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Our alumni – University of Reading

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  • What our graduates think

Our alumni

Find out more about postgraduate studies at the Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics.

“Studying a master's at Reading gave me the skills that I needed to operate in the real world. The course provided a wealth of useful knowledge and improved my confidence, which in turn enabled me to take on more challenging assignments.”

Kasonde Christopher Kasonde, MSc Food Security and Development

MSc Agricultural Economics

Miguesl Chaves, MSc Agricultural EconomicsName: Miguel Chaves

Programme: MSc Agricultural Economics

Graduated: 2011

Coming from a background in agronomy and farm management, I joined the MSc Agricultural Economics to fulfil the will to pursue a career specialization in international agricultural and food economics. Studying at GIIDAE was an highly rewarding experience learning with an excellent academic body, in an enriching multicultural environment amongst colleagues from different backgrounds and experiences.

The flexibility between core and optional modules covering a wide range of contemporary topics related with economics, agriculture and development, trade, agricultural policies and the environment, enabled me to acquire a strong set of skills and knowledge about current world agriculture and food issues and their impact worldwide.

I particularly enjoyed how some of the topics discussed in class generated discussions extending long after school time, having a strong role in strengthening relations and building friendships. After this great year had come to an end, these relations and friendships evolved into an international network of friends and professional contacts that remain for live.

Now, equipped with these new tools, I feel fully prepared to embrace the career specialization I was seeking before the programme, in international projects related with agricultural and rural development or related with economic analysis and market research.

I am now employed as rice research analyst in Geneva.

 

Scott SommervilleName: Scott Somerville

Programme: MSc Agricultural Economics

Job Title: Data Analyst

Working for: Informa

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development (SAPD) in 2017 with an MSc in Agricultural Economics, and I am now working for the multinational business intelligence and publishing company, Informa.

As a Data Analyst, I work within the Agribusiness Intelligence group in which there are a range of news, forecasting, data and analysis services for each link in the agricultural value chain.

I work in a part of the business called Phillips McDougall, in which we provide in depth analysis of the global crop protection market. My role includes producing AgrAspire, which is a database of the value of crop protection products sold globally on a crop, country and company basis. This involves taking market research that has been completed to build an understanding of what crop protection products farmers are using, on what crops, and where in the world. This is coupled with other demand estimators such as farm economics, planted areas, and price forecasts.

I joined Informa's Agribusiness Intelligence team as an analyst because it provides the best opportunity to practice economics, and use the breadth of methodologies that I learned whilst at Reading. This role matches my career aspirations, whilst studying, perfectly as I wanted to work in the private sector and continue to practice economics.

However, after a year in the role I am now moving on to start a PhD position at the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC David, California in August 2018, where I will be studying for a PhD in Agricultural Economics. The masters degree at Reading inspired me to continue my study of agricultural economics and prepared me for the academic rigor of a PhD.

I chose Reading as having grown up in the farming community and having worked in the industry I knew that the SAPD at the University of Reading was held in high regard by farmers, business people, academics and politicians in the sector. I saw business owners actively seek out graduates from the department because they knew that Reading provided them with the most comprehensive education.

The programme was very well structured with the core modules covering the breadth of the discipline, and each class often complementing the next. The course was designed so that the lecturers were rapidly layering up my knowledge week by week, and incorporating the most advanced academic understanding and analysis tools. The programme stuck to its promise of being an applied course, in which my classmates and I could share our business and personal backgrounds to illustrate where the formal economics tools could be applied.

Stepping into my career a week after leaving Reading is a testament to the desirability of an Agricultural Economics Masters degree. I am now able to use much of what I learned in my job, and areas that I don't use in my job I now practice in my own time. Given all that I have achieved at Reading and since graduating I am proud to describe myself as an economist and a graduate of Reading.

MSc Agriculture and Development

Tuan Syaripah Najihah

Name: Tuan Syaripah Najihah

Programme: MSc Agriculture and Development

Scholarship: Malaysia Higher Education

Start date: September 2015

Tutor: Dr Allistair Murdoch

I chose to study a master's in agricultural science as it will help me understand more about my field, Agronomy. With this qualification, I can pursue my study on to PhD level.

The lecturers on my programme are extremely knowledgeable and are keen to help students in developing their skills and knowledge. All my course mates are from different backgrounds and experiences, which I have found to be very interesting. The facilities at university are really good.

We are offered a lot of additional classes to assist with our study. It is really helpful as an international student. There is also lot of one to one support from academic staff to help students.

I've gained a lot confidence especially in presentation and writing skills, making friends and speaking English.

I really enjoy studying here. It is better than I expected. Everyone is warm, helpful and welcoming. I do not feel alienated here. It feels like home. This university is very Muslim-friendly as it has Muslim Centre in the main campus and master study room to perform prayer as well as halal's food in the main campus.

I would absolutely recommend a scholarship to students considering studying a Masters. It has not only helped to pay for my tuition fees, but also gave an allowance every month to pay for other expenses.

 

Larissa SetaroName: Larissa Setaro

Programme: MSc Agriculture and Development

Job title: Operations Assistant

Working for: Positive Planet International, Johannesburg, South Africa

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2014 and I am now working for a French Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which aims to develop the economic resilience of fragile populations.

To achieve its goal, Positive Planet is activating three essential levers: learning to create and develop an activity, financing an activity, and protecting revenues and accessing markets. With about 40 active projects, the organisation intervenes in more than 35 countries.

As an Operations Assistant I am responsible for the supervision of the global project portfolio, making sure that all internal procedures are followed during each stage of project implementation. I also collect and report on global performance indicators for PPI operations for our network of projects. Finally, I am responsible for specific M&E projects in which I have previous experience, as part of this I support the development of internal knowledge management products.

I really enjoy working within a multicultural environment, and getting to know a variety of contexts and projects. I also enjoy spending time making sure that all projects respect internal quality requirements and procedures, as rigour in project management is essential.

Throughout my time at the University of Reading I knew I wanted to work in the field on project management. My module in Agricultural Project Management, taught by Professor Srinivasan provided me a good understanding of the sector, which I applied after graduation as I spent two years working as a Field Project Manager. I really enjoyed the role, particularly as it gave me the opportunity to gain hands on experience. I also learnt the potential flaws of project implementation, and developed an understanding that project management procedures are essential to the success of a project. My current role allows me to experience a different angle of project management.

