It was the Female Faculty Network Twente that took the initiative to nominate computer science professor Marieke Huisman for the 2023 Athena Award. ‘I feel very honoured,’ says Huisman, describing the feeling after hearing that she had won. Women are still in the minority in computer science. ‘That’s why we still need female role models,’ says Huisman.
She enjoys being able to set an example for the female students in her lecture hall. Just by standing there, she is making the point that here is a woman who can do everything that men in her position can do. As a role model, she feels it is particularly important to go the extra mile to assist other women. Check if she can support in any way: ‘Is there anything I can do to help you move forward?’
Huisman has never let her gender hold her back in her career. She was interested in computer science and so decided to pursue it as a career. She did not see the difference in the number of men and women in the lecture hall as an obstacle. However, she always felt like the exception during her studies. This had its pros and cons. Everyone knew her by name, which can be useful in certain situations, she says. ‘But if I didn’t pay attention in a lecture, it was easy for the professor to single me out,’ Huisman jokes.