After finishing his Bachelor Forest and Nature conservation at a Dutch university of Applied Science (HBO) Wilco decided to continue with a Master at Wageningen University. After graduation he started a combined job as an ecologist at an environmental assessment agency (Elskenecologie) and as a lecturer at INHOLLAND University of Applied Science.
Why did you choose to continue with a master’s after your (HBO) bachelor’s?
“When I graduated for my Bachelor’s I was not ready to work for the rest of my life. I was still interested to learn more about science. My decision to do a follow-up master was therefore an easy choice and was definitely an enrichment for my life.”
What are the differences between your bachelor’s and master’s?
“Most of the courses in my master’s focused on a deep understanding of ecosystems and ecology, whereas the HBO courses focused mainly on the application of various theories. I found it very interesting to specialize, whereas the HBO offered a much wider program.”
What did you like about studying in Wagenigen?
“The two things I liked most about the Forest and Nature Conservation master’s programme were the contents of the courses and the study environment of Wageningen. The international study environment made it possible to make friends from all over the world in just the little town of Wageningen. I see this experience as a great privilege in my life and it has broadened my mind.”
You have two different jobs at the moment. Could you describe them?
“In my job as an ecologist at Elskenecologie I participate in inventories to assess the impact of spatial plans on protected nature. Furthermore I conduct ecological research to define the trends of species in order to evaluate the management of nature areas. In my job as lecturer I teach research methodology and courses in ecology. One course in my master’s programme I still put in practice in both of my jobs: ‘ecological methods I’. During this course I learned the various ways to conduct ecological research and how to interpret the results.”
Do you enjoy combining these two jobs?
“I find the interaction of the combined jobs very satisfying. I can pass on the most relevant knowledge for future ecologists and it is very interesting to stay up to date with the latest developments in the scientific world. Additionally I appreciate the fieldwork and dynamic work environment at the university a lot, because I would never picture myself in a 9-5 office job.”