Published on: 23 November 2016
Written by: Abdullahi Ali

Written by: Abdullahi Ali

Do you adore the BoyCo? Do you love the DAtA get-togethers in the Huygens canteens? Well, then you’re going to love and adore Maarten! Maarten, a former AI student, active CognAC benefactor and a member of the Boyband we all adore and love is the AI* of the month November! Maarten has done a great job so far leading the DAtA and he has been an excellent host at the CognAC constitution get-together! I got the opportunity to interview him. If you’re dying to know more about him, continue reading!

Tell us something about yourself!

I’m Maarten, I’m twenty years old. I’m from Bleskensgraaf which is a small village close to Dordrecht. It takes a lot of trains and buses to get there, which leads to a 3 hour trip from Nijmegen to my home.

That’s far away. Where do you live right now?

I’ve lived in Nijmegen from the moment that I started studying in Nijmegen. Right now, I live in Neerbosch-Oost. It isn’t that close to the center and the University, but I have a large room (26 m2) and great roommates!

Why did you decide to study AI and why here in Nijmegen?

I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. So I started looking around for interesting courses. AI looked very interesting! First, I started looking at AI in Utrecht. AI in Utrecht didn’t really appeal to me. They didn’t even have a robot lab! Next, I went to AI in Nijmegen. The AI course in Nijmegen looked great, so I enrolled for AI in Nijmegen. Unfortunately, it was a bit too much programming for me and I had to quit.

So you don’t study AI anymore, what are you studying right now?

Right now I’m studying International Business Communication. This is an international course and you learn about effective communication in a multilingual organization.

Are you enjoying it and how does it differ from AI?

I’m really enjoying it. It is way different from AI. For example, in this course, we have to choose and master a language. Either English, French, German or Spanish. We also have to learn about the country of our language of choice by working on business communication projects.

Despite the fact that you’re not studying AI anymore, why have you decided to still be active within CognAC?

I’ve studied AI for a year and made friends in the AI program and CognAC. I also really like the atmosphere here at CognAC and enjoy the activities. All this combined made me want to stay and continue being an active member.

Are you active in the study association of International Business Communication?

I am! At Babylon, I’m in two committees. I’m the chairman of one committee and the secretary of the other. This takes quite some time. For example, tonight we’re organizing a dropping. It is really fun, but the amount of time it takes to organize it is crazy. I’m also responsible for organizing the open days for new students.

Besides Babylon and CognAC. Are you active in other associations as well?

I’m a third-year member of Phocas. I’m not really active at phocas, apart from coaching. I don’t really like the committees at Phocas and right now I’m too busy with CognAC, Babylon and studying so I don’t have that much time for Phocas.

What was your first thought about CognAC?

The people at CognAC seemed geeky, but then again you have to be a bit of a geek to study AI. I also felt that I liked to party more than the average CognAC member, I also think that this holds for many people in my year. That’s why a lot of us joined student associations such as Phocas, Ovum Novum, and Carolus Magnus.

Which committee was your first one?

At this point, Maarten takes a deep breath and begins his story.

My first committee was the legendary 1C 14-15’. Let me tell you a story about how this amazing team was formed. During a lecture in TvA 4.00.05, The CognAC board dropped in. They only had one enrollment for their first-year committee. This was their one and only chance to give birth to the 1C 14-15’. I looked at Pepijn van Teeffelen (who was sitting next to me) and Pepijn looked at me. We knew that this moment was meant to be and we enrolled. After we enrolled, a few other legends such as Jake van Overbeek and Wessel Hieselaar enrolled too and the 1C 14-15’ was born. At first, our only goal was to find out who was the best in Super Smash Bros. Apparently Emmie Peters (The Chief of Internal affairs in 2014-2015) wanted us to organize activities, so that’s what we did (It may have taken a while).

Jake van Overbeek and Rik van Lierop enter the boardroom. Maarten explains that he was just talking about the 1C 14-15’. The hype is real. A few shout outs to the BoyCo follow and after a while the two leave. I continue my interview with Maarten.

