MA International Development
Ashton Richardson, of New Orleans, graduated summa cum laude with a degree in animal sciences from Auburn University. As a linebacker for the Auburn Football team, Ashton was named the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year and was selected for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bobby Bowden Award. He has conducted research on forage conservation strategies using vaccines, equine orthopedic prosthesis, and the connections between human and animal health disparities. Ashton was a veterinary student at Texas A&M University and also served on the Texas Veterinary Medicine Foundation Board of Trustees before joining Sheffield. He enjoys mentoring children, exercising, and riding horses.
People often wonder why I choose to study international development at the University of Sheffield along with veterinary medicine. The answer is simple: I want to do more. I want to be a leader in serving the rural poor as a policy practitioner with an informed perspective that comes from first meeting their practical needs through veterinary medicine. While some people may consider this unconventional, the University of Sheffield has not only given me the hard skills to map out a realistic approach but has also pushed me to develop my ideas of innovation, leadership, and a comprehensive perspective.
After receiving what some people consider to be the most prestigious scholarship in the world, the Marshall Scholarship, I feel a great sense of responsibility towards the United Kingdom as well as my home, the United States. Therefore, choosing to attend the University of Sheffield was a decision of great importance to me. As a Marshall Scholar, I had the opportunity to choose to attend any university in the United Kingdom and, after much consideration, my final decision became obvious. No other university seemed to provide the same combination of intellectual satiety and supportive community that the University of Sheffield does.
In augmenting my skill set with a socio-political perspective of poverty, it was important to me to build a solid foundation of knowledge about a wide expanse of concepts but to also be able to narrow my focus on the topics I felt were specific to my goals. My course has exceeded my expectations in this through allowing me to not only take modules specific to my department but also modules involving global finance and food security. This has contoured my experience in a way that gives me the confidence to address global issues by viewing them through multiple analytical frameworks.
From the time that I arrived, the learning community here has motivated me to not just view learning from the formal, curricular perspective but also from the perspective that learning happens everywhere. Sheffield is truly an international university and it has been gratifying to form relationships with students from Africa, Asia, India, and Latin America. Being in a community of thinkers from all over the world allows one to frame problems and potential solutions in various contexts which is one reason Sheffield is one of the top research universities in the world.
Beyond my academics, living in Sheffield has been a great experience. What I enjoy most about the city of Sheffield is that it possesses a real sense of community. More specifically, no one here is too busy to be kind and there’s a perceivable sense of pride in the local residents.