Dr. Kirsten Traynor

I spent my time as a German Chancellor Fellow investigating the differences between European and American beekeeping. I didn’t want my bee journey to end after my fellowship, so I applied to graduate school at Arizona State University. I convinced Robert Page to take a chance on an unusual graduate student (an English major) with a fascination for bees. He allowed me into the graduate research program in biology on the condition that I pass the GRE Biology subject test within the first year. I succeeded and earned my master’s and PhD, focusing my research on how young honey bees use pheromone signals to manipulate their caregivers. After a postdoc at the University of Maryland, I returned to Germany as a Junior Fellow of the College of Life Sciences at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. There, I met Tim Landgraf, who had developed a tracking system to follow bees inside an observation hive. In April 2021, I became the head of the LAVES Institute for Bee Research in Celle, Germany, the institution that had hosted me during my BUKA year. In May 2022, I accepted the position of director of the State Institute of Bee Research in Stuttgart, Germany at the University of Hohenheim. It’s a dream job that allows me to combine my love of teaching, research, and outreach with a great research group and phenomenal students excited about bees and biodiversity.

Professor Karina Pallagst

My Feodor Lynen Fellowship at UC Berkeley offered me the chance to conduct
research at a world-class university. As an urban and regional planner, I was able to
gain profound insight into a highly fascinating metropolitan area. My postdoctoral
research dealt with growth management in the San Francisco Bay Area. I met
fascinating people at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Urban and Regional Development,
including US experts and visiting scholars from all over the world.
This fellowship was highly supportive for my career, as it opened up the pathway for
a professorship in Germany at the University of Kaiserslautern.
I am still highly grateful for being part of the Humboldt network, and I always seek
to support young scholars in building their careers.

Professor Nader Vossoughian

My Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship brought me to the faculties of Gestaltung and architecture at the Bauhaus University in Weimar (2014-2015, 2021), as well as to the faculty of architecture at the University of Kassel (2016). It is hard to put into words how meaningful these experiences were for me. On a professional level, the experience allowed me to gain knowledge about the history of modern architecture in Germany that most scholars in field only dream of. I visited key buildings and explored the major archives. I was able to publish numerous essays and am working on many more. I benefitted from the support of the Humboldt Foundation’s wonderful staff and am proud to say that I became fully fluent in German.

On a personal level, I was able to share my passion for German culture and history with my wife and three children. My children attended German preschools and grammar schools: two of them returned to the United States fluent in German. We made wonderful friends, many of whom remain an integral part of our lives. My children continue to maintain a deep affection for Germany, particularly its bakeries, thrift stores, and desserts. For my oldest daughter, Weimar stands out—it boasts some of the best gelaterias in all of Europe!

I will always cherish the wonderful memories I have from my Humboldt experience. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity and the privilege.

Carles Corbella

My Humboldt Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films was a life-changing experience. I was very lucky to have had Dr. Klaus Bewilogua as a mentor. He instilled in me skills such as decision making and scientific intuition—skills that have helped me in every aspect of my career. Dr. Bewilogua was not only an excellent guide as I took my first professional steps, but he has continued to advise and support me to this day. After I completed my research training in Spain and Germany, I moved to the United States and am in the process of launching a new line of research on the study of interactions between plasma discharges and materials for applications in functional coatings, microelectronics, and biomedicine. I would not be where I am without my Humboldt experience!

Deeneaus Polk

My German Chancellor Fellowship had a profound impact on my career. My time as director of the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program, a registered apprenticeship initiative seeking to better link the private sector, K-K-16 education, and community partners, was directly informed by my time learning about the German vocational education and training system at the Federal Institute for Vocational Training in Bonn. I continue to maintain strong ties with all things German and am focused on building a new type of transatlantic partnership and dialogue, one focused on how Germany interacts with communities throughout the US South.

Robert M. Frakes

My Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship continues to play a significant role in my life. I was at the Leopold Wenger Institute for Ancient Legal History and Papyrus Research at the University of Munich as the guest of Professor Dieter Nörr. During that time, I wrote my first book. This book helped me gain tenure and promotion, but the experience of learning German and making connections with German colleagues went far beyond that. I returned several times to Munich to work on subsequent projects as the guest of Professor Alfons Bürge and Professor Johannes Platschek. Although my current duties as dean limit my ability to undertake a long research stay, I keep in contact with my German colleagues. My wife and daughters joined me in Munich. The experiences in Germany played a special role in our lives, and I will be forever grateful for the friendships and research opportunities the fellowship made possible.

Professor Lisa A. Gabel

During my 18-month research fellowship I had the privilege of joining a network of extraordinary international scientists, both through my interactions with other Humboldtians and within my host institution. I was provided an opportunity to address questions in the field that I would have not otherwise been able to examine, and to collaborate with Drs. Gunther Moll, Hartmut Heinrich, and Oliver Kratz at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. I was extremely honored to meet President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the AvH Annual Meeting in Berlin. The research fellowship helped to enhance my scholarship, expanded my knowledge and skills for being a global citizen, and created lasting friendships and an enduring professional network.

Katharina Dobs

My Feodor Lynen Fellowship at MIT simultaneously supported both my career and my family. My postdoc with Professor Aude Oliva in collaboration with Professor Nancy Kanwisher has allowed me to progress in my research, which combines machine learning with human behavioral and neural data to analyze the way visual recognition works in humans. The prestige of the Lynen Fellowship has also opened doors to new opportunities after my postdoc. The childcare allowance provided by the Humboldt Foundation to Lynen fellows made our dual career family’s stay in the United States possible. This Fellowship has changed the trajectory of my career and has allowed my family to share this special time.

Professor Hans-Rudolf “Rudy” Wenk

I first discovered the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 1978 when I met Hartmut Kern, Professor of Mineralogy at Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, at a conference in Aachen. Upon his suggestion, I applied for and received a Humboldt Fellowship, starting collaborations with him on rock deformation and anisotropy in the Earth that have continued since. During my time in Germany, I met a number of scientists with whom I worked closely, among them Heiner Mecking and Fred Kocks, another Humboldt Fellow from Los Alamos. These interactions had a great impact on my career, as they led to the development of new experimental techniques and sophisticated methods of modeling and applying results to metals as well as the deep Earth. Fred Kocks and I also co-authored a book, Texture and Anisotropy, in 2000 that remains a seminal work in the field. The Humboldt Research Fellowship provided the opportunity for international and interdisciplinary collaborations—vital to advancing science—and I am grateful to have had this opportunity in Kiel, later in Hamburg, and again in Bayreuth. Fellow alumni who visit my office no doubt recognize the green pocket calendar on my desk sent by the Foundation every year.

Professor Kurt W. Kolasinski

Berlin just after the fall of the Wall was the setting for my postdoctoral studies supported by the Humboldt Foundation. My Humboldt fellowship enabled much more than some of my best scientific research. It also allowed me to establish professional relationships that set a platform for my career. Knowing that you are part of the Humboldt community gives you confidence to strike out into new areas of scientific research and to find where you can make the greatest impact.