She is a first-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student. Elif Erkan first thought of studying physics or teacher training, but registered last-minute for the Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. “I suddenly thought it would be fun to learn how all those devices you use every day are put together and work. I especially like the innovative side of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Making products more sustainable. Making an impact.”

Programming a robot cart

The first project Elif had to deal with was the audio switching project. “We had to make a speaker,” she explains. It didn't have to be beautiful, but it did have to amplify the sound. The second project in Year 1 is about a robot cart. The groups have to programme it in such a way that it starts to drive by itself and avoids things that are in its way. Elif: “Eventually it should be able to play tag with other robot carts. That he taps it and then drives away.”

A matter of keeping up with maths

In the project, the structure of the training is clear: you apply the theory to the project. Elif: “This was particularly clear in the second project. You had to put that cart together, connect the wires to the chip, and for the programming work we needed more and more knowledge of C.” Something else that recurs throughout the degree programme and in all subjects is mathematics. Elif: “The course is known to be difficult and that is mainly because of all the mathematics. So you have to keep up with that, and then it's fine.”

Friendly people

It took some getting used to that she is the only female student in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering course at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in Delft this year. But the degree programme was too much fun to quit, so she decided to get to know her fellow students. Now she knows: these men may be too stubborn to admit that they don't understand something, but you can be good friends with them. It helps that everyone has the same passion and that the atmosphere at the degree programme is good.

Perhaps teaching

Elif still wants to be a teacher, so who knows, she might take that step later. By choosing the minor 'Engineer & Lecturer' in year 4, for example. The question is whether she would want to teach mathematics or physics. Oh well, that's for later. First get that little robot cart to play tag and do some more examinations. Then it's holiday time and year 1 is already over.

I think it would be nice to get something done that would benefit many people

She is already looking forward to designing a wind farm during the Year 2 project. She likes it big, but this year she has learned that she can also make a difference with smaller things. Suppose everyone has a mobile phone with a battery that lasts for days. In any case, she wants to do something that will benefit many people, whether it is in the energy sector or in another field. And she genuinely doesn't see why other women wouldn't want to.