From SensUs Participant to Demcon’s business community!

Maaike Kraamer works at Demcon, one of the partner companies of SensUs. Unique about Maaike is that she knows SensUs inside out, because she participated as a student in the 2017 edition of SensUs.  In this article Maaike tells us about her experiences as a student in SensUs and as a professional in Demcon!


What did you learn when you participated in SensUs as a student?

“I was a member of team T.E.S.T. and I was responsible for the chemical assay aspects of the biosensor. I learned a lot about working in the lab, which was fun, but I also realized that working in the lab was not what I wanted to do after my studies. This experience helped me to choose the right courses for the follow-up part of my studies. At the beginning of the SensUs project, it was hard for our team to get started, like ordering materials and entering the lab. The most important thing I learned was that it is important to start somewhere, even if it is with small steps. Because, if you don’t start, you won’t get anywhere.”


What did you like about your time in the SensUs Competition?

“We worked together as a group towards a common goal. We really tried to solve a problem by developing a device that could be the start of something useful in the future. I really liked the dynamic in the group and developing a sensor that in the end turned out to work well. That was really cool. After I experienced the group dynamic and the teamwork, I realized I would want to be part of a team like that again. Our team also won three prizes that year, which was also an amazing accomplishment.”


How did you get to know Demcon?

“In 2017 Demcon was not yet a partner of SensUs. However, during my studies at the TU/e, I attended several lunch lectures, among which a lecture from Demcon. Here, someone told us about the projects and goals of the company. I really enjoyed the lecture and I thought that the company was really cool. That’s how I got to know Demcon.” 


What do you do at Demcon?

“Here at Demcon we work on technological solutions for different societal issues. We do this by developing products for other companies in a variety of markets. The projects I work on are mostly medical projects at system level. Therefore, I also work in our Mechatronic System Engineering lab, in which we test our (medical) devices and prototypes on a system level. Working at Demcon can be compared to participating in the SensUs competition. Here at Demcon we also work with a team towards a common goal to develop the best possible solution for a problem.”

Can you tell us something about opportunities for young professionals at Demcon?

“There are a lot of opportunities for young professionals at Demcon. However, it really depends on the projects that are running. Most projects are High Tech projects, mostly for large companies like ASML. These projects are very diverse, which offers an immense amount of learning opportunities in all kinds of different ways. Because of the diversity in the projects, a lot of different people are working together. These groups of people all have different study backgrounds, which causes them to exchange a lot of knowledge with each other. A project team consists of around five to ten people. The team includes for example a project manager, a mechatronic system engineer, a mechanical engineer, an electronic engineer and a software engineer. So you do not only learn from the projects but mostly from the people whom you are working with.”  


What is the culture like in the company? 

“I really like the atmosphere at Demcon! Everybody is very kind and open and is willing to help each other when needed. I also get to meet a lot of new people from different backgrounds and the teams are very multidisciplinary, which makes it very interesting to work together. The office where I work is not very big, in contrast to other bigger companies. Therefore, I know most people whom I work with. I also really like the courses on development here at Demcon. Everyone has a mentor whom you can reach out to when you have questions or if you experience any problems. You can talk about your goals and how you can grow within the company. To give an example: I really wanted to focus more on cardiovascular related projects, so I contacted my mentor and asked for help to find the project that would fit best with me. I also want to learn more about electronics and I would like to further develop my software skills as well.”


Some piece of advice  

“When you are looking for a job after your studies, you should really look for something that you like. I think it is important that you like the company itself and what they do. You might not have all the skills yet that they ask for, but if you fit in the company and love the work you do and like to learn, you can always grow into those skills.” 


Last advice; would you advise other students to compete in projects like the SensUs competition?

“I would advise every student to compete in projects like the SensUs Competition, because you can prove to yourself that you are able to do product development and can do cool things next to your studies. It is very good for your development!”