Meredith College senior Kate Erb traveled to Germany this summer for an internship where she got hands-on lab experience along with memories for a lifetime.
Erb, a senior from Glenmoore, Pa., has been a member of the Field Hockey program since its beginning. She has earned the Scholar-Athlete Award along with NFHCA National Scholar of Distinction and National Academic team the past two seasons while also being a key piece of the Angels’ defense.
She knew she wanted to do an internship this summer in order to gain practical research lab experience, but wasn’t originally intending to go abroad. Erb found the German Academic Exchange Program’s (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program, which matches students from English-speaking countries to internship providers in Germany. It was the perfect opportunity to combine professional development with international experience.
“My internship was very hands-on, so I spent most of my time in the lab, synthesizing organic materials,” Erb said. “I worked with a group of Ph.D. candidates at a research institute in Dresden. Although I was just an undergraduate, I wasn’t treated any differently. I was included in all the group meetings and even got to attend two conferences while I was there.”
She felt well-prepared by her studies at Meredith College. “My internship covered a lot of the material I had learned the previous semester in Organic Chemistry II, so much of the work actually reinforced what I already knew. It is much different to see the reactions written out on paper than to actually perform them myself, so that was really interesting,” Erb said. “I also picked up some more specialized German vocabulary, although the working language in the lab was English. I gained a lot of cultural and practical knowledge, too: how to use the trams, exchange currencies, think in terms of the metric system, etc. There were a lot of subtler differences that I hadn’t known to expect, but they were always so fun to discover.”
Erb has been planning to go to graduate school in Germany for quite some time, so this experience was particularly valuable for her. Not only did Erb get the practical experience she was looking for, but also made a lot of connections in the research world.
“I absolutely loved my host city, Dresden,” Erb stated. “I lived in the old city, and there was so much to do. When I was walking around, as often as not, I’d stumble upon some concert or festival taking place in one of the squares. One day, a Ferris wheel went up next to my apartment for seemingly no particular reason at all.”
These experiences and memories have prepared Erb for her senior season with the Avenging Angels as well as life after Meredith.
Adapted from a story originally published on GoAvengingAngels.com, the website for Meredith Athletics