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Stefan Höntzsch beim Löwenreiten

Dr Stefan Höntzsch began his geology studies in 2001, received a DAAD scholarship for his thesis and attended Colorado State University. He is already very active during his studies and is a member of the SEG Student Chapter and the student council of his faculty. He is actively involved in student life and some of you may remember him as a DJ at the EAC and the Alte Mensa. After completing his studies, he moved to Bremen University. His dissertation
deals with the reconstruction of two Palaeogene carbonate platforms in the eastern and western Mediterranean (Egypt and Spain). In 2011, he began working for the K+S Group.

1. You studied in Freiberg. What made you decide to study at the Bergakademie? 
I was interested in TUBAF from an early stage, particularly because of its good reputation in the geosciences. I personally liked the practical and interdisciplinary nature of the programme with its many excursions, both national and international. I also found it very appealing to have my own teaching mine, which certainly influenced me in my future career. However, the small study groups were decisive for me. With just 20 fellow students, you had a perfect study environment - close to the lecturers and not so anonymous.

2. What lasting memories do you associate with your time at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg?
The family environment at the university and in the city. Something that might put some people off coming to Freiberg particularly appealed to and characterised me. Short distances - not only in the city, but also at the university. I also have fond memories of a few legendary parties - with friends, some of whom I'm still in contact with today.

3. When you look back on your studies with the knowledge you have today: is there anything you would do differently or what you would pay attention to?
I would do everything exactly the same again. In hindsight, however, the most important thing was to have a healthy practical orientation during my studies, regardless of whether you are aiming for an academic career or a career in industry. I actually always did at least one internship in industry during the semester breaks and can only advise everyone to do the same.

4. What do you find particularly interesting about your current job? 
As a geologist in Canada and the USA, I am responsible for six mines and a total of twelve sites, which means I travel a lot and get to experience many new things in North America. In my position as a kind of internal technical consultant, intercultural communication and a healthy dose of technical project management play an important role alongside the technical component. I also appreciate the interlinking of my work with other specialist areas, especially mining, engineering and the environment.

5. What advice would you like to give to current students in Freiberg?
Before I started studying in Freiberg, my father told me "Enjoy your time - it's the best you'll ever have". I did the same and haven't regretted it for a second. However, the prerequisite for this is that you know your goal and pursue it. Everything else will happen, perhaps in a roundabout way and with a bit of luck, but you will get there.

6. Do you still have professional or private contacts with TU Bergakademie Freiberg today?

Many friends still live in Freiberg. My wife also grew up near Freiberg, so we have family there. Until a few years ago, I still took part in the annual Fassathlon World Championships. I also still enjoy coming to the Christmas market.
Professionally, there are various collaborations between my company and TUBAF, both in the fields of geology and mining. I really appreciate this collaboration, as it allows us to keep an eye on academic research and at the same time realise joint projects with students and researchers.

7. Finally, tell us your life motto?
So far, I've managed quite well without a life motto, and it will stay that way.

Short and sweet:

My studies:
First lecture 7:30 am or 2:00 pm: 2 pm...I was a DJ in the Alte Mensa and the EAC on the side.
Favourite meal in the Mensa: I wasn't a Mensa goer...but a kebab from Burgstraße always worked.
Freiberger beer or wine: Beer, preferably in the StaWi.
Uniform code jacket or shirt: Shirt and fleece jacket (classic geologist cliché)

My university:
My "quiet place": Humboldt Bau
My "I've never been there place": Weisbach Bau
My "good soul": The geology community...always helpful
My "no-go": Skipping a party because of an exam
My favourite lecturer: Dr Sven Egenhoff
My hardest exam: Higher Maths 2...passed after the 4th attempt