Women Postgraduates in Philosophy at Sheffield

Sheffield has a long tradition of supporting women postgraduates in philosophy. On this page, we profile a few of our alumni, going all the way from 2005 to 2016.

Mari Mikkola

Photo of Mari Mikkola

I completed my PhD thesis on feminist philosophy and metaphysics in 2005. At Sheffield, I worked with Jennifer Saul and Robert Stern. I could not have asked for better and more committed supervisors. My interest in feminist philosophy was always take seriously and working on both feminist issues and metaphysics was encouraged. My supervisors as well as the rest of the faculty and my fellow students provided me with much food for thought and opportunities to develop my thinking in a non-competitive and friendly environment. In October 2017, I became Associate Professor at University of Oxford. Prior to that, I’ve worked at the Humboldt-University of Berlin (2010–2017), Stirling (2005-2008) and Lancaster (2008-2010). I cannot think of a place that would have prepared me better for these posts and my subsequent academic career than the Philosophy Department at Sheffield.

Anna Mahtani

I came to Sheffield to do a PhD after being an undergraduate at Leeds and doing the BPhil at Oxford. I wrote my PhD on Vagueness, supervised by Rosanna Keefe and Jenny Saul.

Photo of Anna Mahtani

I learnt so much at Sheffield: supervision meetings and seminars were always very challenging and pushed me to think harder, but the atmosphere was friendly and supportive. I also had lots of great philosophical conversations with other people on the PhD programme who I still discuss work with today.

After completing the PhD (and also working as a temporary lecturer for a year at Sheffield) I got a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work at Oxford, and am now Assistant Professor at the LSE.

Anna was awarded a 2014 Leverhulme Prize.

Esa Diaz-Leon

I got my BA in Philosophy at the University of Murcia (Spain) in 2000, and I came to Sheffield in 2001 to pursue the MA/Research Training Year, and then a PhD, which I finished in 2007. My supervisors were Stephen Laurence and Rosanna Keefe, and my thesis was on the philosophy of consciousness. I specialize in Philosophy of Mind and Language, and Philosophy of Gender, Race and Sexuality.

Photo of Esa Diaz Leon

I found the philosophy department at the University of Sheffield extremely supportive and helpful. Being a woman in philosophy can be a daunting experience sometimes, but the staff and graduate students in Sheffield surely gave me the support and encouragement I needed to help me get through the different stages of graduate school, applying for jobs, getting my papers published and finally getting a job!

Among the different aspects of the programme that were helpful, I have particularly fond memories of the annual evening for women philosophers, and the feminism reading group. The weekly graduate seminar and the multitude of reading groups on a variety of topics also helped to gain a solid philosophical background, and the confidence necessary to pursue my academic career.

My first job was a tenure-track position at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Canada. After 6 wonderful years I decided to come back to Spain, and I joined the University of Barcelona as a Ramon y Cajal Researcher, which is my current position.

Lina Papadaki

Lina Papadaki

I finished my PhD at Sheffield in 2007, and also spent two semesters teaching there. It was an ideal place to do research and work, and I got all the support one could wish for. It´s an especially nice place for women philosophers, with the feminism reading group running every semester, many people working on feminism, and friendly staff and students. I then got a two-year lectureship at Birkbeck College, University of London, and now I am on a tenure-track position in the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies at the University of Crete (Greece). I work on ethics, Kant and feminism.

Megan Kime

Megan Kime

I came to Sheffield in 2002 to study for a BA in Politics and Philosophy. I then stayed to complete a MA in Political Theory in 2006, and eventually a PhD in Philosophy which was awarded in March 2010, both funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). During my PhD I was awarded funding to develop and teach a third-year course in applied political philosophy. I developed an interest in teaching methods, especially in the use of technology enhanced learning, or TEL, which I developed further during a graduate internship as an E-Learning Developer, and then as Teaching Fellow and Online Learning Specialist at the Inter-Disciplinary Applied Ethics (IDEA) Centre at the University of Leeds. At IDEA I developed two online distance learning (ODL) MA programmes in ethics, and in 2013 became Director of Student Education, with responsibility for all of the Centre’s taught student education. In 2014 I was awarded a University Student Education Fellowship in recognition of my contribution to teaching and learning at the University. At the end of 2016 I left IDEA to take up a new role as Head of ODL Student Education in the University’s new Online Distance Learning Centre, with academic responsibility for new credit-bearing courses on the external FutureLearn platform and new ODL programmes at postgraduate level across the University. Although I haven’t pursued research in philosophy beyond my PhD, it provided an excellent set of experiences from which to develop my career in higher education. I am immensely grateful for the wonderful time I spent in the Philosophy Department, and my partner and our two children (2 and 5) still live in Sheffield today.

Suilin Lavelle


I spent five years as a graduate student in Sheffield, starting with my MA, supervised by Stephen Laurence, and then completing my PhD in February 2011 with George Botterill and Rob Hopkins. I immediately took up a two year 'Teaching Fellow' position at the University of Edinburgh, and I'm now a lecturer there.

It was a real privilege to study philosophy at Sheffield and to be part of such a fantastic, friendly department. I gained as much from informal chats and reading groups with faculty and other graduate students as I did from my PhD research and supervision.

My primary research area is Social Cognition, which involves examining different accounts of how we understand others in social contexts. It is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing on data from psychology, anthropology and neuroscience to support and critique philosophical accounts of social interaction.

The Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies, based in Sheffield, provided the ideal forum for me to pursue my research in an inter-disciplinary context, and I worked as an assistant to the director of the centre, Stephen Laurence, throughout my time as graduate student. I also had the opportunity to teach my own Philosophy of Mind course at second year level. These experiences gave me such a confidence boost when I went on the job market, and set me in good stead for university life as a lecturer.

Katharine JenkinsPhoto of Katherine Jenkins

I did my PhD at Sheffield from 2012-2016. I then held a Junior Research Fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge. In September 2016, I joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Nottingham as an Assistant Professor. My research is primarily in social philosophy, especially the ontology of social categories. I’m interested in how social categories such as races and genders exist, and how these categories are bound up with systematic injustices. I’m also interested in feminist philosophy and critical philosophy of race more broadly, in the philosophy of sex and sexuality, and in social epistemology. When I’m not doing philosophy (and sometimes when I am) I enjoy hiking, climbing, knitting, sewing, and playing board games, card games, and role playing games. Sheffield was a fantastic environment in which to do my PhD. In addition to having a brilliant supervisor in Jenny Saul, who went above and beyond in every conceivable way to support me, I also really appreciated how other members of staff were happy to talk to me about my research and to help me with my teaching and careers development (for instance, by mentoring my teaching and doing mock interviews with me when I was applying for jobs). I found the department as a whole incredibly friendly and welcoming, and there was always plenty of support on hand when I needed it. It was also really great to be in a department where issues affecting women in the profession were widely understood and taken seriously. I have no hesitation at all in recommending Sheffield to other woman philosophers as a great place to study.