HELEEN ELENBAAS is our 510 Intern and is studying MSc. Geographical Information Management and Application at Utrecht University. We took a few moments to catch up with her after her first month with the team.

1: How did you end up getting a work placement with 510?

I discovered 510 via one of my classmates, who knew people doing their internship here. Because it sounded really interesting, and relevant considering my background (bachelor in Human Geography with specialization International Development Studies and master in GIS), I figured I wanted to do an internship at 510 too! Basically I sent an email saying ‘I want to be your new intern’, and here I am, doing an internship at 510! I have just started in the beginning of April, and currently I am working on a project called Data4SDGs. This project explores how data can be used more efficiently to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals. My focus in this project is on water supply (SDG 6.1.1) in Malawi, and basically I am studying the available data on water points in this country, the quality of this data and gaps in the data supply. Based on this assessment, a team will start gathering data in the field in Malawi to fill in these gaps in the data supply, to be able to make better decisions for reaching SDG 6.1.1.

2: Where do you see yourself working after you graduate?

I will probably (and hopefully) graduate this September. Afterwards, before starting working, I want to drive through Namibia, Botswana and South Africa in a 4×4 for a few months. What type of job I will be looking for afterwards I don’t know yet, but probably in consultancy. Eventually, I hope I’ll find a job that allows me to go on many more beautiful trips!

3: Where do you see 510 in 5 years?

The work of 510 is highly relevant, considering all kinds of new technologies to gather data for development, and will remain necessary because effects of for instance climate change and related events such as droughts and floods are likely to increase in the coming years. Therefore I think that the 510 team will only grow in the coming years, both in the number of interns and ‘regular’ staff. Because 510 tries to translate research into practice, I think that, just as is the case now, the team will attract a lot of students and interns.

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