Sophomore Earns Summer Internship to Perform Engineering Research in Germany


MACON – Mercer University sophomore Stephen Williams has been accepted into the German Academic Exchange Service's (DAAD) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) summer internship program.

Williams, an electrical engineering major from Covington, will spend the summer working with a Ph.D. student at the University of Stuttgart to develop a display port input for flat-panel display technology. He will help select a suitable chipset and design a printed circuit board layout for the new display port input, which will aid in the development of new or improved display manufacturing processes.

“I am grateful that DAAD RISE has selected me for this opportunity to intern in Germany,” said Williams. “This award allows me to not only further my studies and solidify my understanding of my classwork, but it also connects me with students and professors abroad. I plan on pursuing a graduate degree; therefore, this position will allow me to be better prepared for our nation's top programs. I am excited to be able to spend my summer in Germany actively participating in research.”

Williams conducts undergraduate research involving the application of theoretical control systems in the lab of Dr. Makhin Thitsa, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Mercer's School of Engineering.

“Stephen has been working with me on research problems for almost a year now. He is very bright, and I see in him the determination and dedication of a great researcher,” said Dr. Thitsa. “Being in this research environment over the summer will definitely help him grow as a research scholar.”

RISE internships were first offered in 2005 to undergraduate students in the U.S. and Canada in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. In 2009, the program expanded to include students from the United Kingdom. Currently, around 300 scholarships are available each year.

Interns work with research groups at top research institutions across Germany for two to three months during the summer. They are matched with doctoral students whom they assist and who serve as their mentors. The internship includes a stipend to cover living expenses, and partner institutions provide housing assistance. For more information, visit

About the School of Engineering

Mercer University's School of Engineering, founded in 1985, offers innovative and academically challenging programs that provide students with a comprehensive education, featuring a solid foundation in mathematics and sciences, a core engineering curriculum, a range of courses in engineering specialties and a strong emphasis on communication technologies. The School is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three master's-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast. Known for its breadth of instruction in its undergraduate program and its five-year joint bachelor's and master's degree program, the School combines technical education with hands-on laboratory experience. Mercer engineers can look forward to joining fellow alumni in companies such as Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Lockheed Martin, Georgia Power, Siemens and Gulfstream Aerospace.

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.