Merle Neumann from Hildesheim
is a research assistant
at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering
Family person with a passion for technology
At 25, Merle Neumann has just completed her master's degree in mechanical engineering at Clausthal University of Technology. She has been a research assistant at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering since February.
Since her childhood, Merle has been fascinated by technology, machines and all things handicraft. At an early age, she helped out in the workshop of her family's business and accompanied her mother – a brush maker – to the workshops of large companies. It was only logical that Merle also focused on STEM subjects at school and decided to study mechanical engineering after graduating from high school.
„Technology can always improve the world“
For a short time, she could have imagined doing something in the field of development aid, but then chose the technical path: "I wanted to do something that would really help others. And technology can always help to improve the world a little.
Merle made the decision to attend Clausthal University of Technology after listening to a mechanical engineering lecture on site: "I was thrilled that the lecturer took time for each student and no one was afraid to ask questions. The lecture wasn't over until all the questions were answered. That's when I knew you wouldn't be left alone here, either professionally or personally."
The familiar atmosphere and the close contact with fellow students and lecturers made TU Clausthal the first choice for Merle. She saw another advantage in the practical orientation of the courses. Early on in the bachelor's program in mechanical engineering, for example, the first project work is carried out with industrial partners in the subject "Development Methodology".
The study program allows a lot of freedom
At the TU, the principle of minimal help applies from the very beginning. The lecturers do not provide solutions in exercises, but encourage the students to ask the right questions and find their own solutions. "That gives you a lot of freedom to try things out and pursue different approaches," says Merle, who now also supervises students as a research assistant.
In her research, she is specializing in the field of pressure comb technology, an efficient solution for transmitting power in gearboxes that makes it possible to reduce frictional losses and thus save energy. Her goal is to produce calculations that will facilitate the use of pressure combs in industry. Worldwide, only a few research institutions in the U.S. or the U.K. are working on this topic – and so is the TU Clausthal. "Here, research is also being done on niche topics that can make a big difference," Merle is convinced.
The fact that mechanical engineering is still often seen as a male-dominated field has never deterred her: "So far, I've only had positive experiences. I've always had the feeling that I'm wanted as a person with my abilities, regardless of gender."
Found a home in Clausthal
After seven years, Merle feels at home in Clausthal-Zellerfeld. She appreciates the surrounding nature and the fact that things are a bit quieter in the Upper Harz. She finds a good balance to her daily work routine when hiking with her boyfriend Hannes and dog Gretel or when riding out with Haflinger mare Susie. And her family, who lives near Hildesheim, is not too far away either.
Merle can well imagine staying in the region in the future. A career in research is just as conceivable for her as one in industry. What's important to her is that it doesn't get boring. During her studies, she has therefore diversified both thematically and methodologically. She wants to pass on her knowledge to students, but also use it for good causes in the future, for example with the organization "Engineers without Borders": "It's important to me to give something back."
(Stand: April 2023)