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The Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) Germany program is sponsored by the German government to promote international exchange in science and engineering research.
The program allows students from North American universities to intern at a German research institution for a summer, said David Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships.
Students in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, engineering and computer science are eligible to participate, according to the German sponsor’s website.
“It allows students to spend the summer developing their research skills, but it also allows students to have an international learning experience,” Davis said. Additionally, RISE Germany covers the student’s expenses and offers a stipend.
Interns do not need to have experience with German language to participate, and the primary research language is English, Davis said.
“Any student interested in science and engineering research should seriously consider the program,” Davis said.
Ben Lehe is a fifth-year student in the Integrated Master of Science “four-plus-one” program, and he is studying electrical engineering. He completed a RISE internship last summer for graduate students on microelectronics with a small company called Fitbase in Hamburg, Germany.
“I worked on a prototype design for a device built into a chair,” Lehe said. “It records sitting posture and sends the data to an app designed by another member of Fitbase.”
Shailey Shah, a junior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, also completed a RISE Germany internship. She worked at the Jülich Forschungzentrum, or research center, at the Institute for Bioorganic Chemistry in Jülich, Germany, doing biochemical research on a protein isolated from Oryza sativa, a rice plant.
[pullquote speaker="Ben Lehe, Master's student in electrical engineering" photo="" align="left" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]I think it multiplied my self confidence many times over as I learned to communicate in a culture that does not speak English as their first language and how to survive when things do not go according to plan.[/pullquote]
Lehe and Shah said their experiences impacted them beyond just their studies and research.
“I would call it the highlight of my all the experiences I had at Mercer,” Lehe said.
Both Shah and Lehe had the opportunity to travel to several other countries during their internships. One of Lehe’s favorite experiences from RISE occurred in Spain.
“I was mountain biking the mountains in Mallorca and it got dark, my phone died and I was completely lost on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere,” Lehe said. “I ended up hitchhiking with a Catalan rancher to return to civilization.”
Shah said she enjoyed the experience of living somewhere new.
“Despite the unfamiliar culture and language, I was able to truly connect with the people I met and made some really good friends along the way,” she said.
Lehe and Shah said they both gained valuable life lessons and skills during their internships.
“I think it multiplied my self confidence many times over as I learned to communicate in a culture that does not speak English as their first language and how to survive when things do not go according to plan,” Lehe said.
Shah said that while the experience helped her with her studies and research, it also made her “more independent and self-confident.”
“Traveling alone to another country requires trust in yourself that you can and will face whatever obstacle comes your way,” Shah said. “Having these experiences with no one to ask for help in the beginning built trust in myself.”
Six Mercer students have participated in the program in the past four years, and Davis said he hopes that number will increase.
“I would encourage more students to consider applying,” Davis said.
Student applications for RISE Germany are due Dec. 15. Davis said that the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships is happy to help students with their applications.
On Oct. 18, Mercer University announced that former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was appointed as a Distinguished University Professor. He will begin serving as a government professor in January 2020.
A Mercer alumnus, Deal attended the university for his bachelor’s and law degrees and served two terms as the Governor of Georgia as a member of the Republican party from 2011 to 2019.
At Mercer, the role of a “distinguished professor” is the highest ranking faculty position, recognizing exceptional scholarship and involvement. Deal joins six other professors at Mercer with this ranking, according to the Spring 2018 edition of "The Mercerian."
“These are people who have extraordinary accomplishments in their fields,” Mercer President William Underwood said. “When I look at Nathan Deal’s career and what he’s accomplished… he certainly meets that definition.”
These professors fulfill different roles at the university, with some serving as traditional professors and others as visiting or adjunct roles.
Deal will not serve as a traditional professor; he will instead deliver a series of lectures every year open to the entire Mercer student body, according to Underwood.
“My idea was not that he come in and teach a Government 101 class,” Underwood said. “What I thought would be really interesting for students is to hear somebody who's been as successful and influential in government as he has, talking to students about some of the difficult decisions he had to make over his career.”
The exact content of these lectures is not yet solidified, but Underwood said Deal will discuss his own experiences and about “leadership lessons” that he learned through his time working in government.
“You (Mercer students) are all preparing to be future leaders in one way or another, and I think hearing from somebody that’s had to make difficult decisions and learn lessons from those decisions will make you better,” he said.
According to Underwood, after several of these lectures, Mercer University Press will publish a book.
“I think it’s a unique opportunity for our students,” Underwood said. “One of the things I want you (students) to do is do things outside of their classes that’ll expand their mind and enrich their experience here, and this is just another opportunity to do just that.”
The folk-rock group The Lumineers have evolved over the course of their career, and are well known for songs such as “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia.” With their third album, “III,” The Lumineers enter new territory, exploring issues of substance abuse and addiction through nine songs that all connect the same narrative. The stunning visual album tells the story of the Sparks family and the consequences of alcoholism through three chapters and three generations.
For their second album, “Cleopatra,” The Lumineers released a short film titled “The Battle of Cleopatra,” which connects the music videos to several songs on the album. While they draw on that project as inspiration for these nine interconnected songs and videos, they have never produced something quite like “III” before, and the final product is truly a sight to behold. “III” is dark, bold and introspective, especially the final chapter, and though this new album shows a different side of the band, personal touches from their previous music is never lost. Much of “III” is inspired by songwriters Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites’s personal experiences with loved ones facing addiction. This emotion bleeds through every song and lyric and makes for a truly remarkable listening experience.
