Successful summer in New York for two students
1 October 2015
Two final year Social Science students – Carly-jo Rosselli and Sarah Fuller – have recently returned to Cardiff having just completed summer placements at the Murphy Institute.
Based at City University of New York, the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies offers higher education programmes for working adults and union members, and serves as a resource centre to labour, academic and community leaders seeking a deeper understanding of labour and urban issues.
Competition for the placements was fierce with applications coming from all disciplines within the school. Both students were supported by School staff Dr Steve Davies, Dr Sin Yi Cheung and Andy Dodge, our dedicated Employability and Placements Manager. They also had support from the University's Global Opportunity Centre.
Dr Steve Davies, Academic Lead on the project and key contact between the School and Murphy Institute said: “Everyone that we met at the Murphy Institute was tremendously helpful and welcoming. Not only did the students have the opportunity to develop their research skills working on a series of exciting research projects with leading academics but they were able to do it in one of the great cities of the world. We were also able to develop contacts between staff in Cardiff and the Murphy Institute, to talk about research interests and hopefully to lay the basis for future research collaboration.”
Carly-jo and Sarah were able to work on a range of different projects on placement. These included assisting Professor Penny Lewis, Academic Director, Labor Studies Programs, and colleagues with research for an alternative history of New York in the form of a tour guide, helping staff to prepare for a trade union climate change summit, and transcribing interviews with participants in the Occupy movement.
Carly-jo and Sarah took some time out of the new semester to share their experiences with us:
Carly-jo Rosselli: "The experiences I gained during my time at the Murphy Institute are invaluable not only to my university studies but also to my own personal development. Heading into my final year of university I have had great hands-on experience of completing extensive literature reviews while assisting Penny with her book, as well as hours of experience transcribing interviews. It has also been very eye-opening in terms of my own academic interests: my time in New York revealed the opportunity for cross-cultural analysis of issues such as gentrification, as well as the differing attitudes that people in places like New York have towards trade unionism in comparison to people in Wales. This is something I will keep in mind as I move forward with my dissertation.
Finally, having the unique experience of attending a research placement in an overseas institution where I was required to jump in straight away and work independently has helped me develop skills which I believe will aid me long after I graduate.”
Sarah Fuller: “Getting the opportunity to work with the Murphy Institute was fantastic, as they were all so welcoming and made us feel at home from the start. I had the opportunity to be able to discuss the labour movement and social history with people who were involved with changing the nature of work within New York, which was very exciting to be a part of. We also had the opportunity to attend talks - such as the talk about Walmart’s supply chain and what a global response to their power and mistreatment of its workers could look like - which made me realise how important a space such as Murphy is for facilitating social change.
Overall, the biggest thing I gained from going to New York is the confidence to be able to take on an opportunity in an unfamiliar setting and thrive upon the challenge of working to my own schedule whilst achieving the objectives set out by Murphy. A debate that came up regularly was the living wage debate, and I aim to study this debate in my dissertation. I hope to draw upon ideas and research that has been developed in the US to give my dissertation a broader understanding of what a living wage could mean.”
The Global Opportunity Centre provides a dedicated resource and source of expertise for all of the opportunities available at Cardiff University for students to gain an international experience. The centre supports students who are considering (or spending) a period of time abroad on a study or work placement, or who are interested in taking part on short-term programme including, study, work and volunteering opportunities. Students are able to apply for placements across Europe and internationally through a number of recognised schemes as part of their degree programme.