School of Social and Political Science

Lauren Engels

Job Title

PhD Student

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PhD Title

The Kenyan Textile and Apparel Sector: A Patchwork Industry of Fashion Designers, Stylists, and Tailors.

PhD Supervisors

Dr. Hazel Gray

Dr. Thomas Molony


University of Edinburgh, Scotland (September 2018 - Present)

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Program of Emphasis: African Studies

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (August 2015 - July 2016)

  • Degree Obtained: Master of Philosophy
  • Program of Emphasis: International Relations and Politics

Alma College, United States of America (September 2011 - April 2015)

  • Degree Obtained: Bachelor of Arts
  • Program of Emphasis: Foreign Service and Public Affairs


2021: “Fictions of Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Challenge of Legal Pluralism in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 39:2, pp. 305-307.

Co-Author, 2014: "Promotion of Cooperative Enterprises in Distressed Urban and Rural Communities," Michigan State University Economic Development Administration Center for Regional Innovation, Michigan, USA.…


Perfect Storms: Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholar, University of Edinburgh (2018 - Present)

GARS Research Award, Newnham College, University of Cambridge (2015 - 2016)

Break Away Active Citizen Award (2015)

Newman Civic Fellows Award (2015)

Work experience

Instructor – School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh (December 2020 – Present)

  • Teach the graduate-level course Key Skills in Development Practice within the School of Social and Political Science and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Facilitate live online discussions via Collaborate with over 60 graduate students.
  • Utilize a variety of teaching methods, including discussions, lectures, and role playing.
  • Work with the students on an individual and small group basis to reinforce learning concepts, strengthen engagement, and assist with assignments.

Constituent Services Aide - Office of United States Senator Gary Peters (December 2016 - September 2018)

  • Provided constituent services: drafting correspondences, updating Intranet Quorum, and greeting visitors.
  • Drafted Congressional Records Statements for the Senator: Mike Ilitch, Sean English, Cynthia Ray, Monroe Bicentennial, Rochester Bicentennial, and Utica Bicentennial.
  • Wrote, edited, and submitted more than 100 letters of support for grants.

Graduate Attaché - British Institute in Eastern Africa, Kenya (August 2016 - November 2016)

  • Researched and analyzed the Kenya Slum Upgrading Program's (KENSUP) achievements and shortcomings through a gender perspective; conducted and transcribed interviews with Kibera residents and UN-Habitat staff; and established contacts with community members.
  • Contributed to the upcoming BIEA publication, Nairobi Becoming, by conducting and transcribing over 25 one-hour long interviews with hair salon stylists in English and Swahili.
  • Provided administrative support, including travel logistics, organizing seminars and the BIEA Annual PhD Conference, scheduling meetings, database management, and drafting background materials.

Committee Chair and Mentor - Model United Nations, United States Department of State, India (October 2013, October 2014)

  • Advised and assisted the United States Department of State in organizing the 2013 and 2014 Model United Nations Conference located in New Delhi.
  • Conducted research and created background guides on United Nations topics, including the conflict in Israel and Palestine, the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and human rights abuses in Syria.
  • Trained and evaluated over 500 high school students on Model United Nations procedures including how to facilitate a group, write a resolution, and present a speech.
  • Provided administrative support: booking rooms, printing place cards, and stocking supplies.

Legislative Intern - Office of United States Senator Carl Levin, Washington D.C. (April 2014 - May 2014)

  • Conducted research and tracked legislation and regulatory rulemaking for legislative staff, focusing on employment, environment, and transportation issues.
  • Drafted correspondence addressing the concerns of more than 1,000 constituents.
  • Wrote and edited briefings, press release statements, and web content.

Executive Office, Press and Public Diplomacy Intern - United States Mission to the United Nations, New York (September 2013 - November 2013)

  • Conducted research and drafted memos for Ambassador Samantha Power regarding the conflict in Syria; prepared background papers on human rights abuses in Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, and China; and edited press release statements concerning women representation in the international community.
  • Hosted a press briefing for over 100 attendees about the role of the United States in the United Nations. 
  • Accepted additional responsibilities as the Press and Public Diplomacy Intern including transcribing speeches, editing web content, and monitoring the news.

Research interests

Research interests

Kenya, East Africa, Used Clothing, Second-Hand Clothing, Fashion, Kenyan Fashion, Technological Capability