During the opening of the Academic Year, Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling presented the Student Awards. The Award for Best Master's Thesis went to Marrit Woudwijk and her research into how Syrian refugees think about the bombings of their land. The Award for Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements was awarded to DOMcast, a group of students who make podcasts about the personal history of a number of Utrecht residents.
Student Awards for Marrit Woudwijk and DOMcast
Marrit Woudwijk’s thesis immediately drew the jury’s attention. In her thesis “The Lesser Truth: Truth Construction on Remote Warfare and the Case of the US-led anti-ISIS Coalition in Syria”, Woudwijk explores how Syrian refugees think about the bombings of their land, and how their experience relates to how this war is being represented in the Netherlands. In the laudation, the jury express their admiration for the way in which Woudwijk deconstructs the supposedly harmless ‘remote war’ the Netherlands is conducting to fight the Islamic State in Syria. The jury compliments how Woudwijk gives a voice to a silent issue, but also critically confronts Dutch citizens with our own violence.
Woudwijk’s talent didn’t just stood out to the jury: she already wrote for the popular Dutch online newsplatform The Correspondent (in Dutch), and she has secured herself a PhD-position at the University of Humanistic Studies. The jury is impressed with how Woudwijk handled her research, both methodically and theoretically and foresees a bright future ahead for the now graduated Woudwijk.
Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements Award
Since February, eleven students of the Faculty of Humanities have dedicated themselves to making a series of podcasts about the personal history of a number of Utrecht residents. The jury was impressed by the enthusiasm, ingenuity and involvement of the Hugo Broersen, Luka Gabreels, Ilse Gareman, Robrecht Haex, Robin IJntema, Renée Karsten, Thomas van Roijen, Maurice Visser, Wiebe Reints, Bart Both and Kiki Ernst, the students who make up DOMcast. With their project, they have shown other students how inspiring and engaging research can be. The jury finds the perseverance with which DOMcast made their podcasts noteworthy.
In DOMcast the jury sees plenty of potential to grow even further, and in doing so hopefully become a permanent feature within the university. This project will make it possible for successive groups of students to investigate the local history of Utrecht, providing a lasting link between the city and the university.
Like previous years the potential for expansion will be supported in part by the K.F. Hein Fund together with the Fund, students will explore ways to take their initiatives public and give their plans concrete form.
About the student awards
Utrecht University is proud of its students who achieve something remarkable, either as part of their studies or elsewhere in their lives. Each year during the opening of the academic year, the Rector Magnificus therefore presents two Student Awards.
This year, besides prize winner Marrit Woudwijk, Errikos Kounals and Araf Ibrahim Ardisasmita were nominated for the Best Master’s Thesis. Other nominees for the Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements 2020 were Bagijnhof Community Composting and Journal of Trial and Error. Read more about these nominations.