I chose to study at Reading as it is ranked as one of the world's best universities in the Agricultural sector. My Master's degree taught me the complexity of the development sector, as well as critical thinking skills that have enabled me to fight for ideas with solid arguments to back up my thinking. Studying at Reading opened a door, introducing me to a vast world in which I am now working, but still learning.

My Programme was very well organised with the core modules on agriculture providing a general overview of the main issues, which was a huge help in providing me with knowledge on the subject without an agricultural background. The modern learning environment, and the variety of teaching methods made for an engaging learning experience. Being able to choose modules which suited my interests, allowed me to really tailor my degree.

These were some of the best years of my life, as I had the chance to not only learn new topics which paved my professional career, but also have the chance of studying in a multicultural environment. This environment allowed me to develop a huge number of interpersonal skills such as diplomacy, leadership and team work, which are key in my current job. I felt that the Reading experience unlocked my potential and kick-started my future. I would strongly recommend studying in the Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture, and Economics (GIIDAE) to my friends and colleagues, some of which have followed my advice and still thank me for it.

 

Alumni DavidName: David Asiamah

Programme: MSc Agriculture and Development

Job title: Founder and CEO

Employer name: Agro Mindset Group, Ghana

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2013, with an MSc in Agriculture and Development. I am now the Founder and CEO of my own company Agro Mindset Group, based in Ghana.

Agro Mindset is a mission-driven firm specialising in agribusiness ventures, made up of three sub-units: the Farm Division, Logistics Division and an Academy. Our main focus is to run highly profitable farm-based enterprises with long term growth potential.

Our goal is to help people to realise the opportunities and potential that exist in our backyards. Our operating centre includes a 10,000 capacity poultry farm, with a purpose of egg production, as well as 40 acres of land for coca production.

As the CEO of the company I manage the capital and procurement of assets, expansion of general business, recruitment and represent the company at functions. I am also actively involved in mentoring and empowering the next generation of farmers. I really enjoy giving talks and having panel discussions surrounding agricultural issues, engaging minds and breaking stereotypes.

Since the beginning of my academic career I knew that I wanted to study agriculture with greater depth than my initial undergraduate degree in Ghana. I am particularly interested in late twenty-first century agriculture which requires much intensification for a sustainable environment. The exposure I received during my MSc in Agriculture and Development, including visits to Sonning farm and other places was an eye opener as I was able to appreciate the scale of mechanised commercial farming, and the involvement of the youth. I have become part of a team that provides simple solutions to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, to ensure environmental sustainability in agriculture in Ghana.

Whilst studying I completed a placement with Vine House Farm in Peterborough, an arable farm that specialises in growing seed for bird food. Throughout this role I took part in harvesting, spraying, irrigating, cleaning, grading potatoes, covering plants with plastics, mowing grass, rotating crop residue and digging the soil. Vine House also has a 24,000 free range poultry unit in which I was tasked with managing the flock, over this period they had laid more eggs than any other flock had earlier, in which I recorded a 93% production. This developed my interest in having my own poultry farm in Ghana.

I chose to study at Reading due to its international reputation for agriculture, as well as being inspired by its success stories and multicultural environment. Studying at Reading benefited me enormously helping me to better understand agriculture in the tropics. In-depth understanding of issues in development have given me a better grounding to debate and discuss the way forward for our continent. As part of my job I now attend many forums and events in which my time at Reading allowed me to develop my public speaking skills, and has enabled me to confidently engage with other minds. Studying with a diverse group of students enabled me to learn about topic from others experiences and perspectives.

Since leaving University I have been voted for a number of awards including; the 2017 50 Most Influential Young Ghanaians, Avance Media, Ghana; 2017 Agriculture and Rising Laureate, Impact Africa, UNDP Accra, Ghana; 2016 Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 Class of 2016; 2016 Best Poultry, Ministry if Food and Agriculture, Afigya Kwabre District; 2015 The Ghana Top 30 Under 30, Future Ghana; 2015 the Future Awards for Agriculture, Nigeria.

 

Adrienne Attorp (resizedFINAL)Name: Adrienne Attorp

Programme: MSc Agriculture and Development

Job title: Currently studying for a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2011, and am now completing a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Newcastle.

I chose to study an MSc in Agriculture and Development because I believed it would help me achieve my career aspirations. I do not have a specific career goal, except to help change the way we feed ourselves, both in terms of reducing agriculture's impact on the environment, and making the food system fairer for both producers and consumers. I decided on the University of Reading because its Agriculture and Development programme is one of the top-ranked in the UK, and I liked the focused nature of their Master's programme.

Throughout my time at Reading, the course continually met my expectations. I particularly enjoyed studying with students from all over the world, and was inspired by lecturers who have not only great academic credentials, but also considerable practical experience.

The Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE), provides a friendly, multi-cultural and diverse atmosphere, along with academic staff who are always very helpful and supportive. The fact that many of the teaching staff are actively linked in with various professional institutions through their fieldwork, makes Reading a great place for students to start building their own professional network.

It was a bonus to have the flexibility to augment the programme's core modules with others that were more directly in line with my own interests. I found that the combination of modules on offer provided a well-rounded learning experience. I was also given the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in Mozambique, in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation, which added immeasurably to my academic experience.

The challenges facing our food system are multifaceted: social, economic, and environmental. The interdisciplinary nature of the Agriculture and Development programme means that all of these elements are covered. This is critical to understanding the challenges in all their complexity and to finding ways to address them. My qualification from the University of Reading not only helped me gain employment in the charity sector immediately post-graduation (I worked for five years as Chief Executive of an urban farming charity in London), but also enabled me to secure a Walsh Fellowship in 2017, which has allowed me to go on to study a PhD (ongoing). My current research is focused on agriculture policy and land use in Ireland.

MSc Applied International Development

Charrison Tengtenga, MSc Social Development and Sustainable Livelihoods

Name: Charrison Tengatenga

Programme: MSc Applied International Development

Graduated: 2012

I was not a complete development professional until when I joined the University of Reading and studied master's in social development and sustainable livelihoods. The course itself is a good blend of academic work and experiential learning where theories and development policies are well blended with practical field experiences across the world.

The course draws students from all over the world, which offers a rare chance for students to learn various field experiences across the world under one roof.

The course has offered me a unique opportunity to acquire research skills and deepen my understanding of development facilitation and management. This has enabled me to serve humanity better.

Furthermore, the University of Reading linked me to the Marshal Papworth Trust, which gave me a scholarship for my studies at Reading University. Getting the scholarship was a turning point in my life. I intend to use the skills and knowledge I have gained in my studies to empower rural communities to address socio-economic and cultural factors that hinder them from getting out of poverty.

