On the evening of the 17th of June the PhD Council took a group of 18 to explore Stratum's Eind. Each team of 4 got a 5 by 5 bingo card with assignments on it. Completed assignments are a point and get crossed of on you card. Making a full row or column gets you extra points.
The evening was filled with people crawling over bars, taking pictures with women and animals, collecting straws and beer coasters and ordering a variety of drinks. The team that did it best managed to complete all assignments and therefore Luigi, Pranav, Rien and Thomas took home the Bar Olympic medals and the honour of being the best bar crawlers of the department for at least a year.
It was a very fun evening and I am sure the proof by picture system we used will prove useful over many PhD defenses in the future.
The year has flown by and before we knew it, it was time for the PhD Council General Assembly again. The idea of this meeting is to each year give an overview and get input from any PhD (or PdEng) in the community. Although this second edition was not well-attended (11), the goal of the meeting was met. We gained a lot of new ideas of stuff to organize in the coming academic year.
Also this year's General Assembly served as the kick-off of the House Cup. This cup will be awarded each semester to the group (A&V, CASA, DM, IS, MDSE, PdEng, SENS, STO) that is most active in the PhD Council's activities. The rules and current standings can be found on http://scarecryptow.org/housecup.
For today’s lunch with industry we welcomed two speakers from Philips; Bastijn Vissers and Wilbert Ijzerman. Over 30 PhD students joined the event.
Bastijn Vissers is a Software Architect at Philips Healthcare. Philips Healthcare is a division of Philipsthat develops products for medical applications ranging from mobile xray devices to medical image processing.
Professor Wilbert IJzerman holds positions as Department head, Advanced Development Europe at Phillips Lighting and full professor in the departments of Mathematics and Physics at TU/e. This puts Professor IJzerman in the unique position of having experience in both academia and industry.
Both speakers presented an introduction to their Philips divisions and an overview of possible carrier paths for after finishing your PhD.
Many aspects of academic life involve a great deal spontaneity. Apart from being highly technically competent, and learned in ones area of expertise, academic careers also require a high level of social poise. Indeed, this is true for most, if not all, careers which involve a large amount of collaboration with other people. All of us have good friends and family that we love to hang out with, but what about people we don't know? Many of us, myself most definitely included, have a hard time behaving well in situations that are socially ambiguous. By that I mean in situations where you don't know what to do. For example, at a workshop or conference where you don't know anyone and the projector doesn't work. This leads to a lot of anxiety which makes the situation even worse. In my opinion, the only way to gain confidence, social poise, and become more relaxed in difficult situations is practice. Practice with encountering difficult situations, trying to overcome them, maybe failing to overcome them and continuing on anyway, or succeeding and continuing. Improv classes are the best way to practice these skills. Plus they are great way to your express your creativity and sense of humor, or lack thereof.
During the PhD Council Improv Class in April, the instructor Jens Wehner, showed us how to practice these skills. Our main goal was to have fun. The near constant flow of giggles that could be heard during the class told us that we achieved that goal. And while we were having fun we also practiced how to come up with fascinating stories by trusting in our own ideas, not matter how strange, and those of our partners (randomly assigned and constantly shuffled). We also practiced how to fail, recover quickly, and still laugh it off if we couldn't recover. All while committing to the moment and maintaining trust with the other people in the group. The games that we played showed us that nobody is perfect, however, if we work together as a group, we can all use our individual strengths to help the group as a whole be better. And to top it all off, pizza was free!
PhD students are part of the big organization that the TU/e is. During this lunch we enjoyed a talk about the Faculty Council, explaining what that entails and why it is important, followed by a combined presentation and discussion powered by the HR department. Topics of interest included career opportunities for PhD students and how HR can assist us. This turned out to be of great interest to many PhDs and so Charl Kuiters (C.M.Kuiters@tue.nl , MF 5.071a) and Corlien van Dam (C.M.v.Dam@tue.nl, MF 5.069) could answer many questions..
On March 1st we gathered with 20 people at the IJssportcentrum for a game of Bounceball! Playing soccer on the ice surrounded by a huge inflated ball proved to be very amusing for both participants and spectators.
