Two Pitt Students Receive DAAD Graduate Scholarships

Issue Date: 
April 4, 2012

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service/Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) has awarded two Pitt students the DAAD Graduate Scholarship for Study and/or Research.

Patrick Musgrave, a senior from McCandless Township, Pa., won the 10-month award for the 2012-13 academic year.  A graduate of North Hills High School, Musgrave earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the Swanson School of Engineering and a BS degree in physics as well as a German Certificate for Professional Purposes from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

Vanessa Wills, from Philadelphia, Pa., was awarded a DAAD three-month award and will spend the summer conducting research in Berlin. She received her PhD in philosophy from the Dietrich School in December. Her dissertation focused on understanding the moral thought of the German philosopher and political theorist Karl Marx.

DAAD is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation that represents the German higher education system abroad. The service promotes Germany as an academic and research destination and helps build ties between institutions around the world. DAAD collaborates with partner universities across North America and offers a variety of educational and research opportunities, including the funding of long- and short-term study abroad, the facilitation of internships within German laboratories and research divisions, and academic exchanges for professors. Pitt is a DAAD partner university.

With his DAAD scholarship, Musgrave will work in Germany at the Technical University of Munich, researching piezoelectric materials and their use in energy-harvesting devices. Piezoelectricity is a material property allowing for the conversion of mechanical energy into electricity, and vice versa. Musgrave will be researching methods to optimize a prototype designed to harvest energy from footsteps. When completed, the device will harvest the mechanical energy generated by foot traffic and convert it into electricity to power lighting near the device. In addition, Musgrave also will enroll in two courses per semester at the university in the areas of control systems and sustainability.

Upon completion of the scholarship, Musgrave plans to pursue a graduate degree in the area of control systems followed by a career developing and implementing sustainable technologies.

Wills’ research will tap into the extensive philosophical and historical archives and libraries available in Berlin. She also will collaborate with a group of researchers at Humboldt-Universität who are concerned with questions about human agency, which is the capacity for humans to make choices and to impose those choices on the world. Wills is approaching the question of how to understand human capacities from a Marxian perspective, and her contribution will add a new voice to the research group’s diversity of strengths and perspectives.

Following her summer of DAAD research, Wills will begin working as an assistant professor of philosophy at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.