“As an HFE expert, I feel the responsibility to defend the position of the human-being who works with technology.”
“After my Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology at the Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Eindhoven, I realised that I was not done learning yet. I wanted to challenge myself and do research, not just in the psychological domain, but also in the more technical domain. That’s why the specialisation in Human Factors & Engineering (HFE) Psychology at the University of Twente seemed like the perfect option for me.
I find the theme of psychology with regard to engineering very interesting. I love new techniques and innovations and like to see what this means for people. This specialisation focuses a lot on cognitive psychology, which means you will get an idea of how our brain works in a fundamental way. I dealt with subjects such as human-computer interaction and I learned to conduct research with techniques like eye-trackers and EEG. With these kinds of methods, you can make tougher statements about phenomena than with just questionnaires or interviews.
Working at the Dutch Aerospace Centre
I still use a lot of what I learned within this specialisation in my current job at the Dutch Aerospace Centre (NLR). In my work as a Junior R&D Engineer, I work a lot with eye-trackers and other biometric measuring instruments, to compare the viewing behaviour of expert and beginning air traffic controllers, for example, but also to measure attention or fatigue.
An important credo within this specialisation is that you should focus on adapting technology to people, and not the other way around. This is still very valid in my current job, in which safety and performance are very important subjects. As an HFE expert, I try to bring issues regarding technologies to light. I focus, for example, on ‘workarounds’ which people use to deal with flaws in technology, making those flaws difficult to see or blaming people for problems. I feel the responsibility to defend the position of the human being who works with technology.
Studying at UT
To this day, I am very happy with my choice for this specialisation at the University of Twente. Since I did my bachelor’s at a university of applied sciences, I was afraid that a Master’s would be difficult for me, but it turned out fine. Yes, expectations are higher at a university and the pace faster, but I managed to improve my work ethic: working harder and more disciplined. This Master’s really allowed me to learn more and better!
And luckily, there was still lots of time to enjoy my student life here at UT. I joined the climbing association TSAC (Twente Student Alpine Club) and I was a board member for one year. UT offers a lot, so I would definitely recommend becoming active in a club that you’re interested in!”