Paul was Loughborough University London's first deaf student, studying MSc Diplomacy, Statecraft and Foreign Policy (now entitled MSc Diplomacy and International Governance).
Since graduating, Paul has taken up the role of Assistant Project Manager at the Global Disability Innovation Hub.
What were you doing before you started your master’s?
I completed my BA in Politics and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) in 2012. I then spent time volunteering in a number of different capacities including the London 2012 Olympic Games, the NSPCC and as Chair of the Newham Deaf Forum.
Why did you choose Loughborough University London?
I was initially inspired to study diplomacy having attended a town hall question and answer event attended by then President Obama. I was being mentored by the employment advice service in Stratford and it was they who introduced me to the Inspiring Success programme at Loughborough University London. They recommended I apply for a scholarship to study my MSc. I have always had a passion for politics and diplomacy and this course provides me with an opportunity to consider these in more depth particularly in relation to the topics of diplomatic relations, behaviour, protocol, language, culture, use of hard/soft power in negotiating and dealing with conflict resolution to name just a few. Luckily I was successfully awarded the Inspiring Success scholarship and began my studies in 2016. As I was the first deaf student to study here the University has bent over backwards to provide me with all the opportunities and access I need to study here.
What’s your favourite thing about Loughborough University London?
There are almost too many things to list! However, one of my favourite things about Loughborough University London is the amazing and inspiring range of guest speakers who are invited to talk at the University. I was able to listen to people from many different walks of life including a representative from NASA. I was also particularly fascinated by the lecturer who had been involved in the protocol and handover of Hong Kong back to Chinese administration as their authentic real life experience working in the diplomatic sector is so valuable to learn from. I think being exposed to a wide variety of professionals and experiences enriches your understanding and which equips you with excellent knowledge for future career aspirations.
My favourite modules were Diplomatic Discourse and Cultural Projection and Perception. While informative, the Diplomatic Discourse module was also quite fun. It allowed me to analyse the way people speak to each other and gave me tools and strategies on how to discuss issues without offence or tension. It taught me about tone and emphasis whilst remaining respectful and polite. Cultural Projection and Perception was an interesting module, too, as it taught me how to change people's perspectives. It is the skill of using information and discourse to set a positive imagine in someone mind where someone may have had a negative view. It also taught me how to use soft power and persuasion.
What was your most memorable experience on your course?
The lecture from NASA was the most memorable. The speaker flew over from America to talk to us about how travel into space worked and why it was so important. She talked about how it's conception and how it developed over time. It was truly inspirational.
Tell us about your career journey so far
The step into the working world after university has been a great but amazing one. I'm now working for the Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub in the communications team as an Assistant Project Manager and it has given me so much experience already. I have travelled and worked abroad, worked on developing skills and attended conferences. The GDI Hub have partnerships with different companies and it's been a wonderful opportunity to be a part of such varied work.
What do you love the most about your current job?
I love the contact I have with people. Whether this is working abroad (which I thoroughly enjoy as I love to travel) or seeing a project develop. I enjoy meeting people and getting the message of the GDI hub across to prospective partners and communicating our work through social media.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Attending the World Federation of the Deaf conference in Paris was an amazing experience. I'm also proud of the team I work in; they have all tried their hardest to learn British Sign Language (BSL) and have made me feel included and equal.
How has Loughborough University London inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?
Without the scholarship I would not be where I am today. Through the teaching and support given to me I was inspired to believe in myself and empowered to work hard and achieve. Two days after I graduated I was offered a job interview and then offered a position. For that I'm truly thankful.
If you could give one piece of advice to a postgraduate student, what would it be?
If you are not sure how to go about a particular essay title then the best thing to do would be to visit the librarian they have plenty of resources and can often point you in the direction of the key texts that will help. As well as this, Loughborough University London provides English Language Support.
Any last thoughts?
My time at Loughborough University London was indeed a wonderful experience. I found both the environment inspiring and the support from every one to be of very high standard and I was impressed by the degree of Deaf/Disabled Awareness from university staff and students demonstrated which I truly appreciated in my studies. I thoroughly enjoyed studying my degree within the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance; it was a fascinating course, and I plan to use what I learned to succeed in my goal in entering the field of Diplomacy in the future.