2 Wildcats Awarded Research Internships in Germany

headshot photos of 2021 DAAD RISE recipients Jacob Concolino and Benjamin Cortas
headshot photo of Jacob Concolino
headshot of Benjamin Cortas

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2021) Two University of Kentucky students, Jacob Concolino and Benjamin Cortas, 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 with one of Germany's top universities or research institutions. Around 300 students participate each summer.

Jacob Concolino, of Allison Park, Pennsylvania, is the son of Renee and Thomas Concolino, of Fayetteville, Georgia. He will use his internship to participate in research at Technische Universität Dortmund in Dortmund, Germany.

Growing up with a father with a chemistry doctoral degree and passionate about the field himself, Concolino chose to major in chemical engineering at UK College of Engineering. Active in undergraduate research at UK working in membrane science, the junior is also a member of Lewis Honors College.

Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree, Concolino will consider attending graduate school as well as his employment options.

Benjamin Cortas is the son of Edward and Tricia Cortas, of Louisville, Kentucky. He will use his RISE internship to perform physics research at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and in conjunction with the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.

A physics and mathematics junior, member of Lewis Honors College and Gaines Fellow, Cortas has also been active in undergraduate research at UK. Currently, he is working with Professor Christopher Crawford to help develop a custom electronic logbook based on server-side web scripting and the Git distributed version control system, to create secure entries with the flexibility of automated log entries. This system and the techniques used for event-driven auto-generated entries are important to the n2EDM experiment, which is attempting to measure the neutron electric dipole moment to a precision 10 times better than the current world limit.

Upon completion of his bachelor’s degrees, Cortas plans to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in nuclear or high-energy physics.

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.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.