 

Cecilia CocciaName: Cecilia Coccia

Programme: MSc Applied International Development

Job title: Financial Analysis and Planning Consultant

Working for: International Land Coalition (ILC), hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, policy and Development in 2016 and I am now collaborating with the International Land Coalition (ILC), a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organisations working together to put people at the centre of land governance..

At the ILC I am a Financial Analysis and Planning Consultant, in which my job involves working with colleagues and our local counterparts to strengthen their organizational capacity with focus on their financial planning and management capacity. I support ILC members by helping them to adopt the best practices on budgeting and financial reporting that will build upon their financial capacities. This is a new area of interest for both our members and strategic partners that will help to promote mutual accountability and transparency among organisations. In addition, I assist my team with the management and enhancement of ILC online platforms, and with knowledge sharing within the membership.

From the beginning of my academic career I have dreamt about working within an International Organisation, and have focussed my attention and interests on subjects such as economic policy for developing countries, and management of agricultural projects.

I chose to study at the University of Reading as the Applied International Development programme offered an innovative learning experience, and its teaching system is designed to encourage students to actively participate in debates, lectures and seminars to expand their knowledge. The combination of lectures and lab sessions made for a varied and engaging course. In addition, the flexibility to select modules which suit your interests allowed me to customise my Masters programme to my career aspirations. Module such as Gender and Development, Development Finance, and Global Environmental Change and Development have enriched me personally and professionally.

I would describe my time at Reading as inspiring, from the start I was surrounded by knowledgeable and talented faculty members and guest lecturers, who taught me to focus on opportunities rather than worries or limits, and contribute to knowledge rather than passively absorb it. I was also surrounded by wonderful friends and fellow students from all over the world who accompanied me on this journey and made me feel at home.

After having left the University I have been able to build upon my knowledge in economics and International Development and pursue stimulating work where I positively and effectively engage with team members and junior colleagues. I would strongly encourage those who are still waiting for a life changing experience to invest in their future and join the Reading community. Every person you will meet there will somehow help you learn, practice and master your strengths and self-confidence.

MSc Climate Change and Development

James Onyinge

Name: James Onyinge

Programme: MSc Climate Change and Development

Scholarship: Marshall Papworth Scholarship Programme

Start date: September 2016

Name of tutor: Dr Nick Bardsley

I decided to pursue a master's in climate change and development, based on my work experience, as I had spent five years working with smallholder farmers, and saw the devastating impact that climate change has on their livelihoods.

In carrying out my dissertation research I aspire to generate scientific information to support the agricultural adaptation to climate change. I will continue contributing through working in government or development agencies to plan for and implement adaption programmes. My long-term goal, however, remains to contribute to this cause in a more compelling way by undertaking further research that will provide knowledge for climate change adaptation in agriculture, rural development, and the development sector in general.

I have worked with two Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) spending four years with World Vision Uganda, a non-profit organisation that addresses the root causes of poverty. I took on the responsibilities of leading project teams tasked with implementing agricultural value chain development, where I guided and coordinated the development and implementation of such projects.

My exposure to the impact of climate change on agriculture in developing countries showed me the significance of this crisis, and just how much it can impact the wellbeing of communities across the globe. Another part of my job was to build the capacity of staff and producer groups with agricultural skills and knowledge due to the importance placed on the farming sector in assisting the fight against poverty. This is where my passion for seeing how climate change is affecting us grew, especially due to the issues regarding policy formulation and implementation around this subject in my home country of Uganda.

I chose the University of Reading due to my strong interest in the course specifications, as well as the confidence I received from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development featuring globally as one of the top universities for agricultural teaching, training and research. I'm glad I made this choice as the quality of the facilities and technology within the school just make me wish all universities back in my home country could reach this standard.

Since starting the programme I have benefitted most from the support systems and arrangements that are in place. From programmes helping me master the art of the English language to helping me with my writing skills so I can tackle essay based coursework with more confidence, my transition into not only this university but also the UK has been met with compelling support.

The scholarship I received from Marshal Papworth has also aided me tremendously, allowing me to overcome the greatest challenge of being able to financially pursue my dream career from my university of choice. The funding I received from the committee is the main reason I'm able to carry out my research and has permitted for my ambitions to be realised.

 

Christopher MandaName: Christopher Manda

Programme: MSc Climate Change and Development

Job title: Environmental Inspector

Working for: Environmental Affairs Department, in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining

I graduated from the School of Agriculture Policy and Development in 2015, and I now represent the Environmental Affairs Department in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining on a technical advisory committee, responsible for overseeing the development of renewable energy in Malawi.

The Ministry provides policy guidance and direction on matters concerning natural resources, energy and environmental management in Malawi. My department (Environmental Affairs), is made up of four divisions; Information, Education and Outreach; Biodiversity management; Environmental Impact Assessment and pollution control; and Legal Affairs.

As an Environmental Inspector I am in the Information, Education and Outreach Division, involved in the development of information, education and communication materials tailored for policy makers and the general public. I currently lead the agriculture sector in a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded programme helping to establish a Greenhouse Gases (GHG) inventory system from Malawi to enhance our reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

I am also an alternate government focal point (nominated by governments to engage with the 10 year framework of programmes) for the Third National Communication (TNC) and Biannual Update Report (BUR) Projects, supported by UN Environment aimed at producing the TNC and BUR report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Being nominated as an expert on the roster of experts under the UNFCCC will enhance my contribution to the global policy and management of climate change.

My current role directly relates to what I studied and researched whilst at University, giving me the opportunity to put theory into practice. Climate change has been an emerging field over the years, with heavy impacts facing Sub Saharan Africa due to a dependence of the economy on climate related sectors such as agriculture, and there are few experts in this field in Malawi. Working in the information, education and outreach division presents another opportunity to capacitate the national and district stakeholders and communities in climate change. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the field I am always keen to learn more.

During my studies I wanted to be a renowned climate change expert, and contribute to policy making in climate change, environment and natural resources at a national and global level. Working for the Environmental Affairs Department has provided me with the opportunity to achieve my career aspirations and contribute to national policy making and implementation of climate change, environment and national resources.

I chose to study at Reading due to its global reputation, high class teaching and research experience. Being able to be taught by lecturers who have a huge amount of experience and passion for development in my region, Sub Saharan Africa and Africa gave me a bigger drive to study there. The multicultural environment of the University of Reading and the extra-curricular activities have really enhanced my critical thinking, presentation, writing and interpersonal skills.

