I met Marlen in Jyväskylä, Finland, 2010, when he was teaching an academic English course I took. Instead of having a regular boring English course, Marlen would make us all do a research project on a topic that would reflect both our personal and academic interests, which made the course both fun and very useful. Marlen’s approach in supporting people to find their interests really helped me to develop my academic identity and get closer to my true interests within research.
Marlen is an incredibly inspirational personality – which you will notice as soon as you meet him – and I always left his class with the feeling that the world is open, and that I can accomplish anything. Marlen genuinely cares about helping people to develop their ideas and skills, and find their passions. Later I also worked as a teaching assistant for Marlen’s course, which gave me important experience in trying to help others in finding their research interests.
After the course I was admitted to present my research project at the annual congress of the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations (EFPSA). Without the confidence I got from Marlen’s course, I would not have seen myself doing such a thing, being only a bachelor’s student at the time, without having even done my bachelor’s thesis yet.
Marlen also offered me a great opportunity to co-author a manuscript about the bridging approach he used in our English course. The manuscript was published in an academic peer-reviewed journal, which felt great – I got my first publication, and important experience of the process on the way.
In 2013 I applied and got admitted to a prestigious and competitive research master’s program in psychology, at the University of Amsterdam. I can sincerely say that the impact Marlen had on my academic self-esteem and career contributed strongly to my admittance. Working with Marlen has brought to my CV a couple research projects, one of them presented on a congress and the other one both presented on a few congresses and published in an academic journal, and also experience as a teaching assistant.
Besides the purely academic side, I think the most important take-home message I have got from working with Marlen is the attitude that one can accomplish anything, if one just puts effort and passion to it. Rarely do you meet such a person who has the ability to motivate and inspire people so much, and change their attitude towards success. For me this happened.
– Annika, Master’s Student at the University of Amsterdam