Six first-year Chemistry students began their studies with an extra scholarship. They were awarded these on the basis of their motivation and school results. Science LinX interviewed three of them about a month after their studies began. The second interview is with Priscilla Pieters, who was awarded a scholarship by the VNCI (the Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry). She will receive EUR 5,000 a year during her undergraduate degree and will also participate in a programme that brings together students and the chemical industry.
Why did you choose chemistry?
‘I first considered Medicine, then Biomedical Sciences, but ended up choosing Chemistry. With Chemistry you can also move into biomedicine, and Chemistry is at the basis of everything, so you need it to understand how things work. And once you understand the chemistry, you can then start to influence it.’
Chemistry has a reputation of being difficult
How are you doing so far?
‘I’m really enjoying it! We are learning lots of new stuff, and the lab work is interesting too. We have to put in more hours than I expected, though. We spend a lot of time in lectures, and still have a lot of studying to do at home.’
Any idea what you want to do with your degree?
‘I think I would like to do pharmaceutical research, and research abroad appeals to me. Preferably not in the US, though, because I’m not that keen on the culture there, but then again, they do have the best universities.’
How does the extra scholarship help?
‘The extra money is very welcome, but that’s not the most important thing – the scholarship means automatic enrolment in the Honours Programme. But what is most important to me is that the VNCI scholarship programme means you forge links with the industry at an early stage.’
Do you do anything besides your studies?
‘I’ve joined the study association and am also a member of a student swimming association; we train three times a week. But I’m not going to join any committees or the like for the time being. I need to get my propaedeutic certificate in one year to keep the scholarship.
I also read a lot; I’m currently reading ‘The picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde. I’m a huge fan of Wilde; I’ve got his collected works on my bookshelves.’
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