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AUC's professional staff

Services & Communications

Marcus Smit

Marcus Smit is the team leader of the Services & Communications support staff, and AUC's internationalisation officer. Marcus was employed as a Student Exchange Adviser at the central international office of the UvA before coming to work full-time at AUC in 2014. Originally trained as a sociologist, Marcus has always had a great interest in themes surrounding diversity, education, global migration and integration.

Benjamin Garstka

Benjamin Garstka is AUC's Communications Officer. Originally from the US, Ben moved to the Netherlands for his Master’s degree at Utrecht University, interned for the Prince Claus Fund, worked as an editor and learned Dutch. Ben joined AUC's communications team in January 2015. 

Nora McLeese

Nora McLeese is one of AUC's Communications Assistants. Half-Dutch and Half-American, she holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from London College of Communications and a Master’s degree in New Media and Digital Culture from the University of Amsterdam. Prior to moving to Amsterdam, she worked for several tech startups in London, focusing on content management and social media. Nora joined AUC’s communications team in February 2016.  

Marliene Stolker

Marliene Stolker is one of AUC’s Internationalisation Officers and the Administrative Coordinator for Community Projects and Internships. After having obtained her BA in Museum Studies at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, she completed her RMA in Comparative Literary Studies at Utrecht University, focusing mainly on memory and trauma studies, animal studies and the South African writer J.M. Coetzee. During her Master's studies, Marliene went on exchange to the State University of New York at Binghamton. Prior to joining AUC in November 2018, Marliene worked as a Liaison Officer for incoming and outgoing exchange students at the UvA central international office.

Laura van Leijen

Laura is AUC's online marketeer and content marketing manager. In 2016 she obtained her Master's Degree in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam, focusing on persuasive tactics in health communication and marketing. After graduation, she decided to travel for one year, visiting China, Borneo and Japan amongst other countries. When she returned, she began working for large commercial brands as an online marketing consultant. After 4 years, she traded the commercial world for the world of education to use her marketing knowledge to attract potential students by conveying the right message to the right audience. Laura joined AUC’s communications team in June 2021.

Koh Okuno

Koh Okuno is the 2021-2022 Graduate Assistant for the Services and Communications team. Koh is originally from Japan but was raised mostly in Thailand where he attended an international school before arriving in the Netherlands in 2018 to study at AUC. At AUC, he completed the Economics and Political Science tracks as a Social Sciences major. He is currently interested in philosophy and journalism.

Student Life Officer

Aino Kekkonen

Aino Kekkonen is AUC’s Student Life Officer. Originally from Finland, Aino received her BA in Psychology from the University of Glasgow and her MSc in Clinical Psychology from Leiden University in 2017. Prior to joining AUC, she worked in the Learning Support Department at the British School in the Netherlands supporting students with additional needs. In the past, she also completed internships in counselling and worked in support organisations for people with disabilities.

Lisa van Berkel

Lisa van Berkel is AUC's Associate Student Life Officer. Joining AUC in April 2021, Lisa was born in the UK but grew up in the Netherlands. She earned her BA in Psychology and MSc in Clinical Psychology from Utrecht University. After graduating, she decided to travel and when she returned, she started working as a psychologist in the clinical field, mostly in counselling. Ever since she decided to study psychology she has had a very specific goal: to encourage and support young people to be the best they can be. 

Emma van den Boomgaard 

Emma van den Boomgaard is AUC’s Graduate Assistant to the Student Life Officer. She graduated from AUC in July 2021 as a Humanities major. During her studies, she focused on the Film and Culture tracks. Her thesis explores the political consequences of narrating mental illness within art through a close-reading of the affective economy of the film Madeline’s Madeline (dir. Josephine Decker, 2018). During her time at AUC, Emma was the screening coordinator and co-chair of CUT, the film committee.

