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Florian Hahn and Joke van Staalduinen new employees at Computer Science

Great news: the Services and Cybersecurity group (SCS) has hired a new assistant professor, Florian Hahn, from the 1st of June; and the Bachelor programme of Technical Computer Science will be enriched by Joke van Staalduinen, who will start the 1st of July as a teacher. We welcome both of them, and look forward to their contributions to our programmes!

Here's what Florian has to say about himself:

It is my pleasure to start as an Assistant Professor in the SCS group from first of June, after having done my PhD in a more industrial setting. As former security researcher at SAP I am generally interested in IT-security and conduct research on applied cryptography in particular. Specifically, during my PhD, I was looking into encrypted databases and how one can encrypt data while still enabling database queries over it. Additionally, I had the chance to get an impression of post-quantum cryptography during a collaboration with Professor Buchmann’s group at Technische Universität Darmstadt.

Luckily, I got the opportunity from my former employer to give lectures on cryptography as part-time lecturer at the university of applied science in Karlsruhe, Germany. During this time I realized how much I enjoy sharing my knowledge with interested people. Thus I volunteered to give SAP internal cryptography trainings in different regions of the world. Each time giving such a training I have not only taught the trainees but learned something as well. Equipped with this great experience I decided to look for a novel opportunity allowing me to intensify my teaching activities. I am very happy to get this opportunity offered at UT.

And here are a few words by Joke:

When I turned two, my parents decided to emigrate from the Netherlands to South Africa. It was shortly after WWII and my dad was offered a job in Johannesburg.  After school, I proceeded to study at the new Rand Afrikaans University (RAU). We were the third intake of CS students and learned programming using punch cards and waiting our turn to run our programs one by one on a primitive Univac mainframe. After my degree, I was appointed as an assistant, and two years later as a junior lecturer.

This allowed me to do my Master's. After a stint teaching in industry at Sperry Univac, my son was born and we decided to give up the rat race and move to George, a quiet coastal town in the Western Cape. I taught Maths, CS and Statsistics part-time until the NMMU decided to also present their IT diploma in George on their satellite campus. We were four lecturers having to teach twelve CS year courses, so we became jacks-of-all-trades. When CS became less popular as a career choice and the universities' overall funds were cut, our course was terminated on the satellite campus. I finished my PhD and carried on teaching Maths, Statistics and school CS part-time. I was also privileged to help 11 online UNISA university students complete their M and D proposals. The IT industry in George was practically nonexistent regardless of attemps to revive it, so my son ended up in Hengelo. When my mother passed away, a few years later, I packed my life’s belongings in a container, and followed him!

At school I had a natural ability for Maths and was often asked to help fellow students, but never considered taking teaching up as a career. It happened at RAU as it was the only way that I could afford studying further. I discovered how challenging and rewarding teaching can be.

After I got married I realized that my husband and I had two different opposing learning styles. I could learn from a book, my husband had to be taught in a classroom. My son was somewhere in between. The challenge in teaching became to find the style or a combination of styles that will suit most of the students. This creates many “wow” moments. The “wow” moment when you discover another way to explain a difficult concept from a book, youtube or colleague. The “wow” moment when students have been struggling with a concept and after much explaining all of a sudden their eyes and face light up when they grasp it. The “wow” moment when the students receive their degree and you realize that you have been privileged  to influence their lives in many ways. And the “wow” moment when past students contact you to tell you about your role in their success. Personally, except for a natural ability for numbers and logic, I am very analytical, curios, creative, and somewhat of a rebel. The last four traits have given me a lot of pleasure, especially in teaching, but have also gotten me into a fair share  of trouble.