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Felicia Nachbar, student at the Oskar-Maria-Graf Gymnasium in Neufahrn, does an internship at the Materials Science Lab of the MLZ. During her project she examines the teeth of predators and ruminants and compares them to each other. © T. Kiechle / TUM
Felicia Nachbar, student at the Oskar-Maria-Graf Gymnasium in Neufahrn, examines the teeth of predators and ruminants: „I inspect the teeth of a cow and – as we do not have any real predators in our region – the ones of a cat and compare them to each other. I´m interested in who has the harder teeth and how exactly they differ from each other“, she explains her project.
The 14-year-old does a voluntary internship at the Materials Science Lab of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum in Garching, a laboratory for sample preparation and x-ray analysis.
The very first look into the research area thereby fulfilled all her expectations. „It´s exactly like I always imagined it, with all the different instruments and devices“, Felicia enthusiastically tells about her first day.
„I think it's important to get young people excited about research”
Armin Kriele, technical manager of the Materials Science Lab, supervises the student during her one-week-internship. „I think it´s important to get young people excited about research and to provide the opportunity for them to get to know scientific work“, the physicist explains.
Kriele cares much about the intensive support for his trainee. „I always take much time for the internships to be able to look after my trainees very well“, he emphasizes. At the same time the physicist attaches great importance to autonomous work. This also includes the independent operation of complex devices. Kriele is always happy about the quick
comprehension of the young people. “They are so smart, I´m always quite stunned.”
Working in the Lab is "much fun" for the student. © A. Kriele / HZG
„Who has the better teeth – cat or cow?“
During her internship Felicia works on her own project comparing the teeth of predators and ruminants to each other. In the end she also designs a poster with all her research results. „My trainees are always allowed to propose their own projects and examine the structure of materials they always wanted to know about“, Kriele explains his concept. Within the last few years his trainees already examined pebbles from the Isar during the internship, investigated different shells and compared the hardness of D-Mark- and Euro-coins to each other.
On her first day in the lab Felicia directly starts with the dental check-up: endurance test, cutting the teeth with a diamond wire saw, microscopic analysis, embedding in acrylic resin, polishing. “That´s something different compared to school”, she comments her first entire working day. “But I really like dealing with natural sciences.”
Girl power during the internship
For three years Armin Kriele already offers the internships. Felicia thereby is the fifth trainee who gets to know the Materials Science Lab. So far, there have been only girls and young women amongst the junior scientists. „We do know that girls are often one step ahead of the boys, but nevertheless it´s remarkable that this is shown in such a way“, Kriele himself is surprised about the clear gender distribution. However, the supervisor is not sparing with praise: „The trainees are always extremely independent and show outstanding engagement“. Smilingly he adds: „Generally I would be interested to know if this is the case with the boys, too – if one overcomes himself to do an internship.” So far, any explicit advertising was not necessary. „Mostly the students take notice of the offer by word of mouth advertising“, Kriele tells.
Only in the following school year Felicia has to do an obligatory internship. However, she already knows where she wants to go: into science, because „that´s simply fun“.
Picture on the left: Armin Kriele, technical manager of the Lab, cares much about a good supervision of his trainee. © T. Kiechle / TUM; Picture on the right: During her internship Felicia examines the teeth of a cat (left) and a cow (right) and compares them to each other. © T. Kiechle / TUM
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