Second cohort of interns undertake UNIQ+ project internships at DPIR


A group of talented individuals from under-represented backgrounds are completing internships with DPIR this summer through the University’s UNIQ+ programme.

The interns started with the Department in July, and their research project internships will soon be completed after a six-week period. 

This is the second year DPIR has been involved in UNIQ+ – a postgraduate-level summer programme aimed at talented undergraduates from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds.

UNIQ+ placements offer first-hand research experience with supervision from DPIR academics. The experience gives interns the chance to experience life as a graduate research student at Oxford, with the intention that everyone who takes part will benefit in terms of confidence, skills and experience that will enhance both their CV and any future postgraduate applications. 

Meet the 2023 interns

Image of female intern smilingMolly Taylor (pictured left) is working alongside fellow interns Hana Nabizada, Sara Quinton and Sophie Devine on a qualitative research project with Dr Marnie Howlett – ‘Europe through the eyes of Ukrainian Youth’ – investigating the perspectives of Ukrainian youth on the European Union after the Russian-Ukrainian invasion in 2022. Molly is a second-year international relations student at Royal Holloway University who will be transferring to the BA History programme at the Open University for her final year.

She said: “Participating in this research programme has been an immensely valuable experience for me, as it has allowed me to connect with other enthusiastic young researchers and foster a strong sense of community.

“The internship has allowed me to broaden my skill set significantly. I have eagerly embraced learning new software programmes and analysis methods commonly used by academic researchers. It has enhanced my capacity to conduct thorough and meaningful analyses, contributing to my overall growth as a researcher.

“[The internship] has been a rewarding journey for me, reaffirming my passion for research, particularly in the field of qualitative analysis. The practical experience and valuable knowledge gained will undoubtedly prove instrumental in my future academic and professional pursuits.”

Image of female intern smilingHana Nabizada (pictured right) has just finished an undergraduate degree in BA International Relations at Royal Holloway and will be starting her MSc International Social and Public Policy at the London School of Economics in September. Hana said working on Dr Howlett’s project appealed to her due to “its immense relevance in contemporary politics and the focus on youth in politics, the latter being an under-researched area in academia.

She said: “I have learnt how to use software systems such as NVivo and have learnt to perfect my skills in qualitative analysis, specifically thematic analysis. The internship has also confirmed my desire to go into postgraduate study, specialise in my research areas of interest, and further allowed me to hone my skills as a researcher.

Image of female intern smilingSara Quinton (pictured left) has recently graduated from Coventry University, achieving a first class BA (Hons) degree in Politics. Sara said that Dr Howlett’s project builds upon her pre-established interests in Central and Eastern European countries and their experience with communism.

“[I am] particularly interested in the experience of transitioning from communism to democracy and capitalism and how it has shaped the region. When I came across the UNIQ+ programme, I instantly knew that this project would be the right fit for me.”Image of female intern smiling

Sophie Devine (pictured right), who completes the intern team on Dr Howlett’s project, is studying BSc (Hons) in Intelligence Analysis and Management at Buckinghamshire New University (BNU).

Sophie is a member of the Centre for Intelligence, Security and Resilience at BNU, and through this began monitoring the invasion of Ukraine from before the build-up of forces on the border to today. “I wanted to explore this further and contribute to research within this area, which drew me towards the UNIQ+ project led by Dr Howlett.

“The UNIQ+ internship has deepened my passion for research and helped me determine that continuing with academia is right for me. It is a wonderful opportunity for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to strengthen their abilities and skills and develop a competitive application for postgraduate courses.”

Image of non-binary intern smilingBerty Greenall (pictured left) is studying Criminology at Durham University, and due to graduate in 2024. They are working alongside Dr Ria Ivandic – and two other UNIQ+ interns – researching how conflict in Croatia (in the 1990s) affected domestic abuse rates.

“This project interested me, as my research regarding gender dynamics has led me to examine how gender is negotiated outside the ‘western’ sphere, and how masculinity is formed and created outside of the very UK / US dominated academic lens.

"The UNIQ+ internship has helped me to develop my skills in quantitative analysis, experience working within a research team, and introduced me to a wealth of literature surrounding how gender is negotiated globally.

“It's been incredibly rewarding working alongside people who are not within my discipline, as I've been shown how law and political science approach the same subject.”Image of female intern smiling

Oliwia Maliszewska (pictured right) has recently completed a Law LLB at Lancaster University and will be starting an LLM at Cambridge University in October. Oliwia has been an intern on Dr Ria Ivandic’s project.

"The project has shown me how important it is to leave the legal echo-chamber and conceptualise issues such as domestic violence outside of my discipline. Despite being Eastern-European myself, I had not actually witnessed the extent of the research gap, prior to starting the programme.

Working with Dr Ivandic and my project partner Berty has helped me transform into a more well-rounded scholar, and taught me further analytical and empirical skills. I would recommend UNIQ+ to anyone who wants to expand their research horizons and carry out impactful work."

The UNIQ+ internship has deepened my passion for research and helped me determine that continuing with academia is right for me. It is a wonderful opportunity for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to strengthen their abilities and skills and develop a competitive application for postgraduate courses.
Sophie Devine