Biography Speakers Seminar 2024

Maarten Brand

Elke van der Valk

Thomas Berger

Anna Storgards

Johannes Gehringer

Els Lefever

Fernanda Correia

Maria Júlia Mello

Karol Ovesný

Maarten Brand (NL) is the best-known internship expert in the Netherlands. With his office Bureau Brand, he helps companies and organisations to set up internships as successfully as possible. He advises and trains employers and educational institutions to ensure that every internship is a success. He has written several bestselling books on internships.

Elke van der Valk is the coordinator of the Living Labs for Circular Transition and Project Leader for the Sustainable Impact Office at Fontys University of Applied Sciences. Elke has started the coordination of the Living Labs for Circular Transition since February 2022 where students work in interdisciplinary teams together with coaches, researchers and workfield partners on solutions for circular challenges. The living labs are part of the research group for Circular Transition and are meant to build a structure where impactful research and education come together. At the same time Elke is the Project Leader of the Sustainable Impact Office of Fontys that will open on the 13th of September 2024. Besides her work for Fontys Elke also has been leading a project for the municipality of Veldhoven in which she is organising a school day for sustainability linked to the SDGs for primary school children. The idea is that the younger we start giving children the tools to act in a sustainable way, the more normal and easier it becomes when we grow older.

Thomas Berger is the Head of EU Mobility programmes and Director of the Online Academy of the Institute inter.research e.V. He has been the head of the contact point of a regional Erasmus traineeship consortium since 2001. The consortium supports each year approx. 200 students and graduates with an Erasmus+ traineeship grant and an online key skill training. He furthermore works as an EU-liaison officer for the University of Applied Sciences Fulda, Germany. In this role he has managed the European network OPEN-EYE – a European consortium of 10 contact points of the EU-programme Erasmus for young entrepreneurs since 2009 and since 2021 he has managed the Europe Direct Center Fulda . In 2018 he was seconded as national expert for professional training to the European Commission (DG EAC) for 3 months and to the EU staff unit of the Hessen Ministry of Higher Education Research and the Arts in 2021 for 12 months. He received his Diploma degree in Applied Computer Science 1999 from the University of Applied Sciences Fulda and his MBA (Science and EducationManagement) Degree 2011 from the University Oldenburg.

Anna Storgards works with career services and employer relations at the University of Helsinki. She has worked with internationalization and employability issues in higher education for twenty years.

Anna especially focuses on supporting the employability of international students to the Finnish labour market. She manages the HelsinkiUNI International Talent Programme and co-organizes the UH International Traineeship Programme. Anna has taken part in creating an application and guidance tool for soft skills recognition, SkillMill. Anna is involved in various activities that promote innovation and entrepreneurship at the university.

Anna holds an MA in Sociology (with focus on ethnic relations) from the University of Helsinki.

Johannes Gehringer is Policy Officer for Erasmus+ Higher Education at the European Commission in Brussels.
Johannes has work experience in EU external relations and cooperation (audiovisual, culture) as well as in EU education and training policies and programmes. He is interested in EU affairs, international relations, foreign policy, education and culture.

Els Lefever (BE) is an associate professor at the LT3 language and translation technology team at Ghent University. She started her career as a computational linguist at the R&D-department of Lernout & Hauspie Speech products. She has a strong expertise in machine learning of natural language and multilingual natural language processing.
She teaches Terminology and Translation Technology, Language Technology, Localisation, Digital Text Analysis and Digital Humanities courses.

Fernanda Correia (PT) is a psychologist with more than 15 years of experience in career development and vocational interventions (guidance, transitions, retirement), in skills development, sustainable careers and inclusive employability. Fernanda holds a Master’s degree from the Faculty of Psychology and Education of the University of Porto.
Effective member of the Portuguese Association of Psychologists, holds a European Certificate in Psychology – Europsy, from EFPA (European Federation of Psychologists Associations). Member of the Advisory Council for Higher Education – Northern Regional Delegation of the Order of Portuguese Psychologists. Ambassador of the EUGLOH Alliance. Global Career Development Facilitator (EBCC) and Career Management Facilitator. Responsible for the creation of the U.Porto Talent & Career area in 2020 at University of Porto.
Internship supervisor, lecturer and trainer on topics related to employability skills, career management and personal development,. Invited speaker at seminars related to employment and careers.

Maria Júlia Mello (PT) is a Psychologist by the Faculty of Psychology and Science Education of University of Porto, with a Master in Organisational, Social and Work Psychology.
Her professional focus revolves around career facilitation for university students, conducting skills development workshops and classes, and fostering connections with companies to engage stakeholders and partners.
In her role, Maria Júlia takes on the responsibility of co-implementing inclusive employability programs at the University of Porto, such as Peer2Peer and PairUP (PRR) Programs – porgrammes for inclusive employability.

Karol Ovesný is the Founder and CEO of WorkSpace Europe, a consortium of universities in Slovakia and Czech Republic, focused on the international Erasmus+ traineeships and university-business cooperation. He is a specialist in international mobility and employability of higher education students. Karol is an experienced project manager in the fields of University-Business cooperation, EU programme Erasmus+ and student internships. He also manages a student internship programs for businesses and cooperates with top-level international companies based in Slovakia and abroad. A social entrepreneur and designer of digital applications, Karol is also a board member of LEO-NET, Chair of Business-Academic Cooperation Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia, as well as an Employability Expert Community Steering Group member of EAIE (European Association for International Education).