Due to his outstanding academic achievements, Johannes Sieberer, a Master's student in the Medical Technologies study program, received the coveted Marshall-Plan-Scholarship. As part of his Master's thesis, he now gets the opportunity to research and study at the renowned Yale University in the US. In an interview, Johannes Sieberer provides insights into his Master's thesis, his experiences and gives valuable tips for applying for the scholarship.
We interviewed Johannes Sieberer and asked him to share with us his experiences regarding this unique opportunity and to tell us more about the Marshall Plan Scholarship, his Master's thesis and his current Master's degree in Medical Technologies:
MCI: Johannes, why did you decide to apply for the Marshall Plan Scholarship?
Johannes: During my bachelor's degree program at the MCI, I was usually fully employed. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to study abroad. With the application for the Marshall Plan scholarship, I now have the chance to get this unique experience.
MCI: You are currently in the first graduating class of the Master's program in Medical Technologies at the MCI. Can you briefly tell us something about your studies? How do you like it? Or more precisely, what do you particularly like and to what extent did your studies motivate you to apply for the scholarship?
Johannes: The branch of study imparts a broad range of knowledge and skills that are relevant to the fields of medical technology. I was particularly keen with the focus on product development, which is integrated in the curriculum on the one hand by projects and exercises and on the other hand by specific lectures. Professionally, I have therefore found my roots in the field of product development. With the new skills I acquired through my studies, I was further able to develop myself in that topic. This was also my primary reason for choosing this Master's degree program and for applying for the scholarship.
MCI: What is the title of your master's thesis? What is it about exactly?
Johannes: The title is "A concrete VR interface for wheelchair users" or, to put it simply, a "VR wheelchair simulator". I think in that way you can imagine more. To be more specific, imagine a game controller that allows you to navigate through a virtual world while sitting on your wheelchair. Instead of the controller, I used a wheelchair as the input device in my work. For example, if you turn the left wheel forward, the wheel in the virtual world also turns forward. Paired with a VR headset, the result is an immersion that would otherwise be unattainable. This VR representation from the perspective of a wheelchair user can be used, for example, in the planning of a building. In this way, it is possible for the architects to put themselves in the shoes of the person in the wheelchair. They can thus move through a digitally planned building and develop a better understanding of accessibility in building technologies.
MCI: That sounds exciting! So at which university will you write your thesis and complete your stay abroad?
Johannes: At the Yale University, in the USA. Specifically, I am going to study and research at the Department of Computer Science in collaboration with the Center of Collaborative Art and Media.
MCI: Wow Yale! How does it feel or what are you most looking forward to during your time abroad at one of the most renowned universities in the world?
Johannes: I am especially looking forward to collaborating with and learning from the most successful scientists in their respective fields. In addition, this opportunity will hopefully lead to further opportunities to work in other projects and to do further research.
MCI: Can you tell us something about the application process for the Marshall Plan Scholarship?
Johannes: The application process was very easy for me thanks to the excellent support of the MCI. In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Leena Saurwein, who was a tremendous help. The only difficulty I had at the beginning was in finding a specific supervisor for my work in the US. This was a challenge at first for me, but thanks to my network and some teachers who offered me their help, I was able to master this task as well.
MCI: Finally, do you have any tips for students who are also interested in applying for this scholarship?
Johannes: Yeah, sure, just try, write many requests and do not worry if you are good enough or not. You have to have confidence in yourself and have high ambitions. The worst that can happen is a rejection, but at least you have tried your best. In addition, an impressive CV can be a big help. If you know early that you want to apply for the scholarship, you should also take one or two exams a little more seriously. :)
From left to right: Leena Saurwein, Project Manager International Relations, MCI Student Johannes Sieberer and Alexander Hörbst, Head of study MA Medical Technologies. ©MCI_Kiechl