By Whitney Hale
Two University of Kentucky engineering students, Cary Brown and Kyra Seevers, have been selected to receive Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) from the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD).
DAAD's RISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. The internships give each student an opportunity to do research at one of Germany's top universities or research institutions. Around 300 students participate each summer.
Cary Brown, the son of Brian and Susan Brown, of Boston, Kentucky, is an electrical engineering senior and member of the Lewis Honors College. As part of RISE, he will intern in Wilhelmshaven, where his work will focus on improving the sonar sensor interface on robotic submarines in the North Sea.
The internship examines an area of interest he began exploring at an early age and still loves to this day. "As a child one of my favorite activities was stargazing — the idea of the universe being so astoundingly huge, the unimaginably exotic worlds that must exist, and the sheer volume of 'unknowns' deeply fascinated me. Spending time at summer science camps also left me with an interest in the seemingly endless convenience of robots. Today my dream is to apply a knowledge of robotics and electrical engineering to the study of space science, possibly through the ESA, NASA or a similar agency."
At UK, Brown has participated in a summer research experience on nanoscale circuit printing with Todd Hastings, the Reese S. Terry Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
After finishing his RISE internship, Brown will move to Berlin to participate in a yearlong exchange program at the Technische Universität Berlin and then plans to pursue graduate studies in Germany.
Kyra Seevers, the daughter of Dan and Denise Seevers of Lexington, is a Chellgren Fellow, Lewis Honors College member and computer science senior. She will travel to Munich to conduct research at the Human Centered Ubiquitous Media Group at Ludwig Maximilian University. There she will help create and test augmented reality technologies that aid those with visual impairments.
"I am deeply excited about this research as I am passionate about creating software that makes an impact on people's lives," Seevers said. "This opportunity also ties into my education as a computer science major who is also minoring in sociology and working toward a Universal Design Certificate. I look forward to exploring this field of research further in the future as well!"
Outside of class, Seevers has been active in undergraduate research at UK working with the Digital Restoration Initiative (DRI) headed up by UK Alumni Professor Brent Seales, director of the Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments. At the DRI, UK researchers take ancient manuscripts that are too broken or damaged to be read by hand and apply their custom software pipeline to virtually unwrap these documents revealing the text inside that has been hidden for a very long time.
Seevers credits experiences like the ones she had on DRI with Seales and during her high school research with mentor Nelson Akafuah, an assistant professor in mechanical engineering at UK, as being beneficial to her own success.
After completing her RISE internship and getting her degree, Seevers plans to pursue graduate studies.
Students interested in applying for a RISE award are encouraged to contact the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. Part of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Student and Academic Life at UK, the office assists current UK undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni in applying for external scholarships and fellowships funded by sources (such as a nongovernment foundation or government agency) outside the university. These major awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office's director, Pat Whitlow, well in advance of the scholarship deadline.