Women in technology & engineering | Bianca van As

Thursday, April 15, 2021, is Girls’ Day in the Netherlands. It’s a day that has been declared by VHTO, the expertise center that strives to have more women in the fields of technology and engineering, among other aims. At AWL, increasingly more women are applying for technical positions. We welcome this development.

A discussion with a woman in technology and engineering... Bianca van As
Bianca is 22 years old and follows the educational program of HBO ICT at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle. This is an educational program that provides plenty of opportunity to obtain general information about the field, after which students can delve deeper into an area of interest. For her semester of a specific interest, Bianca chose Industrial Robotics and Automation. She is doing an internship in AWL’s Experience Center from January 25 to June 18, 2021, and is working there on her graduation project.

Why this program?
“Before I started this program, I didn’t know for sure whether it was what I wanted; I still had my doubts. But now I can say that this program is a good fit for me. I enjoy working in a structured manner and thinking logically. Robots are also the future, so that’s a nice perspective.”

How did you learn about AWL?
“In the first year of my program, we had a really cool excursion to AWL. I didn’t really know then what I wanted, but I did keep AWL in the back of my mind. Last year, AWL gave a company presentation at our school that really interested me. We then received the opportunity to conduct an assignment, with several classmates, at a company. I immediately thought of AWL. Unfortunately, the assignment didn’t take place due to corona. But I still had one more chance: my graduation internship. And, thankfully, that worked out.”

Why did you choose to do your internship at AWL?
“I really wanted to do something with robots, which is naturally a very broad field, but I knew that AWL had a good relationship with my school and that made the communication easier.”

What do you think is so cool about robots?
“I think it’s cool that you can program a robot so that it will do what you want.”

What does your internship involve?
“Very specifically, my assignment means that I must create a robot that is absolutely accurate. For example, if you want it to move 50 mm ahead, then it has to actually move 50 mm ahead and not 49.8 mm. There is now a deviation in the robot and I am allowed to solve that. The plan is that, once I’ve calculated everything, AWL can also work with that in the future. Of course, it would be fantastic if my idea would be used for many years to come.”

What do you enjoy most about your internship here?
“I notice that I really enjoy working with other departments. And I enjoy having my own spot. I can work independently on my project, and that’s great.”

What have you learned up to now?
“I have become much more assertive. I have learned to make it known earlier if I need something from my colleagues. In addition, I now work with a new software program, which is lots of fun and instructive.”

What would you like to say to other girls and young women who are wondering whether they should choose a technical specialization?
“If you enjoy it, you should just go for it. Of course, you do have to be able to think logically. I, myself, really enjoy working in a structured manner, and that also helps me to complete my assignment.”

And your future?
“Once I have completed my educational program, I would really like to start working. My education is so broad that I can still go in all kinds of directions, such as working with micro-controllers and in industrial automation. But, ideally, I would like to stay at AWL.”

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