Hanna Lenitz - Part of winning team of the 1st Co-Challenge
Hanna Lenitz is a recent master graduate of Social Policy and Public Health. While searching for a job, she was looking for something to do in the meanwhile and signed up for Co-Challenge. In this elective course, you solve real-world problems in co-creation with professionals from the educational and corporate world. Hanna participated in the co-challenge of 2017, where students had to come up with an idea to make Utrecht more bike and walking friendly.
What triggered your curiosity to join the course?
I thought it was a good combination of several things that my study was missing. First of all, the idea of entrepreneurship spoke to me: during the course you had the opportunity to create your project that would have a real world application. The project had a chance to be implemented by the Municipality of Utrecht. Also, I had the chance to extend my network, make new contacts with other students from various backgrounds but also from the Municipality of Utrecht and guest speakers. It felt like I did not gain enough knowledge for a non-academic career after graduation. In the Co-challenge you do get the opportunity to obtain skills that you can use in public, governmental or corporate work positions.
Did the challenge meet your expectations?
It was quite different from what I was expecting: it was so refreshing! It felt I was working on a real project. The project we got assigned was very different from the usual assignments and a lot freeer. It was not another presentation or paper, where you accumulate information. The co-challenge lets you create something else that is interesting for people that do not want to continue with research and are more interested in solving societal problems.
The co-challenge lets you create something else that is interesting for people that do not want to continue with research and are more interested in solving societal problems.
How did you find the environment of a multidisciplinary team?
My team was very multidisciplinary. We had students from computer science, bio-inspired innovation, human geography and veterinary medicine. The different backgrounds were not that much of a problem, rather than the different approaches that each member had. For example one of the team members was a very enthusiastic person, coming up with a lot of ideas and not really setting the mind on one. This made working together a challenge in the beginning, but in the end we made good use of everyone’s qualities.
Would you recommend to someone else to participate in an interdisciplinary course?
I do! I contacted my master coordinator to let her know of my experience and encouraged her to advise other students to participate as well. The co-challenge is an opportunity they do not get from their studies, especially for the ones that are not looking for a PhD opportunity, but instead for those needing a pause from research and are looking for something more practical. It is a fun experience, where you get to meet people and get interesting insights. It did not feel like a course at all, it felt like I was going to work everyday, but to the most amazing job you could imagine.