I developed a passion for literature studying English and I frequently add English lit. to my readings lists in the history courses, like Doris Lessing's work. History and English is the perfect combination especially in providing me with an interdisciplinary perspective on issues like decolonization. In the History Department, I was given the tools to be a professional researcher, to use archives, think critically, and to be more analytical. Seeing how other lecturers lectured, I found myself in later years using them as role models especially in how to be a very good research supervisor myself.
After I graduated in 2004 with my M.LITT. in modern history, I took a year out and in 2005 began my Ph.D. in History at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. I finished in early 2009 and worked briefly at the EU Council of Ministers in Brussels before starting an academic position at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Inter alia, I had really exciting research fellowships/visiting professorships in Switzerland, Poland and in the US as a Fulbright-Schuman professor, Ireland's first recipient of that award in EU-US relations. In 2018, I moved to Norway to take up an associate professorship in Mondern History and a year later I was promoted to full professor. At NTNU, beyond lecturing, I serve as director of European Studies.
When I'm not cross-country skiing or on my paddle-board on the fjord, I'm at my office at NTNU, Norway's largest university where I lecture in the BA and MA degrees in History, History with Teacher Education and the BA/MA in European Studies. I also supervise research dissertations at all levels including a Ph.D student working on British foreign policy towards South Africa during the 1970s-80s. I am also the academic programme director for European Studies.
I really love thesis supervision, seeing the students develop research probelems and doing some exciting research. In teaching, especially my course on globalizing the Cold War, I really like the student interaction and the level of engagement.
Through a friend who suggested that I should consider applying, so I did.
Remember all the soft/generic skills you acquired during your studies and make sure you make these prominent in your CV. Far too often, we tend to under sell our abilities and skillset. I feel incredibly luckly to be where I am in academia and I know it is not easy to get a permanent job. Keep trying and publish as much as you can. Cold call universities via email and ask if they have teaching gaps/courses that need to be taught. Be proactive. Be positive even if it's hard.