Female alumni stories

Welcome to the University of Twente's Female Alumni Spotlight, where we commemorate the journeys and accomplishments of diverse women graduates. Explore stories ranging from research to innovative entrepreneurship, showcasing the resilience and leadership of women who have left their mark both during and after their time at the UTwente campus, shaping their careers and fields.

female alumni awards

Marina van Damme & the Marina van Damme Grant

After her graduation in 1953, an impressive career in science and industry followed.  After five instructive years at the Central Laboratory of TNO in Delft, she moved to the Koninklijke Nederlandse Zoutindustrie (KNZ) (now part of Akzo Nobel). First as research staff and later as head of the laboratory and deputy director of KNZ. During this period she also became the first woman to obtain a PhD at the University of Twente.

Dr. ir. Marina Van Damme was the first engineer to obtain a PhD at the former Technical University College Twente in 1965.

Marina van Damme UTwente first PhD alumna

"I have had an amazing career, which I also want for other female graduates. I want to offer them the opportunity to take another step outside their particular university, to explore their field in more detail, or to become more international. As a result, they increase their chances of having an interesting career", says Marina Van Damme, who welcomes the prize winners under the apple tree on her farm every summer. "It creates a network of women who can share their experiences and help each other. This reveals that the scholarship does indeed give their career a boost."

The Marina van Damme Grant

As part of International Women's Day, we would like to bring to your attention the Marina van Damme grant. The Marina van Damme grant is awarded annually to a successful alumna of the University of Twente. This grant consists of a prize of € 9,000 and an award, and it is made possible thanks to a donation from Mrs. dr.ir. M.A. van Damme-Van Weele. The winner of the scholarship has four years to use the grant to further develop her professional project. For example, by deepening or broadening knowledge or an international orientation in the form of a study, internship, or project.

Registration for the Marina van Damme grant 2024 opens in mid-May. More information about the Marina van Damme grant can be found at Awards and Scholarships | Marina van Damme scholarship | Universiteitsfonds Twente (utwente.nl). Here you can also find the inspiring stories of all scholarship winners. The scholarship winner 2023 will be announced on May 24, 2024, during the celebration of the 62nd Dies of the University of Twente.

More Female Alumni Stories 

Share your stories with the UT Alumni Network and reach out to the Alumni Office.