Published on: 06 June 2022
Written by: Yael Raz

You’ve been chosen as AI* of April, congratulations! How do you feel about becoming AI*?

I was very surprised, I didn’t really expect it anymore but it was very nice to be made AI* after all.


Can you tell us something about yourself?

I am Evelien and I am 22 years old. I just finished the AI Bachelor (after 4 and a half years), finally. I was in the 29th Board of CognAC as the chair and I have been part of many committees in my time at the association. I am also originally from The Hague.


How did it feel to move from a big city in the ‘randstad’ all the way to Nijmegen?

Nijmegen felt a bit like a village when I first came here. When I lived in The Hague I also lived in the city centre, so everything was so close by. In Nijmegen things felt further apart, but also more relaxed. The people here are definitely more chill.


You mentioned that you’ve finished your Bachelor, congratulations :) Do you know what you want to do next year?

I might start the AI Master here in Nijmegen, I am especially interested in the track where you go to Glasgow for a year. It will be either this one or ‘IT and Business’ in Leiden, but that would mean starting all over in a new city so that also has some downsides.


You have been a member for quite some years, what has been your favourite committee to be in during your time at CognAC?

I have to say the Lustrum Committee, after being in it for two years it was so much fun to organise the actual lustrum after all that time and work! I was also in the OrC for two years, which was also a great experience! In both these committees it was very rewarding to see all you have worked towards play out in a week. I was also in the BAC two years ago, that was also a very cool experience.

Do you have a favourite CognAC memory?

There are so many years to think back to… I always found the boardroom in Spinoza very ‘gezellig’ and chill, being on the board in general was loads of fun! I also have very good memories of the first CognAC Weekend I went to. I was just a first-years student then but it was very nice to mingle with the older students.


Not many people remember the Spinoza boardroom I think, do you miss it a lot?

The BK was small but it was really great. Everyone just about fit in there and you could always just sit there and get coffee at DE cafe. That coffee with all the whipped cream was great, it was so much whipped cream you would get sick sometimes! Also RIP TK. And the storage space for all the CognAC stuff was much bigger.


What do you like to do outside of CognAC?

I am a member of the student association Ovum Novum, where I am in a relatively small year club but we meet quite regularly. I also like to play tennis. I am often in Nijmegen, because going over to my parent’s is quite a journey. Other than that I work three days a week, so that’s definitely something I spend a lot of time on. What’s nice about working instead of studying is that once you're off the clock, you have actual free time.


What kind of work do you do?

I work as an administrative assistant at the outpatient clinic for lung diseases. So basically I handle phone calls with patients, planning appointments and conferring with doctors.


Do you think you will continue to work in the healthcare sector after your Master's? 

It is a really interesting field of work, but I am not sure I would find my career there to be honest. In healthcare jobs for AI students are often in the field of data analytics, which is not my favourite subject within AI.


What would you say is your favourite subject in AI?

Let me think… I would say programming was also not really my thing. When I started the study I thought that the distribution between programming and other aspects of AI would be 30/70, but in hindsight I would say it was the other way around. There was this one course called TCS by Pim Haselager that I really liked, it was about ethics. I also thought MSDT was a nice course, but mostly because of the contact with the product owner and the fact that you were actually making something. I also took quite some electives from the management faculty which I really enjoyed. 


A lot of people take electives in management indeed, but they are always happy to be doing it as an elective as part of the AI study. Would you agree?

Definitely, I would not have liked to do a full management study. That’s the nice thing about AI, it has so many aspects. For example also the logic courses you get from Freek, those were also really interesting.


Do you have a favourite place or thing to do in Nijmegen?

Of course TKB! It was the first thing I thought of ;) I would actually also say the Waal and the bridges there, there are some really nice views. Because of Corona I was also taking a lot more walks around where I live and I discovered there is actually a lot of nature around! That is also something I really appreciate about Nijmegen, all the nature everywhere.


What did you write your thesis on?

I wrote about AI in management! I had a very nice supervisor who let me make quite a lot of decisions on my own. At first this was a bit challenging, but I soon found some examples to help me start off and find my direction. It was really broad but very cool!


Is there anything you would like to share with your fellow CognACcies?

I am so happy Corona is mostly gone! And the monkeypox better stay away… I am also happy that the move to Maria Montessori is complete. This might be my last year at CognAC, it was a blast! Such active study associations is something that is really unique to Nijmegen and you really notice the impact it has on students.


Do you have any shoutouts?

I want to shout out 29 of course! Marialand was also lit haha. Shoutout to the TraC as well, they finally organised a trip again! Lastly also shoutout to the LC, lustrum was amazing!


Thank you so much for the interview Evelien!


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