Techie Lands German Internship in Mechanical Engineering

SOCORRO, N.M. April 19, 2010 – Mechanical engineering student Nicholas Schafer landed an exclusive internship in Germany for the summer.

Nicholas Schafer, a junior in mechanical engineering, will spend the summer in Germany engineering a novel drive system.


Currently a junior, the Albuquerque area native will spend two weeks in intensive language class, then commence a two month project helping engineer a novel drive system that allows movement in any direction.

Schafer was one of more than 1,200 students from around the world who applied for less than 600 positions. He said he’s excited to have the opportunity to work on cutting edge research, but also excited to explore Germany and neighboring countries.

He will work with a doctoral student at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, one of more than 80 research division of the larger Fraunhofer Institute.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Europe,” he said. “I’d like to get around Germany and maybe visit Paris and see some of the landmark sites. I haven’t come up with my list of things to do yet.”

Schafer learned of the opportunity when materials engineering professor Dr. David Burleigh hosted a talk by a representative of the German Academic Exchange Service in the fall 2009 semester. Schafer said he immediately interested in the program, but the point that sold him was that applicants didn’t need to speak German. He’ll get conversational language skills, but English is the laboratory language in Germany.

Schafer is currently in Junior Design Clinic in the mechanical engineering department, where he is on the team that is engineering a velocity measurement system for the Holloman Air Force Base’s high-speed test track. After earning his bachelor’s at Tech, he plans on pursuing a graduate degree in mechatronics.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech