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History - Jenny Morgan

Jenny took a gap year before coming to St John’s, during which time she was based with a professional horse rider and competed internationally in the sport of Three-Day-Eventing. She continued riding throughout her degree and captained the University Equestrian team, as well as editing the student newspaper and playing college hockey. Having graduated with a Double First in 2010, she undertook a Masters in International Relations at King’s College London, before taking a job at an international management consultancy in London. She now works at the Department for International Development on the Civil Service Fast Stream programme.

'I really enjoyed my time studying History at John’s. I came with rather a broad interest in the subject, as opposed to any particular historical period or subject, and was thus really grateful to be able to study such a wide variety of things. From Henry VIII and the English Reformation to Osama Bin Laden and the events of 9/11, with a bit of Political Thought thrown in for good measure, I was able in three years to study more than many would get the chance to do in a lifetime.

This was made easier by the fact that most of my supervisions took place at John’s and the college library was really well stocked, so I could do most of my work on site. There was also a strong teaching and support network, in particular for working towards the Historical Argument and Practice paper, as well as ready advice for dissertation or paper choices. Fellow Johnians who were doing or had done the same papers were also really helpful for sharing notes or having group discussions, especially during exam term. I also got involved in the college History Society during my second year and enjoyed going to the interesting and varied talks on offer from many excellent speakers, as well as the rather wonderful annual dinner!

The flexibility of a degree in History suited me perfectly. I kept my competitive horse-riding going throughout my time at John’s as well as playing college sport, writing for and editing the student newspaper Varsity, and maintaining a healthy social life. This was always encouraged by my tutor and other academic staff, and was very much a part of the John’s atmosphere. Although there is a lot of reading involved in studying History, having the capacity to do it at a time that suited me and enabled me to keep my other interests going was extremely important and really helped me to deal with the pressure.

History also left me well-placed to pursue my Masters in International Relations and then to seek employment. The skills I picked up, such as the ability to read large volumes of material and pick out the relevant points, to formulate a coherent argument, and to manage my time and work effectively by myself, have been invaluable. In short, the combination of a strong degree from a well known college has meant that the three years I spent at John’s were at once immensely enjoyable and hugely useful; I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.'

  - Jenny Morgan, graduated 2010

Since leaving St John’s, Jenny has moved to London and recently wrote the following about her time in the capital:

Life in London is great - lots of St John's people have moved down here so there's a good community feeling. I'm really enjoying working at the Department for International Development (DFID) on the Civil Service Fast Stream.

I've been here about 9 months now so the 'honeymoon period' is well and truly over - but I still absolutely love coming into work. I've been based in the Trade and Development team working to help increase trade and regional integration in the developing world. In particular, I've managed a programme designed to improve the capacity of developing country negotiators to perform better at international trade negotiations. I've also led on an innovative project in South Africa and Nigeria running technology 'hack days' where IT developers break down trade data and create mobile phone applications or online tools to enable ordinary people to understand how trade policy affects them. It's such an interesting mix of policy and programme management, and really rewarding work.

I'm starting to think now about my next post - in August I will move to the Palestinian Team, working out of London but with very close connections to our office in Jerusalem. I will be working closely with other government departments on the Middle East Peace Process with a particular focus on supporting state-building, promoting private sector-led growth, and addressing poverty and vulnerability. I am looking forward to the challenge of engaging with such a complicated issue (and of course all of the historical background behind it) and to working in such a fast-paced and high-profile environment.

- Jenny Morgan, May 2013