Admissions & Registrar

Iris Effendi

Iris Effendi is the team leader of the Admissions & Registrar support staff. She joined AUC in 2020 after having worked for 16 years in the enrolment, admissions, operations and registrar teams supporting the online Master’s degree students of Laureate Online Education. Born in The Netherlands and raised in New Zealand she was trained as a teacher and has recently completed a postgraduate award Psychology with distinction in Coaching and Talent Management from the University of Liverpool. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening and is a volunteer with 'Natuur je beste buur' to help maintain the nature surrounding Sportsparken Middenmeer.

Bob Kardolus

Bob Kardolus is AUC's Management Assistant, working in admissions and student administration. With a varied professional background in human resources, immigration and relocation, administration, translating and interpreting (Japanese-English-Dutch), language training and clog dancing, Bob has always worked with a combination of languages, legislation, procedures, communication and practical matters. Previously, he has worked at the Japanese School of Amsterdam and Kyocera Mita Europe, among others. He joined AUC in January 2010.

Cheryl Moolhuijzen

Cheryl joined AUC as the secretary of the Board of Examiners in February 2018. Cheryl has a varied international background having worked in Ireland, Australia and the US working for banks, shops, restaurants and with (wild) dolphins. She started working at the UvA in 2012 at the FNWI Board secretariat, and then went on to work as an Appeals Officer as part of the Central Student Administration team.

Kasia Malarek

Katarzyna (Kasia) Malarek is AUC’s Admissions Officer. She is originally from Poland and has been living in the Netherlands since 2008. Kasia holds a BA in English Philology and an MSc in Applied Psychology from the University of Liverpool. Before joining AUC, she worked as an English teacher and an admissions manager, supporting various educational institutions as well as a programme manager within corporate education.  In her free time, she enjoys playing the guitar and piano.

Iwona Rajczyk 

Iwona is AUC’s Administrative Assistant to the Registrar's Team. She is originally from Poland but has been living in the Netherlands for the past 17 years. She completed her MA in English Language and Culture at the UvA and recently completed a post-graduate course in Business Administration from the University of Roehampton. For more than 12 years, Iwona worked for Laureate Online Education as an Admissions Specialist and later as a Senior Academic Operations Specialist in charge of cyclical faculty scheduling processes for the online courses of the UK partner universities. Over the years she gained diverse experience working directly with students as well as project and operational experience working with cross-functional international teams in the operations department. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, going for long walks with her dog and running. She also loves travelling and meeting local people to learn more about different cultures and local customs.   

Malu Pierik

Malu Pierik is AUC’s SIS Local Coordinator. She has obtained her BA in Japanese Studies at Leiden University in 2012. She enjoys travelling, music and writing stories.

Jenny Hornikx

Jenny is one of AUC's Administrative Assistants to the Admissions and Registrar's team. She has worked for UvA (and briefly for HvA) for several years and in several positions. After obtaining her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in criminology (specialising in criminal careers and the developmental and psychological part of crime) she started working at the START appointments for international students. After that, she worked as an admissions officer, assistant programme manager, academic adviser and is now focusing on admissions as well as registrar tasks. Outside of work, she loves to bake cakes and treats and is the founder of the Baby en Kind Café IJburg.

Jack Rockett

Jack Rockett is one of AUC's Administrative Assistants to the Admissions and Registrar Team. He is originally from the UK and before moving to the Netherlands he lived in Toronto, Canada, for two years. He has a professional background in administration and has previously worked for organisations in higher education, government and the travel industry. He himself is an avid traveller, Norwich City FC supporter, and often spends his spare time reading or watching series/films.

Alumni and External Relations Officer

Gerylaine Campos

Gerylaine Campos is AUC’s Alumni and External Relations Officer. Originally from Aruba, Gerylaine has also lived in the US, London and South Africa before finally settling in the Netherlands. Gerylaine received her BA in Political Science from Earlham College and her MSc in International Development Studies from the University of Amsterdam. She has a passion for working in higher education institutions and enjoys connecting communities through groups like UvA Pride. As an alumna of the United World College, Gerylaine appreciates working in an institution that champions diversity, excellence and sustainability.

Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Sehida Begovic

Sehida Begovic is AUC’s Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion since October 2020. She gained experience on these topics while working for VU Diversity Office since 2017. Her experience includes themes such as student leadership, inclusive recruitment and decolonisation. She participated in international colloquia on the topic of diversity in California and South Africa. During her studies, she took courses at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her time at UCLA inspired her for her project to improve students' sense of belonging at VU. This initiative was granted funds from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Sehida holds a Bachelor's degree in Dentistry and is researching inequalities in access to oral health as part of her Master's thesis.

Education Development Officer

Celestine Leah

Celestine Leah is AUC’s Education Development Officer. She joined AUC in June 2020 after working 6 years in program management at Nyenrode Business Universiteit, and 5 years in student support at Laureate Online Education. Originally from the UK, Celestine moved to the Netherlands in 2007 after a period of travel in South-East Asia, and working at The Royal Opera House in London. Celestine completed her Bachelor’s degree in Dance Performance at Middlesex University and her Master’s Degree in Jungian and Post-Jungian Studies at University of Essex.

College Secretary

Janey Niemeijer

Janey Niemeijer joined AUC as College Secretary in September 2018. She was born in Enkhuizen in the Netherlands to a British mother and a Dutch father. After having completed her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the UvA, Janey went on to complete her Master’s degree at Leiden University in European Union Studies. Janey then went on to work as the Private Secretary to the British Ambassador at the British Embassy in The Hague and at the Trimbos Institute in Utrecht. She now works as AUC’s College Secretary while also teaching social studies at the Horizon College in Alkmaar. 

Rowena van Asselt

Rowena van Asselt joined AUC in September 2019 as Administrative Officer and Secretary to AUC’s Board of Studies. Originally from the UK, Rowena previously worked as an Intellectual Property Rights Officer at the University of Oxford and prior to that spent 13 years in scientific publishing, working in editorial and publisher positions at the Royal Society of Chemistry and Springer Nature. Rowena studied Zoology at the University of Bristol and has an enduring love of science, research and the natural world.

HRM, AUC Scholarship Fund and Finance

Archana Ramdihal

Archana Ramdihal is AUC's Human Resources (HR) Assistant. Until 2015, Archana worked at AUC in the Registrar's Office, was the Secretary for the Board of Examiners and the SIS local coordinator. She obtained her BA in Educational Studies (PABO) at the Hogeschool Rotterdam in 2008. After completing her BA, she studied at the University of Leiden where she completed her BA and MA in Educational Studies, with a concentration in Learning in Professional Contexts. After working as a teacher at a primary school, Archana joined AUC in 2011. 

Wiebe Stuive

Wiebe Stuive is the Financial Officer for AUC and the ASF Scholarship Fund. Prior to AUC, he worked at the UvA/HvA Administration Centre, where he was a part of the project administration team. His experience includes years of working in a financial role for various companies in the Netherlands and Spain, playing guitar in a rock band and clowning. He joined AUC’s support staff in March 2017.

Ernst Jonker

Ernst Jonker is AUC's Financial Controller, and works at the UvA's Administrative Centre.

Quality Officer

Victoria Smit

Victoria Smit is AUC's Quality Officer Institutional Research. She started at AUC in March 2021 after having obtained her BSc in Governance, Economics and Development at Leiden University College in 2018 and her MSc in Public Administration in 2020. She is currently completing her MSc in Statistical Science at Leiden University. Her professional experience includes tutoring maths and statistics, working at the ICT and Education department at Leiden University’s FGGA and an internship at Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, CBS). Outside of work she enjoys watching series, swimming and taking care of her pets and plants.

Facilities Housemasters

Jaap Boertje, Rina Sommer-Rekers and Martin Versteeg are AUC’s Facilities Housemasters. They are responsible for the day-to-day running of the Academic Building.