School: University of Twente
Cohort: Fall 2019
Contact him about: Hosting workshops, student information applications, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and small talk
Rick Akkerman is an undergraduate student at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Currently he is in his second year of University College ATLAS (Technology, Liberal Arts & Sciences). The program centralizes interdisciplinary, project-based learning and feedback, with the aim of giving students the experience necessary to make innovative technologies practical within a complex society. The self-designed learning concepts allow students to create their own learning path, which in Rick's case means specializing in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. Simple to use applications with high impact, such as Hand Talk or Plantix, that bring AI to the consumer in a tangible way, is what inspired Rick to pursue a job within this domain.
To create such applications, you do not only need to understand your consumer well, you also need to know how to intervene and have a meaningful impact. For this reason, Rick enrolled in the honours program at his university, focused on Processes of Change. Analyzing the concept of change and dynamics on various societal levels, helped him to shape effective change interventions and understand his surroundings better. Next to that, Rick contributed to his study association by maintaining and setting up mutual-beneficial collaborations with companies as External Relations Officer. Connecting students to companies and the other way around, taught him a lot about what students value in an employer and companies value in an employees.
In his second year Rick became an University Innovation Fellow. Together with two other Fellows, Thyne Scholte and Satwik Krishna, Rick focused on improving the UT Campus App. Originally the app was aimed at welcoming new students to the university by supplying general information such as schedules, university events and navigation. Once students became acquainted with the student life, the app became relatively less and less useful. Creating one centralized application to not only supply information but also connect students, was the go to move to create more value for all students. Currently, the app is in development and planned to go live at the start of next academic year. Moreover, Rick is on the organizing team for the first Twente-4 Hours Global Meetup, which is a 24-hour relay race around the globe filled with workshops hosted by UIF cohorts from every corner of the planet. Rick is overseeing the marketing of the event.
In the UIF team internally Rick is a real all-rounder, supporting other Fellows and the coordinating team in their projects and plans. Currently, Rick is exploring opportunities for working together with companies or other design thinking driven initiatives to enlarge the UIF network in the Netherlands.