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Meet our pioneer: Stijn van Deudekom

In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. Therefore, meet one of our pioneers: Stijn van Deudekom.

In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. Therefore, meet one of our pioneers: Stijn van Deudekom.

Who are you?

My name Stijn van Deudekom and I am 22 years old. I’m originally from Rotterdam.

What do you study?

I recently completed my bachelor's degree in Applied Physics at TU/e. Now I'm taking a gap year and after that, I want to do a master's that builds on my bachelor's.

Why did you choose this study?

I wasn't quite sure which study I wanted to do, so I printed a list of all possible interesting studies. And then I started striking out. Anything that didn't sound interesting enough was dropped. And what sounded nice, I circled. Then I saw that mainly technical studies remained. At Applied Physics I felt that I could develop the broadest because it was not yet specifically geared to a particular subject. In the first year, I became more and more enthusiastic and within three years I had completed the bachelor.

Why did you choose TU/e?

I went to look at various universities, including Delft. Only I felt much more at home on the TU/e ​​open day. I could see myself walking there in the coming years. The openness and cosiness appealed to me.

Which master do you want to do next?

After this gap year, I will do the master of Applied Physics, specifically the Plasma & Beams track. This is a two-year master's degree, in which you take extra courses in the first year, and the second year largely consists of an internship and a graduation project.

For my bachelor’s final project I worked in a research group Elementary Processes in Gas Discharges and that was very successful. I investigated the behaviour of a discharge: how it behaves in a different gas, under different pressure, at a different temperature, and so on. Such a discharge, which resembles lightning, is still very random and we know relatively little about it.

During the bachelor's final project, I wanted to work out things experimentally myself. Turning knobs in a lab and seeing what happens physically, how that lightning – or discharge – changes. But because of corona, the campus was closed for bachelor students and I started looking at alternatives with my study supervisor. I could have postponed my final project because I now have a gap year, but I still wanted to complete my bachelor's degree nominally. Then we started working together with the Multiscale Dynamics group (MD) of CWI Amsterdam, which simulates discharges. That was a completely different corner of physics from what I was familiar with because during the bachelor you don't work much with simulations. It was very educational, but I am convinced that I want to continue with the experimental branch in the future. That is why I decided to continue with my master's degree.

I did look at a technical master's degree outside of physics and outside the TU/e ​​and I also considered studying at the University of Delft and a foreign university. But because of corona, I was afraid that I would lose the social circle that I had built up in Eindhoven in the past four years and not be able to rebuild so quickly elsewhere. I think that's very important. It should be educational from 9 to 5 and fun from 5 to 9!

Which student team are you in?

I am currently a Business Innovation Manager at InMotion. Initially, I joined a student team because I wanted to do a gap year anyway and fill it in in an educational way. I initially expected that it would take me longer than three years to complete my bachelor's degree, but that turned out to be a positive thing. I didn't want to travel during my gap year, which is of course very difficult because of corona, but I wanted to continue to develop myself technically. That's how I ended up with the student teams, where the stories of the InMotion students appealed to me the most. It is a beautiful and ambitious project: You build a racing car that also contains innovative fast charging technology. I think that's cool. The team itself is also very multidisciplinary. They do not only consist of automotive students because there are also many from mechanical engineering, physics and industrial engineering. This way you get to know more people and I can expand my social circle.

"It is a beautiful and ambitious project: you build a racing car that also contains innovative fast charging technology. I think that's really cool."

Stijn van Deudekom

A student team is also the ideal opportunity to combine technology and management. I wanted to gain more experience within the management team, where I am responsible for external relations and acquisition. That's how I got into the position of Business Innovation Manager and so far I'm enjoying it!

Although I have deliberately chosen not to fulfil an engineering role within the team this year, I am eager to continue my technical study in the form of a master's degree. I am recharged to start studying.

Do you do anything besides the student team?

I’m a student assistant at TU/e. This is a paid part-time job, which is fine besides the student team. As a student assistant, I’m responsible for registering files from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science on the student platform Canvas with the correct copyright. After all, there are serious consequences for TU/e ​​if the information is distributed incorrectly and you want to prevent that. I took over this job from a friend I know from the SSRE student association. It is a flexible side job and it has been passed on within the association for several years.


Why did you join a student association?

I joined SSRE because when I came to Eindhoven, I wanted to build a large social circle. I am originally from Rotterdam and therefore not from the area. That's why I knew few people at the beginning of my student days and I wanted to change that. At a student association like SSRE you meet a lot of people who aspire to active student life in addition to their studies, so that was a good match right from the start. At the moment I play football in a team of the association and I am a member of a men's sorority. I see them often and I have a good time there.

What do you want to do next?

I like to put my theoretical knowledge into practice and I also find it interesting to network, get to know people from other branches and use my social skills. I don't want to throw my technical knowledge overboard too quickly in a later job, but eventually, I want to fulfil a management role. I think that knowledge and experience play an important role in this.

I find the energy transition and sustainability very interesting and important fields of work. The most obvious thing for me is that after my master's degree at TU/e ​​I will start working for a high-tech company, perhaps at the company of my graduation internship. Tech consultancy also seems cool to me. It’s multidisciplinary and always innovative. You constantly meet new people and you need to be technically savvy. This suits me both well.

What do you think about studying and living in Brainport Eindhoven?

Compared to Rotterdam, Eindhoven is smaller. It is quite cosy and the Brabant cosiness that everyone always talks about is certainly present. I feel at home here. Living in Eindhoven is great. I live with three other guys in the city and so close to everything. That's very nice.

I am of course used to the physical lectures and I like that you get explanations in person from professors. You can always go to someone. In addition, there are plenty of self-study places on campus. I usually sit in the Faculty of Applied Physics, called Flux. The facilities there are good and I often sit there with people I know. Studying exactly meets my expectations and it feels good.

The link from your studies to your career is guided quite well. If you want, you could get to know a lot of companies during your studies, mainly in the form of presentations, lectures, projects, study trips and so on. ASML and Philips are of course often well represented, so I have nothing more to add to this.

"The link from your studies to your career is guided quite well. If you want, you could get to know a lot of companies during your studies."

Stijn van Deudekom

What else would you like to tell other students in Brainport Eindhoven?

I would like to tell them that you develop yourself the way you want. Become active in a study association, student association or sports association. Do what you feel like. It's different for everyone, but there's plenty to do. I advise them to gain enough practical experience in addition to their studies in the form of a student team, internship, part-time job or gap year because you develop yourself in a completely different way. It can be a very valuable addition to what you learn during your studies.