Set in the 1980s, the first chapter focuses on Gloria, the mother of Jimmy and a raging alcoholic. The first track, “Donna,” begins with a haunting piano melody and the family posing for a photo. We are quickly shown that this family’s situation is not as happy as it seems; the lyrics delve into the ramifications of Gloria’s alcoholism: “A little boy was born in February, you couldn’t sober up to hold the baby.” “Life in the City” treats listeners to Gloria’s escapades as a young woman in the big city, and we learn more about her background and the events leading up to her addiction, which occurs in “III’s” first single, “Gloria.” Throughout these three songs, the neglect of baby Jimmy is never forgotten. At the end of “Gloria” we see him left alone, clutching an empty bottle of vodka, a scene that is unfortunately a foreshadowing.
The second and third chapters are set in modern times and feature a now-adult Jimmy and his son, Junior. Jimmy’s relationship with Junior’s mother has fallen apart and, like his mother Gloria, he becomes an alcoholic. The family is now caught in a vicious cycle, and in “Leader of the Landslide,” Junior is forced to watch his father descend into oblivion. In one particularly jarring instance in “Jimmy Sparks,” shots of a broken Jimmy stumbling down the road are accompanied with clips of a home film of the family when Junior was an infant. If this contrast wasn’t painful enough, Junior ends up driving past his father and following the advice that Jimmy gave him: “don’t you ever give a hitcher a ride, cause it’s us or them.”
“III” is made intentionally by the smart lyrics and beautifully tragic music and – paired with the emotionally charged videos – it becomes something truly incredible.
The music of “III” is very raw, very emotional and tells a real, human story. The beautifully shot videos tell the same story with impressive cinematography. Every detail is meticulously thought out and the strong narrative never breaks. “III” isn’t just an album, it’s an artistic masterpiece, and it sticks with the listener until long after the final track.
Athletics is an important part of Mercer — it has several Division One sports teams, including football, basketball, lacrosse, golf and soccer. For fans who can’t make it to the games, several of these sports are broadcasted on Entertainment and Sports Programming Network Plus through a partnership with ESPN3 and Mercer Athletics.
ESPN3 has partnered with Mercer since 2014. They began only covering football and men’s and women’s basketball games, but have since expanded to include men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball and men’s and women’s lacrosse.
A new director and graduate assistant have joined the staff for the 2019-2020 school year. Benjamin Murray has been the director of Mercer ESPN3 since July.
“I basically just oversee the day-to-day stuff, and put the crews together, and make sure the equipment is all good,” Murray said. “I’m really the only full-time person… it’s basically all students.”
Murray is originally from outside of Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s in broadcast journalism. While at WVU, Murray worked at the student radio station and covered many game days and handled video board, camera and streaming responsibilities. He recently obtained his master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, where he was a graduate assistant for their digital media and marketing department.
“We have a lot of students who are willing to help and a lot of students who are (really) good at what they do,” Murray said. “Especially this (past) football game, they all did a really good job… any student who wants to participate and help out can do it.”
Clare Reverri is a junior journalism major, and she’s been working with ESPN since she was a freshman.
“Last semester, we were without a boss, so Ben is literally a lifesaver,” Reverri said. “There is a lot to learn about the program and broadcast in general, and Ben is working really hard and learning a lot … he is a great boss, and I am so grateful we have him.”
Select games are available to watch on ESPN3, ESPN+ and on the SoCon digital network.
Mercer’s women’s soccer season is in full swing, and the team is looking to reestablish their Southern Conference dominance after a loss to Eastern Tennessee State in the first round of the playoffs last year. So far, the Bears hold a 4-1 record coming off of a 9-7-4 record last year.
The first home game of the season against Kennesaw State entered double-overtime and resulted in a 2-1 win. After an early Kennesaw State lead, junior midfielder Ally Fordham tied the game with assists from junior midfielder Sarah Adcock and midfielder/forward Abigail Zoeller. Freshman forward Ciara Whitley scored her first career goal at the 109th minute, clinching the win for the Bears. A standout from the night is junior goalkeeper Jordan Ebert, who stopped 11 attempts to score the whole game.
On Aug. 25, the team traveled to Knoxville and lost to the Tennessee Volunteers 3-0. Ebert successfully steered away 8 of 11 shots on goal. Although the Bears' defense kept the score 1-0 for much of the match, it was unable to prevent the Volunteers from netting two more goals late in the game.
On Aug. 29, they returned to Tennessee to play Austin Peay and won 1-0, with one goal from Fordham and four saves from Ebert.
On Sept. 1, the Bears won 6-1 at home against Davidson. Freshman forward Nicole Icen had a hat trick, scoring her first three career goals. Megan Delmonico, freshman forward Amaya Evans and senior midfield/forward Logan Culver also netted one goal each. Zoeller assisted on two of Icen’s goals and on Delmonico’s, and Adcock assisted on Icen’s third goal.
The team had another double-overtime victory at home on September 6 over Gardner-Webb. Zoeller had seven shots on goal and scored on 2 penalty kicks to put the Bears up 2-1.
As for the rest of the season, Delmonico is feeling optimistic.
“I think that this is one of the first years where we have had really good team chemistry,” Delmonico said. “Everyone wants to win a championship and you can feel it.”
Delmonico was most excited for their upcoming matchups against Samford and Furman. She said that their biggest competition will be Samford, but “we have a really gritty team this year and I think we’re up for the challenge.”
This year, the squad is stronger than ever.
“I think that the past four years we’ve worked a lot on changing the culture of the team and having a team that is really supporting each other,” Delmonico said. “Everyone is really just focused on winning. Everyone wants to win...we have a really great coaching staff, and everyone’s behind us.”
The Bear’s next matchup is Sept. 13 at home against Georgia State at 7 p.m.