The Climate Change and Development programme provided real and practical issues of climate change, as well a learning being backed up by guest speakers who are experts in the field.

Since leaving University I have been the head of the Environmental Information and Publication Section, Focal point for the TNC and BUR projects, Lead the Agriculture sector for the GHG inventory System for Malawi, and I have been nominated to the roster of experts for UNFCC.

 

Daniel CollinsName: Daniel Collins

Programme: MSc Climate Change and Development

Job title: Analyst

Working for: Carbon Smart

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development with an MSc Climate Change and Development in 2017, and I am now working for a sustainability firm called Carbon Smart.

Carbon Smart's mission is to make sustainability work for everyone. They have supported over a thousand organisations to achieve their unique business objectives by setting and achieving their environmental and social performance. We offer tailored sustainability solutions for all types of businesses, whether it's a global corporation or a small business.

I am currently an Analyst within the Energy and Renewables Team, helping to find clear, practical sustainability strategies that contribute to a better world. My main responsibilities include coordinating data collection and analysis for energy audits and carbon footprints, providing on and off site environmental support to businesses, and creating marketing materials, articles and generating engaging case studies to highlight the work we do.

Having the chance to work at the centre of climate change and sustainable development challenges is a hugely rewarding experience. The sustainability sector is fast evolving although, it's a relatively new field therefore, being able to tailor my studies to address knowledge gaps and become a member of the sustainability professionals community is something I could not have done without the help of staff at Reading.

I chose Reading because I wanted to experience quality teaching and learning in a diverse, dynamic university with a rich history. The programme provided great flexibility in terms of the study choices I could make, allowing me to tailor the degree to my interests. I felt that a degree at Reading would allow me to take control of my own learning so that I could follow my interests, and it did not disappoint.

The Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture, and Economics (GIIDAE) impressed me with its diversity of student base, allowing me to learn alongside students from all over the world, which was a once in a lifetime opportunity. This enabled me to see topics from a number of different angles and experiences.

I really enjoyed every aspect of my life in Reading, both in academic and extra-curricular spheres. I was able to strike a great balance between my work and free time, which afforded me great experiences and the chance to meet new people.

Since leaving Reading I have been fortunate enough to get a job in my desired field of work, my programme gave my career the kick start it needed and the experience will certainly stand with me for years to come.

MSc Communication for Development

Anne Dayo

Name: Anne Claudine Dayo

Programme: MSc Communication for Development

Scholarship: Marshal Papworth Scholarship Programme

Start date: September 2016

Tutor: Dr Sarah Cardey

I chose to study MSc Communication for Development at Reading because I understood the importance of communication for development in terms of social change. I felt the need to further my understanding of development issues in order to plan appropriate communication strategies that will heighten the engagement of locals in social policy and aid. Studying this MSc will help me achieve my career aspirations to be a mover of community-driven development by encouraging marginalised groups to become self-sufficient and confident social decision makers through research and extension services.

I previously, worked in a variety of roles at Southern Luzon State University, and while working as a project assistant at the Office of Extension Services, I was given the chance to do research and serve indigenous peoples in the Province of Aurora. I joined Aurora State College of Technology as one of the instructors and the Project Development Officer. Aside from teaching social science, I was tasked to develop research and extension proposals and assist in networking with local communities and funding institutions.

My exposure to farmers during this time, and my inclination with their stories, motivated my desire to pursue this career path. This is where my passion for communication for innovation and development really grew, encouraging me to pursue a postgraduate degree.

I knew that with Reading's development courses, I would gain the necessary knowledge and skills that I need to do my work in the development field, focusing on communication for development to formulate and implement effective and inequality interventions.

When choosing an international institute for my postgraduate study, I wanted a university that would provide me with enough knowledge, skills and practice on international development and with the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development being the most highly ranked UK institution in the world for agriculture, I knew my expectations would be fulfilled here. The range of modules and opportunities available, and its leader board success motivated my desire to study at Reading.

The University has a lot to offer, and the campus is a hub for international relations. I have had the chance to meet different people from a variety of fields. There are also lots of opportunities for networking with other institutions, including free talks, which have given me ideas about possible projects I can engage with in the future. I also really enjoy the methods of teaching, preparing before class by reading through topical material and then discussing it with my peers improved my understanding immensely.

The lecturers are also experts in the field, and so provide real-life contemporary examples, which make learning really interesting. I would definitely recommend the programme to other students because it offers multi-dimensional understanding of both development and communication, balancing the two areas equally.

Being offered a scholarship has given me the opportunity to explore communication for development in a different culture, which without this help, I would have not had the chance to do. 

 

Abeer El-KayatyName: Abeer El-Kayaty

Programme: MSc Communication for Innovation and Development

Job title: Senior Project Manager

Working for: Internews Europe

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in September 2014, with an MSc Communications for Innovation and development, and I am now a Senior Project manager at Internews Europe, an international non-profit organisation that works to ensure access to trusted, quality information.

In my role as Senior Project Manager I work in the Middle East and North Africa Projects Unit, in which one of my responsibilities has been to manage a, recently completed, project entitled: "E'lamy Mujtama'y" which translates from Arabic to "My Media, My Society". This project was of a social media entrepreneurship nature which allowed media practitioners to implement mini start up media projects to meet the needs of their local communities. Candidates were then given seed money to implement their project.

In my role I enjoy being able see how information and media can enhance the lives and decision making power of people, enabling them to take hold of their lives. Throughout my time at university I wanted to work in the Communication for Development sector, in which my job at Internews could not be a better match.

Before studying at Reading I completed an undergraduate degree in Economics, at Cairo University, Egypt, following which I then went on to work in Marketing Research, and shifted to Development after the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. I chose to study at Reading as it was one of the only Universities with a programme specialising in this area, and one which would utilise my research, development, marketing and communication experience. I really enjoyed the diversity of the programme and being able to learn with students and lecturers who were from many different cultures and backgrounds.

I especially enjoyed how practical the programme was, in which we even got to create our own Radio Show. Thanks to Dr Sarah Cardey, I was lucky enough to travel to Hydrabad, India and attend my first academic conference (The International association for Media and Communication Research Annual Conference). In addition, to this I also had the opportunity to apply for the Geneva Challenge with two of my classmates, in which we won a second place prize for our market match up idea, using communication participator platforms to increase women's self-efficacy.

