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Advent calendar - December 15th - Henriët van Mil

15 December 2023

In the Zernike Institute Advent Calendar, we are presenting 24 short spotlights in December. In these specials, we highlight PhD students, postdocs, support staff and technicians of our research groups and team - providing a glimpse in their typical day at work. In Episode 15 meet Henriët van Mil, management assistant supporting the Nanostructures of Functional Oxides/Solid State Materials for Electronics/Theoretical Chemistry/Optical Condensed Matter Physics/Optical Spectroscopy of Functional Nanosystems groups. Henriët is celebrating her 40th work anniversary at the University of Groningen this year. Hundreds of students, PhD’s and post docs have passed by her office during the years making her working environment very dynamical.

Henriët van Mil
Henriët van Mil

I have been working at the RUG since 1983. This year is my 40th anniversary year!

I started as a secretary in the Inorganic Chemistry department. At that time, the Subfaculty of Chemistry consisted of 7 departments: Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Physics, Physical Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry and Technical Chemistry. In the first years I worked for Professor Franz Jellinek and Professor Cor Haas, among others. In addition to making appointments and carrying out correspondence and administration, part of my work consisted of typing lecture notes and manuscripts with the IBM typewriter. Correcting with tipex and cut & paste. That wasn't exactly the most challenging part of my job. Fortunately, soon the Personal Computers were introduced. That really was a blessing. Nowadays we can no longer imagine our lives without computers.

In 1992 there was a reorganization after which I started working for the Physical Chemistry, Solid State Chemistry and Theoretical Chemistry groups, which were then collectively called Chemical Physics. Ultimately, with the development of first the institute Materials Science Center and later the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, different research groups were established with the purpose to increase collaboration amongst Chemistry and Physics research groups within the Institute.

Over the years, the work has transformed from typing work to supporting the PI’s in all its aspects. I am the central point of contact for the groups and being able to provide service to the group members still gives me great satisfaction. Hundreds of students, PhD’s and post docs have passed by my office during the years. That makes the working environment very dynamical. The increasing internationalization has also given the work a different dimension. Working with people from many different countries and with so many different cultures makes it very interesting.

I look forward to 2024, when I will move to a new building for the first time in all these years, the Feringa Building. Such a beautiful new working environment will certainly also provide a new dimension.

I wish everyone Happy Holidays and all the best for the new year and good luck with the move.

Last modified:12 December 2023 12.46 p.m.

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