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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Coventry resident to graduate from URI as top student in mechanical engineering

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 13, 2005 -- Coventry resident Gabriel Schwartz will receive the Presidents Excellence Award as the top mechanical engineering student when he graduates from the University of Rhode Island on May 22.

A Centennial Scholar and member of the URI Robotics Club, he took part in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competition, which aspires “to transform culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today.” In the competition, the teams design a robot to compete in various games.

Schwartz was enrolled in URI’s International Engineering Program, which requires students to major in a foreign language and an engineering discipline as well as to spend a year working and studying abroad. He went to Germany and studied at the Technical University of Braunschweig, and then he worked for AGFA, a company in Gera, Germany that makes analogue and digital products and systems for image processing and reproduction. “For the first couple months, I worked on the laser modules of the machines, and then I worked on some programming to measure inconsistencies in the prints,” explained Schwartz.

“In Braunschweig, I mainly studied German, and my internship was all in German. By the end of the internship I was competent speaking German, but I was a little shaky at first,” he said.

“I traveled almost every weekend, since I didn’t know many people in the city that I lived in,” said the URI engineering student. “I went to Munich and Stuttgart a lot to visit friends, and to Austria, Switzerland, Spain and England.”

Schwartz was a teacher’s assistant for the physics department at URI since his freshman year. “Even though this may not be normally considered an extracurricular activity,” he said, “I consider it one, since I would not do it if I did not have fun doing it.”

While job-hunting this summer, Schwartz looks forward to returning to Germany for a visit with the friends he made while studying there.