PE&RC in the Spotlight

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Every month we put a PE&RC member in the spotlight. This month we are getting to know Stella Juventia, PhD candidate at the Farming Systems Ecology group in Wageningen. She is a representative of the WPC and serves on the Thinktank Committee.

What are you passionate about in your research?
Have you heard of strip intercropping or strokenteelt in Dutch? My research is basically about that. Producing actionable knowledge on designing crop diversification strategies – in particular strip cropping – in the Netherlands. I love how my research lies in the intersection between generic and practical knowledge, connecting experimental field observations, a model-assisted design framework, and farmers’ experiences.

What do you currently do to de-stress?
Now that I’m currently home in Indonesia, I play with my Pug a lot. When I’m back in the Netherlands, music helps me to de-stress. Mostly singing, playing piano/ukulele or going to Bongerd to dance.

What are you binging on Netflix?
La Casa de Papel (as strongly recommended by a friend). Also Avatar – The Last Airbender with Dutch dubbing to practice my listening skills ;)

If you could be any plant what would you be, and why?
Never thought about this. Perhaps an ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum)? I have only heard of this plant and it sounds pretty unique that it has a clever way to store salt, thus not only can thrive in saline areas, but also can be used for phytoremediation (recycling saline land that is over-cropped or over-irrigated using plants). And, they say it tastes pretty good for a salad!

If you could change one thing at your university/research institute, what would it be?
That some offices would remain open throughout the night/at least until later hours to accommodate the night owls. Joking! ^^’

What should all 1st year PhD candidates know?
To the 1st year PhD candidates, Unless you have a time-turner, being able to say NO is an important skill to learn. Sometimes (or maybe often times) it’s better to turn down an exciting opportunity or an extra (urgent) task because your PhD project takes priority, at least during these four years. There should be plenty of opportunities afterwards, so just focus on the PhD for now. And, remember to enjoy the ride as much as possible!

What has been your favourite part of your PhD so far?
Hard to choose one, can I mention two? First, interviewing farmers and hearing how much the results of our research would benefit them. Second, supervising students and seeing how much they have grown throughout their thesis process. :)