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Education Honours College

Meet Marla!

Marla Dressen
Marla Dressen

1. Tell us something about yourself. What are you passionate about?

Hi! My name is Marla and I did a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Groningen. Currently, I am finishing a Research master’s at the University of Amsterdam. I am especially passionate about social neuroscience. I love research on empathy because I want to understand what connects us and our brains. Also, I would like to explore why people with autism or psychopathy have problems empathizing, how this affects their life, and what can help them. Next to my favorite topic of research, I am an advocate for Open Science, which is a movement that emphasizes the core values of science, including integrity, openness, and transparency.

Besides all this science stuff, I am also passionate about singing karaoke, eating chicken, hiking in the mountains, dinosaurs, visiting art museums, listening to soul music, burrata, and exploring unknown places through travelling.

2. How would you describe the Honours College?

The Honours College is a place where nobody thinks it is uncool to be a little nerdy. You meet a lot of equally motivated people and you become inspired by working together with them. The Honours College also challenges you to change your perspective by taking courses outside of your curriculum. For example, I was participating in a summer school on religion that made me, an atheist, empathize with people being strongly religious.

3. What were your favourite courses and why?

Besides the course on religion, I took a course on physics, which made me question my fundamental principles on life and it stretched my horizon. I also deeply enjoyed the thematic meetings that led us to dive into a specific research topic.

4. How has the programme stimulated you to attain your personal and professional learning goals?

The main effect that the program had was that it connected me with like-minded individuals that I ended up collaborating with for my thesis. Furthermore, committing to the program meant spending time on acquiring research and learning skills that I would not have been able to achieve myself during the regular program. Through these skills and more, I think that the Honours College has stimulated me to go into academia, something that I did not think I could accomplish before.

5. How has the interdisciplinary education at the Honours College helped you in your career?

The interdisciplinary part of the program was one of the most fun parts of the program. For once one meets people from outside your own student bubble! On my CV, I could show that by taking these courses and interacting with other students, I am interested in multidisciplinary topics and approaches. Furthermore, the Honours College prepared me for what it means to be in academia, for example, by having us design posters and holding little symposia.

6. What advice would you give to others who are considering an Honours programme?

I would like to let you know that doing the Honours programme besides your regular studies is hard, but it is absolutely worth it – especially if your plan is to go into academia.

Last modified:30 November 2022 6.34 p.m.