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Recent graduates and incoming students excited for the future

As always at this time of year, POLIS is very excited to have received a new intake of students, and also to see our outgoing students continuing onto the next stage of their careers. We asked a handful of our incoming students and recent graduates if they could tell us about what they hope to achieve in the recent future.

Here are some of the things our Class of 2016 had to say about their future plans:

Imaan Sandhu – “After completing my MPhil, I've returned back home to Canada, and was successful in being selected as a Policy Analyst with the Treasury Board of Canada. I attribute this outcome directly to my experience at POLIS. Thanks to the world-class faculty and the care and attention I received at POLIS, I have learned to think critically about history, political discourse and public policy. During the course work, seminars, and various essays, I steadily became more aware of the systemic issues in my own country.  This made me re-evaluate what it means for me to be a Canadian, and how I could help shape the national dialogue, which in turn led me to pursue a career in the Public Service of Canada.”

Nikta Daijavad – “After completing the MPhil International Relations and Politics in July, I moved to New York to start law school at New York University. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be a lawyer practicing in the area of international public law, but I have always been concerned that an American legal education might not give me the expertise in international affairs I need to pursue such a career, given that many American law schools focus on domestic law. I chose to pursue the MPhil IRPOL as a way of beginning to develop a specialization in international relations, and the course gave me everything I was looking for and more. As a student in POLIS, I was able to explore one particular subject (compulsory hejab in Iran, the subject of my dissertation) in depth while also exposing myself to the full breadth and diversity of research being done in the broader world of political science. And in doing so, I developed a better sense of what I hope to accomplish with my law degree, which is to pursue a career using international law to shape American foreign policy. The MPhil IRPOL was an invaluable experience, one that broadened my perspective and shaped my worldview. I hope to be back visiting the wonderful POLIS faculty and staff very soon!”

David Orr – “The MPhil in International Relations and Politics is a significant reason why I'm choosing to stay in the UK as an international development consultant with Mott MacDonald. The course not only offered me the opportunity to engage more critically with contemporary political and economic trends, particularly as they relate to Africa, but also ensured that these trends were grounded in the appropriate historical context. Additionally, the opportunity to conduct field work in Kenya for my dissertation was a major highlight, and I would encourage all incoming MPhil students to consider heading to the field to gain deeper insight, make valuable connections, and simply have a wonderful time. I look forward to staying in touch, either through Facebook or at david.orr@mottmac.com.”

Mathematical BridgeWe were inundated with responses from our very enthusiastic class of 2017, and were unable to publish them all! Here are a select few:

Victoria Calderon – “I did not originally intend to pursue graduate school; I've always wanted to earn a degree in law. My academic prospects changed when I wrote an undergraduate thesis on human trafficking and the effects of anti-trafficking policy in the United States on survivors. I fell in love with research, and sought out a master’s degree program where I could equally balance research and classroom time. Cambridge seems like a great fit for me foremost because of the structure of the program, but I’m also looking forward to the unique perspectives I will be exposed to by studying international politics in a different country. I was born and raised in the U.S. into a biracial family, and I became aware of issues of immigration, international politics, and social justice from a young age. I want to continue my education on these subjects at Cambridge, where I hope to research the intersection of immigration policy and human trafficking, with an emphasis on finding enduring solutions for trafficking prevention. Through Cambridge, I hope to make the necessary connections to continue this work in the field. Eventually, I want to work with migrant trafficking survivors directly through a non-governmental organization, or work on developing policy with a governmental or international agency. I’m excited to pursue my studies in International Relations and Politics at Cambridge, because I know this course will bring me within reach of my goal to improve the lives of human trafficking survivors.”

Nazeezah Khan - “Hello! I'm an international student from Hawaii, I completed my BA in Political Science and minor in Islamic Studies at the University of Hawaii with a focus on Southeast Asian colonialism and Indo-Fijian politics. My interests are in international security and strategic studies. I'm so excited to finally spend the year researching the relationship between water security and contemporary terrorism in South Asia, incorporating the methodological entanglement of the broader diaspora. By the end of the year I hope to have the firmest footing in security possible for myself, identify global patterns in terrorism, and learn to successfully form, defend, and implement my own educated theories on water politics/terrorism on an academic and practical level. If I learn to punt it'll be a bonus, but I have no expectations.”

Samantha Braver - "I am so excited to be pursing an MPhil in International Relations and Politics because fundamentally, I love learning about how the world works. This requires an understanding of structural inequality, the governance of nations, and the motivations behind the decisions leaders make every single day. We are living in a uniquely political and interconnected time, a time that will fundamentally shape the global order. I want to be able to play a small role in addressing intersectional challenges, such as human rights abuses at the hands of the law. As someone who studied both U.S. Government and Gender Studies at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, I am hoping this MPhil can provide me with a broader perspective that will propel me into a career of public service. I am particularly interested in researching the decision-making processes and dialogues behind some of the world’s most powerful female leaders. I am also excited about the interdisciplinary nature of the MPhil, as I cannot wait to combine my interest in politics with my interest in women’s rights. Ultimately, I hope the knowledge I attain at Cambridge can make me a more politically and socially aware person. I would love to be able to run for office one day, because I think that if I want to see a better and safer world, I cannot just sit out on the sidelines. Thank you so much for this opportunity!"

Adam Weston'I’ve been in love with Cambridge ever since I moved to a nearby village with my parents in 2003. I’m incredibly excited to spend the next ten months living and working in such a leafy, beautiful city, amongst such a diverse milieu of staff, peers, and academics. I’m also looking forward to developing my existing academic interests whilst exploring new frontiers through the exceptional range of taught modules available. I currently intend to explore the psychological network effects of unilateral treaty abrogation in my own research, though I’m very curious to see which angle my thesis will ultimately cover! At the moment I’m hoping to stay on at POLIS and continue to the PhD, with a view towards a later career in academia or the private sector. I’m hoping that I’ll develop personally and intellectually through the MPhil experience.’