Recognizing Achievement

Montag, 17. November 2014 | 

Schlagwörter »  |  Thema: englisch

This month the university will award 100 new scholarships within the context of the nationwide Deutschlandstipendium (Germany Scholarship) program. The scholarships reward students for earning good grades, engaging in community service, and overcoming unfavorable life circumstances. The holders of the Deutschlandstipendium use the funding in completely different ways.

Engagiert, begabt und bunt gemischt: Die Stipendiatinnen und Stipendiaten 2013.
Involved, gifted, and diverse: The scholarship holders in 2013. Photo: University of Freiburg.

The Deutschlandstipendium is being awarded for the third time in Freiburg. Half of the funding for the scholarship program is provided by private donors, the other half from the federal government. Since the first round of the program in 2011, when only a few scholarships were awarded, the university has succeeded in continually increasing the pool of donors and expects to be able to award up to 100 scholarships in October.

The criteria for receiving a scholarship are good grades, volunteer service, and success in overcoming unfavorable life circumstances. The recipients thus form a diverse group: With a gender ratio that is roughly equal and representative of that in the individual faculties, they are a reflection of the university as a whole.

Windows for Research

Tristan Stöber hat beides im Blick seinen Sohn und die Promotion.
Tristan Stöber is raising a son and working on his PhD. The scholarship gives him time for both. Photo: private

“I see the scholarship above all as recognition for my previous achievement,” explains Tristan Stöber, a tenth-semester biology student at the University of Freiburg. In addition to his excellent grades, Stöber earned the scholarship mainly due to his volunteer work. At his former university in Münster, he worked for many years in the departmental student committee.

Stöber finds the funding especially useful for making ends meet in daily life. Instead of having to work a part-time job, he can devote more time and energy to his research. Alongside his master’s program in Freiburg, Stöber is also enrolled in a correspondence course in mathematics at the University of Hagen. His goal is to earn a PhD. “And on top of that, I became a father last year,” he adds with a grin.

Springboard for Career Entry

Kira Urschinger konnte dank des Deutschlandstipendiums viele Praktika absolvieren. Jetzt arbeitet sie beim SWR.
The Deutschlandstipendium enabled Kira Urschinger to gain work experience in radio broadcasting even before graduating. Photo: private

For Kira Urschinger, the Deutschlandstipendium served as a springboard for finding a job after graduation. The scholarship enabled the linguist to complete internships that paid little or nothing at all alongside her studies: “The scholarship ensured that I could concentrate on my jobs and my master’s thesis without lying awake at night worrying about how long my money would last.” Today Urschinger works for the state broadcasting corporation SWR, where she also served as an intern during her studies.

What Urschinger finds interesting about the Deutschlandstipendium is that it is not associated with a particular political orientation and is open to students of all fields of study. “After all, private companies don’t usually provide funding for students in the humanities,” remarks the linguist.

Overcoming Unfavorable Life Circumstances

Maria Köpfer
Maria Köpfer overcame unfavorable life circumstances and can send her child to a good day care center thanks to the Deutschladstipendium. Photo: private

This diversity is also what Maria Köpfer likes about the program. The mathematics student, who has been receiving a scholarship for two semesters, enjoys the excursions and informal get-togethers with her fellow scholarship holders. A sense of community is still in the process of taking root, but the events are already very enriching. “In addition, they give us the chance to stay in contact with the university after graduation.”

An immigrant from Russia, Maria Köpfer had to take evening classes to earn her higher education entrance qualification, while at the same time raising a child. Her efforts soon began to pay off: At the end of her secondary school education she received the Scheffel Prize, which is awarded to the year’s best graduates in the subject of German. This prize was a special distinction for Maria Köpfer on account of her immigrant past. The Deutschlandstipendium makes things much easier for her: “Now I can afford to send my child to a good day care center and study at the university with a good conscience.”

Promoting Young Talents Early On

Just as diverse as the scholarship holders are the donors in Freiburg. They include associations affiliated with the university, private persons, and companies with various reasons for offering scholarships.

The booster association “Alumni Freiburg e.V.” raised 36,000 € and offered 20 scholarships, making it the largest donor. Many regional alumni clubs have initiated their own fundraising activities. Other donors are companies or private persons who want to support current students and give something back to the university.

One of the corporate donors is Clariant. The specialty chemical company values the high academic standards at the University of Freiburg. “We want to identify and promote young talents early on,” explains Dr. Martin Vollmer, chief technology officer at Clariant: “The Deutschlandstipendium enables us to make direct contact with highly talented, socially involved students.” In addition, participation in the program is an opportunity for Clariant, which has a research center in Höchst near Frankfurt, to call attention to itself as an attractive employer.

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