A German citizen afforded the opportunity to take graduate engineering courses and conduct research at CU-Boulder, Dr. Jens Schiefele is a strong believer in the value of global education experiences. So strong, in fact, that he convinced Jeppesen, the aviation leader he works for in Frankfurt, Germany and in Denver, Colorado, to fund a dual exchange between CU-Boulder and his German alma mater, Technische Universität Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt).
“This experience changed my life. My career wouldn’t be possible without my CU-Boulder experience,” said Schiefele, recalling the independent study he took with CU computer science Professor Gary Nutt during his student exchange. “I had incredible access to professors that I wouldn’t have had in Germany. I was able to do real research work instead of learning the theory. I was surprised at how much applied research the U.S. was doing.”
Schiefele, who holds an MS degree in computer science from CU-Boulder and a PhD from TU Darmstadt, viewed the opportunity to participate in a student exchange as a career advantage. Now senior manager of advanced research for Jeppesen’s Global Technology Services, he is excited that through his company he can help other students be immersed in a new culture and conduct hands-on research abroad.
Prompted by Schiefele, Jeppesen, which is headquartered in Denver with a Frankfurt, Germany operation that serves the Eastern Hemisphere, gave $60,000 to fund student exchanges that send CU students to Germany, and TU Darmstadt students to Boulder as part of their graduate engineering education. Since 1992, more than 15 students from TU Darmstadt have studied at CU- Boulder. This will be the first year of the dual exchange.
“Today’s world is a smaller place. Students today need to be prepared to work in this global world,” said Schiefele. “Companies that give back get a lot in return. It’s important to do something for people other than ourselves.”