I can make much more of an impact now!

I can make much more of an impact now!

05/14/2024 - 16:23

Cindy Martens graduated in Logistics Engineering from BUas in 2019 and went to Tilburg University for no less than two academic masters. But she returned, to become a lecturer in our logistics programmes. Her specialism? Data Science and AI!
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Two academic master’s degrees! We will get into that in a minute. But first, lecturer at your old school! What is that like? So far?

‘Honestly? I find it quite exciting, as well as this interview by the way!’ (laughs) ‘I started in February and have not taught much yet. I am mainly involved in curriculum development and especially in integrating Data Science and AI into the teaching materials of Logistics Engineering. This bachelor’s programme offers students many opportunities. And with the integration of Data Science & AI, we want to make the programme even more appealing and thus increase the influx of students.’

So, you have not really been teaching yet?

‘I have already done some teaching where I guide students in learning the Python programming language, for example. Recently a student said to me, “Gee, I didn’t really know anything about it, but you make it easy to keep up.” That is nice to hear, because it still feels a bit out of my comfort zone. And when I do not feel completely at ease, I quickly revert to the content, because that piece is familiar to me. There is a danger that in my enthusiasm I may go too fast and perhaps not explain things clearly enough.’

What is it that makes you feel uncomfortable?

‘I just do not like to be the centre of attention. I still have to grow in that respect. But that is why I love our team. There are five of us working to integrate Data Science and AI into the curriculum, and everyone has a different role and also brings something different to the table. Jan is very knowledgeable about ICT in logistics, Emelie is specialised in developing and organising education, Bas knows all about personal development and the connection with the field and Rutger is very much about innovation and he always pushes to create something cool for our students as fast as possible. This way we complement each other nicely.’

And your field of expertise is Data Science & AI? How come? When you were studying at BUas, it was not really hot yet, was it? The Applied Data Science and Artificial Intelligence programme did not exist yet.

‘True, although BUas was very early to have such a programme. In that respect, there really are some early adopters here!’

But what triggered you to get started with AI?

‘For me, the trigger was actually the Master of Science degree in Supply Chain Management I was taking at Tilburg; at BUas, that master’s did not exist at that time. I was doing research on improving the efficiency of the order picking process by making a warehouse more responsive to customer demand. I could not solve the problem with the traditional tools I had used up to that point. So, I started looking for new approaches and that is how I came across a more advanced method of data mining using Artificial Intelligence. That went so well for me that someone said to me: why don’t you continue with Data Science and Society?’

So, you picked up another Master of Science degree?

‘Yes, that was pretty tough, because by now I was also working at CEVA Logistics, where I was doing my graduate research.’

How did you end up coming back to BUas?

‘I was planning to contact BUas anyway, because I would like to share the knowledge I had gained, and then Jan shared this vacancy. I think it is very cool that I got the job. Working at a logistics company is also great, of course, but I can make much more of an impact now by teaching students about something that is really still in its infancy at many logistics companies – and yes, sometimes even at the big names.’

What are you working on now?

‘I am – together with the team – mostly working on new educational activities for years 2 and 3 of the Logistics Engineering programme. Step by step, we are adding more elements related to Data Science and AI to the study programme. We actively involve students because their feedback is very valuable. They are in the best position to identify what works for them when it comes to learning. For example, do they like or dislike an instructional video? Together, we find out what works best. It really is teamwork. And it also takes a bit of trial and error.’

Experimentation, then?

‘Yes, and that is not a bad thing at all. It is all still so new. As I just said, even big names in the industry are still discovering things when it comes to applying AI. We would love to hear what problems they encounter, because we love to help. We are also always looking for assignments for our students. Think of assignments in terms of predicting demand or predicting when a machine needs maintenance. The application of AI can greatly improve efficiency in logistics through the smarter and more sustainable organisation of logistics flows with the right tools and data. I think every company would like that!’


The team of which Cindy is a part includes:

Would you like to share something with them? Do you have any ideas? Or a nice logistical challenge for students in the field of Data Science & AI? Feel free to send any of them a message.


Interview by Maaike Dukker-‘t Hart