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French Students Study With CEE This Summer

Three French engineering students are spending part of their summer in Atlanta, studying bikes, blasts and rocks through a kind of student exchange program.

They’re the second round of interns that are part of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Gateways to France program, a partnership with Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech (ENPC). The program offers French students the opportunity to earn credit toward their degree at Georgia Tech and allows Tech students to do the same at ENPC in France.

This year’s interns—Nicolas Henry, Felix Malfait and Guillaume Pelletier—are living together on campus for their three-month stay. But that works out fine, since they were friends beforehand.

They’re in their second of three years of study toward master’s degrees at ENPC, and they took a few minutes to share what they’re working on and what they think of Atlanta and the United States.

Nicolas Henry, Geosystems
What research are you working on while you’re here?
I'm working on the evolution of stiffness and permeability of porous rocks during reactive flow. I'm trying to relate the continuum damage mechanics with a network and permeability model and to implement the model on Matlab. I'm really interested in the engineering application this field of research could have, [for example] CO2 storage, and shale energy. I chose to come to Georgia Tech because two students from my home university came last year and really had a great time here.

Is this your first trip to the United States? What are your impressions so far?
I've been to the USA about four times in the Northeast—New York, D.C., Boston—but also in some Western states, like California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico where I did a road trip in the National Parks. This is my first time in the South. So I'm eager to travel around Atlanta to discover how the South is.


Félix Malfait, Transportation Systems
What research are you working on while you’re here?
I'm working on CycleAtlanta, a joint project between the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech led by Dr. Kari Watkins in transportation and Dr. Chris Le Dantec in digital media. CycleAtlanta is an app that allows cyclists to record their [routes]. The gathered data is then analyzed and used to suggest improvements to make Atlanta more bike-friendly. I'm working on making the app more user-friendly and adding some [new] functionality.

Is this your first trip to the United States?
As a tourist I had been to New York, California and Minnesota. But it's my first time actually studying here.

What are your impressions so far?
We're loving it. My work is very interesting, and I appreciate the U.S. management style, which seems less strict, more friendly, and based on results rather than time schedule.


Guillaume Pelletier, Civil Engineering
What research are you working on while you’re here?
I’m working on blast mitigation under the supervision of Dr. Lauren Stewart. The exact name of the project is Characterization of Materials for Blast Resistant Sheathing. I selected this project because I would like to work in the field of energy—nuclear plants or dams [for example]—where the resistance of material under huge load is primordial.

Is this your first trip to the United States?
I have already been to New York for one week two years ago.

What are your impressions so far?
I find the campus very nice and the weather is perfect for the time being. But I understand it’s going to get very hot in the next couple of weeks. I like working with a team—we have to find solutions and make experiments together, which is very enjoyable.