Student testimonial

Sven Beekman - MSc Animal Sciences (specialisation Adaptation, Health and Behaviour)

Sven is almost done with his Master's Animal Sciences. With interests in nutrition and reproductive performance it was an obvious choice for him to perform both his bachelor and master thesis at the chair group of Adaptation Physiology (ADP). He also hopes to work with these topics in the future, so it is good to already have a good understanding and experience with the involved research.

Being an intern provided me the advantage to learn skills and knowledge in relation to doing research.

"During my bachelor, my main interests were nutrition and reproductive performance of animals. Both topics can be well combined within the ADP chairgroup, and that is the reason why I ended up here. The education and research of the ADP chairgroup focusses on the health, welfare and productivity of animals and their ability to adapt to changing environments. ADP is aiming at improving and facilitating adaptation of animals, especially in critical periods (e.g. around birth or hatching, around weaning (piglets) or in early lactation (cattle, pigs). This adaptive capacity of an animal is influenced by genetic background, early life experience and the current management system, which makes ADP a chair group dealing with many topics."

About my bachelor thesis

"In my bachelor, I was mainly interested in the nutrition of poultry. I couldn’t find an interesting topic to write my bachelor thesis about, and therefore asked at ADP whether they could help me find something that suited my interest. Luckily, I could participate in a PhD project about the effects of different diets on broiler breeder development and behaviour. I found this interesting, since later life performance of animals is shaped in early life. In addition, I got in touch with other (master)students and researchers with the same interests and I had the possibility to work with animals and to collect my own data." 

 About my master thesis

"Recently, I finished my master thesis at ADP that was about effects of sow feed during pregnancy on piglet birth weight and within-litter birth weight variation (which is the difference in birth weight between piglets that are born in the same litter). I was intrigued by this topic during one of the guest lectures during a master course of ADP 'Health, Welfare and Management' and recognised the importance of fetal development on subsequent performance of piglets. During this thesis, I focussed on how to improve piglet birth weight and within-litter variation in birth weight, since both are of importance in determining, and hopefully raise, the piglets chance on survival. For example, the smaller piglets are, the less colostrum they drink. However, these nutrients are not only relevant for growth, but also important for the development of immune competence. Therefore, research is not only focussing on how to improve piglet birth weight but also how to improve the welfare of light birth weight piglets. I was able to perform my thesis research as in intern at a research facility at an animal nutrition company in the Netherlands. Being an intern provided me the advantage to learn skills and knowledge in relation to doing research. Besides, I experienced the research environment and job requirements this company has. During these months, I learned a lot about research as well as working with animals." 

Student life

"Although Wageningen is often considered to be a “small city”, there are plenty of activities for students to do! As studying can be quite time consuming and (sometimes) stressful, it is important to also have some side activities. After being a bachelor for only a few months, I became treasurer of the Almanac Committee of study association "De Veetelers", which for me was the big entry into student life. Since then, I have always been an active member and now – 5 years later – the study association is still a major part of my social network. Additionally, I started playing handball twice a week at Centauri, the students handball association. Here, we have a very nice team of students with different backgrounds, but all had in common the love to play handball. Most often, we ended the training in the canteen with a nice beer, and afterwards went to the pub."

Future

"Although I will be graduating within a few months, I still do not exactly know what I want to do after graduation. Because the current Covid-19 situation made it impossible to study abroad, I might consider working abroad for some years. With this, I hope to improve my languages as well as obtaining experience and knowledge about swine production outside the Netherlands."

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