University of Iowa student Leona Odole, a double major in math and data science from Des Moines, Iowa, has been awarded a prestigious and highly competitive DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) grant to pursue graduate studies in Germany.
Odole is currently studying abroad on the Technical University of Dortmund Academic Year Exchange program with the help of a Gilman Scholarship she received in 2022, an experience that played a crucial role in her decision to apply for the DAAD grant.
“I wanted to do the exchange as a sort of trial run, and in that respect, it was quite successful,” said Odole. “I've been able to take exciting courses, make friends, and I would say I have an overall better understanding of Germany and the German academic system. I've grown a lot personally and become much more independent, being away from home, which is why I know I can be successful here for another two years. Additionally, as part of the exchange, I began a co-op internship in April in a German company, which has been incredibly valuable in terms of developing new skills and further developing my German.”
“I think what excites me most about being able to continue studying in Germany is simply the opportunity. There are many exciting research opportunities and I very much value being exposed to a different culture."
Looking forward to the coming years she’ll spend in Germany, Odole also remembers where her journey began and the encouragement and guidance she received at Iowa.
"I'd like to thank my professors Rhonda DeCook and Alberto Maria-Segre for their support in writing my recommendation letters, and my academic advisor Emma Kirk-Alvarez for supporting me throughout my time at Iowa," said Odole.
Odole is thrilled to continue her studies in Germany, as it presents an opportunity to pursue advanced research and learn from top academics in her field. She sees her master's degree as a way to better prepare herself for her future career, where she hopes to develop new technologies or apply existing ones in innovative ways.
“I think what excites me most about being able to continue studying in Germany is simply the opportunity,” said Odole. “There are many exciting research opportunities and I very much value being exposed to a different culture. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone who has even the smallest inkling they might want to do it.”
International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement. IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.