Alumnus testimonial

Hannah Olthof – Teacher / Researcher, Van Hall Larenstein

Hannah decided to follow a master in Organic Agriculture after her bachelor’s Animal Sciences. She always had an interest in sustainable farming and teaching. Now she can do both in her current job: teacher and researcher at the applied university of Van Hall Larenstein.

My research is more applied than I was used to at Wageningen University. But that actually suits me, because I like to build a bridge between theory and practice.

Personally, I have always been interested in sustainable farming. After my bachelor’s Animal Sciences I started the master Organic Agriculture and the chair group Animal Production Systems. I graduated on the topic of circular dairy farming in the Netherlands. After this I did my internship at the research institute Louis Bolk on dairy farming on peat soils. Then it was time for me to find a job.

There were a number of jobs I could apply to. However, it was difficult to find something that suited me. My strategy was to apply to a diversity of jobs; from consultancy to research, but also NGO’s and a dairy cooperation. My goals was to broaden my network and to see what fitted me. The differences between companies, people and job interviews made clear which jobs were appropriate and which were not really my cup of tea, for instance commercial functions. What came forward, was my interest for teaching. So when I saw a vacancy for teacher and researcher at the applied university Van Hall Larenstein in Leeuwarden at the department of animal husbandry, I was immediately attracted. In the vacancy they wrote they were looking for an experienced employee. I has some experience as a student assistant in Wageningen, but that was it. After some encouragements from other students I decided to apply for the job. It was such a pleasant interview, way more pleasant than my other ones. I think this had to do with my honest motivation.

Right now, I am working here for almost an academic year and I am really happy in this position. I started during COVID-19, so I work partly from home. I like working with students and am myself still learning every day. My team supports me and next year I will follow a course on didactic skills. My research is more applied than I was used to at Wageningen University. But that actually suits me, because I like to build a bridge between theory and practice. My research is about conservation of birds in farmlands. The aim is to give practical information to employers of agricultural collectives that help farmers to conserve farmland birds.

My tips for you are to look broadly to what kind of jobs there are and to talk to a lot of people. Don’t hesitate to call an employer even though they are looking for experienced workers.

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