For the third time, this winter semester TU Graz invited bachelor's, master's and doctoral programme students to take part in the BeTheFace campaign as the “faces” who would represent their faculty for a year. The News+Stories editorial team wanted to know why these seven faces had chosen their particular programme and what motivates them.
Johanna Maierhofer, Architecture bachelor’s degree programme
Johanna always enjoyed sketching and drawing buildings. “I wanted to be an architect from a young age, but people always said that technical degrees are much too difficult,” explains Johanna from Wolfsberg, who is half way through her architecture degree. And she’s happy that in the end she gave it a try: “Right at the start I wasn’t really sure if I was suited to it – if I would be able to complete the programme. But after a few weeks I realised that it was perfect for me.” Johanna wants her work to have an impact on people’s lives: “A positive one, hopefully. It’s a big responsibility of course, but a very nice one to have.”
Despite specialising in IT at technical college, Benedict sees himself as more of a “geometry kind of guy”, and so opted to study civil engineering. When he goes on to take a master’s, he will probably focus on road construction, traffic engineering, the water sector or wastewater disposal, because as Benedict explains: “You can help lots of people by making small improvements. We take fresh water and good roads for granted here. In Nigeria, where I come from, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Graz appealed to me because it’s a similar size to Linz,” where Benedict lived for 10 years. He also likes Graz’s large student population.
Verena Theußl, Technical Chemistry master’s degree programme
Master’s student Verena already knew she wanted to study chemistry while she was at school. “Maybe because I had a really good teacher,” she says. The student from Hollenegg-Schwanberg believes that her studies will open up many career opportunities and wants to go into industry. She has specialised in inorganic materials and chemistry during her studies, with a particular focus on batteries. “Putting your lab coat and glasses on and doing experiments with chemicals is great. Chemicals help to explain all of nature’s processes,” she enthuses. And practicals in the lab help her to understand the theory covered in lectures.
Lukas Pointner, Biomedical Engineering bachelor’s degree programme
Lukas – who languages didn’t really appeal to, apart from English – chose his degree by a process of elimination. He knew it had to be something science-related, though. “I couldn’t see a reason not to do biomedical engineering,” Lukas – who was born in Graz – tells us about his pragmatic decision. Even though he had to work hard to pass physics and especially maths in the first semester, he’s still very happy with his choice. “I like the strong technological focus involving programming and electronics, but also the fact that I can dig deep into biology, anatomy, chemistry and molecular biology at the same time.”
“In electrical engineering, you’re always discovering new ways to build, improve and invent things. Things that some people can’t even imagine – and for this I need electricity,” explains Sara. “You take a tiny chip and use it to make an everyday object.” She is a creative, do-it-yourself kind of person, who is fascinated with her chosen subject and is pleased with the excellent career prospects she has. Born in St. Pölten, Austria, she began her studies in Bosnia, where her parents are from, but in the end she decided to move to Graz. “People from many different countries come here. And we all have one thing in common: TU Graz.”
“You can describe every movement of air, every rainbow, and every single natural process with mathematical formulas,” explains Lukas, who sometimes sees the world in formulas. After leaving school he decided to study mechanical engineering, his specialist subject at technical college. “I thought there was more to discover in the world of machines.” The bachelor’s student from Vorarlberg, Austria, who likes to be “very precise”, wants to work in energy technology because he thinks “it’s an important topic for the future”. He felt immediately at home in Graz from day one: “People in Styria and Vorarlberg are very similar. Down to earth, quite laid back and a little bit grumpy.”
Leonardo Alese, Doctoral School of Mathematics and Scientific Computing student
“When I was six I wanted to be an actor, then an inventor, and then a mathematician. I always wanted to invent things. Now I come up with theorems,” is Leonardo’s explanation of how he found his way to mathematics. He studies origami theory and calculates how flat objects which are folded over a curved edge behave – perhaps in future he will be doing the calculations for satellites or stadium roofs. “But I’m no good at making origami swans!” he says, making sure he doesn’t raise any false expectations. Born in Rome, Italy, he has always had an interest in mechanical things and chose TU Graz because of its excellent reputation. “And because the architecture along Sporgasse is so reminiscent of Italy.”
Advice on choosing a degree programme
- FIT – Women in Science and Technology Information Day 2018, 12 February 2018; Technology Taster Programme for Women, 14-15 February 2018: visit the FIT website for programme details and to register (German only)
- TU Graz will have an info stand at the BeSt³ university and continuing education fair in Vienna from 1-4 March 2018
- Open day for Graz’s four universities: 5 April 2018 www.tugraz.at/en/studying-and-teaching/studying-at-tu-graz/open-day/
- For an overview of TU Graz’s advisory services for prospective students
Shared experiences: student reports
- “…frequently asked questions concerning your studies” (blog post)
- “It’s the same for everyone at the beginning” (interview)
- “There’s no reason for girls to feel anxious” (interview)