Grace Trevelyan MSc Comparative Social Policy
Green Templeton One-Year Scholarship
My year at Green Templeton has flown by much too quickly.
I arrived in the scorching sunshine - the hottest October day on record - and for the duration of the first term that excitable ‘this is too good to be true’ feeling of an extended summer never left me. I was enchanted by my surroundings and fell in love with everything from the quirky streets of Jericho to the free hot chocolate machine (conveniently located just outside my room!).
"From day one I was struck by the friendly community feel of the College and was blown away by the diversity of backgrounds and interests that were represented amongst the student body."
By Matriculation day I had a sneaking suspicion that I had made some friends for life and nearly three terms later I can confidently say that they are stuck with me; I can’t imagine life without them.
Over the past year I have been working towards an MSc in Comparative Social Policy. By evaluating policy mechanisms within a systematic, international framework I have honed my quantitative, qualitative and conceptual tools of analysis. Surviving the statistics component represents a personal victory for a history graduate who had not picked up a calculator since the day of her GCSE maths paper seven years ago!
Most importantly, my course of study has expanded my conceptual and practical grasp on the issue of poverty. I have had the opportunity to think deeply about the phenomenon; its definition, measurement, the way it is experienced and, most importantly, the tools and strategies that are needed to eradicate it.
My current research is on the differing approaches of British and American policy makers to combatting the educational disadvantages experienced by some of society’s most vulnerable young people; children who are raised within the foster care system. This topic has reinforced my interest in the way ideas can influence policy formulation and galvanised my longstanding commitment to tackling social exclusion.
Working as part of the fantastic committee that put together the 2012 Human Welfare Conference has been one of the highlights of my time in Oxford. The end product was a real success and a testament to the hard work of everyone involved.
Each of the student presentations that I watched over the two day event reminded me of how lucky I am to be in Oxford at a college like Green Templeton, where I am constantly surrounded by a body of kind, funny and interesting post-graduate students, who, having completed their undergraduate studies, have returned to books and lecture theatres in a bid to equip themselves with the skills to contribute to the broad field of human welfare. It’s been a privilege.