"Some of the staff who taught me at Sheffield continue to be mentors in my professional life and I value their support so much."
|Course studied:||BA Social Policy and Sociology
MA Global Social Policy
|Year of graduation:||2007 & 2012|
What is your fondest memory from your time in Sheffield?
Getting involved in the Students' Union and in student representation. It was really great to be involved in the Department and with the lecturers and professors through being a student rep. I was able to make better connections with staff and understood how the Department worked and the aims of the class structures. I also really enjoyed the community at the Students' Union, with the different societies and committees where people could express and be involved in something they're passionate about.
Another fond memory of mine was joining the multiple bus loads of students that the Students' Union organized to go down to London for the protest march against raising the cost of Higher Education (tuition fees). There was a great atmosphere on the journey and in London. Being being part of the march, with so many diverse people, was amazing.
What has your career path been since graduation?
I spent a few years working for Sheffield Students' Union as a Student Representation Co-ordinator. That was a great job - using my passion for the student voice and my skills in communication, presenting, writing and critical thinking. I've always had an interest in the rest of the world and learning about other cultures, so I left work and spent three months in Peru where I volunteered on a women's empowerment program at a prison in Ayacucho. I decided to come back to Sheffield, where I temped for the Department, while looking into Master's programs. Then I realised life had lead me right back to Sheffield because that's where I was meant to be, so I enrolled in the Global Social Policy MA. I was really looking forward to working with Bob Deacon, Zoe Irving, and Kevin Farnsworth. I also worked part time for the Faculty of Social Sciences to help set up the Doctoral Training Centre.
After graduation, I got a job for an American non-profit, the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC. I work for the Food & Environment Program. I have been here nearly two years, I worked as the program assistant for just over a year and then was promoted to a policy associate. I work on U.S. agriculture policy, tracking and lobbying on legislation, and part of my role is also about how to advance social justice in the food system, which for me entails convening a group of organizations working on food equity from across the country. It's been great! I plan to stay in the U.S. for the foreseeable future.
What piece of advice would you offer new students to the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield?
I would suggest that you consider becoming a student rep! It's a great way to get to know people in the Department, and staff and connects you deeper with your studies. I would also suggest getting to know your lecturers really well, especially if they're experts in a topic that interests you. Some of the staff who taught me at Sheffield continue to be mentors in my professional life and I value their support so much.
And take advantage of the opportunities at the Students' Union - the clubs and societies, the committees and events. You'll miss them when they're gone!