Alumna Marieke de Cock was interviewed about her time as student at Wageningen University. Below you can find the whole interview.
Who are you and what did you study?
I’m Marieke de Cock, I studied Biology (both my bachelor and master) in Wageningen. During my master I focused on Medical Entomology, vector-borne diseases and Epidemiology.
Since you graduated, what kind of jobs did you have?
The first job I got was academic staff member in the antibiotic resistance programme at the RIVM (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment). In this job I combined quantitative and qualitative research with policy advise and supporting tasks. This job was not focused on topics I specialized in, but it was also an interesting and socially relevant topic I liked.
And what is your current job?
I am now doing my PhD about Urban Zoonoses, also at the RIVM and linked to Wageningen University.
Is this what you always wanted to be? Why/why not? What has changed?
When I started working I didn’t know exactly what kind of job I wanted to have. Therefore I was very happy to find a job with a diversity of things to do and learn. My first job confirmed that I really liked doing something socially relevant, but I missed doing research and going into depth into a specific topic. That’s when I started looking for an interesting PhD position.
What are your future goals?
For the near future: finish my PhD. And afterwards… I don’t know yet. I would love to work abroad for a few years (doing a postdoc or research position) or doing more internationally-oriented work.
How do you contribute to a better world (with your job or otherwise)? What role did studying in Wageningen have to achieve this?
I hope to contribute to a better world by doing research on socially relevant topics in my field of interest, like zoonoses or vector-borne diseases, which will probably become an even bigger problem in the future.
What choices have you made that have helped you to get where you are now? (e.g. internships, major/minor, jobs on the side, board membership, joining competitions)
The freedom you have to choose your courses, thesis and internship at WUR creates a unique personal specialization for every student. You have the chance to discover what you really like and want to specialize in (which may be more than just one thing). For me, my thesis and internship abroad were important for realizing what I really liked to do and which contributed to the path I took afterwards.
What challenges have you encountered in your previous and/or current jobs? How has studying in Wageningen helped you to overcome them?
In my first job, I got the opportunity to do a lot of things I’d never done before. Which was really nice, because you learn a lot from it, but it was also exciting (e.g. what do they expect from me, what are the standards here?). During my thesis and internship I sometimes had to improvise in order to keep things going. This has taught me to just do things, take risks and make mistakes. Because in the end, that’s what you learn most from.