Frisian and Groningen student to Boston for high-tech internship

News | November 14, 2018

This happened during the first edition of the High Tech Career Competition, a stage event organized by Innovatiecluster Drachten. Professor Mike Gennert, director of the robot program at WPI, will be present live via a video link. "I would be happy to work with all of them."

In ten minutes Erwin Lutke and Codru? Marin (both NHL/Stenden) and Rinalds Kugis and Guus Keuning (both Hanze University Groningen) have the opportunity to pitch for an internship at one of the programs of the Robotics Engineering program. Program the ATLAS 'humanoid robot' to perform a task such as manipulate an object, open a door, climb stairs or bend down to touch the floor. Or, program the same robot to use both hands together and at the same time. Usually a robot uses only one hand at a time because coordination is so difficult. The student must also ensure that the robot does not injure itself. The third assignment is: have a robot climb trees, by programming additional software in combination with sensors and cameras. And finally, create or write a computer language that captures some of the common patterns of robotic programs so that the software better reflects the programmer's intent. 

Drive and motivation

Get on it! In their best English and in two supported by a presentation, the students explain why they are most suitable for this internship assignment. Despite the beautiful videos, the professor afterwards asks about their drive to come and work for him and his program. ,,Erwin is a very intense young man,'' Gennert concludes afterwards. ,,With his passion and drive, he will go far. His ambition is great, but he still lacks some tools in his toolkit.'' Rinalds, who comes from Latvia and studies in Groningen, impresses with his experience Gennert: ,,He is polite and shy, but has something extra because of all that projects he has already done. But the best I think, he tells from his heart. That is the best motivation for me.”

Own story

Despite all the preparation and of course the nerves, the result comes as a surprise. Rinals is happy. “It's a wonderful opportunity. You never know what to expect with such a pitch, but I have experience that matches the four programs.'' It is his first internship in America and will celebrate this briefly tonight. ,,Tomorrow I have to focus on finishing my semester, because otherwise I can't go to America yet.'' Erwin is also surprised. At first he doubted whether he would participate. ,,I let myself be persuaded and I just told my own story. Maybe a little confused, I feel like I'm quite a perfectionist. It's not my first internship abroad, but it was at such a wonderful institute.'' What will he do tonight? ,,First something to eat and drink and then work on my thesis. But tomorrow I'll tell you at school!"


The students will each receive a scholarship of 10,000 euros for travel and accommodation in America. Thanks in part to money from the FB Oranjewoud Foundation, Innovatiecluster Drachten is able to issue these internship grants. Losers? There aren't actually any. The quality of all four students is so high that Joost Krebbekx, program manager of Innovatiecluster Drachten, invites the other two students to participate again next time on 24 May 2019, during the second edition of the High Tech Career Competition in the Dutch Technology Week from 20 to 25 May 2019.


The jury of this edition consists of Frank Gort (Program Manager Smart Sustainable Industries NHL/Stenden), Joost Krebbekx (Program Manager ICD), Henk Westera (Director VDH Products), Theun Prins (Director YP Your Partner), Johannes Bruinsma (Manager System Design BD ) and Professor Mike Gennert, director of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Robotics Engineering program.