DAAD Prize 2022 of TH Köln for Paula Pimentel da Silva
Above-average grades, mentoring for international students, buddy program and sponsorship: In addition to her bachelor’s and master’s studies, Paula Pimentel da Silva has shown a lot of support for others, both inside and outside TH Köln - University of Applied Sciences. For her efforts, the Brazilian has now received the university's DAAD Award 2022.
"I have known Ms. Pimentel da Silva since she enrolled in our bachelor's program in Technical Chemistry. When she continued her studies to obtain a master’s degree in Applied Chemistry, she also attended some of my modules. Her grades have always been far above average. I was therefore very pleased when she asked me if I would take on the supervision of her master's thesis in the chemical industry," says Prof. Dr. Matthias Eisenacher from the Faculty of Applied Natural Sciences at TH Köln, who nominated the Brazilian for the prize.
Before her studies, the 32-year-old had already completed an apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory assistant. "During that time, I worked a lot with machines from Germany and was excited about the innovative technologies behind them – that was my motivation to go to Germany and study at a university with a lot of practical relevance," explains Pimentel da Silva. In 2015, she therefore began her bachelor's degree at TH Köln, which she successfully completed in 2018. She finished her subsequent master's degree in the summer semester of 2022.
Paula Pimentel da Silva has received the DAAD Prize 2022 of TH Köln for her outstanding academic achievements and social commitment. (Image: Heike Fischer/TH Köln)
Outstanding commitment to helping others
Besides her academic career, Pimentel da Silva has shown an outstanding commitment to help others. She successfully completed the TH Köln's certificate program for international students "Language, Studies, Career Start" and was involved in mentoring prospective international students.
Moreover, Pimentel da Silva was active in TH Köln’s buddy program Pamoja for refugee prospective students and took over a sponsorship in the DAAD-funded program. Outside of the university, she was involved in the project Chancenpatenschaften of Ceno e.V., where she regularly helped an elderly couple.
A feeling of belonging
Studying at TH Köln was the right decision for Pimentel da Silva in many ways, not only from a professional but also from a human perspective, as she explains: "In my opinion, the university is very open and committed to international students. That helped me to feel at home and to integrate really quickly”. Which is why she wanted to give back part of that support to other international students.
Pimentel da Silva now works in the industry in the field of polymers. "My enthusiasm for this chemical grew during my bachelor’s degree when I attended courses in biochemical engineering. In the future, my goal is to research biopolymers and develop and optimize processes to produce biobased and biodegradable plastics, i.e. bioplastics."
The DAAD Prize 2022 of TH Köln, endowed with 1,000 euros, was now awarded to Paula Pimentel da Silva at the City of Cologne's Town Hall Reception for international students and visiting scientists from Cologne's universities.