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uni'alumni 2016

MMoney well spent: Freiburg alum- nae and alumni from around the world are showing their support for their alma mater – not only through their booster association membership dues but also by making free donations. The alumni representatives at the University of Freiburg’s eleven faculties receive 2,500 euros of this money. They use it for things like field trips and student pro- jects. In addition, it gives them the chance to award prizes for outstanding student achievements and thus to pro- vide individual support for young re- searchers. The prizes are awarded for final theses that cover original topics and make an extraordinary contribution to research as well as for social involve- ment. Yvonne Troll asked two graduates what they won the prize for, what impor- tance it has for them, and what they see as the advantage of having an alumni organization. Verena Linder-Spohn, German studies “Since I invested a lot of time and effort in my final thesis, I’m very proud of having been awarded the Alumni Research Prize. Aside from my pleasure at receiving recognition for my work and winning the money, I consider the prize a seal of quality for an academic achieve- ment. I can see it serving as a kind of door opener for an academic career. For me personally, the prize strengthened me in my decision to pursue a doctoral degree. The topic of my disser- tation has to do with late-medieval religious literature and is an extension of my final thesis. In my thesis, I studied how excerpts from the Carthusian monk Phillip’s ‘Life of the Virgin,’ which was written around 1300, were integrated into a manuscript of Heinrich von Neustadt’s poem on the doctrine of salvation ‘On God’s Future.’ What made the topic particularly exciting was that the two texts had hardly been researched at all yet. I find it great that Alumni Freiburg pro- vides students financial support and helps them to maintain their bond with the university after they graduate.” Angelika Knothe, Theoretical Physics “The university you complete your degree at plays an important role in both your person- al and your professional development. The alumni organization is thus an important insti- tution for building bridges between former students and the following generations of students. It’s a special honor for me to receive the prize for my master’s thesis, particu- larly as I will be staying on at the University of Freiburg as a doctoral candidate. The topic of my thesis involved understanding how light spreads in matter. I used mathematics, sta- tistics, and computer simulations to study particular properties of a model system. Since my dissertation project is based on binational cooperation between Freiburg and Paris, the Alumni Research Prize is an incentive for me: I want to apply and extend the knowl- edge I acquired in Freiburg at the international level in the spirit of the European idea. I also appreciate the additional funding, because my international research often involves considerable expenses.” Receiving the prize has strengthened Verena Linder-Spohn in her decision to pursue a doctoral degree. Angelika Knothe received a research prize for her master’s thesis in theoretical physics. Now she’s writing her dissertation as part of a German-French project. Photos: Sandra Meyndt AWARDS Alumni Support Young Researchers University of Freiburg faculties award prizes for outstanding final theses 22