Board 2010 – 2011

This is ProVU’s board for 2010 – 2011.

Donya Alinejad

Hi, everyone. My research is basically about understanding the role of internet communications among second generation Iranian Americans in Los Angeles, focusing on the ways their social, cultural, and political communities and identities are constructed. I first got involved with ProVU in early 2008, mostly out of curiosity. Since then it’s become about much more. ProVU has come a long way already and I’ve become inspired by, and learned a lot from, working with our amazing board and other members of ProVU. I hope we can continue to welcome and serve the PhDs and Postdocs of the VU, as well as grow and improve our humble organization. We look forward to meeting you…
Christa van Bunderen
Christa van Bunderen started her PhD in January 2009 at the department of Internal Medicine, section Endocrinology of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam. Her research is about understanding the associations of growth hormone and IGF-1 with mortality and morbidity, and the safety of Growth Hormone treatment in adults. She became a member of ProVU board in the beginning of 2010. This to rebuild the bridge between the VU and VUmc because PhDs from both institutes encounter similar problems and have the same interests. To take care of top-down and bottom-up communications she is invited as guest-member of the research & education committee of the Works Council (O&O cie, ondernemingsraad) of VUmc.
Jeroen van Andel
I am 29 years old, my favourite colour is blue, I hate losing and I am doing a PhD on 'demand-driven education' in Dutch Higher Professional Education.
I joined ProVU in 2009 because I believed that we could make a difference. That is, that we could build this great organisation which would connect and help out PhDs and Postdocs and would promote interaction, integration and engagement. I think that at this moment we can proudly say: so far, so good!
Azadeh Achbari
I am currently pursuing a PhD in the history of science for which I am studying the origins of the Humboldtian sciences in the Netherlands. Specifically, I am trying to understand the leading role of the Dutch in the development of global scientific networks in the nineteenth century. I find it important to be involved in all aspects of academic life and to be part of a lively and inspiring community. That is why I have chosen to be a member of the ProVU.
Matthias van Rossum
member of the Works Council & contactperson coordinator

Matthias van Rossum (1984) is PhD researcher and is working on intercultural relations between European and Asian sailors working for the Dutch East India Company (1600-1800). Matthias is a member of the Board of ProVU and is also active for ProVU as a member of the Works Council (Ondernemingsraad) of the Vrije Universiteit. In these functions he aims to represent the interests of PhD researchers and other employees of the Vrije Universiteit on all relevant issues. For this, he tries to maintain good contact both within and outside the VU. The issues at stake can vary from, for example, lacking facilities for international employees at the VU, the role of Graduate Schools in the education of PhD researchers or problems concerning organisation or labour conditions. Besides offering activities and a social infrastructure, ProVU as an organisation for PhD (and other) researchers of the VU is important in order to recognise common interests, uncover problems and improve the conditions of work.
Sarah Plukaard
website & PR
I started my PhD at the department of Special Education of the VU University in September 2009. My research focuses on mental fatigue in adolescents and how this can influence brain functioning. I joined the ProVU board in January 2010 because I got excited about the many things a PhD organization could do for all of us. Besides helping out with practical issues during the PhD trajectory, ProVU can provide a vivid and colourful (scientific) social network. To get the best out of your PhD, I think all PhDs should know about ProVU! So for this, and of course many other reasons, I am happily working on ProVU’s public relations.
Sanne Dekker
Since February 2009 I am working on a PhD project at the VU, aimed at developing an effective intervention for adolescents with mild attention problems. The focus of this intervention is on teaching strategies to optimize study behaviour. When I heared about ProVU in December 2009, I got enthousiastic about all the good work so far and the new ideas that were raising. I became part of the PR team of the board to promote ProVU and its activities among all PhDs of the VU and VUmc. I think ProVU provides the perfect opportunity to look over the borders of the cubicle you're working in, to get in contact with the people in your network and to share knowledge, experiences, and fun!
Iro Xenidou-Dervou
i-ProVU chair
In October 2009 I started my PhD research here at the VU University of Amsterdam which regards the cognitive developmental pathways to proficiency and deficiency in mathematical skills. My project is part of an interlinked research project titled “The transition to symbolic number processing: Cognitive differences in interaction with education”. It is conducted in collaboration with Utrecht and Maastricht University. As an international student there were several problems that I had to encounter when first starting to work and moving to Amsterdam (e.g., figuring out the health system). That is why I was very enthusiastic to hear about ProVU! I met inspiring people and many more international students who have similar (or more) problems and could exchange experiences/information. Surprised at how many big & small problems international students in general face (e.g. housing, bureaucracy/tax issues etc), within the framework of ProVU, we started a smaller team: the i(nternational)-ProVU. This team aims to help all international PhDs & PostDocs of the VU. The ultimate goal of course is to do all this while also having fun!
Pedro Miguel Fidalgo de Almeida
I started my PhD on the 15th August 2008 at the VU. The title of my thesis is "Mayas, making Lycopersicon esculentum salt resistant". For those that don’t work with plants i explain: Lycopersicum esculentum is the scientific name of tomato. Ion homeostasis during salt stress in tomato is of crucial importance for adaptation of plants. Genes/proteins with a function in ions homeostasis are putative targets for marker assisted breeding programs.
In this project I focus on several transporters with a demonstrated function in salinity stress adaptation in model plants and crops.

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