Alumnus testimonial

Alumnus Vincent Spijker - Geo- Information science

After completing the bachelor Forest and Nature Conservation Vincent started the master Geo-information Science. Now he works as a projectleader for Sweco.

I got to know the Wageningen University as a social, friendly and personal university in which many opportunities laid in front of me.

In 2009 I started the bachelor Forest and Nature Conservation at the Wageningen University (WUR), after attending vet school for three years at the Utrecht University. In my search of an education with a broader diversity in courses and subjects, this bachelor at the WUR was a great choice. The Management specialization offered coursed in ecology, nature management, water, earth and soil, and also a basic Geo-Information Science (GIS) course. During this bachelor, we made many trips and excursions in and outside the Netherlands, which were very educational but also a lot of fun and good for the group spirit.

The various courses and excursions broadened my horizon on many subjects and I was especially interested in the basic GIS course. Therefore I decided to write my bachelor thesis about the pine beetle infestation in Canadian Rocky Mountain forests, in which I included my gained GIS knowledge.

Wanting to learn more about geo-information, I decided to start the GIS master at the WUR. Courses in both remote sensing and GIS-integration were given. I was most interested in the GIS courses and the python scripting course. The personal contact with and the enthusiasm of the professors and teachers made this study even more enjoyable.

I decided to first write my thesis, and finish my master with an internship. I believed this would make it easier to keep working at a company afterwards. For my thesis I got the opportunity to go to Boulder in the United States to carry out a validation study in the Rocky Mountains, together with two fellow students. Using python, I created landform classification models, which enabled the user to calculate landforms based on elevation models created from aerial pictures. During my stay we visited randomly selected sites in a Rocky Mountain area around Boulder to validate the model. We assisted each other during our researches. It was a fantastic experience in which we had a lot of fun.

An open internship application at the consultant company Grontmij Nederland (recently taken over by Sweco) led to an internship at the GIS&ICT department. I realized quickly that the GIS knowledge gained during my studies only provided me with basic knowledge. I was introduced to a lot of new GIS subjects and realized the importance of basic ICT knowledge. This company gave me the opportunity to do a lot of side projects, mainly on web-GIS, next to the internship assignment about the use of GeoWeb (a web-GIS software package sold by Sweco).

While I enjoyed  all these years of studying, I was also glad to graduate and more than ready to start working. I really enjoyed the commercial and professional environment of Sweco. Therefore, I was very happy when they offered me a job after my internship.

Now, three years later, I have grown from junior GIS consultant to project manager, while also still working as a GIS consultant. I work on a wide range of interesting, innovative and fun projects throughout the Netherlands.

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