Awar­ded | Uni­ver­sity So­ci­ety Prizes for Out­stand­ing Theses and In­ter­na­tion­al Stu­dents

The University Society prizes awarded annually at the University's New Year's Reception not only recognise outstanding final theses, but also promote the commitment of international students. Chemical engineer Anna Hoppe, business informatics specialist Michelle Müller and future teacher Tim Sienert each receive a prize of 1,300 euros for their outstanding final theses. Yana Lebedeva receives the prize for international students for her special commitment in the amount of 500 euros.

Unfortunately, the prizes could not be awarded personally in the Audimax in mid-January 2021 as usual. Instead, all information - including the laudations for our award winners - was presented online. In the online interview, we "met" with the award winners to learn more about their studies at UPB and their commitment:

Anna Hoppe | Chemical Engineering: Investigations into fluid dynamics and mass transport: In her own words, Anna Hoppe "spontaneously" decided to study chemical engineering. At school, she had still deselected some natural science subjects, but a tip from her family brought her to study in Paderborn. "At that time I thought I would just give it a try," she recalls. Looking back, the combination of natural sciences and mechanical engineering was perfect for her. During her Bachelor's and Master's studies at UPB, she particularly appreciated the small group sizes and the contact between students and academic staff across semesters. Her work as a student assistant at the Chair of Fluid Process Engineering led to the topic of her now award-winning Master's thesis. Anna Hoppe investigated the interaction of droplets in immiscible liquids - water and toluene. In detail, she has contributed to a more precise understanding of the mass transport that takes place at the so-called phase boundary, which leads to changes in stress between the two substances. Since October 2020, she has been doing her doctorate with a scholarship at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg: "So far, I haven't seen that much of Freiburg and the university. Most of it is online. But I'm looking forward to exploring the city and surroundings as soon as it's possible again."

Michelle Müller | Business Informatics: Does money rule the Airbnb world? - Investigating regulatory effects: Michelle Müller is, as she says herself, a "true Paderbornian". After graduating from a local high school, she completed her bachelor's degree in business informatics and completed her master's degree in the field of management information systems. Since April 2020, she has been doing her doctorate at the Chair of Business Informatics, in particular Digital Markets. She was already very interested in computer science and mathematics when she was at school, and then attending the Winfo student council at her school convinced her to study business informatics at UPB. The fact that she was in the minority in her year as a woman did not bother her. However, she wishes that more women would get excited about business informatics. She thinks more communication about study programmes and mentoring formats where women network with each other would be helpful. In her excellent Master's thesis on "Does Money Rule the Airbnb World?", she examines the effects of regulations on accommodation prices, demand and the supply of Airbnb accommodation in New Orleans. In addition to gaining scientific knowledge, she wants to present her findings in a way that is generally understandable: "I want to explain research in a way that people can understand it without prior knowledge." Currently, she spends most of her time in her home office. That works well, but she misses the personal interaction at the department: "In addition to the online work meetings, we have set up a digital coffee round once a week. That's when we also discuss other topics.

Tim Sienert | Teacher training at vocational colleges: Belgian comics in foreign language teaching: Tim Sienert had his first intensive contact with the neighbouring European country through his work as a student assistant at the Belgium Centre at the university. His work and a university seminar on Belgian comics then provided the impetus for the topic of his Master's thesis. In it, he analyses the touring exhibition "A Comic Round Trip through Belgium" commissioned by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and evaluates its didactic potential for a competition for pupils, in which school classes can submit their own comic entries. In his opinion, comics are not only a communication medium for children: "In Belgium in particular, comics have a high status, they have been a social tradition for decades and have become a cultural asset. His experience is that the medium of comics is well received by pupils in the classroom and can improve foreign language teaching. Tim Sienert came to UPB from Gladbeck to study teaching because he wanted to combine economics and French. Here he got to know the advantages of a compact campus university with short distances. In November 2020, he began his traineeship at a vocational college in Düsseldorf, where he was "fortunately" able to get to know his colleagues and students personally, as he emphasises. "Since mid-December we have been working in distance learning. This brings with it completely new challenges in the organisation of my traineeship."

Yana Lebedeva | Award to International Students: Passion for film and science: Yana Lebedeva has been enthusiastic about film since her childhood days in Russia. Thus, this topic runs like a thread through her studies in Moscow, Bochum and Paris and through her working life in Düsseldorf and Paderborn. She is currently a research assistant in the Department of Art/Media Aesthetics (Visual and New Media) at UPB and is writing her doctoral thesis on "Making the City - in the field of tension of medial and social transformations using the example of Dublin". With this academic focus on the genre of film, she combines her two passions and emphasises: "Film is an independent form of art, not a support medium. In my project, I examine film from both an aesthetic and technological perspective in the context of cultural, social, economic and political influences." In addition to her work, she became involved as a mentor in UPB's peer mentoring programme "Einblick!" in 2020, helping to empower other women on the path to their doctorates. Even during her Master's degree at the Ruhr University in Bochum, she ran German courses as part of the "Integra 12" programme for refugee families with children. For Yana Lebedeva, voluntary work and participation in educational networks is a matter of course. She likes to pass on her knowledge and experience - she especially wants to support women. Her conviction: "Education should be accessible to all.