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Meet our pioneer: Yana Onushkina

Here at Brainport Eindhoven we change the world, because we develop key technologies here that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. So… meet our pioneer: Yana Onushkina.


Here at Brainport Eindhoven we change the world, because we develop key technologies here that change society. We can only do that because of our pioneers. So… meet our pioneer: Yana Onushkina.


Who are you?

I‘m Yana Onushkina. I’m 22 years old and I am originally from Russia. I also lived in South Korea for a while because of my father’s job. He’s a LED Engineer. We moved to Eindhoven for the same reason and I’ve lived here for 11 years now.

What do you study?

I already have a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Technology. I’m currently taking the Master's programme in Human Technology Interaction at TU/e. I’m in the first year of the two-year Master. The study is about fostering technology but with people in mind or looking at how you can get people more used to technology.

I’m also taking the Computer Sciences Master which mainly involves programming. Combined with the other Master, it helps you take into account people's understanding. It helps you write an intuitive program.

Why did you choose these studies?

My father works with LED at Philips so we have had Philips Hue lamps in our house since I was young. He would suddenly change the light while I was doing my homework, because that light was better, he said. He did that a lot. During high school, I became more and more interested in it and my school projects were about the influence of light. For example, how does light relates to someone's reading speed. I became very enthusiastic about the relation between people and technology and that’s how I came to take these studies.

Which student team are you in?

I'm Interaction Design Engineer at Blue Jay Eindhoven. I've been doing that for a little over a year now. As an Interaction Designer, you focus on the interaction between the drone and the users. We mainly focus on how the drone should show emotions and respond to users. We test how people react to the drone and how the drone behaves accordingly.

It was partly my idea to make the drone's eyes more interactive. Previously, individual images were uploaded, but now every pixel of the display is coded to animate the eyes. The eyes also move more smoothly, which makes the drone appear more human.

Why did you join this team?

After finishing my bachelor’s, it was very unclear what I could do. Because I didn’t have the technical knowledge that Computer Science students have. I was in between, knowing some technology and some psychology. I wanted to know how I could combine them in a non-research job. Around that time I came across the student teams and I found Blue Jay Eindhoven. What their interaction team does fits exactly with my education and with what I wanted to do. So it was a great opportunity to join this team and experience whether I would enjoy a job in a similar field.

"Getting started at Blue Jay Eindhoven was a great opportunity for me to join, to find out if I would enjoy a job in a similar field."

Yana Onushkina

Do you also work alongside your studies?

I am active at TU/e ​​as a student assistant in various courses that everyone at TU/e ​​must take, like calculus. For example, I helped students with the general assignment in which they had to come up with an aid for the elderly that helps them keep distance because of Corona. I am also a teaching assistant at Infonomics. I helped the lecturer come up with assignments for the course.

Why did you start working at TU/e?

I enjoy working and I was looking for a job that would combine well with my studies. The advantage at TU/e ​​is that they take into account the fact that you are studying and might have exams. I also really enjoy helping others with their courses. It feels good when they pass their exams.

"I don't find anywhere else what I find here. It is hard to leave here, because everything is here."

Yana Onushkina

What do you want to do next?

I don't want to do a PhD so I'd like to get a job after my graduation. There are specific jobs for graduates of my study, but these are usually filled by someone from management or someone with a technical background. As a result, there aren’t many opportunities for me to work so I have to explore what I want to do.

And to get a better idea of what I want and what is possible, I will soon be starting an internship at ASML, next to my studies. I’ll be working there on optimising the website with a lot of information, turning it into an intuitive website, so people can find specific information quickly. It fits well with my education, because I mainly look at what information about technology certain people need. I have to think about what people think of the website, how they move through it and in addition, I will also have to do some programming. I think that's a very nice combination.

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

I think it’s nice living and studying here. Everything is also so close. That is very different from the enormous Saint Petersburg, where I come from. There are also many different things you can do here. And that’s also evolving continuously. Every now and then I discover a new place in an area that is familiar to me.

Eindhoven is also very international. I speak a lot of English, because there aren't that many interactions in which I have to speak Dutch per se. I understand Dutch very well, but when talking I really have to warm up. Because I don't use it much, it’s a bit of an effort to speak Dutch.

For the rest, it still surprises me that companies are really willing to work with students and student teams. They help us with contacts, materials and knowledge. The university also collaborates a lot with companies. For example, they organise lunch lectures and you can find internships through the university. I find it so surprising, because I'm just a student. Why would a company invest in me like that if they aren't specifically recruiting?

When I started my studies, I wasn’t considering taking my Master's at TU/e, but somewhere else. My ambition was more to go abroad, to broaden my horizons. I wasn’t really involved with Eindhoven at the time. But when I completed my bachelor's degree, I no longer saw why I should go to another university. I can't find anywhere else what I find here in Eindhoven. It's hard to leave when everything is here.

"It still surprises me that companies are so willing to work with students and student teams. I am just a student. Why would a company invest in me in that way if they are not necessarily recruiting?"

Yana Onushkina

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

I have noticed that many international students are less willing to experiment. Dutch students are more daring and are more likely to look around for what they like. The international students come here with a purpose and seem to stick to it, even if they don't necessarily like it that much anymore. They could try a little more. Within their studies, but also beyond.

At first, I only focused on my studies and didn’t see the point in student teams or in other activities. But at some point, I decided to give it a try. And I think it was a very good decision, because I learned so much. So if you get the opportunity, check out what else you can do.