What do you like about the Master's specialisation and why?
The specialisation of 'Environment & Sustainability' (previously called Water and Environment) focuses on human impacts (e.g. chemical emission) on nature, which matches very well with my personal interest in environmental issues. I did my undergraduate degree in Water Supply and Wastewater Engineering back in China, which is quite different from what I do now. I did find the compulsory courses a bit hard at first, but after understanding the mechanisms, the courses became easier.
What do you think about the atmosphere in class?
I like the active interaction between students and teachers, either in class or during internship. They are willing to help, respond to emails very quickly and really encourage interaction.
What do you find most challenging in your Master's specialisation?
For me, the most challenging part was the difficulties I encountered during my research internships. For example, at a later stage during my first internship at the department of Environmental Science, I met some difficulties in analysing large datasets in R. However, having the good mentalities of trying to do a good job, staying positive, and asking supervisors for help when necessary were really helpful in these situations. I think due to strong motivation and enthusiasm, I could publish the paper as a first author in Science of the Total Environment (IF=5.6).
Are you currently doing an internship? Or what is your thesis about?
I am currently doing my second Master's internship at RIVM on the topic of 'Towards an ecosystem service-based approach to assess the impact of chemical pollution on the filtration capacity of Dreissenid mussels in the Netherlands'.
Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree?
Students with this degrees are able to understand and predict the impact of anthropogenic stressors on species including humans, and help with decision making processes. I am more motivated to carry out research on environmental science related topics after graduation, especially on the impacts of chemicals on ecosystems.