Hanna Dijkstra

About me

I was born in Nicosia, Cyprus to a Dutch father and American mother and spent my childhood living in Southeast Asia with my family. My international heritage and upbringing cultivated an innate curiosity for the world around me.

In 2004 we moved to California, where I later graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in both Environmental and Communication Studies, with honors.  

In school, the spark for sustainability was lit and I pursued a Master of Science in Environment and Resource Management (ERM) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. My thesis focused on community climate change adaptation in Palau, where I spent a month conducting field work. I graduated cum laude in 2016 and stayed on at the university as a junior researcher for the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). At IVM I contributed to projects for WWF and continued island adaptation research in the Marshall Islands.

In May 2018, I started by a PhD at the IVM as part of the EU project CLAIM (CLeaning litter by developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European seas). Throughout my PhD I presented at conferences and events for both academic and general audiences. I have published in academic journals and written opinion pieces on the topic of sustainable plastic management, marine plastic solutions, entrepreneurship and innovation

I defended my thesis in September 2023 titled ‘Ripples to waves: How business models and entrepreneurs are propelling the transition towards a sustainable plastic system’. 

After finishing my research, I embarked on nearly a year of travel through North and South America which reaffirmed my love of adventure.

I am now a freelance researcher and consultant – building a career integrating sustainability, communication and exploration.

You can find my CV here.