By: Samantha Ruggiero ’14 (CLAS)
This article is part of a series featuring some of this year’s outstanding graduating students, nominated by their academic school or college or another University program in which they participated. Check for additional profiles of students in the Class of 2013 on UConn Today from now through Commencement.
In August 2011, while most of their UConn friends were wrapping up their summer internships, Brian Osborn and Kyle Hope were just getting started, as they flew thousands of miles for the opportunity to study and do an internship in Germany for a year.
Osborn and Hope are both seniors in UConn’s Eurotech program, the five-year track offered by UConn that enables students to spend a year in Germany, including a semester of study and a six-month internship. Students graduating from the Eurotech program earn a dual degree in German and engineering.
“A lot of people ask me if it was worth it to stay another year at UConn,” says Osborn, a biomedical engineering major. “Professionally, I think studying abroad has enhanced my job prospects.”
Osborn interned at the Laboratory for Biomechanics and Implant Research in the Orthopedic University Hospital in Heidelberg, developing a process that could be used to study the effects of oxidation on knee implants. Specifically, he researched how natural bodily processes affect the erosion of polyethylene used in the knee implants.
“I was looking at the effects of bodily acids on polyethylene,” he says. “I also looked at how natural fatty acids produced by the body effected oxidation.”
Not only was he able to jumpstart a new research project, Osborn also helped German graduate students translate their papers into English so they could share their research findings with scholarly journals in the U.S. and around the world.
“Especially with engineering, there are a lot of companies that work between Germany and the United States,” he says. “And it’s always a valuable skill to have to know a second language.”
Hope, a chemical engineer, agrees that knowing a second language can be very useful in a world that depends on international industries.
“I really like learning a new language because you also learn a new culture,” he says. “Also, I think it’s always valuable to know a second language, because the world’s becoming smaller.”