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Alumni Testimonials: Carola Stassen

 

testimonial_carola

Learning experiences thesis project

Apart from the fact that I learnt a lot about my actual topic, which was coffee aroma, there were many other things that I learnt while working on the thesis.

For example, many physical and chemical concepts needed to be studied and applied during the thesis, which caused me to gain a deeper understanding of these concepts.

Also, I learnt a lot about how to do scientific research and what the dynamics of it are. How there is a balance between the practical and the theoretical; the balance between studying literature and at some point just saying ‘okay, let’s try something, even though I haven’t got everything clear yet’. The challenge is to know when to study more literature and when to just try something. I got a better feel for this in the past season.

During the project, I learnt to think and work in a scientific way. You are faced with an unresolved issue, then you study literature and formulate a hypothesis, and finally you then try to answer your questions through an experiment that you have smartly designed. I had not often worked according to this method before and I was still learning and finding my way in this while working on the project. I expect that when going ahead, I will be able to apply this method even better.

In reporting, I learnt how to communicate not with words but with graphs. How you can try different types of graphs to see which graph communicates your message in the clearest way. Communicating through graphs was a totally new concept for me. I also learnt how writing a report really takes a lot of time and editing, for which sufficient time needs to be set apart. This links in to the learning experiences with regard to planning: I learnt how to coordinate my own project and have a good feel for which changes to schedule are realistic and doable, and which aren’t.

Finally, I also learnt some practical things, like how science is applied in a business environment and how the results are what counts.

All in all: I learnt A LOT!

Carola Stassen, Graduation Year: 2013, Nationality: Dutch