Interview - Aukje Doornbos

"What I learned at TU/e? Keep calm, there is always a solution!"

Aukje Doornbos

Age: 40
Degree program: Chemical Engineering
Current position: Managing Director DSM ECS 

What is your fondest memory of your student days? 
“The feeling that anything is possible, living away from home for the first time, taking responsibility for your own life, and there being no restrictions. That sense of freedom was particularly evident on Thursday evenings at Stratumseind, of course.”

What is your favorite memory of life on campus? 
“The atmosphere after the summer break. Orientation week has just ended; everyone is relaxed but ready for the challenge of a new academic year. You could sense that atmosphere throughout the campus.”

Who is your hero at TU/e? 
“I have several. Such as the people in Facilities, for example. We often forget what is actually needed to enable us to follow a lecture, perform research, and realize innovations. Without them there would be no TU/e.”

What is the most important thing you learned at TU/e? 
"Keep calm, there is always a solution!"

What is the most important thing you learned this past week? 
“That you don't need much to be happy. Now that we're working and learning from home due to the COVID-19 crisis, I enjoy the time we have together as a family even more, but I also enjoy the virtual meetings with my global team. The realization that you can be connected without necessarily being together physically and how lovely it is to have breakfast together as a family without everyone rushing to leave on time; those little things really make my day."

Who would you like to join for a drink, and in which TU/e bar? 
“As a Chemical Engineering alumna, there is only one bar for me, of course: the FORT. I would like to meet up there with some of my fellow alumni, the ones I used to work behind the bar with.”

How do you stay in contact with the TU/e? 
“Now that I'm living in the Netherlands again after three years in Chicago, I try to attend the various alumni activities. I also maintain contact with a large network of TU/e alumni through my employer, DSM. Many of my personal friends are actually people I got to know when I was a student.”

What was your last post on social media? 
"That was yesterday, about supporting local businesses in these difficult times, with a great photo of the '5-star' takeout meal we had for dinner."

About alumni

Alumni of TU/e are all heroes, each in their own way. Some are more visible than others, but all are equally valuable. Many alumni still have a warm relationship with the university. They stay connected. Some give guest lectures or share knowledge by coaching students, for example. Others give a donation that contributes to research or talent development. In this series of interviews, we seek out alumni and ask them the following question: how did TU/e shape you into the person you are today?

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