Alumni profile - Roberta Rhyse
Roberta Rhyse Kirosingh graduated from Queen Mary in 2019 with a bachelors degree in Politics and International Relations. She is the founder of The Simple Press and works as an Executive Westminster Manager for a Member of Parliament, as well as a Policy Researcher.
What does a typical working day look like for you? My role spans a variety of different areas: policy briefings, generating media strategies, event planning, agenda setting and research projects. There really is no typical task, let alone a day when working in Westminster. I know that sounds stereotypical, but I have maintained the above roles for a year and been presented with Brexit, a prorogation controversy and a global pandemic! There’s so much; it’s hard to imagine I have only been doing this for a year and a half.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary? What sparked your interest in your chosen course? I was initially supposed to study at another Russell Group University outside of London. However, due to a last-minute change in personal circumstances, I had to stay in London. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure it was fate! Queen Mary’s Global Opportunities Office set the university apart from all the others I was considering. Not only did they have links to fantastic partner schools, but it maintained an inclusive narrative from the beginning, which to me set a precedent for all Queen Mary opportunities.
How did your time and study at Queen Mary help your career and development and how did you get to where you are now? The School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) are largely responsible for where I am in my career now. I was fortunate enough to be selected for a Parliamentary Placement as part of the final year on my degree. During this time, I interned for a Member of Parliament and soaked up everything I possibly could about the intricacies of working in Westminster. This opportunity gave me unique access to Parliament and enabled me to network with a variety of individuals and organisations. I also applied for the QMentoring scheme, which is also partly responsible for where I am now. I was fortunate enough to be paired with a fantastic Senior Civil Servant who gave me the confidence to continue my career in Politics.
What do you love most about your job? There’s almost too much to list! My job offers a variety of opportunities to network, travel and attend glamorous events. Some highlights include attending the Copenhagen Fashion Summit and meeting with the Speaker of the House to progress disability/equality issues. However, ultimately, the most rewarding thing about my job is that I get to be at the forefront of mainstream issues. Seeing my work occasionally on the 6’oclock news is a fantastic bonus!
What are your hopes and plans for your career going forwards? I have always been passionate about equality policy, so while I do work on domestic equality policy, I hope to branch out and work on an international scale in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
What are some of your fondest memories of your time at Queen Mary? Where was your favourite place on campus? My favourite place on campus and fondest memories have one thing in common, Drapers. In my first year, between lectures on a Friday afternoon, my friends and I would crowd round a table to eat lunch and unpack the morning’s events. By final year, you would still find us at the same table, slightly more stressed and amongst the presence of more books, but still tucking into their menu.
What would your advice be to students applying to study Politics/International Relations at Queen Mary? How can they make the most of their experience? My advice for those applying to study Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary would be to “give it your all”. Queen Mary is an amazingly inclusive environment that has so much to offer; all you have to do is apply! For example, Queen Mary supported my expedition to Indonesia via the expedition fund, connected me to a fantastic Civil Service mentor through the QMentoring scheme, and published my academic work in the QM Political Review and the team at SPIR helped raise awareness of my non-profit organisation, The Simple Press. Queen Mary has a variety of hidden gems, and if you are ever unsure of what’s available, you will have a fantastic support network behind you. Every personal adviser, professor and member of the wellbeing team are resources for you to tap into throughout your three to four years of study, not just in the run-up to your essay deadline!
Can you tell us more about The Simple Press? The Simple Press is a non-profit independent news outlet. I noticed there was a pattern amongst instant news publications; only certain narratives and stories were shared - only certain voices were heard. Inspired by the words of eleven-year-old Naomi Wadler during the ‘March for our Lives’ rally in March 2018, I founded The Simple Press in August 2018 with, to quote Wadler, the aim to share the perspectives of those ‘whose stories do not make the front pages of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news.’ I was editor-in-chief for the first year, and we managed to reach over 50,000 people. Queen Mary were wonderful in helping spread the word amongst students to help increase engagement.
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This profile was conducted by Alumni Engagement Coordinator, Nathalie Grey. If you would like to get in touch with Roberta or engage her in your work, please contact Nathalie at firstname.lastname@example.org.