Alumni profile - Aysel Küçüksu
Studying at Queen Mary certainly had a lot to do with where I am now. It was a fantastic experience for me both socially and intellectually. I met many people from all over the world, with whom I still keep in touch, and my professors were incredible.
Could you tell us a bit about your current research? What made you want to go into this field?
I am currently employed as a Postdoc at the Law Faculty of the University of Copenhagen, where I am part of the ‘Human Rights Nudge’ team. We focus on the judgments delivered by the European Court of Human Rights and our aim is to find sustainable ways of ‘nudging' states in the right direction when it comes to implementing said judgments. Though I often reminisce about my times at Queen Mary, I am very happy to be based at the University of Copenhagen and very thankful for the path my education at Queen Mary has set me upon.
Studying at Queen Mary certainly had a lot to do with where I am now. It was a fantastic experience for me both socially and intellectually. I met many people from all over the world, with whom I still keep in touch, and my professors were incredible. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I still go back to the lessons I learned in Professor del Mar, Professor Heinze, Professor Morrison, and Professor Shah’s classes to this very day. Their concern for matters of justice and equity definitely shaped my interest in human rights, law, and philosophy, which then shaped my PhD dissertation on distributive justice. I am very much intellectually indebted to them.
How did your time studying Law at Queen Mary equip you for life after university?
The very reason why I got acquainted with the opportunities at the University of Copenhagen was because of the exchange year I was able to spend there as part of my LL.B. degree. Subsequently, I returned to Copenhagen to do my Master’s degree before moving to the University of Geneva and LUISS-Guido Carli di Roma for my PhD. I am now back in Copenhagen, but I must admit that I keep myself updated on how my colleagues at Queen Mary are doing and keep my eyes peeled for opportunities to collaborate with them.
I also used the Career services at Queen Mary back in the day when I was competing for the Target Jobs UK Undergraduate of the Year Award. I was competing against 600 other applicants and was quite nervous about the whole process (which involved many stages). I won the Languages Undergraduate of the Year Award in the end, and I am very thankful to the Queen Mary Careers team for their help in the interview preparation process. Part of the award was a trip to Brussels to visit certain EU institutions, and the overall experience was fantastic. It certainly sparked my interest in the EU and to a certain extent even inspired my decision to intern at the Court of Justice of the European Union later.
What advice would you give a current student or recent graduate considering their career options?
I was very much involved in the student life at Queen Mary during my time there. I volunteered at the Legal Advice Centre, worked at the Students’ Union café, did fundraisers with Raise and Give, and even joined the Queen Mary Angels cheerleading team for a short while. The opportunities at Queen Mary are truly endless and I would advise all Queen Mary students to make the most of them. You never know what doors your new endeavour might open for you.
I would also advise people to explore our neighbourhood, Mile End, and London in general. There is much to be experienced and learned whilst roaming the streets of London and doing so during one’s university years is the best time to do it.
What was the most memorable thing about your time at Queen Mary?
It is difficult to pick the most memorable thing about my time at Queen Mary. First year was pretty unique because as first year students, we all lived in the student halls together, which helped us bond over this new and exciting adventure that was university life. It was care-free and very new and exciting. Then again, I was very happy in my last year too, when I was a bit more settled in my ways, could pick the Law classes that I wanted to join, and worked at the student cafe in the library. Looking back at it, perhaps my favourite memories from studying at Queen Mary were made in the library. I struck up a lot of friendships in my times as a barista in the library Learning Cafe and I loved the breaks with my colleagues and friends. We just used to spend so much time in there, both to study and socialise. I am certainly very fond of those times and reminisce about them with a great deal of nostalgia.