Lee Thompson

Politics and Parliamentary Studies

Lee’s placement year as part of his politics and parliamentary studies course took him to Washington DC, where he was involved in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. On graduating, he would like to pursue a career in government or public relations.

What do you hope to go on and do when you graduate from the University of Leeds?

As part of my BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies programme I undertook a placement year, I spent five months working in Washington DC for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign and the Democratic Senator for Ohio Sherrod Brown. The second half of the year was a placement working in the House of Commons where I worked for Health Minister, Ann Keen MP. My placement year really gave me an insight into what I want to do after completing my degree I am pretty sure I don’t want to become Prime Minister but I would like to pursue a career in Government or Public Relations, or even Political Consultancy .

What skills and attributes do you think you've gained from your course?

As I have already mentioned, my placement year was invaluable it provided me with skills which I will not only use now but for the rest of my life. Whilst working in the United States Senate I worked in the Press Office for Senator Brown. I organised daily press conferences which taught me how to work under pressure and learn the acquired skill of how to deal with journalists. I learnt how to time manage and how to meet a deadline, as well as knowing how to adapt myself to the working environment. In Westminster I learnt how to work with people, meeting constituents on a weekly
basis helped me adapt my interpersonal skills to work with people from a wide array of cultures and backgrounds.

What skills and attributes do you think you've gained from co-curricular activities?

I am currently in my third year of the four year course; in my first and Second Year I was able to undertake several co-curricular activities. The University of Leeds has so many societies and sporting clubs that you can get involved with. I opted to join the debating society, politics society, and a society which my friends set up called ‘Democ Soc’ which aimed to empower students to use their vote at the local and national elections. I think the societies I joined sat well with my degree. They taught me skills such as how to be a more effective campaigner and how to work with others. If university teaches you only one thing, I think it is how to communicate with other people. Co-curricular activities are not only a break from study, but a chance to meet new people and socialise with friends too something that I feel is a large aspect of University Life.

How will these skills and attributes help you achieve what you want to do when you graduate?

Academically, I think that University has taught me to time manage effectively and work to deadlines something that I have already utilised during my time working in Parliament where work is very fast paced. My placement year has given me skills which will stay with me for the rest of my working life, from silly things like how to utilise Microsoft Outlook effectively (The Calendar/Reminder System is my saviour!) to having the confidence and interpersonal skills to work with constituents, colleagues, Government Ministers and even United States Senators.

How do you think you have benefited from studying at Leeds?

I can’t really express enough how amazing my time at the University of Leeds has been. It has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities that I will remember for the rest of my life, I have met so many people from all walks of life, I have realised that I can live on my own and support myself… and most importantly Leeds has made me realise who I am! It sounds clichéd, but I have grown as a person while at Leeds. I would say I am a very different person than when I arrived as a young “Fresher”. You really find yourself at Uni and where better to find yourself than in a great city, with great people and most importantly a great University!