Picture of PhD student Leah Bomberger EdwardsFirst impressions of PhD study in the Department of Sociological Studies

Leah Bomberger-Edwards

Previous qualifications gained:

  • Bachelors of International Relations, American University
  • Masters of Social Work & Certificate in Global Social Work, Tulane University

Thesis title: From forced labour to labour market employment: Experiences of survivors of trafficking navigating formal employment pathways

"This PhD project will be researching the experiences of non government, faith based organisation in Northern Thailand as they work to assist survivors of sex trafficking along pathways of formal employment in the labour market. For this research I will be researching the organisations that provide social services to survivors, the businesses that provide formal employment, and women who have transitioned into formal work. The research will use qualitative methods for data collection."

First impressions on my PhD experience at Sheffield...

"I arrived in Sheffield in March 2014 eager to begin my doctoral studies in a new country. As an international student from the United States I chose to travel to the UK for my degree to broaden my academic and personal horizons. The Department of Sociological Studies proved to have a intersecting program where my various interests within sociology could be explored. I also appreciated the option to begin part way through semester as it allowed me to transition from my Masters with little time lost.

"During my first visit to the Department I was impressed with the social environment cultivated by staff and students. Now, almost a year later I am increasingly enjoying the friendships I have formed with fellow students.

"Another pull to Sheffield was the city itself. With accessible public transportation the city is easy to travel around and filled with pockets of unique cafes, pubs, and shops. With a large student population bringing change and progress, there is always a new international restaurant to try or concert to attend. On weekends I have greatly enjoyed exploring the Peak District, which is only a bus ride away! The location of Sheffield is ideal for traveling for academic and personal adventure. The UK’s major cities and universities are within reach of a train ride, which opens up the possibilities networking with other universities or attending conferences.

"As I have come to the University with questions regarding my educational visa, during my transition to English life I have found the international student offices to be quite helpful and attentive. The University is pushing for increased awareness of diversity and culture, thus I have made friends from all over the world. Students within my cohort are creative, engaged, and eager to learn the craft of research. The University is helpful with planning events and activities to draw post-graduates together for day trips, pub quiz nights, and cultural support.

"With my first year coming to a close I feel settled into post graduate life within the university. I am becoming acclimatised to English life with the help of my fellow students and the friends I have made in the community. Sheffield provides students with the opportunity to invest in a growing city and increasingly diverse North East Region. I am thankful for the challenges of a new culture and country to push my research interests further."