Since graduating from university I have worked with Internews where I have been promoted from Media Monitoring Coordinator to a Senior Project Manager. I have been able to travel to so many places and attend many conferences surrounding communication for development and media development. I have also co-ran a training session on communication for development basics for UNICEF Eriteria as part of the Communication for Development Network.

My experience at Reading was very enriching, I learned a huge amount and met a lot of amazing people that I still have connections with. It was a very diverse cohort which was a learning experience in itself.

 

Chrishane WilliamsName: Chrishane Williams

Programme: MSc Communication for Innovation and Development

Job title: Communications Consultant

Working for: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development (SAPD) in September 2016. Currently, I support the positioning of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) as a lead agency in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, using communications.

FAO is an international organisation that carries out work aimed at eliminating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; promoting more productive and sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries; rural poverty reduction, and increasing livelihoods resilience to shocks, threats and crises.

My role as a Communications Consultant involves raising the visibility of the organisation's work in agriculture and rural development in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Belize. We provide technical assistance to the countries in various areas, and are keen on encouraging dialogue with stakeholders, sharing information and success stories and fostering knowledge exchanges and partnerships with civil society, NGOs, development partners and key stakeholders. The work that I carry out is heavily dependent on high quality content, and requires extensive research, interaction with local and regional stakeholders at various levels, and most importantly engagement with project participants.

I really enjoy interacting with farmers, fishers and community members as they share their experience of development aid and views on development issues. It is always fascinating to learn how various initiatives have an impact on their lives or equipped them to continue their advancement. This interaction allows me to gain a better understanding of the challenges and successes of development efforts, as well as it reminds me that we still have a lot of work if we are to achieve sustainable, positive outcomes.

The Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE) provided me with a wealth of knowledge within the classroom, which I still refer to in my work today. Lecturers such as Dr Cardey and Dr Ainslie also sought and encouraged opportunities for our growth and engagement with the subject matter that made the experience more fulfilling. Additionally, the diverse experiences of fellow international students offered a wide scope of views and insight into their country-specific development realities that further enriched my learning.

Whilst studying, I had the opportunity to undertake a six-month internship at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, and in doing so became a recipient of the Stanley Howard Hodgkin Scholarship and an Erasmus+ Traineeship. FAO proffered eye-opening exposure on how the organization engages in development programmes and projects. The internship also aligned well with much of the knowledge that I had gained in the classroom and left me feeling better prepared to engage with the development world as a communication for development practitioner.

I was driven to enrol in the University of Reading based on alumni reviews, available information on the study programme, and the responsiveness of the staff to my queries- areas which are very important for international students, especially when coming from another continent. Upon starting university, I quickly realised that the reviews were indeed true and that Reading was the ideal choice on my path as a development practitioner. The exposure at Reading and through the internship proved to be simply irreplaceable and the beautiful green campus was a definite bonus, so in the end I am very happy to be an alumna of the University of Reading!

 

Soledad MunizName: Soledad Muñiz

Programme: MSc Communication for Innovation and Development

Job title: Head of Innovation and Development

Working for: InsightShare

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2008 with a distinction in MSc in Communication for Innovation and Development, and now work with communities around the world to address key issues through participatory video.

InsightShare is a community development organisation, working to capture the best aspects of communications technology and participatory techniques; supporting communities to explore their issues and devise solutions to the challenges they face. We aim to amplify unheard voices, and bring people together to focus on change.

As the Head of Innovation and Development, I sit on the organisation's senior management team, and am responsible for overseeing key areas of innovation, including the use of participatory video in M&E (Monitoring and Evaluation), research and humanitarian contexts. I am also in charge of project and business development.

I really enjoy the diversity of issues, projects and partners that I work on, as well as seeing tangible impacts in people's lives.

My position at InsightShare is directly linked to my career aspirations when studying, as I wanted to specialise in participatory communication (the subject of my dissertation). I benefitted immensely from studying at Reading, from the programme and professors who opened my mind and allowed me to re-think my understanding of many issues, as well as the diversity of classmates who provided me with an international look into many subjects.

I chose Reading as I wanted to study the junction between communication and development, and not many other universities have a degree as well as the experience that Reading has in this area. I was also drawn to the interdisciplinary perspective and experience of the professors in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development. I loved the fact that the course allowed us to choose modules based on our individual interests.

 

Teuleala Manuella-MorrisName: Teuleala Manuella-Morris

Programme: Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Extension

Job title: Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant

Working for: Secretariat for Pacific Community (SPC), Tuvalu

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 1985 with a Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Extension, and have recently been awarded a Commonwealth Points of Light Award from Her Majesty The Queen, in recognition of my service supporting island communities across the Pacific affected by climate change.

With over 30 years of experience in the field I am now working for the Secretariat for Pacific Community (SPC) in Tuvalu, a regional organisation which overlooks all pacific island communities, provides technical assistance, and funds local communities on the islands.

As a Local Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant, for the Tuvalu Biogas project, I design methodologies to evaluate the impact of household use of biogas in protecting food and energy sources from the effect of climate change. I greatly enjoy being able to provide data to my government in order to prove that biogas is a source of renewable energy that could assist us in securing energy and food, using technology that will protect us from the impacts of climate change.

Studying at Reading broadened my view of the world and exposed me to new ideas of how communities could aspire to sustain themselves and identify applicable development projects. The course gave me a global perspective on agriculture, and this wide understanding has supported me in identifying what is best for the community and prepares you for what is yet to come.

Being able to study in the UK made me more assertive, and confident even though I was only there for a year, this confidence was quite rare for a Tuvaluan girl. Because of this I have been able to make strong decisions to bring about change in Tuvalu, in order to better our communities.

In the 1980's the Tuvalu Government had strong ties with the UK, as well as Reading being very popular for its development courses. I was the first Tuvaluan girl to be sent to the UK to study at University level, so I worked hard to ensure that other girls had the opportunity to attend universities in Europe.

The programme allowed me to learn through lectures and seminars in which we had the opportunity to interact with various speakers from around the globe who were experts in their field. This learning environment allowed for many in class discussions, which aided my learning of agriculture on a global level and the impact of international policies affecting rural communities around the world.

On a personal level it was an amazing opportunity to be able to visit the UK, in which I had only ever previously read about in books. Moreover, learning and living in a country which influenced international policies that are affecting our rural communities had given me a fulfilling educational experience. I met and made a huge amount of friends at Reading from around the globe.

 

Nancy SamonteName: Nancy Samonte

Programme: MSc Communication for Innovation and Development

Job title: Chief, Multimedia Division

Working for: National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Pasig City, Philippines

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2014 and I am now working for the socioeconomic planning agency of the Philippines.

