“120 Years Female Engineers: Symposium in honour of 20 years Marina van Damme grant”
Thursday November 9th 2023 from 10:00h to 17:30h
de Vrijhof in Enschede on the campus of University of Twente.

We are grateful the University of Twente has offered to host the symposium.

Guided by Rosanne Hertzberger, chair of the day, we will
look back at the early days of the female engineer,
pause at what the Marina van Damme grant has brought the winners over the past 20 years
and gaze into the future that lies ahead.

An overview of the programm can be found below. The symposium language is primarily Dutch, with some English speaking presenters.


10.30h – 12.00h

We start the day by honoring female engineers that take up a special place in history.
Three new fruit trees are planted in the Marina van Damme-boomgaard, ‘Orchard in Honor of Female Engineers’.
The trees honor:

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Ir. Maria Elisabeth (Marie) Stellwag-Bes (1882 – 1938)
First female engineer in the Netherlands (Delft 1904).

Assistent theoretical and applied physics at the Technische Hogeschool Delft (1904 – 1926).
(Co)-founder of diverse female political organisations.
Advocate with both women and men of women’s voting rights.
One of the first women in the city council of Delft.
Actively improving education of young women while being the vicar’s wife (1920 – 1938).

Source of the picture

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Ir. Frida Eversmann (1890 – 1941)
First female agricultural chemical engineer (Wageningen 1919).

Assistent, manager of the agricultural chemical laboratory at the Nationale Landbouw Hogeschool Wageningen (1915 – 1939).
Manager at Central Institute for Agricultural Research (1939 – 1941).
Courageous defender of academic research integrity.
Since 1919 publisher and promoter of education of Roman Catholic peasantry.

Source of the picture

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Prof. dr. ir. Louise Ottilie Fresco (1952)
First female President of the Board of Directors of Wageningen University & Research (2014 – 2022)

International expert on agriculture and nutrition.
First female Assistant-Director Général of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
First female President of the 4TU federation.
Renowned author and columnist.
First female Commandeur in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw (Highest royal award of the Netherlands).

Read more about Prof. Fresco here.

Source picture Jeroen Hofman.

13.30h – 16.00h

After lunch, several former winners of the grant share their experiences in the Netherlands and abroad.
Among others, we will listen to the following speakers:

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Moreblessings Shoko was born in the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. She followed most of her education in Zimbabwe before doing her MSc at the ITC Faculty – University of Twente with a Dutch scholarship. After completing her studies in Twente, she chose to return to her home country, inspired to become an academic like the teachers who had taught her in the Netherlands and equipped with a new qualification to support the dissemination of knowledge in her home country. In July 2017, she won the Marina van Damme scholarship, an award that accelerated her trajectory and led her into a field she dreamed of: drones, technology and supporting women in her community. Moreblessings founded Drone Wings Zim Private Ltd and holds several leadership positions in her professional capacity and also in social organizations that primarily serve women and children.

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Marjolein Koudijs has been working in the offshore industry since 10 years. After her education at Technical University of Delft she worked at Allseas, aboard of survey ships all over the world. In 2014 the Marina van Damme grant allowed her to attend several management courses at Erasmus University to advance her career and be and even stronger female role model in the offshore industry. Since 2016 she’s working on shore again, at Heerema Marine Contractors. She led different engineering teams as Engineering Manager Technology, and is now responsible for the digital transformation at Heerema. It’s her personal mission to make technology accessible to everyone, focusing on human ingredients as a key to success.

16.00h – 17.15h

We close the day with a panel discussion on the role of the female engineer in the societal transitions to come.
The participants include prof. Louise O. Fresco, Saskia Jaarsma and Jetty van Ginkel.

Do you have questions about the symposium, or are you interested in attending the symposium?
Send us a message at symposium@marinavandammenetwerk.nl or subscribe immediately via Twente University.

Last update: September 2023