The learning environment at Jacobs allows students to immerse themselves in their field, especially for students in the sciences who can take advantage of the lab component in many of their courses. The foundation for careers in the sciences that Jacobs provides has served two alumni especially well in their professional endeavours, as they both attended the prestigious Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany.
The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is an international scientific forum, bringing together researchers from 90 countries for five days to engage in panel discussions, speeches, lectures, group work, and other activities.The goal of the meeting is to educate, inspire, and connect. One of Jacobs’ alumni, Nouria Jantz-Naeem, felt like this aim was certainly accomplished.
“You sit in a room with some of the greatest scientific minds and best young researchers and you can talk to them about anything. It was incredibly motivating and inspiring,” Nouria said.
Nouria studied Earth and Environmental Studies at Jacobs, as well as served as president of the Undergraduate Student Government. She gathered a lot of experience as a research assistant in the Jacobs labs. She is now twenty-six and pursuing her Doctorate degree in Molecular and Clinical Immunology at the University of Magdeburg.
To attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, you must be nominated, a process in which Professor Sebastian Springer is very active in. He teaches Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Jacobs and has been working with the selection committee for fifteen years. Proposals from the university are then evaluated by a team in Lindau to decide who will be invited to the meeting. The Undergraduates chosen must have top-notch grades. Typically, 2-4 Jacobs students are nominated each year.
Both alumni were nominated for earlier meetings but unfortunately, the last two conferences were cancelled due to the pandemic. Saskia Zwilling, the other alumni in attendance, was eager to participate this year.
“You could feel the enthusiasm for science in every minute. I’ve been looking forward to this event for a long time, and nothing could have stopped me from taking part,” Saskia said.
She is now twenty-three years old and graduated Jacobs with a degree in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology. She is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Molecular Biomedicine at the University of Oldenburg, just a stone’s throw away from Bremen. Saskia is also now a member of the city council in Achim. Her love of chemistry fit perfectly with this year’s theme being chemistry.
“It was only in Lindau that I realised how diverse chemistry is. From inorganic, organic, or physical chemistry to medicine and material sciences– this diversity is incredibly fascinating,” Saskia said.
Much like at Jacobs, the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting brings together academics from all over the world with diverse interests and backgrounds.
“I met so many young, curious, highly motivated and interesting people who want to discover something in science or use it to make the world a little better. It was just something really special!” Nouria said.
By the end of the conference, the alumni had become a part of a network of scientists through their meetings and work together. Companies often also want to meet and work with these students, sometimes culminating in privately sponsored follow-up meetings.
This experience has forever changed the alumni, furthering their love of science and professional network.
“Following what science is capable of is incredibly exciting. The meeting and the many encounters definitely inspired me,” Saskia concluded.