Four teams competed for golden medal and after five exciting games the team consisting of Thomas, Rick, Arthur, Ulyana and Thom was crowned the winner.
After a long and tiring day of research, a good way to relax is having a drink, maybe at a pub. A better way to relax is to do that with friends and colleagues. An even better way is doing that while participating in a pub quiz. The latter is exactly what about 30 PhD students did during our Social Event in February.
The common room at the fourth floor of MF served as a pub where the participants competed for the secret price while enjoying some snacks and drinks. Quiz master Jorn humorously tortured everyone's brains with random trivia and music questions.
After a night full of fun our PhD students can now tell a movie from a still, solve anagrams to get a song title and can list James Bond movies of which the title consists of a single word only. What more can you expect of a researcher?
In academia it is not only important to acquire new knowledge but also to convey this knowledge to others. During your PhD you may have to teach, give an informal presentation to your colleagues or even present your work at a conference.
About 30 PhD students learned the ins and outs, sharing their knowledge using (technical) presentations during our latest workshop on presenting.
Two trainers from Elroy com, a company which specializes in presentation trainings for a scientific audience taught us the ins and outs of giving a scientific presentation. Not only did we discuss what to put on slides - and what to leave out. We also learned how you can use your voice and what influence body language and attitude have on your audience.
As part of the training, PhD students gave short presentations about their own research to others in small groups. This was not only good for getting feedback, but also inadvertently served as a team building activity.
On December 12, the PhD Council hosted the first-ever PhD Christmas Party! Over 50 PhD candidates and partners gathered at the Temporary Art Centre, to enjoy a three-course Christmas dinner together. The remainder of the evening was kicked off by Chinese dance group "XYZ" with an act about magical dolls that come to life at night to dance. Much like these dolls, the guests danced the night away to the tunes of DJ Vanance.
On the 27th of November we had a lunch with companies event. More than 50 fellow PhD students participated in the event. It was both fun and informative. The two speakers were Martijn Rutten and Remo Minero. Martijn is the CEO of Vector Fabrics, which started as a Spin-Off and specializes in development and testing tools for complex software that is used in embedded systems, including automotive, IOT devices, medical and industrial systems, and more. Remo is a Quantitave Analyst at the NN group which is an insurance and investment management company active in more than 18 countries, with a strong presence in a number of European countries and Japan. Previously Remo worked as VP of RBS International Banking.
"You will not get what you deserve, you will get what you negotiate."
With these inspiring words, Serge van Rooij and Willemijn Smeets from Bex* Training & Coaching kicked off our latest workshop. This time, we learned about the dos and don'ts of negotiation.
Negotiation can be found everywhere in society, ranging from salary negotiations, to negotiations with your supervisor about which conference to attend, to discussing with your s.o. the destination of your upcoming holiday.
Almost 30 PhD students attended the workshop. We learned about common pitfalls, the impact of body language, and techniques to get the most out of any negotiation. We then brought the theory into practice in the Great Negotiation Game.
This lunch had two topics: informing the PhD's about confidential advisors and research grants.
From the department DPO (Personell and Organisation), two confidential advisors were present: Tineke van den Bosch-Doreleijers and Judith Beenhakker. They explained their roles within the university, specifically focussed on the PhD's: helping with work-related psychosocial stress. When you are facing stress or discomfort related to work itself or social pressure at work they are the ones to contactaa.
Secondly, Jacques Resing, confidential advisor of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science was also present at the lunch and the explained his role in addition to the confidential advisors of DPO. Jacques Resing is the first person to contact when you have e.g. problems with your supervisors, collegues etc. It is also worth to note that you can contact the confidential advisors for any problem, and they will help you find the correct contacts to further deal or solve the problem. Anything you tell the confidential advisors is, by definition, confidential and will not be shared with anyone else without your permission.
For the second topic of the lunch - Grants - Connie Cantrijn from the office of research grants was present to explain personal grants for PhD students. There are several grants that a graduated PhD student can apply for with different odds of succes. The grants serve different purposes and have several requirements, think of recommendation letters, extended CV's, well-formulated research plans etc. For more information and help with filing a request for grants, please contact Connie Cantrijn.In short: this lunch provided a lot of usefull information for both fresh-started PhDs as well as about-to-graduate PhDs.