As chief of the Multimedia Division, my role involves overseeing numerous publications of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) which may require content writing, copy-editing, reviewing literature, and producing visuals for online, print and social media. My division also provides technical and creative support during communications-related activities - including our upcoming weekly radio programme.

These functions allow me to apply the principles of communication for development across many platforms. Moreover, because of our agency's unique role in economic planning and policy, we deal with information that are highly technical in nature. Thus, we look for ways to craft messages that are simple and more relatable, having understood that ordinary people are at the core of development.

After graduating from Reading, I devoted some time to help manage the community school which my parents had set up in Tanauan, Batangas (northern part of the Philippines). Keeping the school in operation was necessary, not only for the teachers who would lose their jobs, but more so for the over one hundred primary school students who will be displaced. Last year, 20% of its students are non-paying, whilst the rest pay a minimum amount to cover the cost of operations.

Studying at Reading has reinforced my belief that effective communication should be simple, clear, and relevant. My experiences during our classroom discussions have taught me to always consider the audience as an important part of any communication effort.

My initial desire to study at the University of Reading was influenced by the school's academic reputation. However, what made me decide to take my post graduate programme under GIIDAE was their responsiveness to queries and the environment they provide to foreign students.

Our lecturers brought meaningful and fun activities in the classroom. I also benefitted from the talks given by several guest speakers and development practitioners - their insights and personal stories of challenges and growth have contributed more depth to my learning experience. Our tutor, Dr. Sarah Cardey even took the time to coach us in small groups, answering our endless questions and boosting our morale during the critical stages of our final term. I am grateful to Reading for the chance to learn in an authentic environment, most importantly for providing a community of international students whose friendships have enriched my life in the UK.

MSc Development Finance

Name: Luc Razafimandimby

Programme: MSc Development Finance

Graduated: 2002

Before I joined the University of Reading, I worked as a consultant to the World Bank. I then decided I needed to further strengthen my understanding of development if I was to apply for a regular position in this organisation.

The Development Finance programme at Reading, with its large range of development and finance-related modules, greatly helped me to deepen and widen my knowledge.

Apart from the academic benefits, I also greatly enjoyed the social life at the University and the opportunity to meet fellow-students from so many different countries and backgrounds. The Graduate Institute was a home for all of us.

 

Ranjita NeogiName: Ranjita Neogi

Programme: MSc Development Finance

Job title: PhD student & Teaching Associate

Working for: Queen Mary University London (QMUL), School of Business and Management (SBM)

After graduating from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2016 with a Masters in Development Finance, I continued my studies exploring the financial access available to South Asian migrant communities in the UK.

My PhD at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is a comparative analysis of the capital accumulation and conversion process among Indian and Bangladeshi migrants based within the UK. Within this research I use the concept of tangible and intangible capitals, and also the impact of different structural and agency related elements in defining migrant business strategies.

Alongside my studies I also work as a teaching associate within the School of Business and Management (SBM) at QMUL, teaching Financial Accounting, Work and Employment in Context, and Business and Social Approaches to Social Media.

I have always loved carrying out research, whether it is academic or corporate. Before pursuing my Masters at Reading I worked for Deloitte, an audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management and tax company, as a Corporate Financial Analyst. However, after working within the organisation for five years I realised that I wanted to explore the implications of different economic and financial decisions on the broader society, which is why I chose to study Development Finance.

Before studying at Reading I always thought that I would go into a non-corporate advisory career as initially I was interested in taking up a consultant's job in the not-for-profit sector. However, during my Masters Dr Srinivasan made me aware of the opportunities available in academia that I previously hadn't considered. I realised that pursuing a career in academia would not only match my research interests, but also give me the opportunity to have a career in teaching or consulting.

MSc in Development Finance was a stepping stone towards my doctoral studies. I learnt a huge amount from the taught modules, as well as working within Henley Business School as part of a project where I interviewed migrant business owners operating at Reading, which helped me in the development of my PhD research title and application. The support that was provided to me by Dr Srinivasan, the Director of the Development Finance programme, was a huge help in guiding me through my journey as a masters student to a PhD researcher.

I chose to study at Reading as I was looking for a programme that offered an introduction to the development side of finance. The programme offered a vast choice of modules which suited my requirements and the module contents were also enriching in terms of learning. The School of Agriculture, Policy and Development ranks as one of the top Schools in the UK, which was very reassuring when searching for a course. I also received a Postgraduate Taught Country Scholarship from the University, which helped me greatly when financing my studies.

I enjoyed every aspect of the programme, the modules I selected offered an immense learning opportunity, and the lecturers were extremely helpful and guided me through my studies whenever required.

I owe a lot to the University of Reading for what I am doing today. Pursuing the MSc within the University has been a life changing decision, in which I made wonderful friends that will last a lifetime. I would definitely like to go back and be part of the university in any possible way in the future.

 

Tamara CzettoName: Tamara Czetto

Programme: MSc Development Finance

Job title: Senior Consultant in Risk Consulting

Working for: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Frankfurt, Germany

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2015, and I am now working as a Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), an auditing and consulting company.

I work within the Risk Consulting department, which deals with governance, risk and compliance issues in the private sector. One of our main aims is to help clients prevent corruption, fraud, bribery and non-compliance with regulations, design respective communication campaigns and train people.

I am currently helping to design policies and training in order to help a company which faced a corruption scandal. In order to do this, we design and complete interviews with the employees to assess the situation, review current policies and training content and revise them in line with the needs of the client. In another project, we advised a company on respecting international labour standards, e.g. assuring health and safety at work, equal pay and preventing child labour. Within my own company, I was also able to start an initiative to support female leadership at work.

Throughout my time at University I aspired to working at a development bank or an international organisation however, I found that finding a permanent junior position right after graduating was very difficult. Many jobs were short contracts or unpaid internships and I felt that very few of these positions actually provided major improvements in developing countries, but rather bureaucratic, hierarchical and inert environments. It is this that made me decide to work on the business side, directly with companies operating in developing and emerging economies. I believe that the experience from my current job will prove very useful if I ever decided to join an international institution.

Studying at Reading helped me to find my job and excel at it by allowing me to broaden my horizons. We deal with companies that operate internationally, including developing and emerging economies, and I am grateful that my time at Reading taught me to better understand cultural differences and case-by-case approaches which are key for successful and sustainable projects.
I chose Reading as I was looking for an interdisciplinary degree surrounding developing countries, combining both economics and other social sciences. I especially wanted a hands on education which wasn't too focussed on textbook models based on unrealistic assumptions about the world, but rather a degree which looked at real world cases. Reading offered all of these things, and had a great variety of courses, amazing experienced teachers and has a very good reputation in my area of study.

