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.

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.