All in the family

Generations of students in one family have studied at TU Delft. In this series we speak to grandparents, parents and children about their student time.

Chemistry times three

After completing secondary school, Quentin van Driel was unsure about what to study next. He was good at sciences, but wanted to do more than just sums. Biology? It seemed boring. He chose something in-between: Molecular Science and Technology at TU Delft and Leiden University. He completed his Master’s in Chemical Engineering in June.

Quentin was following in the footsteps of his grandfather Eric Houwink, who started studying Applied Chemistry in 1946. What Quentin didn’t know, was that his grandmother had followed the same path.

“My grandmother, Han Bhik Hwa – known as Mity after arriving in the Netherlands – was the only woman to receive the Malino scholarship. She started studying Chemistry in Delft, but it didn’t suit her. She had to work hard. And, to be fair, it wasn’t made easy for her. Not being Dutch and also a woman, she was often ignored, particularly by conservative professors who disapproved of women at university, especially studying chemistry. I’ve learnt to accept everyone, irrespective of their appearance. Just like grandmother Mity and her motto: ‘Take people as they are. Treat others as you would like them to treat you’.”   

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