Graduate Profile: Marc Mierowsky
Name: Marc Mierowsky
What degree/s did you study (and year of completion)?
BA (Adv) (Hons) 2010
Where do you currently work (sector/organisation) and what is your position title? Please include a brief description of your work.
I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge (Queens’ College) and an undergraduate supervisor.
As a supervisor I am responsible for planning and teaching small group and one on one classes on English language and literature from 1300 to the present.
Describe a typical day/week in your role. What do you enjoy most about your work?
Most days begin with trips to one of the libraries here at Cambridge. I am working on a thesis about theories of popular sovereignty in Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, so I usually spend the mornings working in the archives. If I am teaching that day I do so in the afternoon and so prepare for classes after lunch, If not, then the rest of the day is spent researching and writing up and the evenings spent at a research seminar or lecture.
What are some of the biggest challenges in your current role?
The research itself is a huge intellectual challenge, and with teaching there are challenges in how to make the material understandable and also exciting.
Can you give a summary of your career journey so far? How did you get started in your career? What recruitment processes did you go through? What has been the highlight of your career to date?
After my BA at Sydney I did an MA in Applied Linguistics, by distance, at UNE. During this time I taught high school English for POEM, run by Waverly Action Youth Services – a class for those students who for one reason or another have left mainstream schooling. At this time I applied for a number of PhD programmes at universities in the UK and Australia and was lucky enough to get a Gates Scholarship to Cambridge, where I have been since 2011.
Which skills are highly valued by employers in your field? In your experience, what are the qualities of successful candidates e.g. relevant work experience, specific degree or industry qualification, specific skills, networks, extracurricular involvement?
Critical thinking is of course crucial, as is an ability to write cogently and clearly.
What are your top three tips for university students wishing to enter your field of work? e.g. networking, postgraduate study
Those wishing to pursue postgraduate study should get in touch with prospective supervisors as soon as possible, do exhaustive research on degree programmes and funding, and tailor all applications to the particular strengths of each university.
Are there any myths associated with your industry that you would like to debunk?
More and more, I’m finding that contrary to popular opinion there are lots of career options for PhD students in humanities beyond academia or education.
How do you manage the balance in your life?
As I have a lot of freedom in terms of when I work (there are no set hours and I see my supervisor every 3 weeks or so) so I try to keep business hours. Having 9 -5 days allows me to impose a division between work life and home life and as much as possible, and not to go too nuts constantly thinking about my thesis.
How do you keep current in your field? (e.g. professional development, membership of professional associations, conferences, networks)
I go to as many research seminars here, am a member of the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies and the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies and I go to conferences whenever I can.