Student experiences

Inge van der Werf

MasterONC_IngevanderWerfAfter I completed the Bachelor Biomedical Sciences, I started the Master Oncology in September 2014. The program started with half a year of courses containing all the basics and innovations in cancer research. Next to these compulsory and elective courses, the program consists of two internships and a literature study. Since the program provides a lot of opportunities to choose your own subjects for both internships, the literature study and elective courses, you get the opportunity to arrange a Master program of your own interest. Therefore, I chose to work on several projects which all focused on pediatric oncology. In the Cancer Center Amsterdam I worked on a vaccine for Ewing’s Sarcoma, a malignant bone tumor which occurs most frequently in teenagers. During my literature study, I worked on Wnt-signaling in pediatric cancers at the Hubrechts Institute in Utrecht, and during my major internship, I worked on Infantile Hemangioma, a pediatric tumor composed of blood vessels, at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Since both the project and location are off limits you can make your own program as ambitious and diverse as you prefer.

In addition, the Master encourages its students to join conferences, commissions or an ambitious program such as the Topmaster program or the Diamond Program. During the first year of the Master, I had the opportunity to compete in the Diamond Program. This program scouts students who have the ambition to design and undertake a PhD research project at the Oncology Graduate School, based on their own ideas and interest. In the end, I was selected to write my own project proposal and started working on this project at the department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology in September 2016.

Altogether, I learned to translate my basic knowledge into practical experience, to formulate and answer my own research questions and present my ideas enthusiastically. The Master was quite an experience!