Internship Spotlight: School of Arts and Sciences

October 12, 2023

Explorers learn outside of the classroom in rewarding internships. Here, a recent graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences shares what it’s like working in a role that’s a step toward her future career.  

Holroyd Hall atrium interior
Sarah Reed, ’23

Sarah Reed, ’23
Chemistry major 
Internship: The DAAD RISE Internship Program 

What interested you in the internship?: I always wanted to study abroad, and RISE gave me this opportunity and more. I was able to live in Germany for the summer while also getting paid to gain relevant research experience for my degree.

Primary duties: I spent most of my time in the lab tackling whatever experiment was on the list for the day. The goal of the summer was to synthesize an oligomer for use in various metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs. My work would change daily depending on the success of the previous experiment and the required next steps in the target synthetic pathway. I also spent a lot of time examining my samples with various analytical instruments, most commonly the nuclear magnetic-resonance spectrometer and the powder x-ray diffractometer.

Favorite part: One of my favorite parts of the summer was the cultural experience. In my time traveling the country and spending time with my coworkers, I made some fantastic memories and even better friends.

Biggest challenge: I think my biggest challenge was the learning curve when I first arrived in the country. I knew no German, and navigating grocery stores, public transportation, and just normal everyday experiences was difficult in the beginning. However, I learned quickly and things soon became routine.

Takeaways: RISE not only allowed me to grow as a chemist, but also as a person. It gave me research experience that made me stand out in graduate school applications and was both an educational and enjoyable exercise in independence.