Ever since 2007 the educations committee has been responsible for organising education related activities like for instance, beetle-lectures, visits to companies, debates, speed dates between bachelor- and master-students, and student-lectures.
The beetle lectures are probably the most well-known activity the educational committee organises. These lectures were christened keverlezingen (beetle lectures) by professor animal-ecology Nico van Straalen. Here experts from both in and out of the VU get an hour to teach their subjects. With these
lectures the committee creates an opportunity for the students to get access to both broadening and deepening lectures in a variety of subjects, next to their study. The most successful lecture till this date has to be the 2017 lecture of Dick Swaab about criminality and our brains. In front of a packed lecture hall Dick Swaab showed to all present that neurology involves much more than action potentials, memory, or moving our bodies. He gave a soulful argument about the importance of mental health in our justice system and showed us the profound effects of neglect on the neurological development of young children.
In order to prepare the students on a life beyond their academic education, and to broaden their scopes from the research driven culture on the university, the educational committee organises visits to a broad spectrum of companies. Twice per academic year students get the opportunity to visit a company that is roughly related to their academic field. In previous years these visits have been organised to, for example: Sanquin, Netherlands cancer institute (NKI), Enza zaden, Koppert (biological crop protection), the Center of Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR), and the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging. The broad scope of companies ensures that every student gets to visit a company in their own field of interests.
In previous years there have been two debates, one on the problems of overpopulation, and one on the subject of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). In these debates 3 or 4 speakers take to the stage to explain their views on the subject. The goal is to get students familiar with all different viewpoints on these subjects. The statements given are thus mainly subjective views, hence a Greenpeace activist would probably have a totally different opinion on animal testing from a speaker with a pharmaceutical background.
Of course, the educational committee is continuously evolving, and trying to expand our offer of activities for (potential) Gyrinus members. Among these new activities are the student lectures (where members of the committee visit high schools to inform scholars of the perks of studying biology or biomedical sciences at the VU), Workshops (where students get specific tips on how to get in to their preferred line of work), and the speed dates between bachelor and master students (where the bachelor students can gain an insight in the available masters at the VU).
Joining the education committee?
Do you really like our activities and would you like to deploy these for Gyrinus members? Do you have good ideas for a new reading of a company visit? Become a member of the education committee! During the first-year weeks, at the beginning of the academic year, you can sign yourself up.