Nina studied the master’s Communication, Health and Life Sciences at Wageningen University & Research. During her study she chose the specialisation Health and Society. After her graduation Nina became Junior project manager at the Trimbos Institute and scientific officer at the European Public Health Association.
Why did you chose this master’s at Wageningen University & Research?
"After I finished my Bachelor Health and Society in Wageningen, I decided to continue with the Master specialisation Health and Society after realising this programme would offer me the most in terms of interests and possibilities. I wanted to shape my interest in health and society in an international context, which was possible due to opportunities to choose certain courses, the Academic Consultancy Training, an internship, and of course the thesis. Other than the mandatory courses, I opted for (extra) courses on international development, these were really valuable to further fuel my interest in health and social development. In addition, I am in favour of a broad definition of health that is not only biomedical, but also concerns, for instance, social health, health inequalities, gender, inclusion, and the environment. Also because I would say that a certain project or intervention almost always has some sort of effect on one’s well-being or that of the community. This Master’s definitely reflects this holistic thinking and teaches you to connect the dots."
What were the highlights during your study at Wageningen University & Research?
"One of the highlights of this Master’s was the Academic Consultancy Training (ACT), in which you carry out a project with a multidisciplinary group of WUR students assigned by an external commissioner. Our project concerned the recognition and prevention of waterborne diseases in the Niger Delta. I think that ACT provides great future insight in what working in a multidisciplinary group in a professional setting feels like. You need to deal with different opinions and knowledge, pressures, and deadlines, which simultaneously brings your project to a higher level.
A second highlight was my internship, because you actually get to experience the professional field! I interned at the European Public Health Association, where I mainly got involved with European Union (EU) health politics and advocacy, because the EU elections were about to take place at that time. I carried out a party election manifesto health screening, held interviews, wrote a report, and got the opportunity to present these findings during the European Public Health Conference in Marseille. All very exciting!
The cherry on top for me was my thesis. For my thesis, I chose a different topic than health politics, because even though very interesting, I figured I wanted to expand my experience and knowledge more in social health, particularly, the development of gender equality issues. I started my thesis from scratch, as I could not find a project that fit my interests well enough and I already decided I wanted to do the fieldwork abroad. Actually starting from scratch turned out to be a major challenge just to learn what it takes to organise and undertake such a project! I wrote my thesis about women’s lived experiences of disasters, and went to Sint Maarten to conduct interviews with women and involved (governmental) organisations about the devastating Hurricane Irma that happened there in 2017. In the end, I couldn’t be more grateful that I was able to finish my Master’s with my own research, something I thoroughly enjoyed!
All in all, I am very glad I chose to continue studying in Wageningen after my Bachelor’s. The mindset fits mine, the Master’s is multi-disciplinary (while maintaining a focus on health and society of course), and my academic thinking got a push that I think is unique to this university."
Could you tell us more about your work experience after your master’s?
"After graduating, I managed to find two jobs. I am currently working at the Trimbos Institute as a junior project manager on an international mental health system reform project. My second job is at the European Public Health Association (where I did my internship) where I work as a scientific officer on all sorts of health topics, from cancer prevention to women’s reproductive rights, and the European Union. I feel very lucky to have landed these jobs and I am excited to kick start my professional career."