Jennifer Herek is the founding Dean of the University College Twente (UCT) in Enschede, the Netherlands. Her educational background spans liberal arts to laser physics (Caltech PhD), and has had a profound impact on her vision for education, as UCT offers an interdisciplinary and innovative BSc programme at the interface of technology and social science. She is internationally recognized in the field of ultrafast spectroscopy, and has held research appointments in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. Since 2006 she is professor of physics and leads the Optical Sciences group at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Twente. She currently chairs the Educational Innovators Working Group of Big Beacon, an international movement to transform engineering education.