Student testimonial

Edith van Oostrom - MSc Animal Sciences (specialisation Genetics and Biodiversity)

Edith is combining two masters in three years: Animal Sciences (MAS) and Management, Economics and Consumer Studies (MME). At the moment she is in her second year and turned her hobby and sport horse riding into her major thesis at the chairgroup of Animal Breeding and Genomics (ABG) in the specialisation Genetics and Biodiversity.

I experienced so much joy when following the course 'Animal Breeding and Genetics' that it was obvious for me to continue my masters in this domain of animal sciences.

“Before my master’s I studied the Bachelor’s Animal Sciences where I followed a very interesting minor called Agricultural Business and Management. It was so much fun, I knew I wanted to put this knowledge into practice. As I have an interest for both genetics and economics, I doubted quite a while which master to pursue afterwards: MAS or MME. Then a peer student pointed out to me that it is relatively easy to combine two masters at Wageningen University in three years (instead of four). After several nights of consideration, I decided to do this. And look at me now, combining both of my interests at the same time. Furthermore, two Master degrees have more value than one master degree with a professional track in Business and Economics.” 

Thesis

“Breeding, especially horse breeding, has always been my main interest. Probably a logic result of how I am raised; my grandfather bred horses himself and often took me as a little girl to horse inspections. Besides, there was the course ‘Animal Breeding and Genetics’ in my bachelor which was extremely interesting: to combine what I have learned in practice and have seen in studbooks with the theory of the course. I experienced so much joy when following this course that it was obvious for me to continue my masters in this domain of animal sciences. Plus, I knew that at ABG I could combine my interest with my hobby: horses.

Currently I am writing my thesis about the effect of the rider on the (estimated) breeding values in (dressage) horses. By using many competition records, we are trying to figure out if the difference in riding experience between riders have an effect on the performances. We also want to know how we can improve the sport breeding values by correcting for these rider experience. Many competition records are analised (data analysis). Hopefully, I will complete my thesis around June. It is expected that by that time we know how to correct for the experience of the rider. Ideally, we can improve the breeding values with a higher reliability and maybe w'll find another rate of heritability for the sport trait in dressage horses.

The chairgroup of ABG offers a great deal of topics, to name a few, inbreeding effect on reproductive traits in pigs, genetics of heat stress in dairy cattle, DNA sampling and studbook analysis of two endangered species in European zoos. Every other week all students who perform a master thesis and two researchers of the chairgroup of ABG come together for a ‘thesis ring’. During this meeting one student presents his/her thesis results and together we discuss these results, our difficulties and experiences. It is a useful and a fun way to stay updated within our research field.”

Student life

“My student life is a bit deviating from the norm as I still live at my parent’s place. However, I do not experience this as something negative. I have great friends who do live in Wageningen and where I am always welcome to stay the night over if I want to attend an activity or party. For me it is more important to stay active in horse riding and give everyday care to my two horses, as that is my passion. I did not want to drop this by renting a room in Wageningen. Besides, it only takes 35 minutes by car to travel to the campus.”

Future

“The only thing I am sure of is that I want to work in the field of agriculture, otherwise my options are still open. Most likely I won’t immediately start in a management position after graduation, nonetheless something in that direction is my aim. For instance, working in the agricultural account business or as a quality inspector. At the moment I am only scanning through vacancies to know which companies to keep an eye on. I still have to accomplish my internship and second major thesis and I hope that through that last year I will come into contact with potential companies. And who knows, perhaps they offer me a job after my internship. If not, than my options are still limitless.”

Take home message

“Do what you find interesting: your study, your courses, your minor, your topic. Cause when you do, you don’t mind putting a lot of time in it.”

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