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Success Story: Education Borrower Plans to Be a University Academic

Success Story: Education Borrower Plans to Be a University Academic

After completing an MA in Drama and Film at De Montfort University (DMU), with support from the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, education borrower Jennifer Voss has now embarked on a PhD as a member of one of the establishment’s research centres.

Jennifer began her Master’s degree back in 2013, and following this 15-month course her supervisors felt her work was original enough to be considered for a PhD. In January 2015, she was put forward to apply for a PhD at DMU, to be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, through the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership.

Following a rigorous application and interview process, she was awarded a full scholarship and began her PhD studies as a member of the Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre in October. Now, following her impressive academic progress, Jennifer harbours ambitions of becoming a fully-fledge university academic, lecturing in drama.

Explaining how she came to choose this career path, Jennifer said: “At the end of third year, and having a mini crisis of ‘what next?’ I began thinking ‘what job can I do where I can teach drama but also still do my own work?’ My university supervisor straight away suggested university academic and suggested I have a think and look into it.

“At this point I was still unsure because, although I really enjoyed writing my dissertation, I hadn’t had my results back so I had no idea if I was actually any good at it!

“After discovering that I had achieved a First in my degree, including on my dissertation, my supervisor invited me to meet with her discuss my plans. She asked if I had thought about her suggestion and wanted to develop the topic I had been writing my dissertation on at Master’s level, with the aim of progressing to PhD.”

This advice encouraged Jennifer to undertake an MA by research, where she was supervised by the same tutor who encouraged her to embark upon postgraduate study. Thanks to the support from DMU and then the funding she received from the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, Jennifer was able to begin her postgraduate research in 2013 – the first opportunity to do so following her graduation.

On her experience of dealing with the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, Jennifer said: “I found dealing with the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity really straightforward. The lady who dealt with my initial queries, and then helped me throughout the application process, was so friendly and personable.

“I was a little nervous about my interview, but the trustees were quick to put me at ease, and seemed genuinely interested in my research area.”

If you’re considering pursuing postgraduate education, Jennifer’s key advice would be: “Do your research! Make sure that the course you’re applying for is something that you really want to do and that it will get you where you want to be. It’s a big commitment, but it’s so worth it.”

The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity provides interest-free education loans of up to £9,000 – for more information, please click here