Hannah Ulman is studying at Princeton and has just spent two months at TUM in Munich. With the TUM PREP program, excellent students from North America and London come to Bavaria every year to conduct research in joint teams. Hannah Ulman co-developed a chatbot.
Dear Hannah Ulman, what is your conclusion after two months in Munich?
It’s been really nice, I had a good time here, especially working in this office and the environment. I really liked my group and my project. I enjoyed living in this city. It’s a nice place to live, especially for a student.
How was living in Munich compared to Princeton?
Princeton is a suburb and our campus is very contained. Everyone lives, eats and does all their activities on campus. So it was different living completely separate from the university, living on my own and just being more part of the city than the university campus.
How did you like your stay at TUM and the Department of Sport and Health Sciences?
I got really lucky in this Department because my supervisors were super nice. I was invited on a work retreat with them, they had outings and really helped me feel at home here, so that was really nice. I liked the city a lot because it had many resources for students. And the TUM PREP program also did a lot to set us up on trips so the PREP students would get to know each other better. Everyone was excited to have us and welcomed us. So it’s been a good experience!
You were part of the team of Prof. Spitschan at the Assistant Professorship of Chronobiology & Health – how was your experience at the Professorship?
The TUM PREP organization is that when a Department has a certain project in mind they could use interns for they apply for the projects. We actually started the project from completely scratch. It was really cool! They had a rough idea of what they wanted it to look like. They gave us almost complete freedom to evolve it into what we thought was appropriate.
You worked on a project about chatbots and sleep health. What did you exactly do?
The actual project was the development of a text-based chat bot on the messenger app Telegram. They have bots you can talk to and it’s very easy to create one. Telegram allows you to create your own bot whenever you want. So we’ve been making a bot and now it has a lot of functions with the aim of helping you learn about and improve your sleep health.
What can the bot do?
There’s educational modules where you can learn different tips to improve your sleep health or take quizzes to learn what kind of sleeper you are. You can also set reminders to remind you to do certain things to improve your sleep health. We finished the chat bot during our last week because we had to wrap it up to have a product before we leave. You can find the bot on Telegram now if you search for the name ‘Helena’.
What are the biggest differences between being a student at the US and Germany?
There are some big differences. From the student perspective, in the US the college experience is very contained. It’s very specific to live on campus for four years. At Princeton University it’s even called the Orange Bubble because it’s not near any other school or another city. I actually like living alone and cooking for myself, so it was nice that I was able to do that rather than being in a bubble.
Why did you apply for the TUM PREP program?
I wanted to work with people that are very high up in my field to get a really good research and work experience. At TUM I especially liked the way the individual Departments are organized. Also the focus on technical is very different for me. Everyone in our program is part of some sort of stem major whereas at Princeton there’s a lot more focus on Humanities and Liberal Arts. It’s cool to be around people who are all doing some sort of science, technology or engineering focus.