Rosie Melville

Criminology and Social Policy

The whole atmosphere was very nurturing - not just because of the academics' attitude, but the Student Union and the other University services too; I felt very supported.

Why did you choose to study at Kent?

I'm particularly interested in social inequality and social immobility; why people turn to crime and how you can help them. There aren't many universities that offer the combination of subjects I studied. Also, Kent is such a respected university. I loved the variety of modules offered, and the flexibility the optional subjects offered to you, the academics have really good reputations, so it was the obvious choice.

How would you describe the teaching at Kent?

It was the best. I felt that every lecturer really cared about you. For instance, If you had a question after a lecture you could go and see them and they'd talk with you for as long as it took to make sure everything was clear in your mind.

I particularly remember an occasion in the third year, getting an essay mark I wasn't happy with and going to talk about it. In a really nice and constructive way they explained exactly how I had gone wrong and how it could be fixed - they really want you to learn and to do well.

I also thought you were treated as an adult and the teaching was very collaborative - they were always happy to her your views. The whole atmosphere was very nurturing - not just because of the academics' attitude, but the student union and the other University services too; I felt very supported.

What have you done Since leaving Kent?

Immediately after I graduated I had a short internship with the Civil Service, then I went on to study for a Master's in Criminal Justice Policy at the London School of Economics.

Now I'm on the Fast Stream programme, where you have two government placements and one non-government placement. I've worked in the Department of Work and Pensions, then the Department for Communities and Local Government, and now I'm on secondment with the Hackney Council. I'm getting a really good chance to experience all the different aspects of Civil Service life.

How do the skills you gained at Kent help you in your present position?

You grow a lot at university and in particular, I learnt to be analytical. I'm naturally fairly sceptical about things and I've learnt how to look for bias and be able to dissect information.

Through writing loads of essays, my communication and writing skills have developed too; you get a great deal of help with your writing - laying out an argument clearly, expanding your thoughts and so on.

What are your future plans?

I would really like to stay in the Civil Service. I'm very interested in criminal justice and would like to work in that area or something closely related to it. I think the Civil Service is the best place to be if you're interested in forming policy.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming to Kent?

It's such an amazing experience studying at Kent: it will change you if you open yourself up to it and make the most of what's there. For instance, one day I saw a poster for a charity trip to China and I just thought "why not?" So I sent off an email and got a placve on the trip and it opened up a whole world to me. Just grab every opportunity offered.