Student Sonja Warmerdam - MSc Plant Biotechnology

Already since the 11th grade, Sonja had been looking for a nice study. “The study of biology seemed a nice one to me. I have always wanted to work with health and nature, but I thought this would be a rare combination for a study. When I went for a visit to Wageningen to see the university, I accidentally came across the BSc Plant Sciences. I realised this might be the education which could satisfy all my interests. Within the study, there were still many paths to choose. I chose for the direction of health. I have always been interested in health, and with this study I can link plants to humans and health.”

I was having a great time during my internship.

“After my bachelor study I chose the master Plant Biotechnology. For my master I followed extra courses on health and genetics. When I will be ready with my study, I would like to do a PhD at Wageningen University, so hopefully an interesting subject will be offered at that time. If not, I would also like to work in a company, as long as there a possibilities to grow on. I fancy myself to guide and manage a group one day.”

Internship at Genetwister

During the master phase of the study Plant Biotechnology all students have an internship. Sonja ended up at Genetwister. “Genetwister is a small biotechnological company in Wageningen. I eagerly wanted to know how a Dutch company works. I found this place via stories I heard from someone working there. “

At Genetwister, Sonja has worked on a project to produce biodiesel with cyanobacteria. “Cyanobacteria are greenish, algae-like bacteria. During my internship, I looked for ways of making these bacteria to produce the right compounds from which biodiesel can be made.  To make the bacteria produce these substances, I first had to put an extra gene into the DNA of these bacteria and make sure this gene could be transcribed. I spent quite some time in the laboratory for this, where I used a range of techniques and learned a lot. It really appealed to me.”

Moreover, the company itself was fun, too. “We did nice activities with the staff for example. We went a day out to Maastricht, we had a Wii-night and we extensively celebrated both Sinterklaas and Christmas. Also, we went out for dinner several times. All this made me having a great time during my internship.”

Student Life

Next to her study, Sonja is also very active at her study association. “I did various committtees and also a board year as Commissioner of Communication. As such, I have organised a wide array of activites.” Furthermore, she is a fanatic volleyball player. “I play volleyball at the student volleyball association and also I am president. As a board member, you get to know a lot of people and you develop your own qualities. This might come into handy after my study.”


“After choosing for the BSc Plant Sciences, I still had some doubts on whether this was the right choice for me. It stroke me as a very masculine study and very much aimed on the countryside. Yet, Plant Sciences and also Plant Biotechnology kept my interest and I had an affinity for all aspects. Therefore, always choose for the study which interests you the most. After all, you are to deal with it for quite some years.”