The Marina van Damme grant is awarded annually to 1 winner per university. The network is committed to keeping Mrs van Damme's ideas alive and welcoming the new winners to the network.
The network makes the independent members stronger. The connection through consultation and sparring creates a stronger position in our work and life. Different backgrounds provide diversity, and sufficient overlap in ambition and challenges in career make a close connection with each other.
The activities of the network are aimed at inspiring each other and helping each other forward. By entering into the spotlight, we also aim to inspire girls and young women.
Wendy Borneman completed her Computer Science degree in 2003 at the Technical University of Twente. She worked as a process architect and helped organizations with designing and optimizing their business processes.
After a few years she made a switch to healthcare and has been working as a family doctor since 2013. In the healthcare sector, she saw many opportunities for organizational improvements and room for new developments. Inspired by this, she found a new challenge in combining her medical knowledge and skills with her previously acquired organizational and analytical skills.
In 2010 she received the Marina van Damme Fair to help shape this challenge. With the money from the scholarship, she started the two-year management and administration course of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She learned to combine the previously acquired knowledge and experience of both disciplines to be able to play a leading role in the organization of general practice medicine later. She found the meetings with like-minded people during the training particularly inspiring and those brought opportunities for many new projects.
Since 2016, Wendy has been happy to combine her work as a general practitioner with the board membership of the National Association of General Practitioners (LHV), the representative of 12,000 Dutch general practitioners.
After my study Geomatics at TU Delft I started working offshore on board of vessels. Working offshore is very interesting as you work all around the world and travel a lot. The offshore industry is also known for being male-dominated. People still think it is special when you work as a woman in a men’s world. If you are a good engineer it should not matter whether you are male or female. With the Marina van Damme grant I was able to follow management and leadership courses at the Erasmus University to improve my soft skills and become a better role model for other ladies working in this industry. This turned out beneficial for both my professional career as well as my personal life. Women should lift each other up in their careers instead of fighting each other. After working offshore for five years I decided that it was time to move to an onshore role. I currently work at Heerema Marine Contractors as a Specialist Engineer. I still travel offshore for projects but not as frequent as before. I still love being on a vessel like SSCV Thialf and watch a successful installation after all the preparation efforts are done in the office.
I'm Leah Sosa, an American (and now also Dutch!) woman who grew up in Los Angeles, and moved to the Netherlands in 2011 to study Maritime Engineering at TU Delft. After working as an engineer in the superyacht industry for nearly 10 years, I wanted to change my career trajectory and explore what else was out there beyond the world of ships. I figured an MBA would open doors in many different directions, and equip me with the credentials and to succeed in a variety of roles/industries. I applied for the Marina van Damme grant in 2017 to help fund my MBA at INSEAD in France. I graduated from INSEAD in December of 2018, and started a new job as a consultant on Accenture Strategy's M&A team in Amsterdam, excited about my career change and what the future will bring!
Homeward Bound is a ground breaking leadership, strategic and science initiative and outreach for women, set against the backdrop of Antarctica. The project is looking to increase the participation of women in leadership positions to tackle global problems, such as climate change. I was chosen in the group of 99 women that were involved in the fourth cohort during 2019. This is a cross-disciplinary program with a strong international focus on leadership development. The program is based on 3 pillars: Visibility, Strategy, and Collaboration. Together with 98 other women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine) our voyage has been the largest women expedition to Antarctica. The initiative, turned global movement, aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background in order to influence policy and decision making as it shapes our planet.
I studied Nutrition and Health (BSc) and Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology (MSc) at the WUR, spending all free course time on wet lab research in different areas: environmental toxicology, fish immunology and nanotoxicology. Then I moved to Berlin to do my PhD at the Charité on the role of microglia (immune cells) and autophagy (intracellular recycling mechanism) in Alzheimer's disease. I successfully defended my thesis in 2019, and am now working as a postdoc at the German center for neurodegenerative diseases in Dresden. My current project focuses on the role of nuclear proteins in epigenetic regulation and their function in cellular identity during aging and in diseases like Alzheimer's. The Marina van Damme grant allows me to participate in a couple of workshops as well as a temporary stay in a famous lab in this field to develop my bioinformatics skills. I will use these skills to analyse data during my current project, and would like to develop my own direction of research using bioinformatics to mine databases and approaching aging and related diseases as a multicellular event. On a personal note, I love everything related to food: reading cookbooks, trying new recipes, cooking classes, and trying out new restaurants.