After successful completion of her Fashion Textile Technologies Bachelor Degree programme, Saxion student, Lisa Vos, decided that she wished to continue her studies, so she decided to follow up her degree progamme with a Master in Innovative Textile Development, allowing her to build on her knowledge of textile science techniques. "I found the extra step prepared me really well for my current job" said Lisa.
Lisa is currently working as Junior product development engineer with TenCate Protective Fabrics in Niverdal, where she develops and improves protective clothing found in all kinds of areas, from firefighting gear that has to withstand both fire and water, to industrial overalls; from medical scrubs, to uniforms for police and the armed forces. Each occupation has its own requirements for the clothing they need to wear. As much as possible, there needs to be a balance between safety and comfort. The discipline of textile sciences is always evolving. Innovative technologies offer new possibilities, yet demand ever more specific research.
Lisa: "For my graduation project during my Bachelor programme, I ended up at TenCate Grass and researched how artificial grass could have further applications, for example cladding for sound dampening walls and fences. This is where other properties, such as air permeability and feasibility of production on other machines come in. That then led to a follow-up project which meant that I ultimately stayed on at TenCate Grass research and development department for another eight months to conclude my research. That bridged the gap in a wonderful way until I could start my Master programme.
Her Master's research brought Lisa in contact with the Ministry of Defence's Clothing and Personal Equipment Enterprise (KPU) where she conducted research into improvements in vest technology which the various units must wear in the Royal Military Police. "There was a broad remit. The look of the uniform needs to be consistent with the unit they were designated for. You can imagine the uniform as a collection of modules. There's a soft armour basic vest which is universally worn in the field. Say you work at Schiphol airport, you would have an extra stab-proof layer, but if you were to be stationed in Afghanistan to act as body guard to a dignitary, then your outfit would look completely different. If you were to secure a place like het Torentje in the Binnenhof (where the PM's offices are located), then that would place yet another set of requirements on the outfit. All these modules must be tailored to the individual as much as possible while allowing for all the possible combinations of attributes which are to be worn. My research focussed on improving the textile composition and comfort factor of the soft armour basic vest.
What interested me most about the Master in Innovative Textile Development was the combination of theoretical and applied research.
What interested me most about the Master in Innovative Textile Development was the combination of theoretical and applied research. Of course, the formulation of my research question had to be grounded in the literature: the existing knowledge of the technical applications of the materials involved in such a garment; and the steps involved in textile composition for optimal comfort. Then you switch over to applied research; what do the customers think and experience? Of course, I got to work with testing in the lab at TNO. It was great to see how a prototype could be made based on theoretical insights which the test results helped to support. I saw the worlds of theory and practice come together in my Master programme. And I found that very interesting."
"You really need to go for it when you begin a Master degree", said Lisa. We see that there is a real need for Master students who have had several years prior work experience. Lisa found that the majority of students enrolled in her Master programme were recent graduates from a Bachelor's programme. "They weren't all graduates from Saxion Bachelor programmes. This Master programme attracts applicants from all over the world. There were students from Germany, Belgium, Mexico and Spain in my Master programme. I hear that there were also Asian students who had begun this year. It was great fun and really interesting to hang out with such a diverse group of people. Everyone injects their own educational background, specialisation and culture into the mix. Collaborating with such a diverse group on assignments was great preparation for my new working life. What also stood out is that in the Netherlands, we really get to experience student life to the fullest, with activities, time for going out and opportunities to participate in all kinds of committees. International students are somewhat envious. And that is also experience that we take with us.
I had the opportunity to study this Master programme at other institutions. I was really open to the idea and looked into the possibilities. There is a similar programme in Gent. But the Twente region is strong in the specialised field of technical textiles and, in terms of content, the Master programme at Saxion was most in line with what I wanted to study. It was certainly no hardship to follow up my Bachelor studies with a Master degree at Saxion. Now, after a really interesting study path, I have attained the title MSc, equivalent to that of a research University MSc. This feels like the final crowning achievement of my studies.