Tagging along the continuous learning trajectory

Ellis Donker might just be the first talent team punch card – a Wetsus fan who followed nearly all our schooling programs during her education. “The Wetsus visit always stuck with me, and so did the science. I want to do my PhD here now.”

“Behind every door I opened, Wetsus was there waving at me,” explains Environmental Sciences student Ellis Donker. Whether in primary, secondary, or tertiary education, a water technology topic was constantly stimulated to work on.  

Ellis found herself wrapped up in the science as young as ten years of age. Starting with the 8+ program, meant to make primary school students enthusiastic about water technology. “The visit to Wetsus really stuck with me,” Ellis happily exclaims, “that, and that we were doing some activities related to climate change.”

Although not an extensive memory, this tiny seed of a thought laid the groundwork for what was to come. “At that point in time, I figured out that I wanted to study some scientific field for sure, yet I wasn’t fully aware of what I would.” But she had to find a high school thesis project. “It was actually my mom that suggested to once again look at Wetsus, and it was a great choice.” Experimenting with the Wetsus Blue Energy set, she discovered a passion that stuck with her.

“I was certain to study Environmental Sciences. In fact, Blue Energy is something that I saw myself working on and thus studying towards. My major in technology was a clear choice. And I ended up doing my bachelor thesis with Wetsus and Wageningen scientist Hardy Temmink.”

Still sticking her landing for sustainable science, Ellis was determined to even study at the Wetsus Academy. “It was just due to personal connections and COVID years that I stuck with Wageningen again. But I knew I at least wanted to do my thesis here.”

Now working on producing sustainable hydrogen gas, Ellis is enjoying her stay. So much so that she is thinking about doing a PhD. And when asked where she would like to go, the immediate answer was Wetsus. “It is a great place to be. Especially the people around here already make me want to come back once again.”