Alumni Spotlight: Paul Wlodkowski

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In addition to my aptitude for math and science, I have always had a strong interest in foreign languages. Since I had already taken German courses prior to college, I saw a perfect opportunity to complement my engineering studies at UMD with a second major in German. Germany is, after all, a country that has always been highly regarded in the field of engineering -- we all are quite familiar with the common stereotype of high-quality, efficient German engineering. It came to me as a surprise, therefore, that not too many people had taken this path at UMD. My experience as a GERM-ENGR Major was immensely enjoyable; there was always something gratifying about balancing my very technical and math-heavy engineering coursework with the intimate, small-classroom atmosphere of German courses in historic Jimenez Hall, where we would discuss language, literature, history, and culture. The culmination of my undergraduate studies occurred in my last semester, where I took my final mechanical engineering courses in German at the Technical University of Berlin. Studying and living in Berlin for 6 months while being fully integrated into the culture and local language has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I am proud to have represented the Clark School of Engineering and the UMD German Department in this endeavor. I hope that my experience as a GERM-ENGR student, and in particular my time at TU Berlin, can set the precedent for future students to meaningfully combine both majors and expand their engineering education abroad.
I am currently working as an engineering consultant in Washington, D.C.; however, I am in the midst of planning my return to Berlin next year to pursue a full-time Master's program, by building upon my current work experience as well as my time as a GERM-ENGR exchange student in Berlin.