So in the end, we were more like a group of friends than a real committee, but the 1C 14-15’ was great and we’re all still good friends!

And which committees did you join after that?

After the 1C I joined the DAtA. I especially liked the get-togethers so that’s why I really wanted to join the DAtA.

At this point, Wessel Hieselaar and Bram van Asseldonk enter the boardroom. Maarten explains that he was just talking about the 1C 14-15’. The hype is real. A few shout outs to the BoyCo follow and after a while the two leave.  I continue my interview with Maarten.

So I joined the DAtA. First as a regular member. The year after that, I became the secretary and this year I’m the chairman. As the chairman of the DAtA I’m trying to discipline them, but that’s impossible.

Why these committees?

I joined these committees because the people in these committees were great and I really enjoy the activities.

Which committee is your favorite one?

The DAtA!

Do you have any hobbies?

Partying, gaming, hanging out with friends. I especially like casual gaming with friends, for example playing Smash with friends.

What kind of music do you like?

I really like House. Especially Future House and Deep House, in particular, The work by Oliver Heldens and Tchami (for the aficionados). And I love De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that no one would expect to be true.

At this point, Maarten starts to think really hard. After a minute of deep introspection he gives me the following answer:

I’m quite neurotic, I’m really annoyed if things are out of place or wrong. Especially with language. You’ll only notice that if you know me really well. Some of my friends purposely mispronounce words or make grammatical errors just to get on my nerves.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I really like candy. I seriously have a sugar addiction. Sometimes I have this intense sugar craving (mostly during the evenings). I actually consider running to the supermarket, just for some candy. There’ve also been many times where I went to the supermarket and only bought candy.

What’s your favorite Disney movie?

Maarten starts to think really hard. After a minute of deep introspection he gives me the following answer:

The Incredibles.

If you could travel for free to any place in this world, where would you go to first?

The US. I want to visit New York. I have already been to the west coast, but the east coast is still on my wishlist. So that’s where I would go first.

If you had to describe yourself with just one word, which word would that be?


I continue with the BoyCo bonus round. For the third time in this interview, the hype is real.

Besides being the chairman of the DAtA, you’re also a member of the iconic BoyCo. Obviously, everyone at CognAC already knows what the BoyCo is, but many CognAC members don’t know all the members of this majestic group. Could you once and for all end this ignorance by giving a short description of the remaining four members?

We have a short discussion on who exactly holds which position in the BoyCo. In the end, we agree that fundamentally everyone holds every position, but for technical reasons we made the division of roles explicit. Maarten is the chairman of the BoyCo. Maarten proceeds with his “boyscription”.

Let’s start with the Secretary of the BoyCo. He is the “fashion” boy. He is someone who would wear a scarf during summer just for style. This boy gives the BoyCo style and makes sure we’re spot on.

Next is our Treasurer. He is the “hype” boy. He is the boy that creates the hype. He is the man that sings along passionately without any shame when I want it that way starts playing. He is a key player in all of our shows.

Next is our Chief of Internal Affairs. He is the “PR” boy. While he might not sing as hard and passionately as some of our other members, he is the one that  makes sure that everyone knows about the BoyCo and sometimes gives us a reality check when we’re about to embarrass ourselves.

And finally our Chief of External Affairs. He is our connection to the CognAC board. He is the “all-round” boy. He doesn’t create the hype, he is the hype.

Who is your favorite BoyCo member? *staring intensifies*

You can’t have a favorite BoyCo member. It’s  all or nothing.

The chairman of CognAC agrees passionately.

What would be a suitable pet for CognAC?

It has to be really cool and low-maintenance. So I guess a reptile would be great. I’d pick a snake.

Will CognAC stay in your heart forever (and especially the current Chairman)?

Yes, definitely! CognAC is an important part of my life as a student.

Do you have any closing remarks?

Shout out to the DAtA. Shout out to the BoyCo. Shout out to the 26th board of CognAC. Shout out to the 27th board of CognAC.

Maarten then stops and starts to think really hard. After a minute of deep introspection he ends with the following shout out:

Shout out to the BoyCo.