The “dualies” are building a mini Mars rover that is to be controlled by a satellite via a ground station. © OHB

3 in 1: studies, vocational training and work experience. That’s right! The dual study program at OHB

In an interview Ronja Schloen talks about online lectures, team cohesion and the joy of flying

Since 2018, OHB has been offering a training-integrated dual study program in technical computer science and a practice-integrated dual study program in automation/mechatronics in cooperation with the Bremen University of Applied Sciences and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Student Ronja Schloen is currently in her third semester of computer science. In an interview with OHB Corporate Communications, the 20-year-old talks about online lectures, team cohesion and the joy of flying.

Hi Ronja, when we last caught up with you, it was hard for us to imagine students sitting at home at their computers and attending lectures solely online. How are your studies going in these pandemic times?

Ronja Schloen: Everything’s online. The lectures at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences, where we “dualies” study computer science, are being held via an online tool. Normally, around 40 to 50 students sit together in the lecture theater, something I greatly miss. At the moment, I attend online lectures every morning on my home computer and study for the upcoming exams. This is accompanied by work in what we call “laboratories”. This is the actual hands-on part. We assemble switch gears and measure them. This was done most recently via remote access to the laboratory server. Unfortunately, the weekly visits to the vocational training center have also been canceled for the time being. As you know, we are simultaneously completing our training as IT specialists for application development, which we will be completing with an examination at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

You’re in your third semester, what was on the curriculum in the first and second semesters?

The foundations were laid in the first and second semesters: mathematics, electrical engineering, theoretical computer science, programming. In the third semester we started on higher mathematics for computer scientists and software engineering.

How motivated are you feeling in these times?

I try to motivate myself and pick myself up every day. Sometimes this works very well, but sometimes it’s difficult. I’m longing to see people, my fellow students again. I started studying at OHB in September 2019 just before the pandemic broke out. My year consists of five “dualies” in computer engineering and four students in automation/mechatronics. We’re a really great bunch and the atmosphere in the OHB training department is awesome. So I hope that we will be able to work on our projects live and directly at OHB again during the semester break.

What project are you referring to?

Together with the “dualies” from the other years, we are building a mini Mars rover that is to be controlled by a satellite via a ground station. My year has the task of setting up the ground station, which is a normal computer. We will be programming the interfaces. We go through all the project stages – from formulating requirements to implementation – to be fully prepared for professional life. That’s really cool.

Why did you decide to study computer science? 

Back in school, mathematics was my favorite subject. I love to solve logical problems. My father was also a hobby programmer and I would look over his shoulder to see what he was doing. Since I also like to take to the skies in my free time, space travel holds enormous appeal for me. I am a glider pilot and have also recently received my pilot’s license for powered flight. I love being up in the air, it’s so quiet there.

Will things stay quiet for the rest of your studies?

I hope not! I’m really looking forward to spending my fourth and fifth semesters at OHB, getting to know the departments and gaining some practical experience. I’m sure it will be great. We will be mainly spending the seventh semester at university and in the eighth we write our bachelor thesis. But that’s still a long way off. For now, I’m focusing on the present and looking forward to what’s to come.

"As I enjoy flying in my private life, the subject of space is absolutely exciting for me," says Ronja Schloen, glider pilot and dual student at OHB. © Ronja Schloen