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#034 Linda’s inclusive communication

The story of Luca’s zoom(ing) skills is a story of Linda’s inclusive communication

Luca Bouwmeester likes to look and think ahead. As a PhD candidate, she is already planning her next career move – and she doesn’t restrict herself to the academic bubble. Today she is interviewing Dutch linguist and communication advisor Linda Pasqual. Together they talk about inclusiveness, making a difference and their shared passion for Canada – the country where anything goes.

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Monday 7 June 2021

Following your heart to uncharted territory

Linda: ‘Hi Luca, I took a look at your LinkedIn profile for this interview. I saw that you are pursuing a PhD in materials science and are already looking for a new challenge outside UT. We will probably get into that later. I also saw that you studied in Canada. Where did you go?’

Luca: ‘That's right, I lived and studied in Vancouver, British Columbia for a while. I really want to go back. Canada is fantastic. Have you ever visited?’ 

Linda: ‘Yes, I visited Vancouver and went to the west coast on vacation. I went wild water rafting and horse riding in the mountains: it was absolutely unforgettable. The scenery, the nature, the people. Canadians don't see any problems - anything is possible! The country is so vast, and the atmosphere is so laid back. From Vancouver, you can get to the mountains within an hour and plant your feet in eternal snow. Actually, my husband and I are currently saving up to travel through Canada with our kids.’

Luca: ‘What a great prospect! I also googled you, of course.

You are a Dutch linguist, you used to be a project manager and blogger, and now you are among others the communication advisor for the BMS faculty. What exactly does your work at UT entail?’ 

Linda: ‘My job is very versatile: varying from writing texts to strategy or setting up communication projects. These are all things that I enjoy and can pour myself into. In essence: I want to connect people. Not only to each other but also to their common goal. I really want to make a difference with who I am and what I can do. For example, by showing the added social value of our programmes. And by reaching all our target groups within and outside UT using smart ways of communicating. I personally believe that the living and working climate as well as the well-being of students and employees at UT are very important. That is why I joined the Shaping Expert Group Inclusion and I am a communication advisor and co-project leader for the theatre performance Mindlab.’

“I really want to make a difference with who I am and what I can do”
Linda Pasqual

Luca: ‘That’s nice to hear. It sounds like you're not bored?’

Linda: ‘Indeed. There is so much to do at UT! If I said yes to everything, I could work 24/7. Maybe that's also because I enjoy a lot of different things. You can ask me to do anything. I always say, "I’ll do everything except go on coffee runs." I categorically refuse to go on those due to my disability. If you send me to get coffee, half of it sloshes out and you end up with a very small coffee indeed!’

“I categorically refuse to go on coffee runs”
Linda Pasqual

Luca: ‘Haha, no nobody wants that. I think you are dealing with your disability in a very sober way, is that the case?’

Linda: ‘Yes, I think so. As a blogger I have written a lot about my disability, and always tried to keep it light. Humour is important to me - you also have to be able to laugh about it, because the last thing I’d want is for people to take pity on me. Of course, I can have days when I’m fed up with my disability. But then I think: why am I complaining? I have a nice family, a nice job: what more could you want? Some things cost me extra effort, that’s just the way it is. Recently I have been writing fiction in my spare time. My protagonist had a physical disability at first, but I found myself hating her. Now my characters just have a lot of psychological distress, but at least they can walk, haha! One day these writing attempts must come together in a novel.’

Luca: ‘Oh, that sounds very interesting. Will you let me know when the novel is finished?’ 

Linda: ‘I will. And you? What is your dream for the future?’

Luca: ‘Difficult to say. What will I do in five years? No idea - I mainly live in the now. What I do know is that I want something different after my PhD. I am currently looking for a job and talking to different companies.’

Linda: ‘I understand, you want to spread your wings. I am curious as to how you will use your knowledge and skills outside the academic world.’

Luca: ‘Me too. For a long time, as a PhD candidate, I had no idea of my chances on the labour market. It's also quite an exciting question - what am I going to do next? Understandably, people procrastinate and stay in their safe academic bubble. I don't want that and since I am quite a go-getter, I turned it into a project. But I would like UT to pay more attention to PhDs regarding their career development. Even if it is just a heads-up in your third year: take this job application course, or talk to a career coach. You are entitled to these things, but hardly anyone knows.’

Linda: ‘That's a nice tip, I'll remember it. And good to hear you are working on shaping your career. I recognise what you're saying. PhD candidates are a very specific group - somewhere between students and permanent employees - and can be stuck in between the two. We have to stay aware of that. And as for your career, I'm not worried at all. I will continue to follow you on LinkedIn, so I’ll know in five years where you’ve ended up.’

Luca: ‘Great! And then we can also exchange tips for Canada. Perhaps for the east coast, because that is still uncharted territory for both of us.’

LUCA BOUWMEESTER (1993)

graduated cum laude in Applied Physics. Her thesis won her the Tata Steel Young Talent Award. Luca was also selected for a scholarship at Océ - part of Canon - and she did a four-month internship in Vancouver, Canada. Luca is currently a PhD candidate in Material Science at the Faculty of Science and Technology (TNW), Interfaces and Correlated Electron Systems (ICE).

Linda Pasqual-Van der landen (1981)

studied Dutch at Leiden University. She is a communication advisor at BMS and co-project leader at Mindlab. Linda loves to write and edit. She commits herself to everything that has to do with inclusion, diversity and social safety. Before coming to Enschede and UT (in 2019), Linda worked at ZonMw and wrote blogs for HandicapNL. In these blogs she let readers experience what it is like for her to live with a physical disability.