Episode 17 – Laura Shepherd

7 03 2021

Professor Laura Shepherd from the University of Sydney joins the Hayseed Scholar podcast. Professor Shepherd is an iconic and authoritative voice in International Relations, and especially with her multiple-award winning works on Gender, Peacebuilding, Methods, and and Feminism. And yet, she didn’t start out planning for a career in academia. Growing up in London, then moving to just outside of Cambridge, Laura wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do. For a time, her work in the hospitality sector seemed to be the route she’d pursue. Laura reflects on her undergraduate studies, then her backpacking across the world including spending in time in Sydney, before returning to the UK.

Watching a news program one evening on a human rights disaster changed her views on what she wanted to do, and she pursued graduate studies at the University of Bristol. To do so, her Master’s was entirely self-funded, so she recalls working at a factory for 5 months to generate the money to pay the fees.  Laura notes that it wasn’t the easiest first term, but once she found her footing there was no turning back. She talks about finding her way in academia, her first ‘big three’ publications, her first lecturer position at Birmingham, and the decision to move to Australia sparked from a conversation with her friend Prof. Penny Griffin. Professor Shepherd concludes with her reflections on writing, decompressing through knitting and acupuncture, and more!