Winners Student Award Social Impact

NB Until 2022, this award was called the Student Award Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements.


Kimia Milani Sabzewar is the winner of the Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements Award 2022. Kimia is fully committed to supporting refugees with her founded Abadi Foundation.


Not one, but two winners of the Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements Award: Daan Roovers and the ‘The CO2 Assistant’ group. “An exceptional decision in exceptional times,” the jury describes the presenting of the award to two winners.


In their podcasts, DOMCast gives a voice to the sometimes still unheard, personal history of special Utrecht residents. The jury thinks that the enthusiasm DOMCast works with is contagious, and that they show how socially relevant science can be. The jury sees the dedication with which the students compile and host their podcasts as admirable. 


Studying without Limitations is a platform for and by students, and dedicates itself to students with disabilities. Their activities involve varying phases of students' lives: from open days, intake, transfer up to and including improvement of accessibility to internships and the future job market. The big variety in ideas and activities makes an important contribution to a more diverse and inclusive Utrecht University.

In their laudatory (pdf, Dutch), the jury indicates to be touched by the enthusiasm, resourcefulness, involvement and perseverance shown by the pioneers of Studying without Limitations. They show other students how inspiring and activating studying can be.

Additional information: Student Awards for Laureanne Willems and Studying without Limitations.


The working group ‘Gewoon Vega’ consists of Natalie van Dis, Tiemen Wagenvoort, Maaike de Leeuw, Mardie Vermunt and Julia Ertl. These students of various degree programmes devote themselves in creative and positive ways to let the university community eat vegetarian food more often, with the goal of reducing the ecological footprint. They developed an attractive presentation of the vegetarian menu, combined with dissemination of information. This approach led to the sale of significantly more vegetarian products, their research shows.


Roos Ykema, a student of Environmental and Natural Sciences and Law, is the winner of the Student Award in the ‘Exceptional Achievements’ category. 

Ykema founded the Taalles Vluchtelingen Utrecht Team. Together with fifty to sixty language volunteers, almost all of them students, she provides language lessons to refugees in the asylum-seekers' centre Oog en Al.

In the laudatory (pdf, Dutch), the jury speaks of this initiative with admiration. The jury thinks that the language lessons will continue to have a big social impact in the future.


Antoine Steenkamer, a student of Law and Entrepreneurship and a co-founder of Grayful, is the winner of the Student Award in the ‘Exceptional Achievements’ category. 

Grayful is a national initiative in which talented students are teamed up with nursing homes and convalescent homes. The students provide music performances, trips for the residents or classes on subjects like art history. The organisation is active in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Maastricht, Tilburg and Breda.

Besides that, Antoine collaborated on the setting up of a collaboration between two university institutes on the use of stem cells and cell lines stored in biobanks.

In the laudatory (pdf, Dutch), the jury expresses the expectation that Grayful has a big chance to take up a permanent place in society.


Karin van Trijp, a Master's student at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, is the winner of the Student Award in the ‘Exceptional Achievements’ category. The jury describes her personality and range of activities with the words: “initiating”, “selfless” and “driven”.

In 2012, Karin, then a bachelor's student, participated in a project to give Bulgarian orphans an unforgettable vacation. One year later, Karin took over as leader and continued the project as part of the Stichting Wees een Lach (Foundation Be a Smile). She professionalises the foundation with a passion, and establishes a solid foundation and continuity.

The societal relevance of the Stichting is big. The activities have since been expanded to other Eastern European countries so more children with attachment issues and traumatic experiences have a carefree time.

Read the laudatory (pdf, Dutch).


Marianne Pouwer, a Master's student of Veterinary Medicine, is the winner of the Student Award in the ‘Exceptional Achievements’ category. Marianne took the initiative for the Summer School Junior, in which primary-school pupils meet the fascinating world of science. With lots of perseverance, common sense, enthusiasm and strength, she is the big leader of this initiative. Besides that, Marianne also works as a lecturer volunteer at the IMC Weekend School Utrecht for children from underprivileged neighbourhoods.

The jury is touched by her endless enthusiasm and the way in which Marianne can get things done with sensibility and relative silence. “She is a great example that studying AND extra-curricular activities mix very well. With this, Marianne and her Summer School have a positive effect on the image of students in general and those from our university in particular,” the jury report states.


