After graduating from AUR, what did you go on to do?
After graduating from AUR, I moved back to London and started working for Defra – the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The broad-based nature of the Food Studies MA has been really valuable in this role, because I’m well-versed in a wide range of topics, from food policy history to international environment treaties or global nutrition issues. I’m constantly learning on the job, so it’s good to feel confident in my skills and knowledge.
I’ve also continued to be involved in academic food networks in the UK, going to as many talks and events as I can. In April I presented my MA thesis research to the annual Oxford Food Forum conference, alongside a wide range of speakers from academics to activists and farmers. It’s great to be part of a network of people who are committed to tackling food issues and working towards positive change.
How did your experience at AUR and Rome prepare you for the future?
The huge advantage of studying at AUR is the university’s proximity to the international food organisations. Students get the chance to participate in UN events and interact with professionals from around the world, providing us with an inside view of how those organisations work. Our professors also have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and I probably learnt as much from discussions during class as I did from writing essays.
The internship and research elements of the MA programme also contributed a lot to my professional development. Working with the United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh was a fantastic opportunity to gain experience in real world research and practical programme operations. It also immersed me in a world where food presents different challenges than in the USA or Europe.
Do you have any advice for future graduate students?
Yes! Keep an open mind. Our food system and the issues associated with it are incredibly complex and there are no simple answers. The people you meet at AUR; fellow students, professors and visiting speakers, will all have different perspectives, and you’ll gain the most from the course if you listen first and make your mind up after.
What is your best memory at AUR?
It’s got to be food related, but there’s so many: Sitting in the sun outside Miami gelato with friends, picking nespole from the trees in the spring, learning to eat supplì without getting cheese all down my front… Or maybe buying fresh lemon ravioli in Di Dio market and eating it ten minutes later, fragrant with basil and olive oil.