In memoriam: Dr. Daniëlle A. Hamstra
On July 28, 2022, our dear colleague Daniëlle Hamstra passed away after a short sickbed. Daniëlle had been associated with the Clinical Psychology Section since 2010, initially as a student in the research master's program and subsequently as a lecturer and PhD candidate.
Less than a year ago, she defended with verve and humor her dissertation on the effects of "the pill" on mood and cognitive functions. By now she was working as a clinician. We were still finishing up the last article from her dissertation when the bad news about her illness overwhelmed everyone.
Daniëlle was not an average student. When she applied for a spot in the selective research master's program, she was 45 and had already had careers in marketing and elementary education. As a lateral entrant, it became clear during the first course in the master's program that she had some catching up to do compared to her fellow students who were half her age. But she did so with lightning speed. She was driven, worked hard, and had a steep learning curve. And she didn't mince words. It was remarkable to see how quickly she caught on.
For her graduation project, she was collaborating on a study of a potential new antidepressant. The first step was to look at the effect of the drug on the cognitive functions of healthy volunteers. The results were inconclusive because the effect of hormonal contraception - the pill - was greater than that of the drug. This was something that we didn't expect. We didn't grieve long over the failed project because it earned Daniëlle her first publication - on the effect of the pill on cognition - with the message that this effect is often overlooked in research on cognitive functions. In a nice series of studies, she then expanded on this theme and obtained her PhD on this subject.
Daniëlle was also not your average PhD student - to the extent that there are any. She was very good at recruiting subjects. We all benefited from her marketing and advertising background. And she was very good as a teacher. Dozens of bachelor and master students graduated under her strict yet fair leadership, and more importantly, were enthused about clinically relevant research. Many a student has come to a first co-authorship on one of her articles thanks to her.
Her PhD team keeps fond memories of the many meetings and consultations. She was always well prepared, knew her stuff, and was driven and decisive. She had a good temper, even when it was sometimes put to the test. She could always fall back on her sense of humor. Everyone became fond of Daniëlle.
In recent years, while completing her dissertation, she became proficient as a clinician. A second career as a psychologist, scientist-practitioner, was a late calling but she made it happen. She remained passionate about the topic of her dissertation and had a mission to make researchers and clinicians aware of the impact of the birth control pill. She knew how to put her marketing and teaching skills to good use there as well. Unfortunately, this came to an end much too soon; she had much more to offer.
The news of her illness came as a bolt from the blue. It has hit her former colleagues hard. We can only imagine how hard it must have hit her husband André, their two young adult children and her family. We will remember Daniëlle as a fine, energetic, professional and involved colleague.
Willem van der Does
On behalf of the Clinical Psychology unit