Anne Marie Droste and Wouter Witvoet are the winners of the Student Award 2013. In the past year, Anne Marie and Wouter were in the first student board of the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School. They united 21 companies, five ministries and thirteen universities under the vision of the organisation, and let 75 students participate in the Summer School this summer. Together, they also founded the foundation Beyond West with the vision that mutual understanding between ‘East’ and ‘West’ can only come from interaction and dialogue. With a group of twenty young professionals, students and professors, they visited various locations in North Korea where no foreigner had ever been before this past summer. Please also read the laudatory (pdf, Dutch) on Anne Marie and Wouter.

Student organisation Enactus 

Because of the founding and continued development of various social enterprises in Utrecht, such as Oma's United, the board of Enactus (formerly: SIFE) is a social enterprise aiming to reduce loneliness among the elderly.

Luuk Veeken is nominated because he is an ambitious and enterprising student “who has a keen eye for opportunities at the intersection of sustainability, healthcare and entrepreneurship.” He is enrolled in the Master's programme of Energy Science.


The Dutch branch of IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Expertise) is the winner of this Student Award for the academic year 2011-2012. The Dutch branch of IAESTE consists of Danny Chan, Milo van Holsteijn, Jobke Janssen and Wouter Vink, who are all students or recent graduates of the Master’s programme Mathematical Sciences. They have founded the Dutch branch of the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience. 

By means of an internship or a company, a Science student can make his or her gained knowledge useful to society. In a brief period of time, these four students have been able to set up an organisation and a network for which 400 students have since shown interest. 

Besides that, these students have also carried out other board tasks within and outside the degree programme and the student organisation. The jury describes the foursome as “all-round excellent talents”. The jury report: “They are internationally oriented, aware of the importance of science to society and dare to take initiatives. On top of that, they have achieved excellent study results, and they all have many and varied extra-curricular activities.”

Jenne Jan Holtland, nominated by: student organisation SIB-Utrecht. Reason: his dedication to the substantive programme of SIB-Utrecht. For instance, he was the organiser of the Great Journey to the Middle-East. Besides that, he showed involvement in various social issues. For instance, he is a member of the Independent Student Energy Platform and a volunteer at Stichting Rights Forum.

Jan-Willem Meijerink, nominated by: Study Advisor of Physics Joke van Dijk and Degree Programme Director of Physics Arjen Vredenberg. Reason: At his own initiative, Jan-Willem has founded and implemented a Student tutorage as a supplement to the regular Tutorage. Besides that, he is a member of representative advisory bodies of the degree programme and the Secretary of the representative board of Physics & Astronomy. He is currently the President of the National Olympiad for University Students of Physics 2012.


Eefje van de Sanden (winner), a student at the Master’s programme ‘Educational Design and Advise’, received the Student Award in the ‘Exceptional Achievements’ category. During her degree programme, some of the organisations Eefje was active at were Bureau Inburgering, Amnesty International and Studentenvereniging voor Internationale Betrekkingen (SIB-Utrecht). During her Master’s programme, she made an exceptional achievement by founding Book4Life in Utrecht: a charitable used-books store that opened in 2009.

Fleur Botman was nominated by student society C.S. Veritas. She was a volunteer at De Kindertelefoon Utrecht, a board member of two national student organisations and an active member of various committees in her student organisation.

Spencer Heijnen was nominated by three lecturers/staff members of University College Utrecht. Spencer's activities included President of the UCU student organisation ASIC and a Project Assistant in order to improve the purchasing of Fair-Trade products in Utrecht. Besides that, he made the time to initiate various social projects within and outside the College.


Haza Rahim (winner), a Bachelor's student of Psychology. Haza organised student-for-a-day sessions for the degree programme and for the Koerdische Studentenvereniging in the Netherlands.

Kristyanne Hendriks (nominee), a Bachelor's student of Veterinary Medicine.


Seren Dalkiran (winner), a Bachelor's student of Liberal Arts & Sciences at University College Utrecht. Seren has founded the Foundation “Verdwaalde Gezichten”. This foundation devotes itself to human rights.

Marijke Dijkstra (nominee), a Master's student of Clinical and Health Psychology.

Charlotte Wijs (nominee), a Master's student of Fiscal Law.


Thekla Teunis (winner), a student of Mathematics and Language and Culture Studies, and President of the rowing association Orca, collaborated with the housing association and primary-school pupils to improve the quality of life in the Utrecht neighbourhood of Hoograven.

Nurah M. Hammoud (nominee), a student of Medicine.

Henrik Looij (nominee), a student of Human Geography and Planning.