Being in an environment where professors were always happy to listen and help, and treated us as an equal was very motivating and helped me to raise and develop my own ideas, instead of just following common opinions. I also really enjoyed that we got a lot of reading material to study certain aspects further, but at the same time we were free to choose how and what to study.

My time at Reading was definitely the best time during my entire academic life. I made very close friends and I could study something I was very passionate about. I'm very grateful for that opportunity.

MSc Environment and Development

Tarek Monem

Name: Tarek Abdel Monem

Programme: MSc Environment and Development

Job Title: Knowledge Management and Reporting Specialist (Climate Change Focal Point)

Working for: UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS)

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2015 with a MSc in Environment and Development. I have always been interested in working in development, and after finishing my master's, I was fortunate enough to secure a job at the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), an inter-governmental organisation.

I worked at CEDARE's headquarter office in Cairo, Egypt. During my time there, I had the opportunity to work as a contributing author for a very significant UN Environment publication; this has probably been one of the key achievements since leaving Reading.

After this, I left CEDARE and joined the UN-Habitat based in Cairo in Egypt where I now work as a Knowledge Management and Reporting Specialist. The UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. UN-Habitat believes that urbanisation can be a solution rather than a problem, and hence, it aims to encourage sustainable urbanisation.

My role here is very diverse; not only am I responsible for identifying and synthesising best practices and lessons learned from projects and programmes at country and regional levels, I am also involved in knowledge and information facilitation, and I manage the progress of our projects with a special focus on climate change and urban issues.

I have always believed that working in development would be very challenging, and so I thought doing postgraduate studies at the University of Reading would enhance my understanding of its complexities. My expectations were far exceeded; studying the MSc Environment and Development course was an enriching experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the programme, the group was amazing and very diverse, and I was so lucky to have Andrew Ainslie as the head of my programme as I really learned a lot from him academically and personally. The campus environment is also beautiful, and being so close to London meant I could meet even more friends.

Studying at Reading benefited me in various aspects. From the academic point of view, I have learned a lot about issues related to environment and development. The professors and supervisors were great in helping me write my dissertation, which looked at agricultural adaptation to sea level rise in Egypt. From a personal point of view, I have been exposed to a lot of cultural aspects introduced by my peers from all over the world. I made a lot of friends and I am happy that we stay in touch.

I would describe my experience at Reading as "life changing", and studying here has definitely got me to where I want to be. I love my job and the work I do related to climate change in the Arab region is something I am very passionate about. In addition to my key achievements since leaving University that I mentioned earlier, I would also have to say that marrying my wife last year has to have been the highlight for me.

 

Selorm Aku Dadzawa

Name: Selorm Aku Dadzawa (Nee Selorm Dadzawa Mante)

Programme: MSc Environment and Development

Job Title: Senior Human Resource Officer

Working for: Quality Control Company Limited (QCC), Ghana Cocoa Board, Accra, Ghana

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2014 with an MSc in Environment and Development. Upon leaving Reading, I moved back home to Accra, Ghana, and secured a role at a company called Quality Control Company Limited (QCC), a subsidiary of Ghana Cocoa Board, working as a Senior Human Resource Officer. Ironically, when I was studying at Reading, my sister was there too and we attended most classes together. Having graduated, we are now both working at Ghana Cocoa Board together.

QCC is the sole company responsible for inspecting, grading and sealing cocoa for local use, or for onward shipment to foreign countries. My role as Human Resource Officer involves dealing with typical Human Resource issues such as recruitment, record-keeping, appraisals, training and development. I love my job at QCC because it affords me the opportunity to meet new people I also enjoy writing reports, organising functions and sometimes having to solve peculiar problems, which involve thinking through and implementing various changes in the HR processes and working environment.

I chose to study at the University of Reading because I wanted the experience of being an international student. With Reading being home to more than 5,000 international students from 140 countries, I knew that I would become part of a truly international community. I received recommendations from family and friends about studying there; they told me that studying at Reading was an experience worth having. I had also read about the University's reputation as one of the leading agricultural universities.

My expectations of studying at Reading were far exceeded; if I had to describe my time there in one word, I would say "fantastic!" My master's in environment and development provided me with a wealth of knowledge and learning, which has certainly impacted positively on my current role. I liked having the opportunity to choose other modules not directly related to my line of study, this has further broadened my knowledge base. I also thought my tutors were excellent, and I loved the studying environment and course content. Whenever I have conversations with individuals in my line of work, most are utterly surprised at my understanding of issues concerning the natural environment. Since the core mandate of my company is to the most, part science-related, I certainly am able to relate better with issues at hand.

Personal development has been my major achievement since leaving Reading, and this has positively affected many areas of my life. Having to learn new things in new environments is not always easy but it has certainly given me the platform to improve my self-awareness, identity, talents and potential. Aside from the obvious benefit of gaining knowledge in my chosen field of study, I have also had the opportunity to learn many new cultures, find new interests, improve my confidence and make life-long friends from all over the world. I would recommend the University of Reading to anyone interested in higher education.

MSc Food Economics and Marketing

Name: Eileen Berrisford

Programme: MSc Food Economics and Marketing

Graduated: 2005

Taking a year off work to study for an MSc in Food Economics and Marketing at Reading was a big decision, but one that I haven't regretted for a minute.

The course modules really helped me to develop my analytical thinking and build on my food industry experience, thanks to the relevant content, the challenging and supporting staff, and the wide variety of experiences brought to the course by the international student body.

I have returned to work in a new, senior management role as Customer Agenda Manager in the Food Strategy Team, a role I would not have been able to undertake without the skills I learned at Reading.

 

Irene BodegaName: Irene Bodega

Programme: MSc Food Economics and Marketing

Job title: Insight Analyst

Working for: Brand View, Reading

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in December 2016, and I am now working with some of the biggest players in the Food and Consumer Electronics industries.

Brand View is a leading global provider of price, promotion and online product positioning analytics. Their proprietary software enables our worldwide clients, both retailers and suppliers in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and GM industries, to monitor and manage their price position, nutritional proposition and ecommerce performance.

I first joined as an Account Analyst and quickly got promoted to an Account Executive position. I have now taken on the role as an Insight Analyst within the Marketing team, where by keeping up to date with the latest news in the food industry I identify stories an analyse the data for the benefit of our clients.

