UCC’s MA in International Relations allows students to study this area through a historical, strategic and political lens. This holistic approach is what attracted Laura to the Masters course. “I was interested in how the world works and how we, as global citizens, can engage with the system to make the world a better place. The skills I gained during my M.A. continue to enable me to do this on both a professional and personal basis”.
As part of the course Laura took part in a training simulation, Operation Viking, which prepares civilians, military, and police together for deployment to a peace or crisis response mission area. “I really enjoyed the experience. It was the closest I had come to a real-life humanitarian situation. It solidified my career aspirations and gave me the confidence to begin applying for jobs in development. Within a year, I was working in education development with UNICEF in Zambia”.
After graduation, Laura spent time working in the US Congress, with an Irish education charity and working overseas with UNICEF. During her 18 months in Zambia, Laura worked on education programming for vulnerable and marginalised groups, particularly children with disabilities and girls.
Through her role with Education Development Trust, Laura is currently supporting, amongst other projects, the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) Video Study. The study, which EdDevTrust are carrying out in England on behalf of England’s Department for Education and in partnership with Oxford University, will explore teaching practices in mathematics through classroom observation across nine countries. “My current position has also brought me back to the exciting world of research. Through my role with EdDevTrust, I am offered the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge developments in education as well as add to the debate by supporting Education Development Trust’s own research projects”.
Laura believes that the opportunities provided to her during her Masters to engage in real-world work experiences and professional development opportunities were what ‘broadened her worldview’. Her UCC Masters prepared her for postgraduate career progression and personal development, leading her into a global career where she can influence research-based education policy internationally.
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