Kine Schuurman

“It’s fantastic that TU Delft is able to encourage smart, enthusiastic young people to reach great heights.”

Kine Schuurman was just seventeen when she took her last pre-university exam, specialising in science. She took a gap year as an au pair in Geneva, in order to learn French and think about what she wanted to do. In the end, it was her own family who suggested that she study architecture in Delft. Kine thought it looked great, as it was technical and much more besides. She immediately enrolled at TU Delft. While she was still in Geneva, however, she discovered that she wasn’t really inspired by façades or architectural styles. In fact, she avoided the conversations on the topic that her au pair family were keen to hold. As Kine explains: “Thanks to Geneva and the lake there, I discovered that the idea of building large structures did appeal to me. Bridges, for example, or hydraulic engineering works.” So she decided to go for road and hydraulic engineering; or, as the lady from TU Delft told her politely on the phone: “Civil Engineering is what we call it here.”

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At the time, Kine could not have imagined that large structures such as these would still be inspiring her thirty years later. She recently started working as a Procurement Manager at Sif Group, a company that produces foundations for offshore wind farms. “When I walk through the factory at Sif and see those large steel monopiles, I feel really happy!”

Kine graduated in dredging: land and water, and unquestionably “large”, too. After her graduation internship at HANM (part of what was then HBG, later part of Van Oord), she went straight on to a job at the company. For ten years, she travelled all over the world for her work as a project manager.

After working as a consultant for a couple of years, she knew for sure that she found more abstract assignments less appealing. Kine: “I love it when it’s built in concrete, technical and pretty spectacular!” Since then, she has been back in the maritime civil sector. Contract management led on to procurement. “I really enjoy playing the purchasing game. The basic principle is that production never stops. My fun lies in ensuring that the whole purchasing process behind it runs as smoothly and as optimally as possible; that it’s a well-oiled machine. It’s great if we can show how much value we can add in the process.”

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The current generation

When we ask Kine how she came to be a Good Friend of Delft University Fund, she has to laugh. “I started contributing financially straight away, from day one as an alumna. I’ve always felt a certain pride in having studied here, even though it was only later in my studies that I understood what else was going on besides training young engineers. I knew that alumni in other counties gave something back after they graduated. I thought that it was very normal, it’s just something you do! At the time, my classmates didn’t understand it at all – even though it’s such a wonderful institute where so many good things happen. TU Delft is a renowned university of which we can all be proud. I like to make a financial contribution, to strengthen this even more. To alumni who are still unsure about whether they want to contribute, I’d like to say: just take a look at what the current generation is doing. You’ll see that it is impressive. Wouldn’t it be great to be part of that?”

Back in the day, when Kine attended her first annual Good Friends event, she was both the only woman and the youngest attendee by far. She explains that things are different now. Delft University Fund has evolved, not only in terms of the diversity of participants, but mainly in how it involves alumni, offers insight into all the good things that are happening and facilitates mutual networking. “This year, I enjoyed seeing all the talent again during the online TU Delft Best Graduate Award Ceremony. I watched it this time with my 17-year-old son, who’s considering studying at TU Delft. It’s really fantastic to see that there are such smart, enthusiastic young people, but also that TU Delft knows how to encourage them to reach great heights. It’s striking that in addition to their technical skills, the students’ level of social engagement is so high. I was most impressed by the unique approach to the role of the architect taken by the eventual winner, Zhuo-ming Shia. Now that’s a thesis I’d like to see in more detail.”