I fortunately had the opportunity to gain practical experience in international cultural work for a year as early as 2016/2017, after my semester abroad in China, because the culture-wide programme of the German UNESCO Commission sent me to the cultural department of the Goethe-Institut Bangalore in India at that time. There I was able to experience at first hand how art and cultural projects take up, process or even set in motion current social processes and thus represent the expression of a mature civil society. My master's degree gives me the opportunity to broaden my analytical and methodological skills with regard to current cultural dynamics and to deepen my semiotically oriented cultural studies knowledge. What I particularly like about the Master's program is the close interlocking of theory and practice, because we always venture directly into projects in practice in the second step, based on our theoretical considerations. For example, 11 fellow students* and I had the opportunity to independently develop an interactive mediation concept for last year's bauhaus imaginista exhibition in cooperation with the House of World Cultures, and to use it to take over the HKW for one day while it was open to the public. With this large-scale project, for which I was particularly involved in the content conception, we were able to double the number of visitors last year and to put together a very exciting day with about 250 participants.  The German scholarship has given me the financial freedom over the past three semesters to pursue my master's degree successfully and in a focused manner, as well as to fully carry out my work at Reporters Without Borders."

Elias Krössin
Photo: Luise Schäfer.
Elias Krössin is one of 30 scholarship holders from Volkswagen AG.

Hatim Shehata
Photo: Hatim Shehata
Hatim Shehata is one of five scholarship holders of the Dr. Hermann Schmitt-Vockenhausen Foundation.

Hatim Shehata , International Relations

Hatim Shehata is studying the joint master's program in "International Relations" at the Free University of Berlin, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Potsdam. His career to date has taken him to various countries for study visits and internships, including Belgium, France, Canada and the USA. Hatim plans to continue to work in the international political context in the future. In addition to his studies, he is trying to give children and young people an understanding of the European Union and how it works.

"What I find particularly inspiring about studying International Relations is the constant topicality of the issues we are confronted with as students. World events are subject to dynamic change, and so the discipline has to find adequate solutions quickly to challenges of global dimensions. Through my studies I have come to realize that it is an extremely difficult but at the same time incredibly exciting undertaking to fully understand the complexity of a globalized world. This is why I have set myself priorities: the EU's relations with the Middle East, security policy and peace and conflict research. At the same time, the University of Potsdam offers the unique opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the United Nations in terms of its administration, legitimacy and, ultimately, effectiveness. I would like to thank the University of Potsdam and my sponsors from the Dr. Hermann Schmitt-Vockenhausen Foundation for their support within the framework of the Germany Scholarship. This enables me to concentrate fully on my studies, to network with other committed students and to orientate myself professionally".

Hatim Shehata
Photo: Hatim Shehata
Hatim Shehata is one of five scholarship holders of the Dr. Hermann Schmitt-Vockenhausen Foundation.

Jonathan Janetzki
Photo: privat
Jonathan Janetzki is dedicated to one of his main areas of study: Design Thinking.

Jonathan Janetzki, IT-Systems Engineering

Jonathan is studying IT Systems Engineering at the Hasso Plattner Institute. Since 2018, he has been supported in achieving his educational goals by Volkswagen AG as part of the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship. In the future, he aims to complete internships at international tech companies and then found an IT startup.

"What fascinates me about my studies is the interdisciplinary view of computer science. In addition to the technical core competencies, linguistic, business, legal and also intercultural knowledge is taught here. My specialty is database optimization, which I dealt with in my master's project at the chair of Prof. Plattner. Design Thinking is my second, complementary focus of studies. In the Basic and Advanced Track of the HPI D-School, this innovation approach is applied in multidisciplinary teams to solve real, economic problems. Together with the screw manufacturer Kamax, we have developed user-friendly ways to increase knowledge sharing among its employees. To do this, for example, I led a workshop with people from several levels of the hierarchy: from the screw press operator to the production manager."

Jonathan Janetzki
Photo: privat
Jonathan Janetzki is dedicated to one of his main areas of study: Design Thinking.

Iuliia Mozhina
Photo: Elena Mozhina
Iuliia Mozhina, born in Moscow in 2001, has been studying Computational Linguistics at the University of Potsdam since the winter semester 2018/19.

Iuliia Mozhina,  Computational Linguistics

Iuliia Mozhina, born in Moscow in 2001, has been studying Computational Linguistics at the University of Potsdam since the winter semester 2018/19 and has been supported by the German scholarship since then. The idea of living and studying in another country never left Iuliia. Because of her fascination for the German language and culture, Germany was considered a dream country for her. At the age of 16, Iuliia decided to leave Russia and move to Germany alone to study at a German university. Besides her studies, she works as a volunteer in an association and is involved as a camp leader or language mediator in a language work camp for young people from abroad. It makes her happy to be able to observe the linguistic progress of the young people.

„I think Computational Linguistics are very interesting and diverse, because it not only deals with linguistics, but also with computer science and mathematics. This enables me to acquire skills from a wide range of disciplines. I find the machine translation and creation of automatic dialogue systems particularly exciting. Although this course of study is quite new and completely unknown to most people, there is more and more talk of artificial intelligence. Therefore I am convinced that this interdisciplinary science will be in great demand in the near future.  When I was accepted as a German scholarship holder, I thought that all my efforts and achievements so far have been worthwhile. The scholarship helps me to overcome my financial difficulties, motivates me to study hard and to be socially involved alongside my studies. In addition to the financial support, the German scholarship enables me to establish contact with my sponsor, Volkswagen AG. It is a great honour for me to be a scholarship holder and I would like to thank my sponsor very much for this opportunity!"

Iuliia Mozhina
Photo: Elena Mozhina
Iuliia Mozhina, born in Moscow in 2001, has been studying Computational Linguistics at the University of Potsdam since the winter semester 2018/19.