Meet the chairs of 2022!
Who are the chairs of the SensUs Organization 2022?
Meet the chairs of SensUs 2022: Vera Teurlinx and Hans Douben. Vera and Hans are both Biomedical Engineering students at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Chair Vera and Vice-Chair Hans are 20 and 22 years old respectively. Fun fact: they consider themselves already really old.
Why did Vera join SensUs and why did she choose to become chair?
For Vera, it is her second year in the SensUs Organization. Before she entered the organization, she had heard a lot of positive things about it from her friends and roommates, so Vera made up her mind quite easily. In her first year, she joined the External Relations department, and she says it is one of her best decisions during her time at SensUs. When Vera wanted to join the organization for another year, she started thinking about where she would learn and be challenged the most. The role of chair sounded really interesting and appealing, but also a bit intimidating with a lot of responsibilities. ‘I didn’t know if I would make a great chair, but I wanted to take a chance and just go with the flow,’ Vera says.
Why did Hans join SensUs and why did he choose to become vice-chair?
Hans was looking for something to do besides his studies. Just like Vera, Hans also heard a lot of positive things about SensUs from the people around him. When a friend joined the organization, he became all the more motivated and enthusiastic. At first, Hans wanted to become the secretary in the Chairs & Co department, and he was actually chosen to do this, but he quickly started thinking about other opportunities. ‘I really wanted to push my limits to learn as much as possible during my year within SensUs,’ he tells us. Therefore, he chose to become the vice-chair.
What is your main goal for this year?
In the beginning, the SensUs Organization had to work mostly online due to corona regulations, which was a difficult start. Therefore Vera and Hans aimed to have a very enjoyable and pleasant atmosphere within the organization. ‘We want to increase everybody’s intrinsic motivation to work on SensUs,’ Hans says. Vera agrees and says: ‘We are not the most strict chairs, but we can be when needed. Working in SensUs should be challenging as well as a lot of fun.’ Besides the organization itself, Vera and Hans are also working on lifting the competition to a whole new level. Their main goal is to ‘dare to change’ when they see opportunities, to help the organization to become even better than it already is.
What are your new initiatives?
The new initiatives of this year have been to achieve the main goals of SensUs, and in addition show to the world what SensUs is all about. Mainly, that the SensUs Competition does not only consist of the Innovation Days in September, but actually of a full year of events and networking. The biggest newcomer of this year was the Kick-Off Event in January, where the key aspects of the competition were presented to all SensUs stakeholders. ‘There is always room for new initiatives within the organization and these should strengthen the main goals of the competition,’ Vera says. It is important to start something new only when it actually has benefits for the organization and the competition.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you overcome these?
‘In any team, there are frictions, discussions, and disagreements. The moment you can overcome that friction and those disagreements, you can really start going forward,’ Vera says. ‘It is our job to help the organization in that process,’ Hans adds. ‘To make sure the problems are handled properly and seen in a positive learning spirit.’ To improve themselves, Vera and Hans make use of their connections and network to ask for feedback. ‘Daring to ask questions to professionals and making use of connections around you is very important,’ Vera says.
How do you complement each other?
‘I enjoy chaos a little bit,’ Vera says. It is always challenging to control chaos, but it gives a lot of great ideas and input. ‘Don’t get me wrong, the chaos should be manageable within the organization, but also between Hans and myself,’ she adds. Hans on the other hand is a lot calmer. ‘I like to be involved in everything,’ Hans says. ‘That is the main reason I became chair, but it also helps in keeping everything organized,’ he adds. They also complement each other nicely in the division of tasks. Hans is more involved within the organization itself, whereas Vera is more involved with tasks connecting SensUs with external parties. ‘We have had very clear and open communication from the beginning,’ Vera says. They do not only have a great bond but they are also able to be critical towards one another when needed.
Where do you see SensUs in five years?
‘I want the industry to know that SensUs has impact,’ says Vera. ‘That the word of SensUs will be more known.’ ‘Not only in the sense of people knowing we exist, but that the work of participating teams will make an impact on the world of biosensors. More research will be started due to the ideas the teams come up with, for example,’ Hans adds. To be a help in this process the competition needs to run as smoothly as possible. This way, the teams can use all their energy to work on their biosensors and new ideas.
What makes you successful chairs of the SensUs Organization?
Vera and Hans both agree that they try to involve the organization as a whole as much as possible. Asking for feedback and being open to criticism is very important according to them. Therefore, they both try to be very open and approachable for the organization, and they appreciate the input of every single SensUs member. Additionally, they also try to motivate the organization with their help and feedback. Even if they have to give difficult feedback, they know how to bring it in a positive way, so someone can actually learn from misunderstandings, changes and mistakes. ‘Of course there are many ways to be a successful chair. We are going with the one that works best for us,’ Vera says. ‘We have to make sure everyone is doing okay and everything is going well,’ Hans says. Vera agrees: ‘It is our responsibility that in the end everybody is having fun and the work we do turns out to be amazing!’