Internship abroad opened up new options for optics student


David Lippman ’18 visited the BMW museum in Munich, Germany, this summer during an internship in that country.

David Lippman ’18, an optical engineering major, arrived back on campus this fall with some new ideas about what he might want to do with his career -- like working in motion picture technology, perhaps even overseas.

An internship abroad -- such as the one Lippman spent at Arnold & Richter Cine Technik (ARRI) in Munich, Germany, this summer -- can have that affect on people.

ARRI engineers and manufactures movie cameras, lenses, lighting, and other motion picture technology. “The work I did there was really interesting and satisfying,” Lippman said. “I did 50/50 hands-on laboratory research work and computer programming work.”

The hands-on work included building an optical system to test a certain aspect of movie lenses. Lippman also used state-of-the-art optical measuring instruments to test lenses. The computer programming involved using LightTools, an optical computer program “the knowledge of which will help me for my career and helped me get a job in a lab on campus,” Lippman said. “They (ARRI) were very pleased with what I contributed, which was nice.”


Lippman at a biergarten.

The internship was a beneficial experience in other ways as well, he said. “I learned a lot about what it’s like living in a foreign land and about German culture, something I had never really come in contact with. I learned a lot about beer and food. I learned a lot about myself when it comes to putting myself in an unfamiliar situation and happily living a country where I don’t speak the language.”

Arranging the internship couldn’t have been easier, Lippman said. Initially he was interested in applying for a DAAD-Rise internship. He approached a faculty member at the Institute of Optics for a letter of recommendation. Instead the faculty member suggested he work for a colleague of hers at ARRI. “She forwarded along my resume. I didn’t do much to apply otherwise,” Lippman said. “The company did most of the work in terms of acquiring the working visa/paperwork, which was nice.”

A chance encounter with a celebrity was one of Lippman’s many interesting experiences in Germany. Because he didn’t speak German very well, Lippman would often meet someone, shake hands and smile, introduce himself in English, and then stand there a couple of minutes not understanding a word of the ensuing chitchat.

“Well, one day on the way to lunch with my co-workers, this usual occurrence happened a little differently,” Lippman related. “I shook this woman’s hand and smiled and said hello, but I noticed that my coworkers were acting a little differently. After we left, my coworkers informed me that this woman is the biggest movie star in Germany. I met some movie star and I didn’t even know it.”


Lippman also visited the Bavarian Alps.