What do you like about the programme/specialisation and why?
What I like about the Conservation & Restoration Ecology specialisation is the diversity of courses. During the different mandatory courses, various ecosystems are discussed. During the courses you'll look at the biogeochemical aspects, but also at the conservation of species and the microbiology of aquatic systems. During the specialisation, you also have room for elective courses. In this way you can take a broader look and choose other courses, for example from other specialisations.
What do you think about the atmosphere in class?
The relationship between students and teachers is informal. Teachers are very willing to help students. This can be done by walking into their office or by sending them an email. Especially when you do an internship at a department of the university, teachers will get to know you better and this will only improve the relationship! Some of the teachers even know the name of every student present in class. I really like the coherence between teachers and students.
What do you find most challenging in your Master’s specialisation?
Sometimes the workload is high and many things are expected from students at the same time. However, in case of problems the teachers are always there to help and to - sometimes - make an exception for a deadline, for example.
Are you currently doing an internship?
I am currently doing an internship at the Aquatic ecology department at Radboud University. I am looking at the emission of methane (strong greenhouse gas) by an invasive aquatic plant (Water hyacinth) in relation to environmental variables and plant characteristics. I am supervised by Dr. S. Kosten, one of the lecturers for this specialisation. Beforehand I was unconfident. Fortunately, this was fully understood and my supervisor quickly gave me self-confidence. I have been very well and intensively supervised. Also for your internship, know that you can walk by your supervisor. At the moment I am in the final phase of my internship and together with my supervisor I am busy writing and publishing a scientific article on my internship subject. This is a unique opportunity that you should grab with both hands if you ask me!
Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree?
The nitrogen crisis, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, overfishing, offshore wind farms, desertification, these are all hot topic topics that affect nature and biodiversity. These are all topics you can work on as soon as you have completed this specialisation. At the moment there is a growing awareness that the biodiversity of flora and fauna is declining worldwide and that nature needs to be restored and existing species need to be preserved. So it speaks for itself that more and more biologists who have knowledge of this are needed. After completing my studies, I would like to pursue a career in science. I want to do a PhD, preferably at the Aquatic Ecology department (where I am now also doing an internship). My plan B? I would also like to work for RIVM, the government offers many opportunities focused on nature conservation.