- Danielle Revers
- Michigan, United States
- MSc (Research) African Studies
- Doing Now
- Researcher - Scottish Parliament
What were you doing before you applied to the MSc in African Studies?
Before I applied to the MSc in African Studies I was at Hope College,a small university in my home state of Michigan, getting my BA in Political Science. At the end of this degree I spent time doing research in Tanzania, which helped to confirm that I wanted to study African Studies at the post-graduate level as well as expose me to many of the development themes that are explored in the courses offered by CAS.
Why did you apply to the programme?
I applied to the program firstly because I wanted to study for my post-graduate degree outside of the United States. Beyond that, I visited CAS before my last year of my undergraduate degree and was drawn to how personable the staff is and the small, supportive community that CAS provides in the midst of such a large university.
What are your best memories from your time studying here?
While it is difficult to choose, I think that my best memories were created during down time spent with colleagues, whether it be at a braai, coffee shop, or pub. The camaraderie among students and staff always made for great conversation that inevitably wound back to Africa, which was something I couldn't get from friendships outside of CAS.
What's it like being a student in Edinburgh?
Being a student in Edinburgh is great! As far as the city itself goes, Edinburgh is really well-adapted to the student lifestyle, and the area around the campus is filled with things to do, places to take breaks between lectures and tutorials, and to spend a few quiet hours studying. On the other side, the University is filled with staff and students that are of the highest calibre - I was always intellectually challenged in my courses, but never overwhelmed. CAS in particular is extremely adept at being able to balance academic rigour and support with social aspects of study, which made for a very well-rounded experience.
What are you doing now? Did the degree help you to get where you are?
I am currently working as a Parliamentary Assistant for Jeremy Purvis, MSP for Tweeddale, Ettrick, and Lauderdale, in the Scottish Parliament. This involves researching parliamentary and constituency issues, drafting and tabling parliamentary questions and motions, issuing press releases, and drafting and issuing parliamentary annual reports, among other things. The skills I gained as a research student certainly contributed to my employment in a position that is largely research based and my dissertation, which was an analysis of international development policy (the Millennium Development Goals), helped prepare me to be involved with the creation of policy. And writing a 15,000 word dissertation has made policy briefings seem like a piece of cake!