A BSc thesis at ABG: "Immediately I knew this was the topic for me"
"My bachelor thesis at the Animal Breeding and Genomics group was about inbreeding in pedigree dogs. Basically, it was a summary report in which I compared previous studies to see if any trends regarding specific characteristics came to light. Consequently, I established if there was a correlation between those specific characteristics and the inbreeding levels. It involved a LOT of data analysis! But I really enjoyed learning more about the impact of inbreeding on the health and wellbeing of animals.”
“Currently, I am in the first year of my master Animal Sciences, and before that I also did the bachelor Animal Sciences at Wageningen University & Research. During my second year of the bachelor, I chose to do the specialisation Biological Functioning of Animals and I completed the minor Wildlife Biodiversity.”
How did you come up with your research topic?
“I didn’t! At least, not really. It was one of the possible thesis topics on the list that ABG had published on their website. Most chair groups have a list like that, which is really helpful. Of course, you don’t have to choose a topic from the list; I have a friend who came up with her research topic all by herself. But when I saw the topic about inbreeding within different dog breeds, I immediately knew that was the topic for me. So I responded, and it wasn’t long until I could start my research.”
Were you satisfied with the supervision and support from your thesis supervisor?
"Yes, supervision and support from ABG was very good. I had a meeting with my supervisor every week, and I could always contact him if I had any questions in between meetings. And at the end of every meeting we always made a plan so I knew what I had to do before our next meeting.”
“I have to admit, though, that I sometimes struggled with sticking to the plan. Which, in hindsight, just isn’t very clever; I remember one meeting with my supervisor where I forgot to send him the bits that I had finished beforehand, which meant he couldn’t give me any feedback. That experience really taught me how important it is to be prepared and to make sure you stick to your planning. Also, a meeting with your supervisor is usually only one hour. And I say ‘only’, because an hour may seem long, but when you’re discussing your research, time really flies!”
Do you have any tips or advice for students who are embarking on their thesis project?
“Yes. I would advise students to make sure they know what is expected of them beforehand. Make sure you understand what writing a thesis really is about so you don’t get overwhelmed by all the information when it’s time to start your research project.”
“And I would also advise to pick a topic that you are really, really passionate about. If you do that, it’s easier to stay motivated, because writing a thesis can be really tough at times! But looking back, I really enjoyed the process, and that is also why I wanted to share my experience; to tell other students that writing a thesis is not the ‘big scary thing’ that you might think it is at the start. I did it, so you can do it too!”