I enjoy bringing data to life by telling stories that will show the value of the Brand View analytics software, as well as help clients in making decisions and improving their online performance. Learning new ways of analysing the data and being innovative in the way the data is presented back to the audience is the part of the job I enjoy the most.

Studying my MSc at Reading gave me the opportunity to explore a diverse range of subjects, in which I developed an interest in analytics and how it can shape policy making. It is this that increased my desire to obtain a job that includes data analysis in the food industry. My current role is a good match as it combines these two aspects perfectly.

I chose to study at the University of Reading as when I was searching for postgraduate degrees that would combine my interest in marketing and food, I remember being very excited and thinking that the course had been made specifically for me. In addition, the University's great reputation also added to my reasons to apply.

The small class sizes allowed for discussion and interaction between students and lecturers, which made learning engaging. I was inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of the lecturers, which helped in increasing my curiosity for subjects I was not aware of before starting the programme.

I would describe my time at Reading as eye opening, on a personal level it provided me with opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds with different career aspirations. On a professional level, it brought me a step closer to realising my career goals and what I want to achieve.

 

Carmine MereuName: Carmine Mereu

Programme: MSc Food Economics and Marketing

Job title: Consultant

Working for: Long Term Partners

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in September 2015 and I am now working as a Consultant at Long Term Partners, a Management Consultant firm based in Milan.

Long Term Partners, derived from Bain & Company, offers our clients services in the areas of strategy, organisation, extraordinary finance, and business ventures. As a Consultant I am responsible for conducting quantitative and financial analysis, benchmarking and mapping of markets and competition, and conducting interviews with top managers and industry experts.

From day one I have been exposed to very challenging tasks and situations such as the development of strategic plans for big corporations that could heavily affect their future. In addition, I also take part in a table of discussions with CEO's and top managers of billion dollar companies, in which I am exposed to their thinking and attitudes.

Whilst studying at Reading I attended an elective course in management which gave me the drive and passion to further develop my understanding in this area, so much so that I won a scholarship from the Chinese Government through the University of Reading to study for an MSc in Management in Shanghai.

I chose to study at Reading due to its high ranking in the league tables. I really benefitted from my time at the University, and I still apply my knowledge surrounding economics and the food sector to my job. It is this knowledge that I feel has given me an advantage in the job market over those who have studied general economics or finance degrees.

Throughout my time at Reading I enjoyed the methodology applied to the programme, the professional atmosphere and learning from knowledgeable professors. If I were to describe my time it would be 'enriching and stimulating', I learnt a huge amount and it has lead me on to finding a very challenging job that makes me happy.

 

MSc Food Security and Development

Christopher Kasonde

Name: Kasonde Christopher Kasonde

Programme: MSc Food Security and Development

Job Title: Adviser - Food and Beverage Team

Working for: Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Wellington, New Zealand

I graduated from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development in 2014 with an MSc in Food Security and Development. After finishing my master's, I was fortunate enough to secure a position that matched perfectly with my career aspirations. I have always wanted to work within the food sector, and so my role as Food and Beverage Team Adviser at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has certainly exceeded my expectations.

MPI is a government regulatory establishment that is focused on the success of the primary industries for the benefit of all New Zealanders. As a credible science-based organisation that uses and generates robust and relevant science to support and transform biosecurity, food safety, primary production and trade, MPI has a statutory obligation to protect public health and consumers' other interests in relation to food. This is accomplished among many other strategies, through setting and monitoring of food standards. My position at MPI gives me the opportunity to contribute to the food safety decision making process at all levels of the food chain. I work in a team that is responsible for providing scientific advice that helps ensure fair trade and consumer protection thereby assuring the integrity, safety and reputation for New Zealand's primary products.

I enjoy the variety of opportunities that my role offers, which includes developing tools for agribusinesses to aid good agricultural practice. But my favourite part of the job is the ability it gives me to apply scientific knowledge to risk management decision making and seeing first hand food businesses appreciating the work that we do. Studying a Masters at Reading has given me the skills to utilise in the real world. The structure of the course was very rich in providing me with useful knowledge, improving my confidence to take on difficult assignments. The course also gave me a head start to solve problems of various backgrounds, and has given me the capacity to draw on what I have learnt, and apply this to projects I am working on in my current role.

After studying Agricultural Sciences at the University of Zambia, I had a strong desire to do a postgraduate degree in England. I wanted to experience British education, and my late father encouraged me to follow in his footsteps and study in the UK. I chose the University of Reading because of its reputation; I wanted to be trained by professionals that were recognised as amongst the best in the field around the world.

Coming to Reading was among one of the best decisions I have ever made for my career and professional development. As a recipient of the International Master's Bursary Award from the University of Reading, my dream to complete postgraduate education in England was fulfilled. The structure of my course was simply amazing, the quality of teaching exceeded my expectations. The lecturers were so knowledgeable, I did not want them to stop teaching and the visiting lecturers added a special flavour to the delivery of the programme. The environment was so friendly, making it easy to engage with everyone in the school.

I will remember University of Reading as a place where I was given an opportunity to pursue my dreams. I have accomplished so much which has enabled me to pursue higher goals of academic advancement and my career ambitions. My experience at Reading can be summarised as very enjoyable and enlightening, and I have pleasant memories of my time there.

MrEs agricultural and Food Economics

Razan Majar, MSc Research Agricltural and Food EconomicsName: Razan Majar

Programme: MRes Agricultural and Food Economics

Graduated: 2011

I chose the University of Reading because it is one of the most reputed institutions to study agricultural economics and marketing. Although my MSc research course was only one year in length, it gave me a comprehensive introduction to the complex ideas and concepts in the agricultural economics, marketing and econometrics analysis, which has been essential to the PhD course I now do. At times I felt a little out of my depth in the first term because it was all completely new to me, but by the end of the course I had won a scholarship to do a PhD.

My time at Reading was both enjoyable and harder work than I could ever have imagined, but the staff helped me to accomplish a degree that I am very proud of. Aside from the School, the University and town were a great place to be a student, with a friendly campus and always plenty going on. I am motivated every day because I believe in what I do and the future of my work in the educational institutions.

My degree course gave me the knowledge, confidence and motivation to continue on to do a PhD at Reading. It developed my analytical skills and experience perfectly for the next degree and for my career as a lecturer in agricultural economics, Damascus University. I decided to stay on and do a PhD within the School and will have a great time doing so.

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