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Meet the people

Master's Pedagogical Sciences, track Youth at Risk

Read what our students have to say, meet our professors, and discover the possibilities besides your studies.


Read about the experiences of other students below.

  • Pim: It is an international master, focussing on child development in different places, cultures and contexts.'
    Pim Looze, student Master's track Youth at Risk

    'After finishing my master Preventive Youthcare and Child rearing at the University of Amsterdam, I wanted to acquire more knowledge, experience and skills before starting the working life. I chose to study Youth at Risk because I was curious as to why certain risk factors can have far reaching consequences for one individual, while the other comes out alright.

    I feel that Youth at Risk touches on the most important contexts that youth interact with and it gives you good insight into the mechanisms that can put youngsters at risk. What I like about the programme is that it is an international master, focussing on child development in different places, cultures and contexts; the professors use this to facilitate learning from your co-students.

    Furthermore, there is space to focus on your personal needs and interests. For my internship at the GGD Amsterdam (STD-clinic of the municipality of Amsterdam), I  researched sexual health of youth with a mild intellectual disability.

    For my thesis, I am focusing on how hiv positive parents tell their hiv negative children that they have hiv, and how this is experienced by both parents and children. As may become apparent from my internship and thesis topics, after finishing this master, I’d like to focus on youth’s sexual development.'

    Pim Looze, student Youth at Risk

  • Charlotte: 'The Youth at Risk Master's track felt like the means toward my goal."

    'Upon completing my Bachelor thesis on the issue of bisexual invisibility and mental health, it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a Master's programme that would allow me to work effectively on preventive care for minority groups.

    The Youth at Risk Master's track felt like the means toward my goal. Its modules cover risk factors associated with minority youth across contexts and cultures. Youth at Risk teaches how to create evidence-based intervention programs, an incredibly valuable tool.

    In my internship at the ESTEEM Research Program in NYC, I was able to put the skills acquired from the programme to use. Here I was able to continue researching sexual minority groups and gain practical knowledge of evidence-based interventions that are tailored toward treating stress-related issues among LGBTQ individuals.

    My master's thesis has also allowed me to pursue personal interests as I am evaluating the role of internalized homophobia among LGB youth in the Netherlands. After my acquiring my Master's I would like to continue with research into sexual minority youth/groups. To date, Youth at Risk has opened many doors for my doing so.'

    Charlotte Loopuijt, student Youth at Risk

Teaching staff

Alithe van den Akker, programme coordinator Master's track Youth at Risk
Alithe van den Akker, programme coordinator Master's track Youth at Risk

'The diversity of views that students in the Youth at Risk track bring to the course make teaching this course especially fun and interesting for me.'


Read more about Alithe and other teaching staff below.

  • Alithe van den Akker, Programme coordinator, teaches the course Risk and Resilience Processes in Children and Adolescents

    'I am especially proud of the level of expertise that the guest-lecturers contribute to the course, providing students with the opportunity to be introduced to the most up-to-date knowledge on how factors located at different levels of the child’s ecology together determine children’s psychosocial adjustment. My mission is to help students understand how the diverse topics covered by these experts (such as child maltreatment, attachment, self-regulation, and mild intellectual disability) are intricately connected in determining risk and resilience in child development. The diversity of views that students in the Youth at Risk track bring to the course make teaching this course especially fun and interesting for me.

    As an aside, please note the course takes place during the season for the traditional Dutch winter treat of ‘pepernoten’. Last year I learned about ‘truffle pepernoten’  from students in the course (a new and very much improved version) and I am determined to pass this knowledge on to students upcoming years.'

  • Geert-Jan Stams, Professor of Forensic Orthopedagogics: Severe behavioural and child-rearing problems
    Geert-Jan Stams, Professor of Forensic Orthopedagogics
    Geert-Jan Stams, Professor of Forensic Orthopedagogics

    'My research and teaching primarily focus on severe behavioral and child-rearing problems in early childhood through young adulthood in which judicial interventions are imposed by criminal law (targeting juvenile delinquency) and civil law (targeting child maltreatment) or in which judicial intervention may be prevented through timely prevention.

    Most of my research focuses on youths’ moral development, juvenile delinquency, child maltreatment, effects of institutional care (e.g., group climate), child-caregiver relationship quality (e.g., parental sensitivity, child-caregiver attachment, (in)formal mentoring relationships). I think it is crucially important to focus research and teaching on the effectiveness of (forensic) youth care interventions under clinically representative conditions.

    Last but not least, over the years I have acquired considerable expertise in conducting meta-analyses in the domain of child and youth care interventions, child development and child-rearing.'

