Philosophy challenges you to think outside the box and engage with topics you may not otherwise have encountered.

A photo of Charlotte Flores.
Charlotte Flores
Philosophy graduate
UG Politics & Philosophy student
Charlotte was an undergraduate student, working as a race equality, diversity, and inclusion intern and volunteering with Philosophy in the City.

1. What have you been up to since leaving Sheffield University? 

After graduating from the University of Sheffield I was lucky enough to land a summer internship as a political research associate at Bryant Research, a research organization that works to promote animal welfare and sustainability by conducting and publishing social research and policy analysis. 

Although my position was initially a temporary one, I ended up being offered a full-time position at Bryant Research after the internship and I have been working as a full-time research associate ever since! 

Since starting at Bryant Research I have had many opportunities to further my professional development. In my current position, I have led and supported both empirical and theoretical research projects related to animal welfare, food choices, consumer psychology, and political lobbying. I have also been able to get first-hand experience writing grant applications, conducting focus groups, speaking on panels, and drafting research proposals. 

My proudest accomplishment to date is being invited to attend a meeting in Parliament hosted by the All-Parliamentary Group for Vegetarian and Veganism. Being able to network, collaborate and connect with MPs, NGOs, academics, researchers, and other organizations in that setting was a dream come true. I’ve also been fortunate enough to attend conferences in Oxford and Manchester as part of my job and I will be presenting as part of my first in-person symposium this summer at an Animal Advocacy conference in Kent. 

So far in my professional career, I’ve been able to release two original pieces of research; my Meat Shame project and my Institutional Change report. 

The opportunities I’ve had since graduation to connect with others and harness my passion and interests to support my career have far exceeded what I ever could have hoped for and I’m excited to see where this path takes me! 

2. How have your studies at Sheffield helped your career? 

My studies at the University of Sheffield most definitely set me on the right path to get to where I am today. The flexibility the Philosophy department allowed for in module choices, essay topics, and overall academic freedom allowed me to explore topics I didn’t even know I could explore in an academic setting. The variety of topics I was able to study throughout my degree allowed me to see the parallels and interconnectedness of certain social and political issues and formulate new ideas on how to think differently about the issues plaguing our society today. 

Being able to combine my studies in Philosophy with my studies in Politics through a dual degree was also extremely beneficial. In the politics department, I was able to learn how to draft policy proposals, analyze legislation and data, and debate political issues. This paired well with the analytical and critical thinking skills I got from the philosophy department, as well as the experience I got writing on and debating philosophical and ethical topics. In fact, an essay that I wrote during my time at the University of Sheffield for one of my philosophy modules and then later revisited is currently under review at an academic journal, so some of my assignments were transferable to my field of research! Overall, I felt like the two departments balanced each other out very well and provided me with a great foundation upon which to do research in the context I’m currently working. 

3. Do you have any words of wisdom for current philosophy students? 

I think before starting my degree I did worry a bit about what I could do career-wise with a philosophy degree. I knew I wanted a job with a purpose, and my whole life I knew I wanted to use my passion for human rights and animal welfare to make a difference in the world, I just had no idea how to get there. Looking back I think I did the right thing in following my heart, and I also think that the idea that a philosophy degree can’t lead directly to employment is misplaced. Philosophy challenges you to think outside the box and engage with topics you may not otherwise have encountered. The value of analytical thinking, problem-solving, writing, and argumentation skills that you receive through a philosophy degree can be used in nearly any job you end up in. I think the best thing you can do for yourself during your degree is to allow yourself to explore those topics that you care about, and think creatively about how you could integrate them into your professional life. I also think that branching out from what you would normally choose to learn about is useful. The philosophy department has so many modules that cover a wide range of topics so exploring as much as you can is a great way to gauge your interests and where they may overlap in ways you didn’t previously consider! Also, connecting with other coursemates and hearing about their philosophical interests and projects is another great way to engage in philosophical conversations and make long-lasting friendships. The Philosophy Society Noam’s Club meetings are a good way to do this. I also really enjoyed and would recommend being a part of the philosophy reading weekend and Philosophy in the City, but even just meeting with friends after class can also be a nice way to take philosophy outside the classroom. 

4. Tell us about your work as a race equality intern? 

I was lucky enough to get a part-time position as a race equality, diversity, and inclusion intern in the philosophy department during my last year of university. I really enjoyed this important position and it allowed me to use my drive for social justice to actually make a difference for students at the University of Sheffield. I worked alongside Tareeq Jalloh, a PhD student in the department of Philosophy, to host events, focus groups, guest speakers, and more all with the goal of making the department a more inclusive space. Throughout our collaboration, Tareeq and I were able to connect with students and staff in the philosophy department through not only the events we hosted (which included a quiz night, a decolonization lecture, and a student focus group) but also through faculty meetings and meetings with Jules Holroyd our supervisor for the position. We used the ideas we gathered from our peers to promote a safe and inclusive environment within the department at large and facilitate communication between staff and marginalized students. It was humbling to be trusted with the important task of furthering EDI within the department, and while our work is far from over, I do feel like we made a good start with building a welcoming community and gathering student and faculty input to inform future changes that could be implemented. 

5. Tell us about your project on meat shame and any other projects you've enjoyed? 

To date, my largest projects at Bryant Research have been the meat shame project, and the institutional change report. We are also currently working on a few other projects that will be coming to fruition in the upcoming year! 

The institutional change report was similar to a systematic review and it ended up being 60 pages long which was much more than I expected, but it was quite large in scope to begin with. It focused on institutional change as an important avenue for effective change making. The report covered a range of different institutions including legislative, corporate, and community-based organizations. To inform the report, we reviewed case studies of farmed animal welfare campaigns in each of these sectors, surveying the benefits and drawbacks to different campaign approaches and target audiences. Then, we gave key recommendations on how to effectively advocate for change in each of the areas. The goal of this report was to aid animal advocates who want to maximize the impact and successes of their change making and campaign efforts through evidence-based strategies. 

The meat shame project was more of an empirical piece and required us to do some primary data collection through the use of surveys and focus groups. The study looked into the feelings of shame and guilt that can accompany the ‘meat paradox’- (which describes the disconnect between liking the taste of meat and opposing the harms of meat production) - and how those feelings inform consumer choices. Through a representative sample survey of the UK population as well as two follow-up focus groups we were able to uncover the hidden modifiers of meat-conscious behavior and consumption-related shame. We were also able to quantify the characteristics and demographic information of those who are more likely to experience and resist meat shame. I really enjoyed working on this project and I feel like it was a great way to start off my research career.

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