Two political science students were awarded the faculty thesis prize this year: Daniëlle Graman (Bachelor Political Science) and Cille Kaiser (Master Political Science and Global Environmental Governance). So we asked them: What is it like to write a thesis and graduate during a global pandemic?

12/22/2020 | 11:29 AM

Daniëlle Graman was inspired by the corona crisis for her thesis subject. She won the prize for her thesis 'Health and Political Trust: How the global pandemic of COVID-19 has influenced levels of political trust in the Netherlands.' Daniëlle's thesis demonstrated that the corona crisis in the Netherlands has led to higher confidence in politics. "The research showed that making health care policy during a health crisis not only increases the political confidence of Dutch citizens, but also contributes to the democratic process in which the voice of the citizen is represented."

After completing her second bachelor's degree (she already received her bachelor's degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology last year), Daniëlle wanted to take a few years off. A trip to Australia and New Zealand was planned, but corona threw a spanner in the works. “Fortunately, I found a very nice internship with the D66 campaign & communication team. Together with a team of volunteers, we are currently working on the campaign for the Dutch parliamentary elections on March 17th. In 2021, I will most likely continue my studies in International and European politics in Germany or Belgium.”


Cille Kaiser won with her Master Thesis ‘Rethinking the Polycentricity-Equity Paradox: On the North-South Imbalances in Transnational Climate Change Governance.' Cille believes that writing her thesis during the first lockdown helped her, because it allowed her to really throw herself at her topic. Nevertheless, she was very surprised when she heard she had won the thesis prize. “During my first thesis group meeting my supervisor, dr. Matthew Hoye, said something about theses not winning awards because they find solutions to wicked world problems, but because they are methodologically and argumentatively sound, and are written in clear but understandable language. Anyway, I didn't give that much thought at the time, because I didn't really think awards were on the table. But I think I owe a lot to his advice. I needed to think smaller, and I did.” 

Although it is quite intense to graduate in such a year as this, Cille quickly found a great new opportunity. Not long after finishing her thesis she landed a job as a junior lecture at VU, at the department of Political Science & Public Administration. “ am teaching several first-year bachelor's courses this academic year and it has been a challenging but wonderful experience so far. I aspire to do a PhD in the near future, so I believe this is very relevant and valuable work experience.”