  • Geertjan Overbeek, Professor of Child Development: The effectiveness of preventive parenting interventions
    Geertjan Overbeek, Professor of Child Development
    Geertjan Overbeek, Professor of Child Development

    'Harmful family experiences early in life may have huge consequences for the development of children in the long run - even into adolescence and adulthood. Many problems such as youth delinquency, depression and anxiety, and school drop-out can be traced back to early negative family experiences. Instead of “diagnostically tagging” families and children when things have gotten out of hand and problems have already exacerbated, I think it is much more helpful to work from a preventive focus, empowering families and children and making use of their strengths and positive functioning where possible. This is why I do research on the effectiveness of preventive parenting interventions and want to teach students in this Master’s track to critically evaluate research that informs our practice with parents and children, to learn how to develop and implement these interventions in practice.'

  • Jokelien van Houten. Internship coordinator
    Jokelien van Houten, Internship coordinator
    Jokelien van Houten, Internship coordinator

    'As coordinator of the internship module, my mission is to offer every student an in-depth learning experience and the opportunity to develop personally as well as professionally. Our graduates can make a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of children and their families. This is why a real-life experience through an internship is so important.

    Outside of work, I am married and have two teenagers and two cats. I love traveling and whenever we are on holiday, we enjoy playing games such as photo competitions and scavenger hunts.'

  • Marjolein Zee, teaches the course Youth's School Adjustment
    Marjolein Zee, teacher
    Marjolein Zee, teacher

    'When I was eleven years old, my elementary school teacher told me my work habits and academic skills were not worth a penny and that I would never make it through college.  As I was really not a bad student, I never quite understood why he disliked me so much. Now, after years of study, I know that children’s behaviors, (dis)abilities, needs, and other characteristics, from the very first moment they enter the classroom, may evoke various reactions from their teachers. These reactions may determine teachers’ beliefs about their capability to deal with individual students, affect the way teachers interact with these children, and may be vital in the formation of high-quality relationships with them. How does the interplay between child and teacher characteristics influence children’s social-emotional and academic development? How can the course of children’s development in schools and classrooms be altered by prevention and intervention efforts?

    My mission as a teacher and course coordinator of the course Youth’s School Adjustment is to clarify these issues from a transactional and dyadic point of view and show how seemingly minor risk factors, including child characteristics (e.g., gender, ethnic background, temperament), grade retention, and poor student-teacher relationships, can have a huge impact on children’s development, both during the school years and beyond. I hope this course helps you realize that teachers are crucial players in the school experiences of their students, both at the classroom and individual level.'

  • Peter de Jong, Professor of Psychology and Education (Orthopedagogics): School adjustment
    Peter de Jong, Professor of Psychology and Education (Orthopedagogics)
    Peter de Jong, Professor of Psychology and Education (Orthopedagogics)

    'My main interests concern the development of academic skills (language, reading and arithmetic) and the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of developmental disorders. In many children and youth achievement and emotional functioning at school are at risk. There is an urgent need for knowledge about the parental and school factors (e.g., SES, home chaos, teacher-child relations and adaptive instruction) that elevate or buffer these risks.  Moreover, we need to disentangle the genetic and cultural transmission of developmental disorders from parents to their children and which cultural factors that can be affected by interventions. I am delighted that these issues are addressed in this Master’s programme.'

  • Terrence Jorgensen, assistent professor, teaches Methods and Statistics
    Terrence Jorgensen, assistent professor
    Terrence Jorgensen, assistent professor

    Terrence Jorgensen is an assistant professor, originally from the United States, so he enjoys the international environment of the Youth at Risk program. 

    He teaches YAR's Masterclass in Methods and Statistics from the perspective that statistical models represent hypotheses about how an aspect of the world works.  Furthermore, theories can be tested by comparing how closely observed data correspond to the statistical models that represent competing hypotheses.  He likes teaching from this model-comparison perspective because it provides a unifying framework for understanding many basic and advanced statistical methods that superficially appear quite different.

Study associations, sports and culture

To meet fellow students and take part in social and study-related activities, you can become a member of a study association, join events organised by Amsterdam United, or participate in sports or cultural events.

Read more about all study associations below.

  • Student platform Amsterdam United
    Amsterdam United
    Amsterdam United

    Amsterdam United (AU) is a student platform within the University of Amsterdam with a focus on diversity. AU seeks to make diversity a central theme within the UvA through

    • organising open activities like film screenings, lectures and debates on diversity
    • setting up special projects, like a mentor project in which AU coaches students with various backgrounds during their study period. 

    'Diversity' covers cultural, religious, political as well as sexual diversity. Amsterdam United aims at making students feel comfortable to shape and express their identity.

  • Cultural student centre CREA
    Terrace CREA cafe
    Terrace CREA cafe

    Interested in taking up a creative course? Cultural student centre CREA organises over 160 courses to choose from: from photography to theatre, from fine arts to writing.

    CREA also has its own cafe with sunny terrace and offers a full agenda filled with film, theatre, music, debate, lectures, documentary and festivals.