The 2016 Marina van Damme grant will be awarded to Berza Ataoglu. The grant is presented each year to an excellent and ambitious UT alumnus to support her professional development. This year is the grant’s fourteen-year anniversary. The Marina van Damme grant is made possible by a Name Fund of Ms Marina van Damme, who became the first engineer to obtain her doctorate at the university - known as the Twente Technical University at the time - in June 1965.
"She excels in her professional field, and is ambitious and persevering", says Wilma Toering-Keen, board member of the Stichting Universiteitsfonds Twente. "By awarding the grant, the jury has given Berza a nudge to further develop her career in the direction of business and management."
Berza Ataoglu was born in Turkey in 1982. In 2008, she obtained her Master's degree in Chemical Engineering - Process Technology at the University of Twente. She had previously obtained her Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor's degree in Biology at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey. After obtaining her Master's degree, she began her career as a process engineer at Akzo Nobel and DSM.
At the start of 2013, she made the transition to BASF Antwerpen, where she started working as a project manager and quickly switched to Huntsman Europe, where she became a senior process engineer and head lean coach. She became a naturalized Dutch citizen in 2011. Berza wants to use the Van Damme grant to expand her horizons and continue working on her personal development in business and management by completing a Master's programme at KU Leuven.
The Stichting Universiteitsfonds Twente is an independent foundation supporting the University of Twente. It does this by being a driver of new developments and by enabling activities that cannot be funded using regular resources. Part of this approach is paying attention to excellent results of alumni by awarding them awards and grants.