We introduce you to the student committee of the PPS summer school. They are in charge of the application process, social activities, answering questions, and more. You can always contact them via summerschoolpps@rug.nl if you have any question or need help!

The chair: Hi! My name is Angélica Acevedo. I am originally from Colombia, where I did my bachelor in psychology, focusing on clinical and community psychology. I came to the Netherlands to do my master studies on “Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology” in the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and I feel in love with the country. Nowadays I am a PhD student in the psychiatry department of the UMCG. My PhD project focuses on addressing the heterogeneity of manifestation of Medically Unexplained Symptoms by using psychometric techniques to improve their measurement. With my project, I intend to find what are the core Medically Unexplained Symptoms, and their patterns of manifestation. I also aim to understand how belonging to a clinical group (e.g. depression disorder) or having certain personal characteristics (e.g. gender) influence the reporting of symptoms.

In my free time, I love to sing. It brings me the greatest joy. I also enjoy painting with my soft pastels, dancing Arabic belly dance, and traveling a lot. I am very happy to be part of the organization of this summer school, and I am looking forward to meet more researchers on the field. I hope you will enjoy our summer school!


The treasurer: Hi! My name is Ilona Plug. After finishing the bachelor Dutch Language and Culture and the Research Master Language and Communication, I started working as a PhD candidate at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. My project focuses on the role of sex and gender in interactions between general practitioners (GPs) and patients with common somatic symptoms. This project is part of a larger multidisciplinary project and I work together with researchers from the communication department in Nijmegen, health researchers in Groningen and general practitioner- researchers at the Radboudumc Nijmegen. I investigate whether the male and female GPs and patients in my data differ in their language use, how gender categories are made relevant during the consultations, and how communication differences relate to relevant patient outcomes. The methods I use are content analysis, conversation analysis, membership categorization analysis and experimental designs. With my research, I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the role of sex and gender in health communication.

My hobbies are walking (I train for the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse), reading and amigurumi (crochet little animals). I have a baby bonsai in my room called Mushu, and I really do my best to keep this plant alive and happy. My room is in Nijmegen and I think Nijmegen is one of the most beautiful and comfortable places in the world. As for food, you can make me really happy with kiwis, red wine, and dark chocolate.


The secretary: Hi! My name is Kerstin Maehder. As junior research associate at the Department for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (Germany), I am currently working in a RCT on a stepped and collaborative care model for patients with mental disorders. In addition to focusing on somatoform disorders within the trial, I try to gain further insights on this topic with further qualitative research. When not engaged in research, I like doing sports, dancing and reading.

I am really looking forward to enter the discussion on persistent physical symptoms with other researchers from different perspectives and countries!