Student News

UK Junior to Participate in Research Internship Program in Germany

Gretchen Ruschman

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2022) — University of Kentucky junior Gretchen Ruschman has been selected to participate in the Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program through the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD). Ruschman is an agricultural and medical biotechnology major in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and a student in the UK Lewis Honors College.

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 with one of Germany's top universities or research institutions. Around 300 students participate each summer.

Ruschman will be located at the Universität zu Lübeck in Lübeck, Germany. The aim of her research project is to characterize inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) relevant bacteria and gain insight into influencing factors for the course of the disease on the bacterial side.

“I am deeply passionate about this research, as it will produce clinical findings that will have a direct impact on people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease,” Ruschman said. “The internship will provide me the opportunity to combine my growing passion for biomedical research with my academic background in microbiology.”

During her time at UK, Ruschman has been involved with research in the Department of Horticulture and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is an Undergraduate Research Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Research and chair for medical fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon. She has participated on Shoulder-to-Shoulder Global Brigades to Ecuador and was recently named a Gaines Fellow through the Gaines Center for the Humanities.

The daughter of Carroll and Eric Ruschman of Lexington, she plans to attend the University of Kentucky College of Medicine after her graduation in May 2024.

Ruschman credits assistant professor Carlos Rodriguez Lopez, Ph.D., and research specialist Roberta Magnani, Ph.D., both of the Department of Horticulture, for serving as mentors during her time at UK. Rodriguez Lopez is her current research mentor.

“His continued commitment to my development as both a scientist and a student has shaped how as a future scientist I hope to impact others,” she said.

Students interested in applying for the RISE award should contact Pat Whitlow, director of the UK Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, which 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 awards honor exceptional students across the nation. Students who are interested in these opportunities are encouraged to begin work with the office, housed in the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence, well in advance of the scholarship deadline. Staff is available for appointments to discuss opportunities for the 2021-2022 academic year and beyond.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

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